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Smackdown Mini-Update: Why You Should Leave Extractions to the Professionals

By Amalah

A few weeks ago, for Mother’s Day, I went and got a spa facial and the world’s most thorough and painful eyebrow wax (riiiiip, pluck pluck pluck, riiiiiiiip, pluck pluck pluck). Afterwards, while attempting to regain presentability in the bathroom, I remembered our talk about blackhead extractions.
My bright-red face and furious skin was clear evidence to support two of my working theories about spa facials and extractions: 1) don’t regularly put your skin through this at home, but leave the pore-gouging to a professional eye and hand; and 2) don’t ever, ever get a facial on the same day as any event like your wedding, prom or scheduled c-section, for YOU will LOOK like ASS.
(My camera phone was completely unable to capture the true angry shades of red I was sporting, but I think we can all agree: this is not a good look, and there is no recovering from this in time for a 5 pm cocktail reception.)
I was advised not to wear any foundation for about 12 to 24 hours, and by that time my skin had indeed returned to a more normal shade of flesh. My pores WERE clear and my eyebrows fantastic, and all-in-all the extraction process kept me blackhead-free for a little over two weeks, which is when I noticed a little clogging again in my super-mega-problem areas (my chin and the corners of my nose). Of course, I was also on a skincare kick during those weeks, having vowed to the spa technician to turn over a new leaf and remember to use the Microdelivery Peel more regularly, and I was indeed using the deep peel/exfoliator two to three times a week.
Then I got lazy. Like I ALWAYS do when it comes to masks and peels and regular deep treatments that require more than 30 seconds of effort. Eh. It’s nothing the Dr. Brandt Pores No More primer/concealer/miracle mattifier can’t hide, and besides, I like to think that everyone is staring at my still-perfectly-shaped eyebrows instead. Right?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Melissa

    May 27, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    How long does the 1oz. of Pores No More usually last you?

  • Emily

    May 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    I highly, highly recommend sugaring as an alternative to waxing. I look like a CLOWN when I get waxed, and with sugaring I have minimal redness (and my technician has recommended taking an anti-histimine before being sugared to prevent the redness even further, which I have not yet remembered to do). I also think it hurts less – I mean, you’re still having your hairs ripped out, but it doesn’t feel like it’s stripping a fine layer of skin like waxing does.
    Also, I (rather skeptically) tried the Aveeno self-tanning moisturizer and you are right! No self-tanner smell! I use my Lime Blossom body butter from Sephora after applying, just to be safe, but I really can’t detect any of that despicable odor AT ALL. Now maybe people won’t have to squint when I have bare legs this summer (due to the blinding glare and all).

  • Colleen

    May 27, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    even when using a cold wax, my eyebrows are seething angry red for HOURS! So I try to do any and all waxing (home and pro) late at night so that I have until morning to look less crazy (not always the case…then I pull out my trusty hydrocortisone, which helps with the inflammation).
    thankfully the aestheticians at the spa I go to do very very minimal extractions…I mean I even told them extract away and they still say that they’d prefer to only do the major stuff to not aggravate the skin and make it angry and spiteful. Plus, like you, if I’m good and stick to my extracurricular facial care, the blackheads stay away for the most part…but uh, I get lazy too. 🙂

  • umi

    May 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    I took my friend with me yesterday, to get threaded for the first time. Although I have never waxed my brows or experienced the redness with waxing on my face, any redness with threading goes away in the first 5 minutes. My friend Gen is a veteran waxer, and she was thrilled with threading and she didn’t turn red either (apparently with waxing she does). You can go about your day right afterwards. Maybe take this with a grain of salt, but I’m told that threading is beneficial over plucking or waxing because there is minimal tugging and pulling. My co-worker (50 yrs old) claims it kept her looking youthful.
    Otherwise, with the bikini area, I use sugaring. Since I’ve never used traditional wax, I can’t really give you a comparison, but I am very happy with it. I never had a time where I was burned or red for any extended period of time.
    I also really like my beautician, though.

  • fanny

    May 28, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Have you been to Erwin Gomez in upper Georgetown? Will not regret it (I mean, aside from the price). He’s the fastest eyebrow person I’ve ever been to, and the most talented.