It's Official: Facial Memberships Are the New Gym Memberships

A monthly commitment for healthier skin.

glowbar NYC

These days, you can get just about anything via a subscription, from tampons and workout classes to beauty products and birth control. Many skincare companies have also operated on subscription-based models for decades—I know I'm not the only one who begged my mom to order Proactiv after watching those infomercials in the nineties—so why should facials be any different? This is the idea behind a bevy of new spas that are hoping to destigmatize the professional facial via monthly membership packages.

Many operate similarly to other subscription service models, like ClassPass: A membership fee (usually at a discounted rate from what a single session would cost) will get you X amount of customized professional facials per month. Fortunately for consumers, the overall goal is accessibility. Whereas a typical spa facial could easily ring you up a hundred dollars or more, enrolling in a facial membership program means you'll be getting facials at a fraction of the cost.

“Most professional facials are pricey, time-consuming, and, frankly, intimidating,” says Jennifer Worley, CCO and Co-Founder of Face Haus, a Southern-California based chain that provides “spa-grade facials without the fuss” and currently has eight locations nationwide. “Our goal is to break down walls—both physically and metaphorically—to provide skincare to everyone that is as approachable and accessible as it is affordable.”

Courtesy of HeyDay

To do so, Worley enlisted celebrity-favorite dermatologist Harold Lancer to help put together the facial menu and hired a team of highly-trained aestheticians (who are cutely referred to as "esthies"). Face Haus currently offers a dozen or so different “facials for the people,” as they call them, ranging from glow-boosting oxygen facials to targeted anti-acne facials with extractions (and, it’s worth noting, a variety of add-ons like lip waxing or neck treatments). While a single Haus Special facial right off the menu will cost you $65, Face Haus also offers a monthly subscription rate of $59 per month (which includes one facial and supposedly some other insider perks). 

For those interested in facial subscriptions, Face Haus, of course, isn’t the only option. In fact, it is far from it—boutique and chain facial subscription spas seem to be popping up left and right all across the country. There’s Heyday, a chain that prides itself on offering a more tailored approach to facials with a detailed skin analysis at the start of each appointment; it offers a 50-minute facial subscription for $89 a month (the brand is rapidly expanding and just opened its ninth location via a new outpost in Philly). Then there’s Face Gym, a U.K. transplant that migrated stateside last year with the opening its first U.S. location in New York City. Although technically still a facial, Face Gym focuses more on what they dub facial workouts, which can include deep stretching, tension release and lymphatic massage (and range in cost from $70 to $340). Skin Laundry, which hails from Los Angeles but now has locations in NYC, Florida, Arizona, the U.K. and Hong Kong, offers laser and light facials; two per month for $130, if you join the Laundry Club. Glowbar NYC, located in Tribeca, keeps the menu simple with one fixed price, which includes a 30-minute targeted facial treatment for $55 per month. At Glowbar, you can also book your treatments with the same aesthetician month over month, allowing you to develop an ongoing relationship with a professional who truly knows your skin.

As fun and affordable as these options may be, this all begs the question: Is it really necessary, or even good for your skin, to get a facial every single month? It might seem excessive, but if you ask just about any esthetician, beauty editor or skincare expert, the answer is a resounding yes. 

“In order to see the best results, clients need to see a professional once a month,” says Rachel Liverman, co-founder of Glowbar. “Just like any other area where you want to see results—like working out—you have to go regularly.”

In order to see the best results, clients need to see a professional once a month.

In addition to consistency, which we can all agree is pretty important in all aspects of life, the benefits of a monthly facial membership also have to do with the skin cycle. “Skin cell production and replacement slows as we age," Worley says. "It takes approximately 28 days for the average adult turnover—longer as you get older—and the results are cumulative. This is what motivated us to create a service that people can afford to do monthly, because that is when the real, long-term changes happen.”

Courtesy of HeyDay

The next frontier, if you ask us, is subscription-based models for other cosmetic treatments. Ever/Body, which just opened in NYC a few weeks ago, is already starting this trend. In addition to high-tech facials, Ever/Body also offers a monthly subscription for injectables (like Botox and fillers), body contouring treatments (like Emsculpt), laser hair removal and even PRP.

"Minimally invasive cosmetic dermatology treatments are increasingly becoming part of everyone’s 360 degree self-care routine; our clients eat organic, they meditate, and they go to boutique fitness classes," explains Ever/Body's CEO Kate Twist. "These services are just another way that our clients look and feel better about themselves. And our clients are expecting more from their service experiences; they want it faster, more intuitive, and personalized."

"Clients are expecting more from their service experiences; they want it faster, more intuitive, and personalized."

Another bit of exciting news on the self-care front: Both Face Haus and Glowbar estimate that one-third of their clients are currently male. "The diverse community of Face Haus on any given day is proof that the demand for such inclusive and accessible skincare is here to stay," Worley says. By "taking a service traditionally reserved for those with disposable time and money and transforming it into something accessible and affordable," she hopes to give everyone—regardless of age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or gender—"access to great, healthy skincare." And really, what's the downside of that?

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