One of the things I got to do yesterday, seeing as how most other things are too strenuous at the moment, was give myself an at-home facial. I try to get to looking after my skin more but rarely find the time/energy. Luckily, I have generally happy skin but even MORE luckily, I have a wonderful mum who has crystal clear skin and has taught me to keep it that way. I know so many girls who don't know how to pamper their skin a little, or use the right products for their skin type. And thus, for all the ribbing I give my mum about never having taught me to cook or clean, I do count myself damn lucky to have her knowledge in my arsenal of prettiness. (ps, what a kick-ass phrase. An arsenal of prettiness!)
So what did she teach me? Well - first of all, to use good products. This doesn't have to mean expensive products, but rather ones that have withstood the test of time, receive good reviews from most who have used it, and are formulated with less hype and more science. Secondly, consistency - find a good product? Stick with it. There's no need to keep changing unless your skincare needs have changed. Thirdly, understand your skin - have a range of products you know to work for when it's needing some extra TLC in the dryness, breakout or sensitive moments we all have from time to time.
So here's my little at-home-facial tutorial, and the products I use. I don't always use all of them everytime, and I don't do this very often, so a one time investment of these items can last me over a year, and most times, 2 years. I've used these products on many of my friends and they seem to work pretty well universally. All have been chosen via peer reviews, online ratings, personal trial and error (I have a huge graveyard of old cosmetics) and effectiveness! At each step I also give examples of other such products I've used and liked!
The first step is cleansing your face. If I'm wearing a lot of makeup, I'll remove that with an oil-based cleanser first, then do a normal cleanse. The product I use for my facials or when I have a breakout is MD Formulations Face Cleanser (pictured above). This is a glycolic product which when used, gets rid of breakouts faster than any cream, paste or mask I've ever tried. I put it on my skin, and gently rub for 1.5 - 2 minutes, then sponge off with warm water. I never use a huge amount of cleanser, in fact quite the opposite, because your skin doesn't want to be stripped by the cleanse!
Other cleansers I like for facials: Philosophy's Purity Made Simple (gentle), MAC Cleanse Off Oil (makeup removal), Lancome's Milky Creme Cleanser (sensitive skin). All the cleansers I use are a bit spendy but they last a long time.
The scrub I use is Queen Helene's Oatmeal & Honey Face Scrub (pictured above). Those of you in the USA, it is available in any drugstore and is amazing value, something like $4USD for a large tube that lasts literally a year! I put a 10 cent piece amount on my palms and gently rub on for 1 minute.
Gently. Then again, sponge off with warm water. Gently.
3. Deep Cleanse
The mask I use is Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque. It is a cult product in the States and I can see why - it costs almost nothing and is incredibly effective. It smells minty fresh and isn't irritating to the skin! This is a clay mask - I find clay masks the most effective for getting all those pesky blackheads out and sucking all the crap in your skin out to the surface. There, that was a pleasant image to behold, was it not? I dollop a lot of this on, smear it all over my face but not near my eyes.
Then I let it dry to rock hard goodness, then sponge off with warm water. I would show you a picture of the mask on my face but surely we can't let blackmail fodder like that on the internets!
4. PLUMP & HYDRATE
After all that abrasion and gunk clearing, you want to plump your skin up with moisture. There are several types of hydrating masks, from calming to creamy and each containing all kinds of soothing properties. My standby for the last 10 years has been the one pictured above, Dermalogica's Skin Hydrating Masque. It's a clear gel and can be used around the eyes and lips safely, is extremely soothing and a fuss free treat for the skin. I apply liberally, let sit for 5-10 mins, then sponge off with warm water.
5. Treat & Protect
I believe that when you exfoliate and deep cleanse, your skin is SUPER primed to receive goodness in the form of some great serums/oils/deep moisturising. For facials, I invest in super great products that I may not use every day. This time I chose the following treats:
- SKII Facial Treatment Repair C (Serum)
- SKII Signs Eye Cream
- Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster (Serum)
- Creme De La Mer
Basically, dollop these on and massage gently into your clean, primed skin. Allow each layer to sink in, and I always try to leave my skin feeling soft and plump!
Other facial finishing creams/serums I like: Dermalogica Skin Renewal Booster, Dermalogical Gentle Soothing Booster, SKII Signs Nourishing Creme, Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream, Nivea Creme
And you're done! Altogether the entire process only takes about 25-30 minutes, and can go miles towards more radiant, glowing skin. Don't be put off by the seeming loads of products you need - like I said, these last you ages!
Additionally, before the overwhelming stress of being a woman overtakes (it's too much hard work! I know), know that I only get around to doing this once a month at the very most, and that's when I'm trying to be conscientious about it! Try it, and let me know how you go!