7 at-home facial products to turn your bathroom into a DIY spa
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to go to the spa to have great skin. While professional estheticians can do wonders for your complexion with lasers, light treatments, and microdermabrasion, there are always ways to experience the same skin care benefits with an at-home facial. With the right products and a free hour, you can unwind at the end of the day with a step-by-step DIY facial routine that will help your complexion appear brighter, more even, firmer, and clearer.
To help outline the steps for an at-home facial, we sought the advice of certified dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali of Hudson Dermatology & Laser Surgery in New York City. Below you will find her tips for getting the perfect DIY facial treatment from your own bathroom. So, light a candle, dim the lights, choose some background music and enjoy the whole experience.
1. Start with a cleanser
You need to “clean the canvas” first, so to speak, before you apply anything to it. Your skin will not benefit from the benefits of facial treatment if it is oily, dirty, or if it is wearing other products. Because you will be applying a small handful of products to the skin, it is best to choose a gentle cleanser and avoid anything that is too harsh or astringent. “This is especially important if you plan to use other products that will absorb the oils or exfoliate slightly,” Bhansusali explains. “You don’t want to overwhelm the skin or cause irritation early on.”
ELEMIS Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser
ELEMIS Foaming Cleanser is powerful enough to remove layers of makeup and oil, yet gentle enough to keep skin balanced and refreshed, especially with the many steps ahead. It cleans the pores of any build-up and stinging in the process.
2. Apply a deep cleansing mask
Follow your cleanser with an even deeper cleanser: a clay or charcoal mask that soaks up all the grime and impurities from the pores. Leave it as directed, which is usually 10 to 15 minutes, or until dry and tight. This will give your skin the detox it needs. Bhanusali loves kaolin clay masks, which give him the best pore cleansing results. Also note that you should only use a deep cleansing mask once a week at most.
Alder New York Brightening Face Mask
This firming and brightening mask is powered by kaolin clay, vitamin C and zinc oxide. Together, these ingredients remove impurities while giving the skin a more radiant appearance. Alder also puts chamomile and calendula in the recipe, which soothe and nourish the skin.
3. Use a chemical exfoliant
Save the grainy scrubs for your feet or body; just like with the cleanser, you want to choose an exfoliant that works gently, instead of overwhelming the skin. For this reason, use a chemical exfoliant, which is not as harsh as it sounds. The best are alpha hydroxy acids (AHA, like glycolic acid and lactic acid) or beta hydroxy acids (BHA, like salicylic acid). Both are naturally present in the body and work to dissolve dead skin cells and keep pores clear. Both are great options, although Bhanusali prefers BHAs: “They help exfoliate and also penetrate the sebaceous gland, to help reduce oil production. This leads to fewer breakouts.
Note the type of product you choose; some come in serum form and absorb quickly, allowing you to move on. Others look more like masks and need to be rinsed off after 5-10 minutes. Whichever you choose, follow the instructions carefully. Like a deep cleansing mask, you shouldn’t use an exfoliator every day; paste two to three times a week at most.
Caudalie Vinopure Pore Minimizing Serum with Natural Salicylic Acid
Caudalie’s anti-pore serum is a blend of essential oils, grape seed and salicylic acid. It neutralizes rashes and blackheads, while clearing pores of buildup – and reducing their appearance at the same time. This leaves the skin firmer and smoother.
4. Tone the skin – but not with a traditional toner
Once the cleansing and exfoliation steps are complete, it is often necessary to “reset” the skin’s pH. That is, to balance the skin to its natural slightly acidic levels, before applying moisturizing layers. However, many toners, in the traditional sense, contain skin-drying alcohol, which is extremely damaging and drying (and does very little to rebalance the skin). Instead, Bhanusali says to choose a moisturizing mist that promises balance and calm in the skin. Some new-age toners can even help control the oil levels in the skin.
It’s also good to look for witch hazel or tea tree oil products for this step. However, here’s one thing to note: If your exfoliating product in Step 3 was a serum rather than a peel, be sure to give it 5-10 minutes before applying any toner. Let it penetrate and impact your dead skin cells and clogged pores before applying a dab of toner on top. If you chose a gentle peel in step 3, you can proceed as normal.
Avène Eau Thermale Face Mist Spray Sensitive Skin
Avène Facial Mist is a non-traditional choice for a toner, in that it works primarily to soothe and hydrate, instead of aggressively correcting any chemistry inside the skin. A simple spray helps prevent redness, irritation and dryness, while a neutral pH helps the skin return to its healthiest and most balanced state.
5. Apply the serum – Ideally with a sheet mask
You are now moving from the cleansing and detoxifying phase of the face to the hydrating and nourishing phase. You want to start this step with the lightest layer of moisture, which conversely can penetrate the most layers of your skin: Serum, to be applied by hand, or to be absorbed through a sheet mask. “Serums are great for getting you highly concentrated ingredients, deep into the skin,” says Bhanusali. “They’re light, but they pack a punch.” They are also your shortest path to a glowing, firm complexion, especially when used daily.
Since this diet is designed to mimic a spa and slow things down, a sheet mask might make more sense. Once you are done, dab the excess serum on your face, hands, and neck.
Wolf Project Hydrating Sheet Mask, Box of 5
Wolf’s sheet masks plump skin with vitamin B3 and over 20 herbal extracts to help smooth skin tone and reduce fine lines or wrinkles. They contain aloe vera and tea tree oil to soothe the skin and neutralize blemishes, even the ones you can’t yet see.
6. Use eye masks or eye serum
Because the area around the eyes is more sensitive than the rest of your skin – and more sensitive to darkness, puffiness and wrinkles – target them with a specific serum or mask (usually two small “patches” that stick together. curl under and around the outer side of the eye). The choice is entirely up to you, but Bhanusali advises choosing a product that contains caffeine or green tea, which will stimulate circulation and supply of nutrients to the area, to prevent redness or puffiness around the eyes.
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Dark Circles Eye Cream with Caffeine
This caffeine-filled eye cream solves all eye problems in just one application. It stimulates circulation in the area and is infused with light reflecting pigments to increase brightness and harmonize with the rest of your skin.
7. Top it off with a night cream or a night mask
The very last step is a night cream or leave-in mask. Usually denser than your standard daytime moisturizer, most night creams are highly concentrated in healing and restorative ingredients. (People tend to choose very dense creams in the winter to avoid the dryness of the cold air, but it can be just as useful in the summer if you sleep in an air-conditioned room.)
Along with the serum, this overnight moisturizer will help speed up and amplify your skin’s recovery by stimulating cell renewal, which occurs quickly while you sleep. This is your best opportunity to reverse things like dark spots, acne marks, large pores, fine lines and more. You should wake up after 7-8 hours of rest with bright, radiant eyes. Plus, with continued use of these products, you will experience firmer, clearer, and younger-looking skin.
Night illuminating facial treatment with KORRES wild rose
With the superstar duo of vitamin C and wild rose extract, KORRES night cream stimulates skin hydration and reverses dark spots and fine lines. The result is plump, firm skin that glows all day.