Monday, October 24, 2011

DIY Skin Care: Facials at Home

I've been meaning to give my husband a facial forever. He has dry/sensitive skin with some rosacea so he really needed it. I finally got around to it yesterday and his skin looked great. This made me think- I should tell people how easy it is to do an at-home facial! This can be done both on yourself or on someone else. It's definitely not the same as a facial at a spa, but still really great for giving the skin a boost.

If giving a facial to someone else, a space is needed. I prefer the end of the bed because it's the right height and you can pull a chair up. Don't forget to put a towel down so the bed doesn't get wet. I also find that a desk lamp is helpful for providing a bright light during extractions.

You'll also need some towels for removing product and steaming. Going in and out of the bathroom is a pain but it's the best way to rinse out each towel thoroughly and add fresh warm water. Fold some face cloths or hand towels in half length-wise, then roll them before adding warm water- this helps keep the heat in. 

Once you're all set up, here are the basic steps of a facial:

1. Analyze- Determining skin type.
Take a good look at the skin. Is it mostly dry or mostly oily? Where are the problem areas? Are there blackheads or pustules (pimples)? This will determine how to treat the skin. 

2. Cleanse- Removing all dirt, oil, and makeup.
Cleanse face and neck. Remember- everything that's done to the face must also be done to the neck.

3. Exfoliate- Removing dead skin cells from the surface of the face and neck.
You can either do this manually with a scrub or chemically with a mask. If using a scrub- make sure there are round beads that roll over the skin, other types of crushed scrubs (such as apricot) can leave little tears in the skin. I recommend Murad's AHA/ABA Exfoliating Cleanser. 
For more sensitive skin an exfoliating enzyme mask is preferable. Enzymes eat away the dead skin cells without the use of scrubbing. Try Murad's Energizing Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask.

4. Steam- Opening pores to allow deep cleansing.
In a spa this is done with a steamer but chances are you don't have one at home. The next best thing is hot towels. Get towels as hot as you can stand and press them on the face, keep switching towels so they don't cool down. Do this for 10 minutes. 

5. Extract- Removing blackheads and pustules. 
Cover fingers with cotton pads. Press around the outside of the blackhead or pimple- pushing up. Don't try too hard, if it's not ready to come out leave it alone so you don't leave a scar. Do not extract for more than 10 minutes, after that pores will close back up. Also, leave milia (white pearl-like bumps) to the professionals and do not extract around the eye area. 

6. Massage- Stress reduction and improving muscle tone. 
Massage can be done in so many ways. Include scalp, neck, shoulders, ears, face. I also like to massage the hands while my client has a mask on. Stress causes many of our skins problems (90% of adult acne is caused by stress) so relaxing massage is an important part of skin care. Remember- you can massage yourself!

7. Treatment Mask- a finishing mask to treat the skin.
Usually a hydrating mask or a clarifying clay mask, depending on whether the skin is dry or oily. I love Aveda's Intensive Hydrating Mask. Leave on for 5-10 minutes.

8. Treat, Moisturize, Protect.
Apply any special treatment first, like an acne spot treatment for blemishes or a serum for extra hydration. Next apply an oil-free moisturizer. Then eye cream- the skin around the eyes is different from the rest of the face and needs it's own moisturizer. Last, if your moisturizer doesn't have an SPF, apply sunblock unless doing this before bed. 

So that's a facial in a nutshell! All of these steps can be done on yourself as well as on someone else and the whole thing takes about an hour. Do this once a month for beautiful skin!

Here are some tips on products:
Both my husband and I have dry, sensitive skin. So this cleanser, serum, and eye cream from Murad work great for us. (TIP: put eye cream in the fridge, the coolness helps combat puffy eyes is the morning) I prefer products from either Murad or Aveda because I've worked with both lines and trust them. Neither line uses any fragrances or tests on animals. 

The two Aveda products I can't live without. Amazing. 

For a cheap pimple-zapper this works great. I got it at Target. It has both 2% Salicylic Acid and Tea Tree Oil, which are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial to heal those blemishes. (TIP: Also use on ingrown hairs!)

I use this as an at-home massage cream for the face. It's thick, fragrance-free and non-irritating. Cetephil cream also works great. These are both oil-based so remove with a warm, wet towel after the massage. 

And don't forget the cotton rounds! These can be used for applying toner, removing makeup, covering the fingers during extractions, and as eye-pads. Essential for a facial.

Have fun!

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