If you’re anything like us, you’re obsessed with your skin. Like stand outside of the window with a boombox over your head obsessed. And that means you’re no stranger to an array of skin care products — and a good facial. But let’s be clear: A good facial isn’t just about relaxation and masks and moisturizing. It’s about getting your skin clean — deeply clean. The only problem is that these days (ahem, pandemic days), it’s hard to get a professional facial. But since we’re no strangers to a DIY approach in the skincare category, we’ve rolled up our sleeves and started to give ourselves at-home facials. What we found is that taking care of your skin at home is easier than you think — especially with these 5 steps that any adult needs to know.
So sit down, pour yourself some cucumber water, and let’s get to it.
Starting with a clean slate is key when going for a proper facial. Usually, makeup removal is an annoying albeit necessary process that we sigh heavily about every night. But using a cleansing balm somehow flips the script, and turns makeup removal into something soothing and almost meditative. Go for one that’s oiled-based so that your makeup melts off and the skin barrier isn’t damaged.
Once your makeup is removed, it’s time to cleanse. Yes, we’re double cleansing, and yes, the Korean skincare world is cheering us on. Choose a gentle cleanser that’s cream or gel-based to wash away all the nasties left over from the day, and make sure you really get in there — especially around the nose and and mouth. Rinse off, and give yourself a celebratory sip of cuke water.
Listen, we know the best part of getting a professional treatment is extractions. We can’t tell you to do extractions yourself, simply because of the possible risk of scarring or hyperpigmentation (we care about you too much for that). But we can say that the next best thing is using a tool like this to get all the gunk out of your skin. Plus, did we mention that it’s extremely satisfying to see what comes out?
Exfoliation is key in a facial because it sloughs off the top layer of skin cells and excess oil to give you the smooth, elusive glow we all suddenly started talking about when we hit our 30s. The type of exfoliation is up to you, and really depends on your skin type — but you can either go for a physical or a chemical exfoliator. Since we can’t choose between the two for you, here are some of our favorites: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, Amorepacific Enzyme Powder, and Youth to the People Yerba Mate Energy Facial. Whichever you go for, just make sure to use just one type of exfoliation — too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and your moneymaker is not the place to play mad scientist.
Most people have tried a mask or two (or a million) in their lifetime. It’s one of the staples of skin care products. At this point, you’re probably nodding and saying, “Yes — I’ve got it from here.” But allow us to suggest choosing a mask based on whatever skin issue you may be facing at the time — and to choose one that works for your skin type. If you’ve got dry skin, go for a hydrating mask like this one. Oily skin? A clay based mask is great to draw out impurities. Or if you just want to soothe your skin, go for one like this. Pop on some chill music or the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show (why is this so relaxing?), and wait for the mask to do its thing.
Once you’ve removed your mask, it’s time to hydrate. As long as they’re geared toward hydration, both serums and moisturizers can go on at this point. Make sure to layer on from thinnest to thickest. We’re big fans of Cosmedica Hyaluronic Acid Serum to help give our skin a big drink. It will thank you later, trust us. Then add your favorite moisturizer, and give yourself a facial massage to help boost circulation, blood flow, and boost collagen production. The best facial massage technique is to work in upward strokes, and use the same pressure you would use on a baby’s face — read: very, very gentle.
Now is the time to congratulate yourself for being a grade A human with radiant skin. In fact, if there’s a small voice inside telling you that you might just never go back to your esthetician, we wouldn’t blame you!