The Korean Facial = Pilates For The Face

By Susie

“It was the same feeling you get the day after working out and you’re sore because you worked out so hard and you feel awesome because you feel like your muscles are getting tight and firm.  It was crazy, there was no bruising or redness but my face felt like it had done a pilates class, tight and firm.”

Upon the recommendation from a friend, I went to a Korean spa for a facial.  I had only tried the standard American spa facial up to that point.  That said, this is the year of change for me. I’m in my early 40s, I changed jobs to spend more time with the kids.  I eat things I can’t pronounce that are good for me like Baobab, Maqui, Acerola and Lucama.  I work out more, I’ve done a week long fast.  I’m working on my inner-self and want to spend more time working on my outsides as well.

I made an appointment in K-town at the establishment my friend recommended.  This place isn’t about the setting.  Don’t look for cucumber water because you won’t find it.  There is no eucalyptus candle burning.  There’s a treatment room…with a divider that goes to another treatment room.  I didn’t realize this until I could hear the person in the next room say she was nervous.  Nervous?! What the hell for, what is about to happen to her?? 

Too late, I was already under the sheets and my facialist came upon me.  It started out normal enough, double cleansing, steam to open the pores.  Then the facial massage started.  I felt like my cheekbones were being rolled with a metal pipe but the only steel was the facialist’s determination to knead my skin into submission.  Her thumbs and fingers were like tiny fists of fury.  I don’t know how they could move so fast.  At one point I made an audible “oomph” sound, she said sweetly, “oh it’s pain?”, and kept on going.

After the massage she went onto extractions which I was actually looking forward to by that point because that would mean the massage was over.  She recommended a water treatment that would suction all the gunk in your pores.  That was pretty painless and afterward she showed me a jar that had all the dirt that had been suctioned out of my skin.  A jar full of the nastiness that had taken residence in my pores?  That’s not an add on feature you can get at a hotel spa.

After that things got normal - a mask and a bunch of creams slathered on my face.  Oh wait, I forgot to mention the towels.  A couple times she wrapped my face in a towel, an ice cold, freezing towel.  This can be quite shocking when you are expecting a nice warm soothing towel and you are still recuperating from the deep tissue massage to the face.  She explained the cold is used to restrict the blood vessels, close the pores and tighten things up. 

All in all, the massage was way cheaper than going to a fancy spa and the facial was 1.5 hours.  I knew the Korean spa would be more about getting results than feeling good.  The next day my face was sore.  It was the same feeling you get the day after working out and you’re sore because you worked out so hard and you feel awesome because you feel like your muscles are getting tight and firm.  It was crazy, there was no bruising or redness but my face felt like it had done a pilates class, tight and firm. 

The massage was literally a workout for my face minus any effort or movement on my end.  I was all in after realizing that.  I called and booked another - apparently, it hurts less the more you go.  Just like a pilates workout, go figure.