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Beauty Look to try: an at-home facial

Aug. 14, 2020
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Since the beginning of March, many of us have been eagerly awaiting the moment we could step out and see a beauty professional once more. It seems as though that time might still be pretty far into the future, which is fine—let’s face it, if your beauty routine disruption is your biggest problem right now, you can count yourself completely and totally blessed. But if you want to spruce yourself up, or honestly just fancy a distraction from what’s going on in the world, an at-home facial could be perfect for you. Here’s what you need to know.

You first want to get your spa-like environment just right. So find a quiet space in your home and let your cohabitants know you’re OOO for the next thirty minutes or so. Then light a candle (the Bjork & Berries ones are really lovely in terms of both scent and price point), put on a toweling hairband (the Glossier one is great), and play your favorite mellow music.

You want to get your skin as clean as possible, so start with a double cleanse. The BanilaCo Clean It Zero is a perfect balmy oil. Follow it up with something more intense. The CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is absolutely amazing for deeply cleansing the skin without ever overdrying or feeling harsh.

Next, steam your skin. You can buy an at-home steaming device, but if you want to save a few pennies, you can boil a kettle, fill up a large bowl and add some drops of essential oil, then use a towel to create a steam tent. Keep your face under the towel for as long as you comfortably can, as it’ll massively help with opening up your pores and softening any trapped gunk. You can then go in with the Tweezerman Blackhead Extractor Tool on any particularly large or obvious pore-cloggages to help release them without causing any damage to your skin.

Next, exfoliate with a gentle scrub. I absolutely love the Tula So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub for this, which starts off feeling abrasive but quickly breaks down and melts into the skin. Rinse off with warm water then follow with a clay mask.

If you’re on the normal to dry end of the spectrum, the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is a perfect choice. It’s gentle and never feels like it’s drying the skin out, but it still does a number on pores. If you’re more oily and blemish-prone, the Tropic Skincare Clear Skin Blemish Fighting Mask might be more in your wheelhouse. This mask not only helps draw out impurities to prevent future breakouts, but also helps treat any active pimples and shorten their lifespan. It’s also appealingly bright green, which adds to the whole “professional facial” vibe.

Now it’s time to tone, and I tend to go for an acid-based product for this step. The Inkey List PHA Toner is a great option for those with sensitive skin as it’s on the gentler side, while those who are long-time lovers of the acid game may be better with something more intense like The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. Soak a cotton pad with the product of your choice, then work across the skin and leave for around five minutes.

You’ll next want to apply a serum—something that treats a particular skin concern using active ingredients in high doses. One of my ultimate favorites has to be the Zelens Z Luminous Brightening Serum, which offers a dramatic change in your complexion’s brightness, smoothness, evenness, and glowiness, from literally the first use. It’s a little bit horrifically expensive, so if you can’t bear the price tag, a good mid-range option is the Jurlique Nutri-Define Superior Retexturizing Facial Serum. And for those balling on a budget, don’t fear. The CosRXAdvanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence is an amazingly reparative, moisturizing, and glow-boosting skin treatment that’s incredibly affordable.

Finish with a moisturizer. If you’ve gone in with your active toners and serums, I think you can afford to go basic here. Think of this as the lamination that seals in everything else. The CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion is a great choice, not just because it’s cheap, but because it’s packed full of skin-loving ceramides and hyaluronic acid, and it feels lightweight and absorbs quickly. 

A final tip to add some spa-like indulgence to your skincare routine is to incorporate a jade roller. These can be bought basically anywhere, and are fantastic for helping your skin to absorb your products and to boost circulation to the skin. There are a ton of great tutorials online, but the basic idea is to move upwards and outward,lift the skin (albeit temporarily), and encourage lymphatic drainage that can help defeat spots and dullness. 

Once you’re done, you can re-enter the real world once more. Sure, it’s as scary, unjust, and full of pain as ever, but I don’t doubt for a second that those few minutes spent indulging and relaxing will leave you better equipped to deal with it.