How to Do an At-Home Facial

How to Do an At-Home Facial

Whether you are bat­tling the last rem­nants of acne, sub­clin­i­cal acne (lit­tle bumps with­out heads), black­heads, or sim­ply want to take your skin con­di­tion to the next lev­el, a great facial will do won­ders. I high­ly rec­om­mend treat­ing your­self to at-home facials or pro­fes­sion­al facials from a licensed aes­theti­cian. I now make sure to treat myself to a pro­fes­sion­al facial at least once per mon­th and I do at-home facials every week (except for the week I receive a pro facial) to close­ly mim­ic the pro­fes­sion­al ones I receive. Reg­u­lar prop­er facials will pre­vent break­outs and black­heads, speed heal­ing, slow aging, and provide con­cen­trat­ed nutri­tion to the skin. I know sev­er­al old­er wom­en (50s, 60s, and beyond) with beau­ti­ful skin that looks far younger than their actu­al years, and they all cred­it it to excel­lent skin care, reg­u­lar skin treat­ments, and of course, stay­ing out of the sun. Like we haven’t heard that before. 😉

And just to clar­i­fy, I am def­i­nite­ly not say­ing that you have to do facials every week or even every mon­th to have beau­ti­ful skin. I went with­out facials for years and my diet and basic skin care rou­tine alone kept my skin clear and glow­ing. How­ev­er, I do reg­u­lar facials because I enjoy it (like a hob­by haha), I put aside the time, and it gives my skin that extra boost.

Below is my at-home semi-pro facial. Take 30–60 min­utes and treat your­self to this lux­u­ri­ous rou­tine.

Do It Yourself At-Home Facial Routine

A Note on Prod­ucts: To make it easy on you, I rec­om­mend a few prod­ucts for each step and skin type. There are many more excel­lent nat­u­ral prod­ucts out there, so if you have some­thing suit­able already or anoth­er brand in mind, go for it! (And this should go with­out say­ing, but pri­or to using any pro­duct, always check ingre­di­ents and make sure you are not aller­gic to any­thing.)

1. Dou­ble Cleanse. First cleanse with coconut oil (mas­sage a small amount into your skin like you would a nor­mal cleanser) or an oil-based cleanser. This removes any heav­ier, oil-based build-up, make-up, and sebum. Depend­ing on what I think my skin needs, I use either Trop­i­cal Tra­di­tions Gold Coconut Oil or Eliz­a­beth Dehn for One Love Organ­ics Vit­a­m­in B Cleans­ing Oil (smells like the trop­ics, too!).

After thor­ough­ly rins­ing off the first cleanser, fol­low with anoth­er cleanser suit­ed for your skin type or cur­rent skin con­di­tion. Keep in mind that oily and acne skin is often dehy­drat­ed under­neath, so we do not want to strip the skin with any harsh cleansers. It it best to use a gen­tle cleanser and when in doubt, select some­thing designed for sen­si­tive skin. And always go as nat­u­ral as pos­si­ble – any­thing with sodi­um lau­ryl (or lau­reth) sul­fate is not your skin’s friend.

2. Steam. Steam­ing is essen­tial­ly boil­ing a pot of water, tent­ing a tow­el over your head and the pot, and let­ting the steam soft­en your skin. Be care­ful not to put your face too close to the boiled water! Anoth­er (safter) option is to soak a clean tow­el in warm/hot water and apply the tow­el to your face for 2 or 3 min­utes. You could also buy a facial steam­er if you plan on doing reg­u­lar facials for your­self. I have heard good things about the Pana­son­ic NanoCare Steam­er and the Conair Facial Sauna.

For very dry skin, don’t steam for long (2 or 3 min­utes max­i­mum). Oth­er skin types can enjoy a steam for 5–10 min­utes. I like to put some herbs or flow­ers into the boiled water, such as cal­en­du­la, clover, rose petals, lemon balm, or a few drops of laven­der essen­tial oil. It just depends what I have on hand. You’re essen­tial­ly just mak­ing tea for your face (just make sure the hot water doesn’t touch your skin). Steam sim­ply soft­ens the skin and sebum and makes it eas­ier to remove blem­ish­es.

3. Extract. Gen­tly remove any obvi­ous black­heads but do not go crazy. Do not use your nails! You do not want to cre­ate dam­age, but you do not want to leave junk in your pores either. Wrap your fin­gers in a dou­ble lay­er of tis­sue paper (toi­let paper works great) and gen­tly apply down­ward pres­sure on either side of the black­head. It should come out eas­i­ly and on the first try. If it’s stub­born, leave it for a licensed aes­theti­cian to remove.

4. Exfo­li­ate. Wet your face and use a gen­tle exfo­li­at­ing scrub or gen­tle acid-based mask suit­ed for your skin’s cur­rent con­di­tion. Be very gen­tle if you use a scrub. Again, we do not want to cre­ate any irri­ta­tion or dam­age.

Fol­low the direc­tions for the pro­duct, but here are some gen­er­al rules: for a phys­i­cal scrub exfo­liant, gen­tly mas­sage it on the skin for 30–60 sec­onds using cir­cu­lar motions; for a chem­i­cal or acid-based exfo­liant mask, leave it on your face for 5–10 min­utes. Whichev­er exfo­li­at­ing method you use, always be sure to wash it off thor­ough­ly and – this bears repeat­ing – be gen­tle.

5. Mask. This is the point where you use a con­cen­trat­ed heal­ing mask appro­pri­ate for your skin type or cur­rent con­di­tion. For a lit­tle extra lux­u­ry, put the amount you are going to use in a lit­tle bowl and warm it slight­ly in the microwave (may­be 10–15 sec­onds). Apply it with a fresh­ly washed, dis­in­fect­ed fan brush or foun­da­tion brush (I love using May Lind­strom Skin The Treat­ment Duo for this – so ele­gant).

Let the mask sit for 10–15 min­utes and just relax and enjoy. Rin­se it off thor­ough­ly.

6. Tone. Use an alco­hol-free, antibac­te­ri­al, calm­ing ton­er like witch hazel. Oth­er great options are hydrosols (flow­er waters) like cal­en­du­la, laven­der, and rose­mary. Soak a cot­ton ball in ton­er and wipe your face. This will help bal­ance out pH and wipe off any resid­u­al pro­duct residue from ear­lier steps.

7. Treat. Apply a serum or qual­i­ty face oil. This will intro­duce con­cen­trat­ed actives that reduce inflam­ma­tion and red­ness, effec­tive­ly speed­ing heal­ing and sooth­ing the skin. My pref­er­ence is an all-nat­u­ral oil-based serum, since they are so heal­ing and work to seal in mois­ture and pro­tect the integri­ty of the skin bar­ri­er. Qual­i­ty facial oils (mean­ing qual­i­ty, non-ran­cid oils that are not chem­i­cal­ly processed or extract­ed with sol­vents) do not clog pores or cause break­outs. In fact, they often pre­vent that from occur­ring. Even my oily T-zone appre­ci­ates facial oils immense­ly.

8. Mois­tur­ize. Seal in all the good­ness and hydra­tion with a qual­i­ty mois­tur­iz­er. Let your serum/face oil sink in for a full 5 min­utes, then apply a qual­i­ty mois­tur­iz­er on top.

All done! I hope you feel relaxed and pam­pered. You are going to keep touch­ing your skin because it’s going to be soft­er than a baby butt. 😉

Option­al­ly, you can apply a phys­i­cal zinc oxide sun­block (like BurnOut Eco Sen­si­tive or Marie Veronique Organ­ics SPF) if you are going out­side after your facial, but I gen­er­al­ly advise doing your facial at night before bed. You can also decide to fin­ish off with anoth­er spritz of flo­ral water or a glyc­er­in-based mist to fur­ther seal in mois­ture (my favorite is Pai Rice Plant & Rose­mary BioAffin­i­ty Ton­er).

~Steph  x


  1. Great Rou­tine Steph, this is just like pro­fes­sion­al facials — no skip­ping steps
    Thanks for includ­ing pro­duct rec­om­men­da­tions by skin type 

  2. Great thanks! I had a ques­tion about ARCONA. Have you heard any­thing about their prob­lem skin set? I just bought it and the rasp­ber­ry cleans­ing bar seems to dry out my skin a bit. I also heard nat­u­ral plant extracts are usu­al­ly more irri­tat­ing to skin than conventional/lab-made prod­ucts. What are your thoughts on this? 

    Thanks in advance! 

    • Hi Bia!

      Any­thing geared toward acne tends to be dry­ing, which is an “old school” way of look­ing at prob­lem skin. If the bar dries you out, make sure you fol­low-up with a pH bal­anc­ing ton­er (like alco­hol-free witch hazel) and mois­tur­ize well. Plant extracts can be irri­tat­ing, but they are not more irri­tat­ing than syn­thet­ics, as there are plen­ty of syn­thet­ics that are high­ly irri­tat­ing and sen­si­tiz­ing. Nat­u­ral is best, but it also depends on how it’s for­mu­lat­ed and processed. 

      ~Steph x

  3. Hi Steph. I know you are inter­est­ed in endocrinol­o­gy and won­der if you might kind­ly be able to give me your opin­ion on some­thing off-top­ic? I’m intestest­ed in tak­ing herbal sup­ple­ment cap­sules such as fenu­greek, saw pal­met­to and red clover for hor­mones for a time peri­od of a few months only, but am unsure whether they could have a detri­men­tal effect on my longtem health. Fenu­greek is said to mim­ick the effects of estro­gen in the body. I know that the con­tra­cep­tive pill uti­lizes high lev­els of estro­gen and this has been linked to increased risk of breast can­cer. As some­one who takes an inter­est in health and hor­mones, I won­der if you might be able to give me any advice? I would real­ly val­ue your opin­ion as I know as a read­er of you blog that you have a very intel­li­gent and objec­tive view on health top­ics! Thank you so much 🙂 

    • Thanks for shar­ing infor­ma­tion. It would real­ly help­ful for us. 

  4. I am so hap­py that you put this post up. I have a few pim­ples on my tem­ples and with a facial 2 times a week they are clear­ing up but I also need­ed step to see if I was on the right track and thanks to this post I can cor­rect what I was doing wrong­ly.

    I have one ques­tion I think my pim­ples are from poor diges­tion do you think a sup­ple­ment such as Enzymed­ica Digest Gold or the Enzymed­ica Digest Gold Plus Pro­bi­otics with enzyme and pro­bi­otics could help ? Should I take the enzymes and the pro­bi­otics sep­a­rate­ly or com­bined it’s fine also ? 

    Thank you

  5. Hi,
    I’m sor­ry this is off-optic, but I won­der what your opin­ion is on the safe­ty of poly­acry­lamide in cos­met­ic creams? I’ve just pur­chased a cream that I had to have deliv­ered from the US to where I live in the UK (with expen­sive ship­ping!) only to dis­cov­er on its arrival in the post that the man­u­fac­tur­er has just changed the com­po­si­tion of it to include poly­acry­lamide, a com­po­nent that was pre­vi­ous­ly absent from the ingre­di­ents list. I know that acry­lamide is said to be car­cino­genic, so I’m wor­ried! Do hap­pen to know any­thing about the safe­ty of this ingre­di­ent? I’ve had a look at some reports that say it should be OK, but I’m still unas­sured!
    Thank you so much! 

  6. Don’t use proac­tiv as it dries out your skin! 

    1st, if you have bangs or loose hair try to keep it all pulled back by a head­band or a hair tie because the oils on your hair can give you ance. 

    2nd. try some home reme­dies like i did: 

    I mixed 1 tea­spoon lemon juice with 1 tea­spoon cin­na­mon pow­der. and then I applied this paste on the pim­ples and wash it after 20 min­utes with warm water. I did this for a cou­ple of weeks, 

  7. This is great, thank you! A lot of real­ly help­ful tips and quite a reg­i­men for look­ing great with this DIY facial. Great job. 


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *