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.
- For dry, dehydrated, sensitized skin: One Love Organics Chia Whip or Vitamin B Cleansing Oil (what I use)
- For oily, acne, or congested skin: ARCONA Kiwi Bar, Kahina Facial Cleanser
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.
- Dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin: May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt, Skin Apotheke Organic Radiance Ubtan Scrub (mix with water to create a paste and gently massage onto skin)
- Larger pores, oily skin: May Lindstrom Skin The Clean Dirt, Skin Apotheke Organic Clarifying Ubtan Scrub (mix with water to create a paste and gently massage onto skin)
- Current acne breakout, congested skin: One Love Organics Brand New Day, Naturopathica Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Peel
- Very sensitive, thin skin: Naturopathica Sweet Cherry Brightening Peel
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.
- For ALL skin types, especially dry, dehydrated, sensitized skin: Epicuren Hydrating Mask, ARCONA Wine Hydrating Mask, Acure Organics Argan Stem Cell + CGF Facial Mask
- For non-sensitive, congested, or rough skin: May Lindstrom Skin The Problem Solver (I am obsessed with this – read my review)
- Do-it-yourself (DIY) option: Pure Manuka Honey (apply to your face like any other mask and leave on 10–15 minutes). Don’t use this if you’re allergic to bee products.
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.
- For ALL skin types: alcohol-free witch hazel toner, calendula hydrosol, lavender hydrosol, rosemary hydrosol
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.
- For oily and acne-prone skin or humid climates: MUN No. 1 Aknari Nighttime Dream Youth Serum (I love this for oily/acne skin – read my review)
- For dry, dehydrated ski or dry/non-humid climates: Lina Hanson Global Face Serum
- For dry, mature skin or for anti-aging benefits: May Lindstrom Skin The Youth Dew (this is spectacular — read the review here)
- For acne scars, irritation, rough patches, or cystic acne: Kahina 100% Organic Argan Oil, Skin Apotheke Radiance Renewal Face Oil
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.
- For ALL skin types: Kahina Facial Lotion (what I currently use – it’s basic, natural, non-greasy, and does not cause breakouts)
- For very oily and acne-prone skin, or humid climates: ARCONA Magic White Ice
- For very sensitive, damaged, very dry, or dehydrated skin: May Lindstrom Skin The Blue Cocoon
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).