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A Guide to At-Home Facials


Face it, we still don’t know when we’ll be able to safely enjoy the beauty luxuries of pre-pandemic times.  I’ll assume I’m not alone when I say that the last few months have put my amateur cosmetology skills to the test.  However, unlike tasteful highlights or a basic manicure, facials are an at-home treatment that not even I can mess up.  Whether you’re dealing maskne, looking for a new quarantine activity, or trying to use up your stockpile of unused beauty samples, showing your complexion a little TLC can be easy on any budget.

Step 1: Cleanse & remove makeup
First things first, wash away the day’s makeup, dirt, and dead skin.  Even when you’re not indulging in a “treat yourself” moment, you should never skip this step.  Sleeping in your makeup can lead to clogged pores, brittle lashes, and eye infections, and you’ve already been through enough this year.  If you’re fresh out of makeup remover, coconut oil is an effective natural alternative.  No matter how much makeup you’re washing off, always gently scrub your skin, especially the delicate areas around your eyes. 

Step 2: Steam

Steam softens your skins and opens up your pores, which makes it easier to remove dirt and oil buildup and it readies your skin to absorb the serums and moisturizers that you use.  Nowadays there are plenty of facial steamers on the market for your DIY spa day, but a warm (not hot) towel works too.  You can also fill your sink with hot water, drape a towel over your head, and lean over the steam for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Exfoliate

Cleansers with salicylic or glycolic acids are good for deep cleaning dead skin and clogged pores, but grainy scrubs and electronic brushes are much more satisfying.  If you don’t have a favorite exfoliating product, a clean washcloth will do the trick.  No matter which method you use, remember not to overdo the scrubbing.  Be gentle and let the product or tool do the work.

Step 4: Clay mask

Clay masks draw out oil and detox your skin.  Apply a thin layer, then rinse off with warm water once your skin starts feeling tight.  Since these masks bring embedded dirt to the surface, they may cause break outs when you first start using them, so don’t slather one on before an important event.

Step 5: Toner & serums

This is the moment for the heroes of your skin routine to shine.  Toners can serve many purposes, including refreshing & protecting your complexion, as well as balancing its pH.  As far as serums go, you can basically find one for any of your skins concerns, i.e. redness, anti-aging, hydration, etc.  Head over to our post on serums if you’re looking for a little more info.

Step 6: Moisturizing mask

Pop on a sheet mask or slather on a generous helping of your favorite cream mask, and sit & relax for 15-20 minutes.  A glass of wine is an optional add-on to this step.

Step 7: Facial roller/massage

Facial massages help to decrease puffiness, enhance circulation, and drain lymphatic toxins, and rollers are the lazy girl way to do it!  You can roll on top of your sheet mask or after you finished the previous step.  Either way, it will help your skin absorb all of the nourishing ingredients that you’ve been using.  You can pop your roller in the fridge for a few minutes to help de-puff and soothe.  Always apply some serum or moisturizing element before using or it might pull and irritate your skin.

Step 8: Moisturizer

This may seem redundant since you just used a hydrating mask, but moisturizing afterwards helps lock in the mask’s beneficial active ingredients.  Even if your complexion is on the oily side, a good, reliable moisturizer should always be part of your skincare arsenal.

Step 9: Eye cream

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and most delicate area on your face, so gently dab some eye cream from your browbone to your tear duct.  Sit back and admire your glowing skin!

At-home facial no-nos

Extractions:  If you’ve ever had a professional facial, then you know about the “extraction period” where your facialist purges your prepped pores of blackheads and buildup.  While it’s tempting to squeeze out any and all of the clogged pores that you see in your magnifying mirror, you’re going to do more harm than good.  Our skin isn’t indestructible, and all that amateur popping just puts more stress on your complexion.  Plus, it allows for the oils on your fingers to create more irritation among the freshly squeezed pores.  I’m not talking about annoying zits or whiteheads.  I won’t even try to talk you out of the temptation of popping a pesky pimple, because I know my attempts would be futile.  But when it comes to blackheads, best leave it to the professionals.

Peels: When it comes to skincare trends, chemical peels have recently made a comeback in recent years.  When done by a professional, the extensive list of benefits includes diminishing fine lines, stimulating collagen, and improving discoloration.  These peels cast off old, damaged skin cells, and reveal the plump and healthy skin underneath.  However, when you try to replicate the effects of a chemical peel without the expertise of an aesthetician or dermatologist, you run the risk of burns, scars, and permanent damage.

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