It took me about a month to compile my 30 Before 30 list. I simply couldn't decide what would make this year particularly stellar AND was actually doable. However, "get a facial" was the first thing I added because it had been on my to-do list for quite some time. When my sister surprised me with one on my birthday, it seemed meant to be.
I had a 60 minute facial at the Aveda Institute here in Washington, DC. Full disclosure: my sister works for Aveda. And I love their products. However, I will still give you my honest opinion of the experience, starting with this: If you go, keep in mind that this is a school and the person doing your facial is a student. This is what makes it very cost-effective. If you go in expecting the same type of experience that you would get at a high-end spa, you will be disappointed. So go in with an open mind, relax and be grateful for all of the money you are saving!
You enter through the retail space, which is both good and bad: it provides a less spa-like experience but is a good opportunity to eye all the products and make a wishlist for later! I was taken upstairs to the waiting room for the treatment area. You could smell the Aveda products in the air! I filled out a form about my skin, allergies, spa experience history and what I wanted to get out of my treatment.
My esthetician brought me back to a curtained-off area where she would be doing my facial. She had me change and then came in with three different essential oils that she had picked based on the form I filled out: vanilla, peppermint and tangerine. She hit the nail on the head since I am allergic to a ton of flowers. I loved them all, but I went with peppermint. She spent the next hour massaging my upper body and feet, and giving me several face mask treatments, steam, extractions, etc. She ended by giving me a short back massage. Everything had a hint of the yummy peppermint-y smell. At each stage, she explained exactly what she was doing and described each product that she was putting on my face. She was so fantastic that there is no way I would have known that she was a student. I was totally relaxed and my skin felt amazing. The only downside is that because there are not actual rooms and only curtains, I could hear conversations going on in the other rooms and in the hallway. At the end, she brought me water, her teacher checked in on my experience and she took me down to the retail space to show me what she used on my face, while repeatedly telling me that purchasing the products was optional. I appreciated that a lot, even if I did buy a whole bunch of them!
If you go: the Washington, DC Aveda Institute is located at 713 7th St, NW in Chinatown. Their number is (202) 824-1624. A 60 minute facial is $50.