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Beauty Treatments Broken Down: What Are They? What's Worked?

At this day in age, there are so many beauty terms and types of treatments that it can get a little overwhelming, so I'm breaking some down today. Some I have tried, some are still on my list and others I probably won't try or do again, but I like to test new things out and talk about them so you know what you're getting in to (without having to do it/spend the money on it first!).

beauty treatment breakdown

Dermaplaning: This is a pain-free exfoliation for your face. If done professionally, an aesthetician uses a surgical-grade scalpel to scrape off the top layer of peach fuzz and dead skin to allow products to penetrate deeper and so you have less breakouts (from dead skin clogging pores) and more glowing skin. It is basically a fancy way of shaving your face honestly. Although a scalpel sounds intense, it is 100% painless with zero downtime and no cuts/numbing creams or injections.

Is it worth it? Yes, but I have done it both professionally and at home and I think it's a bit of a waste of money to do professionally when you can do it at home for $4. There are many small single use dermaplaning razors you can buy and do it yourself at home just by rubbing downward at an angel and applying moisturizing product after. This is the link to the exact ones I use and like:

Verdict: Do it, but save the money and do it yourself.

Microblading: This is the process of a professional using a small tool, to make incisions along your eyebrows to help reshape and fill them to your desired look and then adding color to match your natural brows - it's essentially a semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo, so you don't have to spend the time or money on brow pencils, growth serums, powders etc. I have not tried it yet, but it is next on my list to do!

It saves time getting ready and helps you look more put together when you're makeup-free. The process is numbing with a topical agent, drawing the plan/shape and then making the small incisions and adding the color. There is a bit of pain from what I gather and the only downtime is that it takes ~10 days to heal and during that time your brows can be a bit itchy, flaky and appear darker than their end color (you can still be seen in public, it's not that scary). They last around 6 mo. -1.5 yrs pending your skin etc. and if you have touchups. If you've ever gotten a tattoo, imagine a much more mild version of that but with topical numbing cream involved! (I have tattoos and have never thought they were that bad and they were never numbed and really didn't even scab much while healing). If you do this, just make sure you visit the salon ahead of time and view many pictures of your specific artists before and after work!

Verdict: Haven't tried it but really excited to.

Hydrafacial: Shockingly, I have never loved getting professional facials - I have never had one good enough to think it was worth the time or cost. I've only seen minimal differences and usually don't feel like they've really gotten the gunk out, you know? Gross, but true. These new facials seem game-changing and it's next on my list to try right along with Microblading above. In fact, I'm waiting for a specific spa to open near me that's currently being built although I just found out my dermatologist's office does them too!

Why this is different is it's a machine and not just a person's hands. It's non-invasive and non-laser and combines cleansing, exfoliation, extracting, hydration and antioxidants in one swoop! Magical, right? It has no downtime and helps with congested pores, enlarged pores, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It's basically a machine that suctions out the gunk while filling it with antioxidant serums and closing up the pores.

Verdict: Haven't tried it but really excited to.

Laser Hair Removal: I have really mixed feelings on this. I love the concept to have a laser nicely kill your hair root so you can save time and money and never have to shave again, but I think it largely depends on your genetics and stage in life. It works, I certainly wont dispute that, but I've gotten 2 different areas done with 2 different types of lasers at 2 different facilities and I still have to shave, but it is less hair. I did my underarms and bikini and bought packages for both and then continued with single treatments and probably have had no less than 20 underarm sessions and probably 12 bikini sessions - some of those being double passes. They said the average person only needs 7-9 treatments, so I think I am just an anomaly here.

The best candidates are people with lighter skin tones and darker hair in the treated area (so the laser can focus on the hair essentially and blatantly be able to tell the difference). I'm not a pro, but that was how it was explained to me (ask if you're a good candidate before buying!). You can have topical cream put on for numbing but there is still a bit of pain and 1 day downtime as in you're not supposed to get sweaty and might be a little red. It worked on me, and in theory, I am a good candidate; but it was no where near as dramatic as I had hoped. It did work well while I was regularly doing the treatments, but as soon as I stopped, I had to shave much more often. Again, I think it was me though because of my genetic makeup. I have darker, thick, coarser hair that I've learned is basically bionic haha my hair on my head has been through the wringer as I have had it fully bleached platinum blonde, box black, stripped out, filled, colored over and then continually highlighted and there is little to no damage. Great for the hair on my head, yes! Not so great for laser hair removal efforts though. As far as the life stage piece I mentioned, they say there is a chance for it to change as your body goes through hormonal changes - when pregnant, menopause etc. so if you're near one of those stages, it might make more sense to wait until after.

Verdict: Tried it and liked it - probably would do again but would work better on people without superhuman hair.

Lash Lift/Tint: This is like a perm for your lashes! Lifts them to look curled all the time and not just immediately after curling them, and you can add a tint to darken your lashes and hopefully mimic mascara. This one TOTALLY depends on what you've already got to work with. If your lashes are short, it wouldn't be worthwhile. My lashes are long, but they grow straight out and are lighter on the ends, so I had high hopes for this. I was wrongly assuming that it'd look like I had mascara on even when I didn't, so I wasn't blown away. I could tell a difference, but it wasn't quite as much as I'x expected. There is no pain and no downtime (you can't get your lashes wet for 24 hours is all). I am going to try it again with someone else and hope it works better because I've seen great before and afters.

Verdict: Only works if you have long lashes. I'll give it a second chance but not impressed yet.

Lash Extensions: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It's to make you look like you have false lashes on at all times. The tech you go to will make or break this for you so make sure to do research and that they are only applying ONE lash extension to ONE real lash. The after care is important too - not getting them wet all the time, using a spoolie to brush them daily and not putting mascara on over them are key. They are time consuming and need upkeep every 2-3 weeks since they grow with your natural lashes and fall out when they do too. I have not tried it and have no desire too since my lashes are longer and I don't like the way most look that I have seen. If you have really short lashes and can't get a good lift/tint or apply fake lashes often, this may be worth it if you're up for the upkeep of them.

Verdict: Haven't tried it and won't try it, but good if you have time, short lashes & or love falsies.

Lash/Brow Serums: I have talked about this a bit before in previous posts here and here. This is exactly what it sounds like as well - serums meant for lash or brow growth pending your need. There are a few brands, and the only one I have tried is Neulash. Long story short, my lashes started to seem a bit dry and brittle so I wanted something nourishing just like for skin and couldn't find anything aside from mascara primers and castor oil. I found Neulash and it's PACKED with vitamins and the actual point of it is to help lash growth, which it does work as well. For lash growth, it recommends daily use, but I probably use it twice a week and still noticed my lashes grew and they seem more healthy and nourished. The brow version is the same! This option isn't as quick as a lift or extensions, but it's easier, cheaper and your real lashes growing.

Verdict: I like the Neulash serum I've tried and it's worth the cost and easy to do at home.

Microneedling/Dermarolling/Vampire Facials: I actually wrote a whole post on doing this at home about 2 years ago that's linked here. It sounds much scarier than it is. This is a little hand held roller covered in tiny needles that you roll onto your face, sounds crazy, right? It's not and it's virtually painless and really easy to do. The point is to poke tiny marks into your skin so products can penetrate deeper and to stimulate collagen production.

The size of the needles is what differentiates the at home vs professional versions. I have only done this on my own and home and probably wouldn't waste the money professionally on this one as there are small home tool options for $10-$30. How it works is to fully cleanse your face, apply a great serum (something with vitamin c or antioxidants is best) then use the roller and go up, down and diagonally a few times on each area (do not use it on your nose or any areas that are broken out or irritated!). Then sterilize it with alcohol - this is key! and apply another serum to top it off. Some tricks on this is investing in good products, cleaning it thoroughly, using light pressure and making sure your hands and pillow case are clean. You are after all opening the skin so you want to make sure you don't clog your pores.

What it does is shrink pores, decrease fine lines and wrinkles and allow products to really get to work. There is really no downtime for that home version (I do it at night and my skin looks a little red and I wouldn't put makeup on but I just go to sleep and wake up totally normal).

Verdict: Do it, but save the money and do it yourself unless you need dramatic results.

Microdermabrasion: This is like mildly sanding your face to get rid of the outer layer that is thick and likely dead skin to make the new, glowing skin show. It does not hurt and it does work on scarring, dark spots, sun damage and the like. There are options to do it at home, but in this one's case, I personally think professional is better/more powerful. I do not do this anymore (I used to) because I prefer microneedling and dermaplaning for exfoliation and new skin generation and I don't think all 3 are needed unless you really have a lot to work on.

Verdict: Do it professionally if you want dramatic results, but be cautious if you're also doing dermaplaning/microneedling.

Jade Rolling: This is probably the easiest, least time consuming and most painless way to make your face look more awake, less congested and less swollen. It's just a small roller made of jade that you roll around on your face (upwards!) after applying serum. That's it - so easy and feels refreshing. Jade is a cool stone so it's cold and helps with lymphatic drainage and any puffiness. If you really want to be refreshed, store it in the freezer. This is the link to mine:

Verdict: Do it, its cheap, quick, easy and refresher - literally no downside.

Cupping: This was a trend a bit ago regarding your body (I've seen it mostly on people's backs) and I have yet to jump on the bandwagon, but they now have mini ones you can use on your face that don't leave the big red circles! It looks like a mini turkey baster to me lol but it has similar benefits as jade rolling so I haven't done it. Instead of jade though it uses suction for lymphatic drainage etc.

Verdict: Haven't tried it and don't have plans to but if you do it, save the money and do it yourself after learning how.

Skin care/beauty treatments are always evolving so I'm sure this list will grow in time, and I have yet to dive into the botox, filler, skin laser world! Other parts not mentioned in this post because they're not treatments really, are past posts on self-tanning, natural deodorants and my full skin care routine, which are linked!

I hope this was helpful in explaining some of these processes that are talked about! It can be costly to try all these things, so the ones I do try, I like to share so you can decide if it's worth the splurge or not. Please do keep in mind, each thing will be a bit different for each person. I'll report back once I try the next ones up on my list: Microblading & Hydrofacials!


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