Everything To Know Before Getting A HydraFacial: Benefits, Cost & More
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Of all the professional skin treatments out there, nothing has received quite as much global fanfare as the HydraFacial. In fact, a treatment is performed every 15 seconds, according to the HydraFacial Company (who patented the famed technology). This buzz is well warranted: Who wouldn't jump at the opportunity to clear clogged pores, infuse the skin with moisture, and create an instantly gratifying glow with—get this—zero downtime?
But before going all in, let's investigate what, exactly, gives this facial so much hype. Ahead, find everything you need to know before booking a HydraFacial treatment: how it works, the benefits, and how to know if you're a good candidate. (Spoiler: You probably are.)
What is a HydraFacial?
A HydraFacial is simultaneously exfoliating and hydrating: With a microdermabrasion-like device, it lifts dead skin cells and sucks all the gunk out of pores, then infuses them with nutrient-rich serum "boosters."
Each booster formula may vary, but they typically include soothing, calming ingredients to rejuvenate the skin (think aloe, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, et al.). "There are a range of options so it can be customized to better meet the skin's needs," says board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, M.D., founder of SKINFIVE.
The process looks similar to microdermabrasion—another skin-resurfacing treatment—which micro-circulates and exfoliates to remove dead skin, says master esthetician Sarah Akram. But with microdermabrasion, nothing gets infused into the skin: "Customized products are layered on top after exfoliating the skin," Akram notes, whereas a HydraFacial combines the two steps into one gentler treatment. "[It] clears out your pores while hydrating your skin and infusing it with targeted serums, leaving your skin looking plump, juicy, and glowy," she adds.
How does it work?
"[HydraFacials] create an instant glow in three steps: cleanse and peel, extract and glow, and fuse and protect," says esthetician Darya Rzaca, co-founder of Atelier Beauté. Generally, it follows the same order as a classic facial—but instead of performing manual extractions, the esthetician will bring out the hydrodermabrasion device. They might still perform a few manual extractions afterward if you have any stubborn blackheads, but the device takes care of most of the work. Then after clearing and infusing the pores, the facial will continue with a mask, massage, or sometimes an LED treatment.
The best part? After you're done, you get to see all the gunk extracted from your pores (gross, but gratifying). "The most satisfying [part] is to show clients their impurities, such as blackheads, in the dispensary cup after the facial. A proof of detailed work," says Rzaca.
- Cleans & hydrates: "A HydraFacial not only cleans your pores without force but also gives your skin enough exfoliation and hydration with serums infused with peptides, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid," notes esthetician Aneta Zuraw, co-founder of Atelier Beauté.
- Protects the skin barrier: By infusing deep hydration into the skin, HydraFacials protect the skin's barrier as it gently removes debris. "It also infuses vitamins to help heal and nourish the skin as we clean it," says Nina Carla, medical esthetician at Motykie Med Spa, so it won't strip your skin.
- Brightens skin: Since HydraFacials infuse the pores with antioxidant-rich serums, they can also help encourage a brighter glow—plus, hydrated skin reflects light and appears much brighter.
- Little to no downtime: "There is no downtime after a HydraFacial," says Zuraw. Unlike other forms of extractions, which can leave your skin blotchy and inflamed (at least for a time), HydraFacials do not deliver any trauma to the skin. First-timers can experience some redness or discomfort, she adds, but that usually only lasts two to four hours at the most. Generally, it leaves your skin "looking plump, juicy, and glowy," says Akram.
- Works for a variety of skin types: "It targets many of the most common skin care concerns such as dryness, aging, wrinkles, texture, acne/congestion, etc.," says Akram. For example, an esthetician might choose a calming, brightening, or hydrating serum booster depending on your skin goals. Even those with sensitive skin can benefit from this treatment, as there is little discomfort and downtime.
Who should get one?
While any skin type could benefit from a HydraFacial, the treatment especially works wonders for dehydrated, dull skin. "For drier skin types, it's best to do treatments like HydraFacials that focus on a deep clean and hydrating the skin at the same time," says Carla. "This treatment infuses a lot of calming ingredients, like aloe and hyaluronic acid, that help calm, soothe, hydrate, and plump the skin."
Shamban agrees: "This is often best for a patient with very dehydrated, dull, flaking, or otherwise tired sallow skin that needs a deeper clean and overall replenishing refresh," she says. Those with congested skin are also good candidates for the treatment, as HydraFacials suction all the gunk from your pores—but Shamban warns against using on any active, open acne.
Cost & where to get one.
Like many professional treatments, HydraFacials are an investment: "The average cost of a full HydraFacial treatment is around $200 to $350 depending on the geographical area and spa," says Akram. Quite the pretty penny, but this is not an everyday venture—only book when you need a deep, professional clean. (See here for how often experts recommend you get a facial.)
The specific pricing will usually depend on the type of booster you choose, as different elixirs may contain higher concentrations of more expensive ingredients. You can also add other targeted treatments, such as lymphatic massage or LED light, to a HydraFacial—but know that this will likely jack up the price.
In terms of where to get one, plenty of spas offer different hydrodermabrasion procedures, but any menu that uses the term "HydraFacial" specifically will include the award-winning patented technology.
HydraFacials are suitable for any skin type and concern, as they're highly customizable, gentle, and deeply hydrating (as the name suggests). It's a worthy treatment to add to your regular facial rotation, whatever that looks like for you; chances are you'll wind up with a fresh-faced glow.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.