Life advice: beauty is pain and not worth it, unless it’s free of charge

Okay ladies and gents, I have some life advice for you: never let an esthetician do a product demonstration on you if you have no idea what it is.

So I finally got a job and had my first day of work after a month and a half of miserable, boring and overall depressing unemployment. Turns out, it’s actually a decent job where I get a set, consistent schedule so I feel pretty spoiled after coming out of food service where it’s “Okay I work at 4.. so if I’m second cut I SHOULD be out by 10? 11 maybe at the latest? Oh. I have to close. 1am it is.” If you’ve ever worked in food service, you know the struggle. I feel completely spoiled with my set 8:30am to 4 o’clock Tuesday through Saturday schedule. Nights off? What? I don’t have to sell my soul and tinge my dignity for tips so I can make money? I GET A BREAK SO I CAN ACTUALLY SIT DOWN AND EAT??? WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT?? This is what adults must feel like. It feels pretty nice. I’ll take it.

I work for a nice medium sized franchise of spas that specialize in massage and facial treatments. All I have to do is sell products to customers, deal with rich people, and occasionally be a guinea pig for product demonstrations (was not aware of this until today, life advice coming up). However, I never thought I would be this traumatized on my first day of work until my face got burned off with a 15% salicylic acid chemical peel*. Okay not really “burned off” like when I got second degree burns on my face at Firefly last summer** but it looks like I have a pretty gnarly sunburn.

So this really nice lady from one of the skin care product companies was showing us everything they have, what they do, how to use them, etc. etc. By the way, estheticians are the weirdest breed of spa people I’ve ever met. They admitted to watching pimple popping videos. That job must be for the really OCD people in this world. I mean yeah popping MY zits is satisfying but extracting other people’s black heads with a small melon-baller like tool? No thanks. I popped a previous boyfriend’s black head ONCE in high school and I swore to myself that I would never again touch someone’s acne. That promise I actually kept. Go me.

Anyway, she asked us small group of what are called “Spa Associates” (aka, desk people) if we wanted to be used for product demonstration. I thought, sure, a $100 face treatment with top of the line/can’t buy at Sephora because they’re so expensive for FREE? Well, duh, sure.

Famous last words.

After stripping down to kind of half naked while my coworkers watched, the lady gave me a nice face massage with some kind of cleansing product. Then she applied a patch test of this thing called a “face peel.” To be honest, I thought a face peel was like those face masks that you apply, let dry and then they come off in one piece. I was so terribly wrong.

The patch test next to my nose started tingling a bit.. then stinging..  then DAMN that hurts. Wait, she’s going to put this ALL OVER MY FACE? WHAT HAVE I DONE?

Yeah, that stinging serum was applied to the entirety of my face, starting with a light cool tingle and then blasting into a full out “OH MY GOD ACID IS EATING MY FACE” like feel for the longest 3 minutes of my life. After washing it off, my face cooled down and I was so relieved. That was over it.


The point of a chemical face peel is to make your body shed the outer layer of skin to reveal fresh new skin underneath. It’s exactly what it sounds like. I looked in the mirror after I got home and found my skin completely red but apparently that’s what supposed to happen before I start peeling like I’m some kind of snake. So I have that to look forward to in the next coming days. That, and I’m not allowed to sweat because the sweat will get caught under my skin and cause bubbles, I can’t use my face wash or go out in the sun. Also I can’t really move my face much. So that’s fun.

15% alcohol Shiraz/Cab from Australia to pair with my $90 15% salicylic acid face treatment seems like a solid idea for tonight after being traumatized at my first day of work.

People actually pay to get their faces chemically burned. I got mine for free. I have accepted the fact that God does not like me and in all likelihood, probably hates me. Tyler Durden’s kiss all over my face.

Solid first day back at work. Can’t wait for Wednesday.

But for real. Don’t get a face peel unless it really is free. Now I know what it’s like to be a Kardashian.

It’ll only get worse from here. Follow-up photos to come.

*not that I really know anything about face product ingredients, but salicylic acid is a common ingredient in most face washes for acne-prone skin. But these face washes are only 1-2% salicylic acid and have other ingredients in the wash to buffer its full effects. Unlike a 15% chemical peel.

**for real. My nose skin came off in one solid sheet of scab. My friends kindly pointed out that I looked like I took a blow torch to the face. Thanks for the support, “friends.”


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