Some people have mastered bread baking during this quarantine, while others have mastered the at-home facial (whilst eating bread). We’re in the latter camp, btw, and in lieu of getting any facials or massages, we’ve become pretty resourceful at giving ourselves a spa-like treatment at home. Ahead, our secrets and the best products that have upgraded our DIY facials tenfold.
How can I give myself a facial at home?
We'll walk you through the basic steps below (but if you're more of a visual learner, you can watch the video above).
Step 1: Set the mood. One of the best parts about getting a spa facial is the ambience of it all, right? Don’t let your at-home treatment be any different. Light a candle, play some calming music and dim the lights before you get started.
Step 2: Cleanse and prep your skin. We recommend starting with a double cleanse to get your skin nice and clean before applying any other treatments. Use a cleansing oil (jojoba or coconut oil also work in a pinch) on dry skin to rub off any makeup. Rinse and then, use your regular face wash (or a cleansing wipe) to remove any remaining dirt and oil.
Step 3: Steam your skin. If you own a facial steamer, grab it. (Our favorite one is below in case you're in the market for one.) If you don't, grab a pot and fill it with water, bringing it to a simmer. Turn off the stove and carefully transfer the water to a bowl. Lean over the bowl, keeping your face about a foot above the water. Hold a towel over the back of your head like a tent to trap escaping steam for about five to ten minutes.
Step 4: Time to exfoliate. While your skin is still slightly damp from the steam, apply an even layer of an exfoliating mask all over. (If you have sensitive skin, you can just stick to specific areas of congestion like the nose and chin.) Let it sit for up to ten minutes or as directed on the label, then rinse clean.
Step 5: Apply face oil. Apply a few drops of face oil onto your face and neck. This will give your skin a boost of moisture and provide some slip for the next step (which is our favorite).
Step 6: Give yourself a face massage. We find that a face roller or Gua Sha tool is best for this, but you can always use your fingertips as well. More on that below.
Step 7: Finish off with moisturizer. Seal everything in with your favorite moisturizer. Gently spread it onto your face, making sure not to neglect the neck, and work the cream into your skin until it’s mostly absorbed.
How can I give myself a facial massage at home?
If you're using a roller or Gua Sha, the key thing to remember is to start with upward and outward strokes along the cheeks and under the eyes and forehead, and end with downward strokes along the sides of your neck to drain any fluids from your face.
If you're using your fingertips, take your thumb and index finger and gently pinch your eyebrows from inner to outer corner. Repeat five times. Then, take your index and middle fingers and rub them over your temples in a circular motion for a few seconds to release any tension. Next, using those same fingers, gently sweep them under your eyes, toward the center of your face, and then up and over your brows to create a circular shape. Repeat five times. And finally, glide your fingertips from your temples down the sides of your face and neck to push any accumulated fluids away. For extra puffy days, take your knuckles and sweep them across your cheeks from your nose to your ears.
Alright, now that you're an amateur aesthetician, let's talk shop so you're equipped for your home spa day.
1. Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer
Soothing qualities aside, steaming your skin can temporarily increase circulation and help you get a deeper clean. Though the steam doesn't "open up your pores" as is commonly believed, it softens any waxy or solid buildup in your pores so they drain out more easily. This pro pick envelops your mug in luxurious cloud of micro-steam that feels downright heavenly.
2. Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
Formulated with natural BHA and enzymes, this decadent face mask reduces the appearance of pores and improves the overall texture and tone of your skin. Pink clay absorbs excess oils and buildup from the surface, while pomegranate enzymes brighten. Use weekly to reset skin (and dab a little over blemishes to shrink them overnight).
3. Naked Poppy Revitalize Face Oil
Rose oil is often used as a natural alternative to retinol thanks to its ability leave skin looking firmer, smoother and brighter. (Kate Middleton is reportedly a fan). This one is formulated with Rosa Rubiginosa, which is high in unsaturated fats like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that soothe the outer skin layer without causing breakouts. We also love that it's sourced from a women-led sustainable farm in Patagonia.
4. Josh Rosebrook Vital Balm Cream
This certified organic moisturizer combines the nourishing benefits of a rich balm with the absorption of a lighter cream so you get ample hydration without any heavy residue. Aloe vera, honey, avocado oil and vitamin E provide long-lasting moisture, while hyaluronic acid, ashwagandha, turmeric and goji berry enrich and soothe your complexion.
5. Jenny Patinkin Rose on Rose Face Roller Petite
This mini rose quartz roller is perfect for targeting smaller areas like under the eyes and between the brows, which often need the most help in terms of lifting and smoothing. We’ve also found that the shorter handle gives us better control while rolling. Pop it in the fridge for even more de-puffing benefits. Pop in in your purse (or pocket) for a mini moment of stress relief whenever you need it.
6. NuFace Trinity Facial Toning Kit
A favorite of many skincare pros and celebrities alike, this handheld device delivers mild electrical currents to stimulate collagen and elastin production in your skin, while also toning the facial muscles underneath. To get maximum lifting, it’s best used regularly (near daily if possible) in five minutes sessions.
7. SkinOwl The Glow Stick
Harry called, he wants his wand back. Jokes aside, fans of this tool swear by its magic. Encrusted with 20 germanium stones, the slender wand emits negative electrons to energize and rebalance skin. Apply a few drops of your favorite oil or serum and roll in vertical and horizontal swipes to boost circulation and contour your face.
8. Touch+Glow 2 by Shellie Goldstein
If you’re missing your monthly facials right about now, might we suggest this portable acupressure kit? Created by Shellie Goldstein, one of the leading experts on cosmetic facial acupuncture, this set of wands combines acupressure with magnetic therapy and the aforementioned germanium to promote lymphatic drainage (which reduces puffiness) and boost circulation (which brightens your complexion). Each set comes with a waterproof silicone case and a step-by-step guide to walk you through the treatment.
9. Georgia Louise Cryo Freeze Tools
Anyone else dealing with allergies lately? These cooling wands are a godsend for any pollen related puffiness and, um, puffiness in general (we’re looking at you, can of Pringles). Made with stainless steel, they feel amazing against itchy eyes and inflamed skin. The brainchild of celebrity facialist Georgia Louise, these will give you a spa-like cryo facial in the comfort of your own home. Tip: Store them in the freezer overnight to intensify the cooling effect.