Going to a spa to get a facial can be very relaxing and rewarding, for some. But for a lot of people (like me), it’s not ideal. Spas can seem a bit stuffy, sometimes judgey, and there’s always the pressure to spend more-treatment add ons, retail, etc. All of this can add up to a less than ideal experience. As an esthetician, I’ve been on both sides; I’ve been both the client and the practitioner. So I wanted to use that knowledge and those experiences to design the best at-home facial to give yourself.
When I hear “DIY facial”, or “at-home facial”, I kinda roll my eyes. I get flashbacks of being 9 years old having “spa birthday parties” complete with cucumber slices over the eyes and sloppy nail polish jobs. I think about all of the DIY facials I see on Pinterest, and I can see why the esthetics community as a whole groans when they hear the term. But in true dark horse form, I never agreed with them. I think there’s something to be said for doing it yourself, as long as you’re mindful about the process and the products.
SO! Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Start with a double-cleanse. Use your favorite oil (avocado, coconut, hemp, vitamin E, etc.) and massage it in with some warm water. Go over it with your favorite, skin-specific cleanser. Take your time with this, and work gently. Try some facial massage on yourself. Remove with a warm, wet towel. Again, be gentle!
This is pretty straightforward. Spritz your face with a good and gentle toner, or some simple rosewater, if you’re wanting something more luxurious.
You Actually DO Want Scrubs
Exfoliate! Use your favorite gentle scrub, or, my personal favorite, make a liquid exfoliant sheet mask. You can do this really easily by applying your liquid exfoliant, per usual. Then, lay some gauze or very, very thin cotton squares over your face. Take a clean paintbrush and use it to press more liquid exfoliant into the cotton, until you can feel the dampness on your face. Also, slap a scrub on your lips. But don’t wash anything off yet! Because…
Things Are Getting Steamy
Steam treatments seem to be everyone’s favorite aspect of a spa facial. There’s no reason you have to skip this step just because you’re at home! You should steam while your exfoliator of choice is still on your face. This will help soften things and make it easier to remove in a gentle way. There’s a few things to consider before you start steaming. First, your skin type. Steam is best for oily skin, and not great for drier skin. That leads to the second consideration: duration. No one should steam for more than 5 minutes, but dry skin types need to limit it to three minutes. Third, you’ll want to buy some distilled water to steam with. It’s safer and better for your skin. The final consideration is my favorite: what are you steaming with? You can use plain water, of course, OR you can up the “spa” factor and try a blend. You can find my favorite recipes here. Lush also sells these steamer tablets that I really like. When the water cools, you can then use the infused water as a toner.
So, to actually perform the treatment, you’ll get your water boiling. Once it’s boiling nicely, pour it into a bowl. Place your face over it, and drape a towel over your head and the bowl, making a little tent for yourself. And that’s it! Just steam for 3-5 minutes. If your face starts to get irritated or too hot, don’t lean so close to the steam. Once you’re done steaming, remove the exfoliant with a warm, damp towel. Don’t forget to tone again!
Your skin is clean, it’s scrubbed, now it’s time to hydrate and nourish it. Now, you could just slap on whatever mask you enjoy, but if you’re wanting something close to a spa experience, you’ll want to multi-mask. That means using a different mask for your different concerns. For instance, if you have an oily T-Zone, but dry cheeks, you would use a balancing mask on your T-Zone and a hydrating mask on your cheeks. Have some fun with it! After you’ve left it on for however long the instructions state, remove with (you guessed it) a warm, damp towel. And tone!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Finish up by gently massaging in your targeted treatments, such as your serums, and an eye cream. Next, work in your moisturizer. If it’s daytime, don’t forget your sunscreen! Finish with some lip balm.
It’s very important to NOT touch your baby butt smooth skin after your face has been so thoroughly cleansed and hydrated. Try not to wear any makeup for several hours after. And that’s it! Enjoy your at-home experience!