There’s just something about a spa that I love – the relaxing ambiance, the music that puts you at ease, and the treatments that leave you feeling refreshed and revived. As much as I like going to the spa to unwind and enjoy a monthly facial, it’s not always feasible, especially budget-wise.
Living in a busy and fast-paced place like Chicago makes you want to get away from the hustle and bustle for a little R&R. If you’re low on budget or you can’t seem to squeeze extra time into your schedule to go to the spa, you can always bring the spa to your home. Indulge in a spa-level facial in the comfort of your own home with these five simple steps:
Spas offer you tea before your treatment and the reason is simple: to relax you. So make a pot of tea and have a few sips before you start your facial. Set the mood by lighting some candles or bring out your diffuser and mix it with essential oils that relax you. Finally, pick a playlist of soothing tunes.
Step 1: Cleansing
Start your treatment by cleansing with a gentle face wash. If you have makeup on, do a double cleanse. My personal favorite facial cleanser is Honest Beauty Purify + Refresh Gentle Gel Cleanser. It's day-and-night skincare staple for an honestly refreshing clean, this gentle facial cleanser removes makeup and impurities in one step with a gel formula that doesn’t over dry skin. Made with a botanical blend of soothing chamomile and calendula, it helps calm skin as it cleanses any skin type. To mimic the cleansing method you’d get from the spa, massage your face with the cleanser a little longer than you normally would before washing it off. Towels can be harsh when rubbed against skin so opt for a facial tissue or a soft washcloth instead to wipe your face.
Step 2: Steaming
Once you have a clean and fresh face, the next step is to steam your face. Doing this opens up and unclogs your pores, making it easier for your skin to absorb products. Plus it enhances blood flow and circulation. If you don’t own a facial steamer, you can always create a DIY steamer. All you need is a bowl, towel, hairband and some hot water. Pour some boiling water into a large bowl, hold your face close enough to the steam (but not too close), and drape a towel over your head so the steam doesn’t escape. Aim to do this for about 10 minutes.
Post-steaming, a spa therapist usually proceeds with extraction. Even if you can see blackheads, I’d skip this step if I were you and leave it to professionals. Poor extraction can lead to possible scarring. However, if you’re knowledgeable enough to do it yourself, then kudos to you! DO NOT squeeze any active or inflamed blemishes as this will only spread bacteria to the surrounding skin, and before you know it, you’ll scar your skin and might even wake up to more pimples.
Step 3: Exfoliating
Rather than extracting, a painless option to get rid of blackheads is to exfoliate. Post-steaming, your pores are open, making it the perfect time to exfoliate and slough off dead skin cells. Go for a gentle scrub, such as Mizon Honey Black Sugar Scrub, and apply it using upwards, circular motions. Remember, rubbing the scrub hard against your skin won’t make it more effective! Be kind to your skin by massaging the exfoliate with light, gentle pressure.
I’m a sucker for facial masks so I look forward to this part of the facial the most. Experimenting with different types of masks is like a hobby to me, so over the years I’ve purchased and tried plenty of masks. My current collection consists of various clay masks, eye gel patches, sheet masks and exfoliating face masks.
Feel free to play around with this step and pick a mask that suits your skin’s needs. If your skin is feeling dry, go for a more moisturizing mask like Skinfood's Rice Mask Wash Off. For a deep cleanse, Skin&Lab's Glacial Clay Facial Mask will give you the desired results. The Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask from Dear, Klairs is ideal for sensitive skin types, while those with mature or aging skin should go for the Mario Badescu Super Collagen Mask. You can also multi-mask if you have combination skin or wish to tackle more than one skin concern at a time.
Remember the old days when girls would apply a face mask and add two slices of cucumber on each eye? You can still do that but instead of freshly sliced cucumbers, add soothing, hydrating and brightening hydrogel eye patches for some extra pampering.
Step 5: Complete with your skin care routine
Cleanse: check. Steaming: check. Exfoliating: check. Masking: check! A facial wouldn’t be complete without applying your skin care products so bring out your favorites for the final steps.
For a simple routine, start with a toner to instantly hydrate and soothe your skin, followed by a serum. Seal everything in with a moisturizer and finish with your daily sunscreen (for day time) or add a sleeping mask (for night time).
And there you have it, a simple yet effective spa-level facial that you can do right at home! Normally, a facial lasts for 60 minutes but one of the advantages of an at-home facial is that you have control over how long it lasts. Pressed for time? No problem, bring it down to a 45 or even 30-minute facial.