Facials are one of my favorite splurges. The steam, the face massage, the treatments, the spa atmosphere – it’s all SO heavenly. For me, it’s a decadent experience, a little bit of “me first” in a decidedly “after you” world. However, with #quarantineandchill as the new catchphrase for the foreseeable future, treating myself to a much-deserved facial seems like a far-off, unimaginable luxury.
But there’s no reason why we can’t replicate a similar experience at home. While we’re stuck indoors enduring all that’s going on in the world, it’s the perfect opportunity to find time to relax and take care of ourselves. And one of the best ways to do so, I’d argue, is by bringing a facial experience into my very own NYC apartment.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should start reaching for extraction instruments or invasive face tools. Let’s leave that to the professionals. Instead, pour yourself a cold glass of cucumber-infused water, or in my case, a hefty glass wine, and follow this step-by-step plan for some serious self-pampering.
GET PREPPED & CREATE SOME AMBIANCE
Now’s the time to set the mood. We are surrounded by so much noise, especially in New York City. So, I like to light a few candles, put on my curated Spotify playlist of calming music, pour a glass of wine, and grab all the items I need for my facial.
- A FEW CANDLES: I’m currently enjoying Alexandra Winbush’s September Sixth candle, Bath & Body Works Rose Water & Ivy candle, and Tocca’s Copenhagen candle.
- A DRINK OF YOUR CHOICE: I prefer a hefty glass of wine, but feel free to grab the infused water of your choice.
- MUSIC: I have a few playlists that you may enjoy here, here and here.
- OIL-BASED CLEANSER: Feel free to check out my recent blog post on my oil-based cleansing stash for options.
- WATER-BASED CLEANSER: Feel free to check out my recent blog post on my water-based cleansing stash for options.
- FACIAL STEAMER OR LARGE BOWL
- FACE MASK
- FACE OIL
- MASSAGING TOOL (optional)
HOW TO DO A FACIAL AT HOME
Step 1: Start with a Double Cleanse
As with any facial, the first step should always be to cleanse your face. It’s actually the most important step. Proper cleansing helps to prep the skin and start with a clean palette. Here’s a quick read on double cleansing and how it ensures your skin is ready to better receive all the other products you use afterward.
You’ll start with an oil-based cleanser to melt away makeup and SPF and draw out oil-based impurities like sebum and pollutants on your face. I take the time to massage my face for at least 60-seconds. Then, take a warm, damp Clean Towels to remove the oil-based cleanser.
Next, massage a gel or cream-based cleanser into your damp skin. While cleansing, focus on areas of oil and congestion and massage really well into all the nooks and crannies of your face. I like to focus on places that generally get overlooked, like the nooks of my nose and along my hairline. Then, I remove my water-based cleanser with a warm, damp Clean Towel as well.
Step 2: Now It’s Time To Exfoliate
After cleansing, it’s time to exfoliate! We want to slough off the top layer of skin cells and excess oils to ensure that the ingredients penetrate, and we get the most out of the subsequent steps. Now, you can use a physical or chemical exfoliant but my preference is a chemical one.
I currently have two go-to liquid chemical exfoliators: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant & Biologique Recherche’s P50V 1970.
Today, I’m using the P50V 1970. I really can see an overnight difference when I use this acid toner. I put a few drops on my Shiseido cotton pad and swipe in upward motions. And I wait for 3-5 minutes after application before I proceed to the next step.
If you prefer a gentle physical exfoliant, I recommend using an enzyme-based powder, like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser. It exfoliates without scraping my skin, leaving my skin polished, soft, and super clean.
Step 3: Add Some Steam
Before my masking session, I will add a little steam. By steaming my face, my skin is more receptive to a more intense hydration.
I purchased a facial steamer from Amazon a few years ago and it’s still going strong. I enjoy it because it’s reliable, compact and mobile, making the steaming process easier.
If you don’t have a facial steamer, you can just fill a large bowl with hot water and position your face over it with a towel over your head. You don’t need an at-home device to reap the benefits of steaming.
Step 4: Apply A Mask
Choose a face mask based on your current skin issues. For example, if I’m experiencing breakouts, I reach for a clay mask or a mask that helps soothe sensitized skin. If my skin feels parched or is generally dry, I reach for a face mask with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients. If I’m focused on anti-aging, I look for face masks formulated with peptides and antioxidants.
Today, I’m focused on hydration and nourishment. My skin can quickly become dehydrated, and being inside all day doesn’t help. So, today, I’m using my Rosehip BioRegenerate Rapid Radiance Mask from Pai Skincare. I was introduced to the Pai Skincare line by skincare specialist, Tamira Klein-Campbell. This mask is creamy consistency and makes my skin feel so nourished and replenished. And its calming ingredients are targeted for eczema-prone skin. I leave this on for about 10 minutes. It comes with a muslin cloth that I soak in warm water before wiping my face clean.
Step 5: Layer A Few Serums
Let’s lock in the perks of our freshly steamed and masked face, and apply our serums. I gravitate towards hydrating and calming serums, especially given my new environmental circumstances. Some of my favorite serums right now are:
- Pestle & Mortar Hyaluronic Serum
- Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum
- Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum
- Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster
- SkinFix Lipid Barrier Repair Serum
- Paula’s Choice Omega+ Serum
Step 6: Finish with A Moisturizer, Face Oil & Face Massage
After serums, I apply a layer of my favorite moisturizer. When I’m looking for a calming, nutrient-rich option, I gravitate toward Good Science Beauty Hydrating Face Cream, Youth To The People Adaptogen Cream, and Pyunkang Yul Moisture Cream.
After applying my moisturizer, I give myself a facial massage to boost blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. And before any massage, it’s important to create a good slip to your skin as you massage it. So, I finish my routine with a few drops of facial oil too. Today, I’m using the Pai Skincare Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil.
You can use whatever you have on hand — your fingers, a roller, or a gua sha tool. Today, I’m using my Dr. Jart Liftra Contour Shaper. It doesn’t just lift my skin; it also relaxes my muscles and improves blood circulation. The Dr. Jart Contour Shaper is sold out online (I bought it at a sample sale a few years ago) but this is a great alternative.
I start my facial massage at my chin, making gentle strokes upward. Then, I follow a similar pattern on the rest of my face, including often-neglected spots like behind my ear lobes, around my nostrils, and on the center of my forehead. I also massage a bit under the eye just because of the relaxing feeling it gives me.
And there you have it! A beautiful at-home facial.
How do you pamper yourself? What other tips can you share for an at-home spa facial?