🔶A Guide to at Home Facials 🔶

I usually do my facials Sunday night, just to start the week with clean, smooth skin and if needed I will do another mini facial Wednesday or Thursday. Sunday's are also a good night to detox the skin from the debauchery of the weekend.
Whether its eating a fatty cheat meal, or indulging in an alcoholic beverage or two or dancing the night away in a smoky night club, chances are your skin can use a detox from the fun filled weekend. I will walk you through the steps as well as the exact products I use for an at home facial.

1. Cleanse:
Starting with clean skin, free of makeup or dirt. If you wear makeup daily doing weekly facials to remove oil or dirt trapped in the pores is recommended. I always start with a makeup removing wipe whenever I'm wearing foundation, it gives the cleanser a better chance of getting deep down in the pores rather than simply removing whatever makeup is on the surface of your face. For oily/acne prone skin a cleanser like the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel works wonders at clarifying and brightening the skin while the Salicyclic Acid combats bacteria and prevents breakouts. Apply clesnser on damp skin and work product into skin using circular motions, I also suggest starting at the throat and moving upwards to the forehead, this prevents unnecessary tugging on the skin, we already have gravity working against us so always work in upwards movements when washing the face or applying products.

2. Steaming
Damp heat opens pores and flushes out sweat and dirt allowing the pores to be cleaned thoroughly, also bringing oxygen rich blood to the surface of skin renewing the cells. To take steaming a step further I add herbal tea to the hot water for added benefits, my favorites are black and green tea as they provide the same antioxidant benefits to the skin as if you were drinking them.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil, add any herbs or tea of your liking, allow the herbs to steep for a minute or 2 then transfer water to a bowl. I like sitting at a desk or table with my head forward over the bowl and a towel draped over my head preventing the steam from escaping. Sit for 3-5 minutes making sure the heat is tolerable and not burning the face and if at any point you feel dizzy or lightheaded stop immediately.  I have never had such issues but I recommend starting off with 2 minutes working your way up to the full 5 minutes. This is a great step to draw out impurities and toxins from the skin making the next step much more effective.

3. Exfoliating
Now that your pores are open and clean, exfoliating removes any leftover dirt, whiteheads and blackheads as well as sloughing away dead skin cells revealing smoother, younger looking skin. For those with sensitive skin this step can be abrasive so be sure to use an exfoliator gentle enough for your skin type. For dry to normal skin once a week is enough whereas someone with oily/ combination skin can get away with every other day. As for all skin types never exfoliate sensitive skin areas or bad acne breakouts as this can make it worse, and always avoid the delicate skin around the eyes. Take note that if you use a facial brush like the Clarisonic, this is another form of exfoliating so you should alternate days when using a topical exfoliant. I swear by MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator and my new favorite the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask both really good but the PTR is more potent since it is an enzyme peel.

4. Face Mask
This simple step is an awesome tool to treating skin and reparing skin problems  like dullness, texture issues and even acne. Before you choose a mask determine a. your skin type and b. what problems do you want to address.  When it comes to masks you basically choose based on those 2 factors so for me, oily/ acne prone skin are my biggest problems so I go for clay masks that draw out dirt and removes toxins, an added bonus is it shrinks large pores over time and dries up acne. For that I use Freeman Beautiful Avocado and Oatmeal Mask or Origins Clear Improvement both equally amazing but for $4 or less the Freeman wins for being inexpensive. Another type of mask I use are peel off masks, also great for removing dead skin, treating acne and oily skin but are more nourishing than clay masks. They work but forming a plastic like layer over skin, and when fully dried can be peeled off in one piece or smaller pieces, the process of peeling pulls out everything from the pores revealing soft, fresh skin. Again I live by the Freeman Beautiful line and use the Cucumber Peel off Mask or Boscia's Luminizing Black Mask. Leave masks on for 10-15 minutes or until dry but with clay masks rinse as soon as you feel tightening or itchiness. 

5. Tone
Now after you've done all those steps to your face you want to bring the ph levels back down or up depending on what you used. Toning removes residue left from masks, soothes redness and calms the skin back to its normal state. A cheap yet effective toner that I've used for years is witch hazel, any brand will do but I prefer Thayer's or Dickinson. Another alternative I use often is Apple Cider Vinegar diluted, generally I mix 1 part ACV and 4 parts water, and adjust from there depending on if I need it stronger or more diluted.

6. Moisturize
Last and most importantly is to add moisture back into the skin. Whether you have dry or oily skin moisture is very necessary for youthful, plump looking skin. The act of aging itself is the loss of moisture in the skin, so if you don't do any other steps it is essential to moisturize your skin both day and night. 
A good moisturizer should leave skin feeling hydrated but not greasy and for daytime one that contains sunscreen is key in preventing aging and sun damage from UVA and UVB rays. I use Neutrogena Oil Free w/ Sunscreen during the day and Simple 24hr at night, I also follow with a beauty oil but that's another post in itself. 

I hope I was able to explain why facials are good and what the benefits of each step are. You may not have the time or patience to do facials weekly like I do but I urge you to try incorporating them into your routine to least monthly. Believe me your skin will thank you for it years from now. 

Until next time 

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