I love facials. I love being pampered and how great my face feels afterwards. I find them super relaxing when I can get one. The biggest downside to me is that they can be expensive and not everyone can find the time to go to a spa. There’s good news, though–you don’t need to go to the salon to have a professional facial. You can do one at home and it is a great way to unwind after a stressful day. There are plenty of ways to get the spa treatment and I’m sharing some tips to make your spa day (or night) perfect with a spa quality facial at home.
Know Your Skin Type
Knowing your skin type is the first step to a successful at home facial. While it may be tempting to go to the drug store and pick up the first items you see, it is not recommended. You need products that are formulated for your skin. There are 5 skin types:
- Normal Skin– Normal is used to refer to skin that is balanced. You do not have oil, dryness, or enlarged pores.
- Dry Skin– Dry skin is used to refer to skin that lacks moisture. Your skin will lack sebum that it needs to retain moisture and protect it from harmful elements. Skin that is dry will be rough to the touch, flake or peel, and feel tight.
- Oily Skin– Oily skin over produces sebum and can cause a light sheen to your skin. The best way to tell if you have oily skin is to take tissue paper and blot it on your cheeks. If the tissue paper appears greasy, you have oily skin.
- Combination Skin– If your forehead and bridge of your nose is oily but your cheeks aren’t you have combination skin. Take one tissue paper and blot your cheeks. If there is no greasy appearance you have combination skin.
- Sensitive Skin– If your skin appears red or is irritated easily you have sensitive skin. It is important to get products that are hypoallergenic so that you do not make sensitive skin worse.
Find the Right Products for Your Skin Type
Now that you know your skin type, you must get the right products. Drug store skin care products have come a long way and are better than ever, but they still contain ingredients that may be harmful to your skin. If you can, splurge for higher end skin care products. They contain ingredients that are more beneficial and tested for your skin type. Also, don’t forget add-ons. If you have wrinkles around your eyes, get a good eye cream. If you suffer from dry skin, get a good nighttime moisturizer. If you are in doubt of which products to use, don’t be afraid to ask a professional. Places like Ulta, Sephora, and Mecca have licensed cosmetologists and estheticians that can help you decide the best products for your skin.
Products to Avoid Based on Your Skin Type
Normal Skin– Don’t buy products that contain alcohol or harsh fragrances. This can throw your PH balance off and cause blemishes. Also, don’t over hydrate your skin. It can cause your pores to clog and cause blackheads.
Dry Skin– The #1 ingredient you need to steer away from at all costs is glycolic acid. This is a strong exfoliant and will make your dry skin worse. Always look for products that include lactic acid, especially exfoliators. Also avoid any products that contain alcohol (it will dry your skin out even more) harsh fragrances (they can irritate your skin) and parabens (they can cause dry skin to be worse and can cause an allergy).
Oily Skin– Of course you most definitely want to stay away from products that have added oil to them. Since alcohol is a drying agent it seems like it would be a good ingredient for you, but it isn’t. Products that contain alcohol are too harsh for most skin types. Tea Tree products are really good for oily skin.
Combination Skin– Combination skin can be the hardest skin type to buy products for. You can get products that dry your skin out too much or over hydrate it. Products that contain Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acids and peptides are good for your entire face and will reduce the need for certain products for your different problem areas.
Sensitive Skin– This one is easy. Avoid products that contain harsh ingredients and ingredients that will dry out your skin too much. Products that are hypo-allergenic are good to use on sensitive skin. Also, if you don’t mind a little DIY, you can make your own skin care products at home that will be gentle on your skin.
Steps to The Perfect at Home Facial
Remove your makeup
Don’t use your cleanser to do this and consider that cleansing. Removing your makeup is a separate process to your skin care routine. Always use a makeup remover that does not contain alcohol if your skin is dry. If your skin is oily stay away from oil-based makeup removers.
Cleansing is an important step because this sets the canvas for the whole facial. When you cleanse the skin you’re removing any dirt or residue that would block the absorption of products such as your mask and moisturizer. Keep it gentle. Pulling and tugging at your face can cause wrinkles and fine lines. You only need to gently massage using circular motion. It is an old wife’s tale that hot water relieves oily skin and cold-water closes pores. Using too hot or too cold of water will damage your skin. Use only warm water.
It is easy to want to skip this step, but you shouldn’t. Exfoliation helps even out skin tone and allows skincare products to penetrate better. It also removes dead skin and impurities from your skin. Use a gentle exfoliator and only use your ring finger and pink to massage it in using small circular motions. Rinse with warm water.
This is another step that you may want to skip because it is kind of a pain. But you really shouldn’t because steam opens your pores and will help the next steps penetrate better. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add some essential oils that induce calming, such as lavender, chamomile, jasmine, and velvetir. Take a large towel and drape it over your head and shoulders. Being very, very careful not burn yourself, slowly lower your head over the steam. It is not supposed to be uncomfortable so if you feel a burning sensation, back up just a little bit (10-18 inches above should be good). Make sure the towel is covering both you and the pot to get the full benefits. You shouldn’t steam for longer than 10 minutes and no less than 5 minutes.
Masks are treatments that are good for your skin. Now that your face is clean and steamed it is ready to soak up all those awesome ingredients. There are hundreds of masks to choose from, so just get one that is good for your skin type. If you want to be extra fancy you can even get masks that look like gold or have glitter. Follow the manufacturers directions for your mask. This is a great time to relax and get yourself centered.
After all the cleansing, steaming, and masking you will need to restore the Ph balance to your skin. That is why you need a toner. Toners can be harsh, so be extra careful to use one that is specifically for your skin type. Toners can be applied with cotton balls or spritzed on.
If you purchased products for problem areas such as your eyes, anti-aging, or a calming serum this is when you need to put it on. It is important to do this step now before you add your moisturizers. Allow each add-on to dry completely before applying another one.
Now it is time to seal in all that hydration. This is also a great time to give your face a massage. Just use the tips of your fingers and using a gentle motion, massage your moisturizer into your skin. Take care to not tug excessively because that can break down your skin and cause lines.
Don’t forget your lips–they need care too. Use a lip exfoliant to gently remove dry skin and hydrate your lips. Then use a hydrating lip balm to make them soft and extra hydrated. Not only does it make them look kissable, but it also helps reduce dry, cracked lips due to elemental exposure.
I hope these tips have been helpful. I am making much more of an effort to take care of myself this year and indulging in spa quality facials at home has already helped my happiness levels. They’re surprisingly easy to pull off and it feels so good to pamper myself. So go ahead–light your favorite candle, put on some relaxing music, and indulge yourself. Your skin will thank you later!
Want to go all out with the indulgence? Make yourself a Cranberry Spritzer to sip on!