The Spa Facial That Will Get Your Skin Big-Day Beautiful

Updated 02/26/14

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Depending on the skin issues you want to tackle before your wedding, you usually have to pick a lane when it comes to facials. Either you go the squeezy, ouchy, de-clogging route, or you go the glowy, moisturizer-y, plumping route.

Got acne or blackheads? You're in the squeezy camp. Dry as the desert with pesky surface lines and wrinkles that bum you out? Glowy's your ticket.

But what if you could get both? A deep pore cleansing/extraction and a little skin-softening? And what if, in the same session, you could get also get a light microdermabrasion that gently sands away sun damage? (C'mon, we know all about those margarita-fueled spring breaks in Cabo...)

Enter HydraFacial MD, a crazy-quick, combo-pack treatment that does all of that and then some—without leaving you with "facial face." (Read: blotchy, raw and unsuitable for public viewing.) I had one recently, and went straight to a business lunch afterward, sans makeup. No concealer, no bronzing powder, nada. Just me and my HydraFacial-ed mug.

What it's like: There are four main steps in every HydraFacial MD, some of which are scary-sounding but totally aren't scary all: 1) Cleansing and Exfoliation, 2) Acid Peel, 3) Vortex-Extraction and 4) Vortex Fusion. There are also a few "add-ons" (for acne and anti-aging) that you can tack on to your session as needed.

So what's with the "Vortex" jazz? It's actually a device that first siphons off the gunk and oil lodged in your pores (Extraction), then pounds in skin-plumping hyaluronic acid (Fusion). And if you're used to squirming and gripping the table during a typical facial extraction, you'll be pleasantly surprised. In fact, HydaFacial is pretty much pain-free, although during the Acid Peel portion of the program, you may experience minor "stingling." (That's facial-speak for the middle ground between tingling and stinging.)

The fine print: HydraFacial MD is available nationwide. (Visit the website's locator to find a spa or derm near you.) While the average cost is $169, the cost varies by provider, and can climb to $300 if you get add-ons. For optimal results, the company recommends two treatments spaced two weeks apart, followed by monthly maintenance.

Our verdict: This is an affordable way to get your skin in primo shape for your wedding—with virtually no discomfort or post-treatment downtime. Granted, my skin is pretty well-behaved. And I clean it thoroughly every night before bed, so there isn't a whole lot of clogging. But I definitely have fine lines and sun damage. Post-HydraFacial, my skin looked amazing for days. Like gaze-in-the-magnifying-mirror amazing. I'm counting the days until my next treatment.

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