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 • Opinion  • Our Beauty Diaries  • I Tried a HydraFacial and My Before and After Pics Show Why I’ll be Going Again

I Tried a HydraFacial and My Before and After Pics Show Why I’ll be Going Again

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Main image – Courtesy of writer

As a beauty editor and aesthetician, when it comes to facials, I don’t expect luxury and relaxation, I expect results. I like to leave a treatment room knowing that my pores have been deeply cleansed, blackheads extracted, and moisture levels replenished. If the process is enjoyable and relaxing then that’s just an added bonus, because fresh, glowing skin is always top of my agenda.

While I’ve tried many facials over the years, there’s one option that remains a firm favourite for me, and I will always jump at the chance to have one—the HydraFacial.

HydraFacials have been a popular treatment for years, and with good reason. They target a wide range of skin concerns and can be customised to each individual’s needs. Covering everything from extractions to exfoliation, it’s what I like to refer to as ‘an MOT for your skin’—basically a one stop shop to smooth, clear, glowing skin in about an hour.


What is a HydraFacial?

A HydraFacial is a multi-step treatment performed by a specialised machine that uses a patented hydra-dermabrasion vortex technology—a combination of hydration and microdermabrasion.

Each treatment is performed by a wand, which first deeply cleanses and exfoliates the skin, extracting impurities and filling up a vessel with all the extracted dirt and impurities. A major perk of a HydraFacial is that yes, you do get to see the gunk from your pores at the end of the treatment.


The gunk removed during a HydraFacial

The gunk removed during the treatment. Image – Grace Day


The second part of the treatment utilises the same wand to deliver potent serum boosters which help to rehydrate skin and deliver active ingredients.

This is where things really do get customised, because there are a number of different boosters to choose from based on your specific skin concerns. Your facialist will advise on the best booster for your skin—options range from brightening and hydrating to firming and calming.

The best part? The treatment is non-invasive, painless, and because it can be adapted to each individual’s skin concerns and goals, it’s suitable for pretty much any skin type.


HydraFacial benefits

A HydraFacial is basically like hitting a ‘reset’ button on your face.

What’s really impressive about the treatment is that it not only removes all the buildup and impurities that can be hard to target with your everyday skincare routine, but that it replenishes skin, too. It’s this unique hydration-focused aspect of the treatment that really helps to leave skin looking bright and radiant for days post-facial.

For this reason a HydraFacial is a popular treatment for before events and weddings.

  • Instant, visible, and lasting results
  • Works on all skin types
  • Non-invasive
  • No downtime
  • Clearer skin
  • Boosted hydration
  • That famous ‘post-HydraFacial glow’


The treatment

I was booked in for a HydraFacial Platinum at The Medika Clinic in Manchester (£175 for 75 minutes), which sees the facial split into six steps for ultimate skin rejuvenation. HydraFacials are available from many independent clinics across the UK, Europe and the US, however.  Just make sure to choose a salon that is happy to discuss the treatment with you thoroughly before hand.

Before my own HydraFacial began my facialist discussed my skin concerns and goals with me, talked me through the steps of the treatment, and then removed my makeup and cleansed my skin to prep it.

Step 1: Detox

The first part of the HydraFacial begins with lymphatic drainage, performed via a suction wand which moves lymph fluid to the lymph nodes. Doing so helps to remove toxins and stimulate circulation.

This was actually quite a gentle and relaxing part of the facial, and a good way to get used to the device—if you’re used to having ‘hands-on’ facials, it really is quite different.

Step 2: Cleanse & Exfoliation

Using hydra-dermabrasion technology, the wand gently exfoliates away dead skin cells and clears pores.

This step kind of feels like your skin is going through a car wash (in a good way). The exfoliation element doesn’t feel at all abrasive, and afterwards my skin already felt significantly cleaner.


Grace's skin is cleaned during the HydraFacial

Grace’s skin is cleaned during the HydraFacial. Image – Courtesy of writer

Step 3: Acid Peel

With skin now prepped for a deeper, chemical exfoliation, an acid peel is then applied. Don’t worry, this peel doesn’t require any downtime, and there are different strengths available depending on your skin type and concerns.

I was treated with combination of glycolic and salicylic acids to help slough away dull, dead skin cells and to help unclog congested pores.

This step is also delivered via the wand and hydra-dermabrasion technology so it felt really refreshing and gentle, and not at all like chemical peels I’ve had in the past.

Step 4: Extractions

One of my favourite things about a HydraFacial is that the extractions are so much more gentle than manual ones—but they’re still just as effective. Using vacuum technology, the wand sucks away blackheads and other stubborn and deep-rooted impurities.

My facialist focused on my areas of concern (nose and chin), and even in these sensitive areas I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort.

Step 5: Hydrate & Protect

With skin now thoroughly cleansed, the remainder of the facial is about replenishing and hydrating skin. A personalised booster is chosen and the hydra-technology pushes the active ingredients deep into skin.

I wanted to really focus on glow so my facialist chose a booster which utilises ingredients like retinol and ferulic acid to help brighten skin.

Step 6: Rejuvenation

If you are into relaxing facials then you’ll be pleased to know that the final part of my treatment was definitely the most relaxing—LED light therapy.

I’m a huge fan of LED light in skincare and use my own home mask on a daily basis so I know just how effective this step is. A combination of red and blue light were used to help stimulate collagen, calm redness, and kill acne-causing bacteria.


Grace enjoys LED light therapy during her treatment. Image – Courtesy of writer

The treatment finished with the application of moisturiser and SPF so I was ready to go about my day, no downtime whatsoever!

I also got to check out the ‘gunk’, essentially all the excess sebum, product residue (hello, fake tan!), and blackheads that the extraction step had removed. This was so satisfying to see, and really makes you realise how essential a regular facial can be, because even the best home skincare routines can’t do everything!


My results


Journalist Grace Day before her HydraFacial

Journalist Grace Day before her HydraFacial. Image – Courtesy of writer



Journalist Grace Day after her HydraFacial. Image – Courtesy of writer


My skin looked instantly better—not only brighter and dewier, but noticeably more lifted and toned, and my pores appeared much less obvious.

As you can see from my ‘after’ photo, my face appears less puffier and the lines around my mouth are less noticeable, which was an unexpected but welcome benefit of the treatment.

The glow lasted for several days following the treatment, and thanks to the thorough extractions, I didn’t experience my usual pre-period hormonal breakouts that month—another welcome bonus.



As with any facial treatment, it’s recommended to drink plenty of water following a HydraFacial in order to help continue the body’s process of toxin removal. I kept my skincare routine super simple that evening—just a gentle cleanse and hydration—and I avoided applying my retinoid or exfoliating for a couple of days in case of increased sensitivity from the peel.


The takeaway

My skin was dry and dull and my pores really stood out when I arrived at the clinic. I was hoping I’d walk out with brighter, clearer skin, so when I saw the before and after pictures I was thrilled with the results. There really is nothing quite like that post-HydraFacial glow.

If you’re after a facial that really does deliver on its promise and that gives you a sense of instant gratification, you can’t go wrong with a HydraFacial.

Although it’s recommended to book a series of treatments for best results, I think the HydraFacial is a great option for those who don’t necessarily have the time or want to commit to regular facials. Seeing it as a ‘skincare MOT’ and booking one for an annual or seasonal treatment is a great way to give your skin a much needed reset and boost.


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Freelance Beauty Writer

Grace Day is the former Beauty Editor of Beauty Bay and a regular contributor to publications like Hypebae and POPSUGAR UK.  A qualified aesthetician, Grace is regularly featured in the likes of The Evening Standard, In Style and Brydie for her expert skincare consultations and facials at Dolls Part salon in Manchester.

Expertise: Skincare, makeup
Education: University of Manchester

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