I've been a Byrdie editor for almost a year, and in the past 10 months alone, I've had more people scrub, stroke, massage, and poke my face than I have in all of my 25 years combined. (FYI: This is far from a complaint.) In fact, receiving frequent facials and having the opportunity to pick the minds of some of the best estheticians in the business has transformed not only my skin but also the way I think about and approach skincare in general. It's also reinforced just how diverse facials can be depending on who you see, what their expertise entails, and what their overall essence and approach is. Another discovery: Just when you think you've experienced every kind of facial imaginable, you find out you haven't. Which was exactly what happened a month or so ago when I had the opportunity to experience a famed facial from holistic skin guru Tammy Fender. (She's also the mastermind behind her own line of organic plant-based skincare, which every Byrdie editor is unequivocably addicted to.)
For the record, I have never received a facial that's anything short of amazing. However, if push came to shove, I might have to say that the magical work Fender did on my skin (and my entire body and soul, for that matter) is quite possibly the best I've ever experienced. Heading into my appointment, I felt frazzled, emotionally fragile, and sleep-deprived, but after just one hour with Fender, I left feeling healed, rejuvenated, and as if I had just been on a weeklong meditation. Essentially, an appointment with Fender is strategically designed to embody a holistic experience for both the mind and the body. Each treatment is customized based on individual needs and goals, and Fender utilizes her unique product line, which is carefully formulated with some of the single rarest and most skin-enhancing plant extracts you can find.
According to her website, the treatment is ultimately designed to heal the skin (and soul!) through "replenishment, restoration, and balance, drawing inner radiance from every cell while aligning the skin, body, mind, and spirit." Sounds dreamy, right? Since after just one facial I was already addicted to the wondrous pacification and glow I received, I thought I'd tap Fender for a few of her best tips and lessons for getting the same kind of experience at home. (Don't worry—the list isn't exhaustive and is meant to highlight just four of her most important takeaways when it comes to giving yourself an at-home facial.) Keep reading for all of Fender's very best holistically inclined skin tips.
1. Embrace Mother Nature
"As a holistic practitioner, I work with every client to bring the whole being into balance—skin, body, mind, and spirit—and each person is so different! Of course, after over 25 years of working in this way and using healing medicinal plants with a focus on healing the skin, I’ve developed a technical expertise and an intuitive knowing about what each person needs," Fender explains. "The skin is our largest organ, and it very easily shows what is happening overall, and often, imbalances can manifest in the skin first. For me, my hands-on work in the treatment room is really inspired by both my deep affinity for the plant kingdom and its medicinal remedies and by my wish to help others."
Our at-home facial tip? Even something as simple as a morning or evening walk can serve as chicken soup for the soul and skin. Not only can getting outside help you to feel a little more grounded, but some extra circulation is also great for boosting your complexion with a rosy glow. Or, like Fender, try incorporating more plant-based skincare items into your routine. For one, they smell amazing, and two, high-quality brands like Fender's line will usually source said plants organically and sustainably, which both your skin and the planet will appreciate.
2. Don't Skimp on Your Cleanse
"While I customize facial treatments at every step, each treatment really focuses on purifying the skin and providing a wealth of healing nourishment and stimulating renewal," says Fender. The first and most important step? Giving yourself a clean, ultra-pure starting place. "Cleansing the skin purges and refines the pores, removing any impurities or environmental stressors, which detoxifies the tissues. My personal approach is to lavish the skin with rich, natural remedies and medicinal herbs that nurture healing growth and renew elasticity."
To take your cleansing ritual to the next level, Fender recommends incorporating some massage into your at-home facial, which she says will encourage renewed vitality. "Gentle rhythmic massage techniques increase circulation, flush the tissues clean, and stimulate cellular turnover."
3. Adopt a Double-Masking Routine
"I created my mask collection so that everyone can experience the radiance of my favorite natural remedies at home. My favorite at-home protocol is a double mask, beginning with Epi-Peel, my micro-exfoliator and peel all-in-one with spearmint and Moroccan rosemary, and followed with either Purifying Luculent Masque ($215) or Restorative Radiance Masque ($235)," Fender says.
Using a circular motion, first apply the Epi-Peel, which "gently resurfaces the skin, removing impurities and opening the pores," and let it sit on the skin for at least 10 minutes, she recommends.
Next up: a luxurious mask. "Either mask I mentioned offers a wealth of highly active traditional plant medicines," Fender tells us. "The Purifying Luculent Masque, the ultimate detoxifier, brings together fo-ti and great burdock to restore skin's clarity. The Restorative Radiance Masque, made with a majestic blend of lotus, jasmine, and baobab, supports cellular regeneration, elasticity, and resilience."
"For me, creating a gentle ritual around this process offers deep, simple self-care," explains Fender. Oh, and she also tells us that while at home, one of her favorite tips is to use a small marble bowl to cool a small portion of one of the treatment masks in the fridge before lathering it all over the face. "I also like to let the mask absorb without being on my phone or on the computer, if possible. It's such a pleasure to just hold onto the beautiful feeling of self-care, really recognizing that and savoring it."
4. Eat From the Earth
Since Fender's approach to holistic healing is "all-encompassing and supports a renewal of vibrant vitality for the whole being," another easy at-home tip she recommends is scrounging for food fare that's clean and whole—that is, if you can, try to avoid "nourishing" your body with anything that's overly processed.
"The idea of creating a holistic lifestyle can sound daunting, but it doesn't need to be complicated. It's really about simplifying, taking small steps, and living in our most natural state. For some, that might mean eating more pure, natural foods or making more time for resting soundly and deeply. Some might need more exercise or more time experiencing the wonder of the natural world."