What It’s Like to Get a Facial During a Pandemic

Image of woman getting facial
Photo by Karen Radkai/Getty Images

Tending to skincare may seem like the last thing to prioritize, especially now. With a pandemic in the mix, hydrating your face can feel downright frivolous. But it still bears importance, especially for those who relish the consistency of a skincare routine during a rocky time—or for the people who used to get regular, monthly treatments, like facials.

When New York City entered phase three of its reopening plan in July, spas were among the businesses permitted to resume work. And Ever/Body—a derm/med spa that offers non-invasive beauty treatments like high-tech facials, along with services including fillers and Botox—was among those opening their doors after the shutdown. Ever/Body, which has locations in the SoHo and Flatiron neighborhoods of Manhattan, invited four W editors to come try their classic Hydrafacial—under a set of new, Covid-friendly restrictions. We gave it a shot, and logged our honest opinions.

Courtesy of Ever/Body/Nadav Havakook.

Alex Ben-Gurion, Visuals and Content Director

Pre-pandemic, how often did you get facials? I used to get monthly facials, usually with my amazing facialist Nachi Glick at Mist Beauty. Going from monthly facials to seven months off was quite a shock to my skin. I had to figure out alternatives at home, which felt like a bit of a daily science experiment.

During the pandemic, how has your skin fared? What skincare regimens, if any, have you upheld in quarantine? During the pandemic, my skin definitely improved due to less daily makeup and more routine, but I would also get random flare-ups from being indoors all the time—it became a bit temperamental, like the state of the world. I started doing a weekly at-home glycolic peel and added vitamin C serum to the daily regimen, which helped immensely. I also finally purchased the CosrX BHA Power liquid. What a lifesaver it has become.

How did you feel going into the Ever/Body facial? Were you nervous at all?Going into the Ever/ Body facial was exciting, familiar, and comforting. I wasn’t nervous at all, but definitely curious about how everything would work in this new era of the world.

What was your first reaction to Ever/Body?The space was pristine and welcoming. It really felt like a treat with the calming green and well-lit product display panels. Everyone was very friendly and helpful in explaining the sign-in process and questionnaires. The health questionnaire was extremely thorough, which is always a good sign in my book.

Discuss your treatment. What was it like? At first, you’re walked toward a private room similar to that of a very chic dentist’s office where the light is quite bright, in that medical way. The aesthetician asks you to discuss your skin type, any concerns you have, and what general products you use. Then, you lay down, the lights are dimmed and the process begins with a light cleansing. After, the Hydrafacial portion starts where a little suction device is drawn across every inch of your face with a glycolic peel (mine was a bit lower in strength because I used a retinoid two days prior), then extraction, and a serum is applied using the same device. Blue and red lights are applied after to kill any bacteria and help with redness. Moisturizer, sunscreen, and eye cream are then massaged into the skin to finalize the treatment.

How did your skin feel afterward? Would you return to Ever/Body?My skin was so smooth, even toned, and hydrated after this facial. It was definitely a wonderful 30-minute experience. Personally, I prefer the more in-depth facials involving facial massage and deep extractions, but for a quick rejuvenation, this definitely does the trick. I was glowing the next day and it was a really nice mid-week pick me up.

Courtesy of Ever/Body/Nadav Havakook.

Maxine Wally, Senior Digital Editor

Pre-pandemic, how often did you get facials? My approach to skincare is irregular—and that applies to facials, too. So the answer to this question is: not often. The last time I got a facial was because I received a gift card to visit a spa; there, the aesthetician spread a bunch of creams on my cheeks and massaged my face and I fell asleep, then was awoken by the sound of my own snoring.

During the pandemic, how has your skin fared? What skincare regimens, if any, have you upheld in quarantine?My skin is the worst it’s ever been. I am plagued by mask-ne. My skincare regimen, as I mentioned, is not a regimen at all—if I feel like putting moisturizer or serum on one night, I will. If I’m too lazy to do so, I won’t. I’m nervous to agitate my already very angry skin, so I’ve held off on using too many products. All I’ve been doing on a somewhat regular basis is washing my face with Cetaphil in the morning and anytime I wear a mask during the day.

How did you feel going into the Ever/Body facial? Were you nervous at all?Despite experiencing a healthy amount of anxiety during this pandemic, I was not nervous for the facial at Ever/Body. I went over the spa’s Covid-19 precautions and policies (staggered appointment times, maintaining six-foot distance at all times, high cleanliness standards), and felt I could trust the professionals.

What was your first reaction to Ever/Body?The receptionist at the front desk was very friendly and helped me, a sad soul, when I couldn’t work the iPad to fill out my health forms.

Discuss your treatment. What was it like?When the aesthetician Emily Tomae took me into a treatment room, I immediately launched into a tirade about my mask-ne. How much it stressed me out; how superficial it felt to worry about my skin when there’s a pandemic happening; how I didn’t know what the hell to do except wash my face a million times a day. She was patient and kind to me, and helped formulate a plan to tackle the issue: an anti-bacterial face wash (to double cleanse with the Cetaphil I was already using at home); retinol cream at night on any particularly egregious pimples (so, all of them), and a change of mask. Emily said that, given the redness of my acne, I could be experiencing an allergic reaction to the reusable masks I’ve been wearing, since some of them are sprayed with chemicals that irritate sensitive skin types. Although the treatment that followed—which involved a vacuum for my face, some red and blue LED lights, and various serums—was lovely, the chat was my favorite part of the session. It felt good to get help, an action plan, and to have someone touch my face for a while.

How did your skin feel afterward? Would you return to Ever/Body?From the tip of the nose up, my skin was glowing and hydrated after this facial. My obstinate chin still had some acne, but I’ve since implemented the routine Emily suggested and started using a 100% cotton mask with adjustable ties (which, apparently, is the best kind of mask to use if you’re suffering from skin problems). I’m slowly seeing results. I would return to Ever/Body, because the experience was so calming and informative.

Light therapy, courtesy of (L to R) Maxine Wally and Hannah Westbrook.

Tilden Bissell, Digital Designer

Pre-pandemic, how often did you get facials? I would occasionally get facials, usually for holidays or special occasions. My favorite facial is actually at a place called Cure de Repos in Philadelphia—it’s a deep cleansing treatment with massage and some light therapy—so I was excited to try something more cosmetic dermatology-focused.

During the pandemic, how has your skin fared? What skincare regimens, if any, have you upheld in quarantine?I put a lot of my anxious energy into my skin and the pandemic definitely solidified that trait. I’ve had some mask-ne issues, but the only thing I really can’t keep under control are the hormonal breakouts and inflammation I get every so often, which unfortunately had been popping up the last few weeks.

I would call my skincare routine extensive, though not particularly high-maintenance. I cleanse (sometimes double with an oil-based cleanser at night) and often use an AHA toner like this Environ one. I’ve really been into vitamin C products like Supernal’s Cosmic Oil or Mara’s Sea Vitamin Serum lately, and while 30 is still a few years off, I’ve also gotten on the eye cream train too with this Tightening Gel from Dr. Loretta. I like to do a face mask once a week; right now, I’m obsessing over Supreme Seed from Klur and I’ll gua sha or jade roll if I’m feeling puffy. I’ll top it off with a moisturizer and, of course, lots of sunscreen.

How did you feel going into the Ever/Body facial? Were you nervous at all?I was a little nervous. I fall on the fairly risk-adverse side of the spectrum regarding Covid—I get tested regularly and if my social circle was any smaller it would be a line—but I felt like the security protocols were very thorough and that put me at ease.

What was your first reaction to Ever/Body?The space was pretty and welcoming, with lots of soothing blue and green tones and cases of SkinCeuticals and Supergoop prominently on display. I was greeted at the front desk by someone in scrubs and a mask, reinforcing the whole medical spa vibe, and quickly processed and taken back to the treatment room.

Discuss your treatment. What was it like? First off, my provider Emily was fantastic. She definitely calmed any lingering concerns I had and was really informative about the procedure. I will note that she had to swap one of the serums due to a shellfish allergy, but other than that it was the same microdermabrasion treatment as everyone else. It started with a gentle cleansing and glycolic peel, then she started moving the little device across my skin. It felt like a gentle suction and didn’t bother me much, but by the third or so round of serums I could feel a little redness. Even then, my skin wasn’t as angry as some of the other facials I’ve had where people were more hands-on—I would put it on a Drunk Elephant Babyfacial level of tingling. My favorite part was definitely when the ice globes came out at the end—so refreshing.

How did your skin feel afterward? Would you return to Ever/Body?After the initial redness went away, my skin looked hydrated, smooth, and even. My cheekbones were definitely more prominent; I FaceTimed a friend later that night and she said they were “poppin.’” The next day, my skin looked even better, although a few hormonal breakouts came to a head a few days after the treatment.

I will say if you’re looking for a super relaxing facial experience, this probably isn’t it, since it was very much treatment-focused over deep pampering. While I don’t think I can rationalize regular facials right now, I would go back to Ever/Body in the future for a facial or to try another treatment.

During and after microdermabrasion, courtesy of (L to R) Hannah Westbrook and Tilden Bissell.

Hannah Westbrook, Assistant Visuals Editor

Pre-pandemic, how often did you get facials? As a 25-year-old woman, you’d think I’d be taking better care of my skin. But I have never had a facial before. I’ve never thought I needed one until I turned 25, had a quarter-life crisis, and was like, Hmm…Maybe I should start.

During the pandemic, how has your skin fared? What skincare regimens, if any, have you upheld in quarantine?I am lucky with my skin, but I did notice a lot of breakouts from being inside all spring and wearing masks. I scar easily, so this was really frustrating for me. In the morning, I cleanse and tone and in the evening, I use a serum and night oil. I don’t use fancy products, but I do have to say I love my Prism serum from Herbivore. I generally stick to this routine when I can.

How did you feel going into the Ever/Body facial? Were you nervous at all?Not nervous at all, and very excited to have my first facial. After this summer, I feel like everyone deserves a little pamper session.

What was your first reaction to Ever/Body?The office was clean, very trendy, and had a great ambiance—a relaxing and inviting atmosphere. I think it’s so important to feel comfortable in a place where you’re trying to relax for an hour.

Discuss your treatment. What was it like? These days, I over-analyze cleanliness (don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing,) and the room was up to my standards. The lights were dimmed and there was a nice pop playlist during the facial. The woman doing my facial explained every step of the process to me, as I’m a newbie. There were a few different cleansers and serums she used to exfoliate, hydrate, and brighten. Then she brought out a red and blue LED light to help reduce redness and kill bacteria on the skin. The best part was when she did the cool sculpting at the end, using the cold globes to reduce puffiness. Overall, it was so relaxing. The total process took about 30 minutes, and honestly, I wish it were longer.

How did your skin feel afterward? Would you return to Ever/Body?Please refer to the before and after photos. The afterglow was REAL. My skin was smooth, and felt so much lighter, even today (24 hours later). I would absolutely go again, and highly recommend.

Before and after, courtesy of Hannah Westbrook.