Give Yourself a Spa Level Facial at Home During COVID
While we’re all stuck indoors (or should be) for the foreseeable future, treating yourself to a much-deserved facial may seem like a far-off, unimaginable luxury — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to care for your complexion. On the contrary, while the outside world continues to manifest constant feelings of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to take care of your own mental health, and one of the best ways to do so, we’d argue, is by bringing a sense of the spa into your very own bathroom.
Enter: the DIY facial.
Sure, you may not be able to properly emulate the perfectly positioned finger strokes of your favorite facialist or even turn your bathroom into a temporary oasis of aromatherapy with sounds of a distant seashore or zen garden. But, you really can make your skin smoother and softer by re-creating a nearly professional experience at home.
That doesn’t mean reaching for the gaggle of devices and products that have been hiding in the back of your medicine cabinet for months. Instead, pour yourself a nice, cold glass of cucumber water and follow these expert-approved steps for some serious self-pampering!
Step 1: Start with a double cleanse
With any type of facial, the first step should always be to cleanse in order to prep the skin and start with a clean palette. with an oil-based cleanser to melt away makeup and remove unwanted, dead skin cells while still keeping the lipid barrier intact.
Next, choose either a foam- or cream-based cleanser. Creams are more gentle, so they’re technically better for anyone who has sensitized skin. Foam cleansers usually keep pores cleaner.
Rinse off the oil-based cleanser using a warm washcloth and proceed with either a cream or gel cleanser. Focus on areas of oil and congestion and massage really well into all the nooks and crannies of the skin.
Step 2: Exfoliate
After cleansing, it’s time to exfoliate, or slough off the top layer of skin cells and excess oils in order to ensure that the ingredients penetrate and you get the most out of the other steps. Depending on your skin type, you can either go the physical or chemical exfoliant route. If the former, use an enzyme-based powder that exfoliates without abrading it to leave skin polished and super clean.
If you prefer to exfoliate using a liquid formula, swipe on one that contains a blend of chemical exfoliants such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Careful not to go overboard on this step as there are still many more to go and over-exfoliation can cause damage to the skin’s protective lipid barrier.
Keep your acid exfoliation to just one product within a routine. By doing this, you’re not going to overdo it and strip the skin’s moisture barrier.
Step 3: Mask
Choose your face mask based on whatever current issues your skin is facing. If it is oily and prone to breakouts, reach for one that is clay-based or contains vitamin C. Conversely, if it feels parched or generally dry, use a face mask that is formulated to replenish hydration; seek out ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5.
For smoothing lines, use a face mask that’s formulated with peptides and antioxidants. The bottom line on face masks is to treat whatever issue you have going on. Some of the most common conditions to treat with masks include dehydration, dullness, sensitivity, breakouts or oiliness, lack of firmness, and sun damage.
Step 4: Steam
Fill a bowl with hot water and position your face over the bowl with a towel over your head to let your skin ‘open up’ while masking. Note: you don’t need a fancy at-home device in order to reap the benefits of steaming. A good old-fashioned bowl with slices of oranges will do a fantastic job of softening the skin and opening the pores.
Step 5: Moisturize and Massage
After removing your face mask of choice, it’s time to layer on your favorite serums and moisturizer — with the overall goal being hydration. Following serum, apply a layer of your favorite moisturizer.
After applying as many hydrating products as you like (working from thinnest to thickest), give yourself a facial massage to boost blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. It is important to use very hydrating, rich ingredients as the skin is massaged. To give yourself a top-notch facial massage, begin at the chin and gently stroke outwards. Follow a similar pattern on all areas of the face, including often-neglected spots like behind the ear lobes, around your nostrils, and the center of your forehead.
You can use your fingers, a roller, or a gua sha tool — whatever you have on hand — just as long as you don’t push too hard. The idea is to go really lightly and focus on draining versus rubbing.
Don’t neglect to create — and enjoy — some ambiance
We are surrounded by so much noise of all sorts, so I find it really important to create an ambiance for oneself. Once all the hard work of cleansing, exfoliating, and masking is over and you’re in the midst of a gentle facial massage, it might be the right time to light a candle, play some calming music, and give yourself some “lymphatic love.”
Bottom line: Create a spa-like vibe using whatever makes you feel calm, whether it be music, candles, crystals, essential oils or all of the above.
What not to do during an at-home facial
There are certain aspects of a professional facial that are always best left to the professionals. Topping that list is extractions, which, tempting as they may be, can lead to scarring and worsen inflammation associated with a breakout. In this time, when we want to be especially mindful about keeping our hands off our face, you don’t want to transfer any germs from your hands to your face and lead to any type of infection.
Also, on the list of DIY no-no’s are certain devices, or rather, a combination of them. If you’d like to incorporate a device — whether a micro needling roller, an LED light, or a microcurrent device — limit yourself to one per facial. Various devices, when used at home, can lead to potential injury to the skin, make the skin worse, or lead to scarring.
Botanica is Still Here For You
Self-care and self-love are two very important parts of your lifestyle, and they should not be ignored. If you are unable to come into the spa for a massage, manicure, wax, or facial, then trying these at-home steps are the next best thing. And when you are comfortable in receiving a professional facial again, we’re here and ready to pamper you!