You know how the internet goes: it only takes one post from a major celebrity on Instagram for a little-known skin treatment to become the next big thing in the beauty community. So when I learned that Kim Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, and Emma Roberts were all fans of the "Forma facial," a noninvasive procedure that promises brighter, tighter skin with just one 30-minute trip to your local med spa, you bet I pounced.
Though the treatment has become a go-to for A-listers looking for a "sculpted" look pre-red carpet, my interest in Forma — as someone working my way through to the other side of a dull texture — lay solely in the benefits it may provide for healthier-looking skin. In case you're interested in trying it out yourself, here's everything you need to know about the procedure, including how my experience went.
First, What Is the Forma Facial?
The procedure is often touted as a "nonsurgical face lift," and there are a few reasons why. The Forma facial uses heat and radio frequency to create microinjuries in the skin, forcing the skin to rebuild itself. To break it down even further, the radio frequency "attacks" the deeper muscle layers beneath the skin, while the heat acts as an iron to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. When the injuries in the skin are left to repair itself, this boosts your natural collagen production, which then increases the elasticity and plumpness. The protein also has the potential to aid in hydration.
How Is Forma Different From Other Skin Treatments?
I'm not exactly running toward procedures from which I can expect peeling, bruising, or pain in general, so you may be happy to learn that Forma is a virtually painless process with essentially no downtime. It's pretty much an in-and-out situation — even dubbed the "lunchtime facial," as the treatment is quick enough to complete on your lunch break. As a novice to any type of facials (yes, we subset of beauty writers exist), I found the noninvasive nature of the treatment comforting, so much so that I could have easily fallen into a quick nap were I not, you know, trying to absorb all the nitty-gritty info from my nurse.
The treatment is also unique in that it's a viable option for most people. While many other facials are recommended based on your skin type, Forma is largely safe for and compatible with everyone. Plus, Forma is often used as an alternative to Botox or facial fillers, as the process is meant to leave you with lift and tighten the muscles around your forehead and cheekbones. In a minimal sense, many patients leave with a postfiller appearance, minus the injections, swelling, and healing process (although the effects won't last as long as the real deal, but more on that later). It is important to note that, while the procedure uses only a low dose of radio frequency comparable to that of a cell phone, it is not generally recommended for women who may be pregnant or breastfeeding, and a doctor's note may be required for patients with an autoimmune deficiency.
What to Expect During the Forma Facial
The price for the Forma procedure varies depending on location, but where I went it costs $600. Le Jolie Spa invited me to its West Hollywood location to try out the facial, which just so happens to be its most requested treatment. You spend the entirety of the process reclined or laid back on a spa bed, with your hair pulled out of your face with a cloth headband.
As I mentioned, you can expect little to no discomfort during the facial. While you'll feel a heat sensation from the warm radio frequency technology against your skin, it feels more like a hot stone massage than anything else. Plus, should you need to, you can request for the nurse to decrease the heat. The technique calls for lighter heat settings on the forehead and neck, and higher settings on the jaw and cheekbone areas (about 109 degrees), so as it was, I didn't find any need for further temperature adjustments. The nurse uses an ultrasound gel to conduct the energy, starting with your forehead area and working downward. After just 20 or 30 minutes, you're good to go.
What to Know About the Aftercare
Following the Forma facial, you can go about the remainder of your day aside from any plans you may have to visit the sauna. Because the treatment is already centered on heat stimulation, you'll want to avoid further exposure to excess heat. Still, you're OK to continue with your regular skin-care routine; because there's no breaking of the skin barrier during the process, there's generally no need to avoid your favorite products.
While I did experience some tightness and redness immediately following the treatment (the nurse advised me of this beforehand), neither were uncomfortable, and both subsided within the day. Most patients stack their treatments back-to-back three to six times for longer-lasting results (the more times you undergo the treatment, the more new collagen your skin produces). I've only had one session, and results are expected to last a few weeks.
Finally, Is the Forma Facial Worth It?
While my nurse mentioned I would notice results the morning after my procedure — with potential continued progression up to six weeks after for those stacking the treatment — I noticed my skin looked plumper immediately, with a noticeable glow the next day. As someone working to get rid of uneven texture around my jaw, I was glad to see the treatment had a smoothing effect on my skin, and this still stands a week later.
All in all, if new collagen-boosting products get you hyped, or if you simply like the idea of bouncy, healthier-looking skin, Forma is absolutely worth the go-round. I'd recommend stacking the treatment at least three times if you can stomach the steep cost. After all, who doesn't want to feel red carpet-ready from time to time?