From the iconic whale tail Degrassi episode to Cisco’s classic anthem, thongs have long reigned supreme in fashion and pop culture. So what better way to end the summer than with an all out thong-a-thon? This long weekend, ELLE celebrates the best, the worst and the most memorable thongs—on the red carpet, on the beach, and beyond.
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No wiser words have been spoken than when SZA tweeted, “I just want my booty rubbed and a moderate amount of attention” because, same. (And apparently the 227,000 people who “liked” her viral tweet agree.) So, when I heard that a butt facial was A Thing, I wasn’t as totally weirded out as you may think—in fact, I was enticed.
In the middle of summer, when (if you’re lucky) you’re spending more time in bathing suits than regular clothing and showing more skin all around, pampering your backside makes a lot of sense. The fact that the butt facial is being offered in Las Vegas, where temps can hit well over 110 degrees on a regular day, makes even more sense. There weren’t any particular derrière concerns I was hoping to address, but never one to turn down a unique beauty service—I’ve tried every kind of facial from laser, to Face Gym, to the vampire facial—I decided to give it a go.
A butt facial has the same steps as a typical facial.
I went to Bombshell Beauty Lounge in Vegas for their “Fanny Facial,” which amusingly promises that “your booty will be thong-ready in no time!” I met aesthetician Melissa Black who explained, “It’s the same exact thing you’d be doing on your face, but we’re just going to transfer it down yonder.” She stepped out of the room while I stripped down, putting a robe on backwards and laying face down on a massage table. Then she returned to the room and went through a rather intricate series for the hour-long treatment.
1. Steaming — Like a regular facial, steaming preps and softens the pores for cleansing and receiving any treatments.
2. Double cleansing — The aesthetician, with gloved hands, uses a lactic acid cleanser all over for chemical exfoliation, then follows with a cleansing brush for physical exfoliation.
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3. Ultrasonic scrubbing — This spatula-like tool, which vibrates at super speed, is a gentle way to loosen up and remove any built-up debris in the pores. “It’s moving the skin underneath and pushing stuff out and not causing more trauma to the skin than needs to happen,” Black said.
4. Masking — Black used two masks. One was a thin layer of a salicylic acid-based mask. Another was a tea tree jelly mask that she left on for ten minutes before peeling off.
5. High frequency device — This device looks like a wand with a glass bubble at the end that emits a tiny electrical current to kill bacteria on contact and quell inflammation.
6. Moisturizing — Black finished off by swirling in a creamy lotion with a body buffer, which looks exactly like a waxer machine you’d see used on a floor or car.
Butts need a skincare routine, too.
Black says 60 percent of people have folliculitis—a build up of dead skin cells around the hair follicles that look like little pimple-looking bumps. Think about the last time you were in the shower—did you exfoliate or otherwise pay much attention to your backside? “It’s just an area that doesn’t get much love,” Black lamented.
Butt facials are popular among performers.
As gimmicky as it may sound, a butt facial serves a smart purpose in Sin City, especially. “In Vegas, a lot of pool girls come in. People sit in their wet bathing suits and get acne on the butt. The majority [of clients] are dancers,” Black said. (Those leotards show everything.) And even if your job doesn’t necessitate caring about your booty, wearing less clothes in the famously promiscuous city also draws in regular folk, too, Black says.
“We love it, we worship it, we want the Kim Kardashian [butt],” she said, “I have so many clients who’ve gotten a Brazilian butt lift, it’s a big thing here in Vegas. They’ve spent all this money and are still neglecting their bum from a skin point of view. I’m here to help.”
A butt facial does feel really nice.
Yes, the whole process is somewhat awkward—but not anymore than a regular massage or a spray tan, quite honestly. Once I really leaned into it and got over the fact someone was getting intimate with my backside (there was a lot of giggling involved on my part), I was able to relax. The steaming and hot towels felt soothing. The cool, peel-off rubber mask felt calming. And in general, it just felt as pampering as a pedicure or any other beauty service.
But my butt did look—and feel—the best it ever has.
Immediately after the service, my backside felt extremely smooth and even lifted. I didn’t have any bumps or other skin conditions there I was concerned about, but I did feel like the skin looked moisturized and glowy afterward. Ready for an audience, if you will. It was a little boost of confidence that made the sometimes-torturous experience of putting on a bathing suit a little easier.
A butt facial costs $70.
That is about the same price as a regular facial. While it was a really pleasant one-time experience, my bum isn’t high-maintenance enough to warrant making skincare services down there a regular thing. I would, however, highly recommend it for models doing a shoot, dancers performing on stage, or even for anyone going on a vacation where you’ll be showing a lot of skin.