For the past three weeks, I’ve been crashing at my parents’ house in upstate New York. This sudden move meant that I had to prioritize the things that I packed: comfy sweats and clothing basics were obviously prioritized, while my beloved houseplants and ring collection were left behind. But even when faced with a decision of what to bring with me, I knew I’d need my skin care favorites — because even though my favorite spa may be temporarily closed, that doesn’t mean I can’t treat myself to a DIY facial.
While I already have a daily skin care routine, a custom facial takes things to the next level. On a basic level, a facial is amulti-step process that unclogs your pores, exfoliates away dead skin cells, and nourishes your skin, and often includes some element of facial massage.
I’ve experienced many different kinds of facials, but most follow the pattern of cleansing, exfoliating, extracting, masking, adding targeted treatments like serums and moisturizing. Customized facial services are used to treat specific skin conditions (such as acne or fine lines and wrinkles) as well as add-ons like light therapy and microdermabrasion tools to access deeper layers of the skin.
The benefits are twofold: on the physical level, a goodskin detox should leave you with glowing, hydrated and cleansed skin, and a noticeably brighter complexion. The self care benefits of a facial can include a sense of relaxation (which massage is amazing for), and just the peace of mind that comes from consciously taking the time to look after yourself. So while we might not be certified estheticians, the occasional DIY self facial treatment can make any bathroom feel like a spa-like escape.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most commonkinds of facials available — while all aren’t replicable at-home, you’ll get a general idea of the different end goals for each kind.
if you’re looking for an occasional pick-me-up to keep your skin in check, and don’t have any specific skin issues you’re looking to take care of, a classic facial is perfect for you. Your skin will be cleansed, hydrated and moisturized, ensuring everything is in the proper balance.
a facial that focuses on lymphatic drainage works to decrease puffiness by stimulating lymphatic glands and your facial muscles. Massaging these glands stimulates blood flow and drains excess fluid out of your face, which is why you end up with noticeably less puffiness.
this type of facial is great if you have specific skin issues you’d like to work on, like brightenting or anti-aging. Adding things like enzyme peels and concentrated anti-aging skin care products allow you to treat specific skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, dull complexion or fine lines and wrinkles.
my esthetician summarized microdermabrasion as “deep exfoliation combined with a vacuum”. And honestly, that’s still the most concise way I’ve heard it described. A device first sprays tiny crystals onto the surface of your skin (to slough off dead skin cells), and then runs a small vacuum over the surface. Despite being a little apprehensive at first (the idea of “scraping” off the top layer of my skin was slightly off-putting), I found my first microdermabrasion treatment to be an amazing choice for my complexion. While your skin will probably be extra sensitive for a few days, it’s also smoother, brighter and fine lines and wrinkles will be less noticeable.
LED light therapy involves different colored lights being used to treat skin concerns: blue light is used to treat acne-prone skin (since it helps to kill bacteria), while red light is preferred as an anti-aging treatment (since it penetrates deeper to improve cellular turnover, collagen production and inflammation).
So, what should you have in stock for an at-home facial? You probably don’t have any spare lasers lying around, but a gentle cleanser, mask, exfoliant, serum, moisturizer and massage tool (yes, your hands count) are all you need to have the perfect spa-quality facial.
Light some candles and dig your robe out of the hamper: it’s at-home spa time.
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While you can’t deny the appeal of bringing your beauty routine to the professionals, these uncertain times have necessitated a different approach to skin care. Luckily for all of us, it only takes a few key products and application techniques to get a spa-quality at-home facial. And to ensure your skin is feeling top-notch even between at-home facial appointments, read our guide onhow to get glowing skin. Your face, mind and overall sense of well-being will thank you.
By Lauren Hannel, staff contributor