When life gets a little chaotic, there are few self-care rituals that calm both our minds and our complexions as well as an at-home facial does. Especially when it feels almost as good as the real thing, thanks to a few choice tips we've picked up from the pros.
So, queue up your "chillax" playlist (or Netflix), light a fancy candle, and prepare for some much-deserved R&R. Our go-to tricks will get you there—and your face will thank you. Read on to learn how to give yourself a spa-like facial at home.
Meet the Expert
- Jennifer Herrmann, MD, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist based in Beverly Hills, California.
- Nicole Hatfield is an esthetician for POMP Beauty, an online skincare consultation service.
- Candace Marino is a Los Angeles-based medical aesthetician.
Think Like a Facialist
Select your products like an editor but put them into practice like a skin pro. Whenever we receive a professional beauty treatment (facial or otherwise), we're not just taking notes to relay to our dear readers—we're mentally filing them away for ourselves, too. Ask your esthetician questions about the products they're using, why they're using them, and what they recommend at home for your skin type.
This also means taking a multistep approach, rather than just slapping on a mask and calling it a day. It's your facialist's job to customize and kick the treatment up a notch according to your complexion and issues, but consider this your general roadmap:
Got it? Good.
Enlist in Some Power Tools
It's an easy (and fun) way to add a professional touch to your spa sesh—and you don't have to shell out big bucks to do it. Try a derma-roller (like one of our favorites from Stacked Skincare) to iron out acne scars and fine lines, or use a blackhead extractor to clear the gunk out of your pores.
Feeling extravagant? Spring for the NuFace Trinity. "It helps to tone, lift, contour, and smooth the skin by delivering energy to the tissues and the muscles. The current helps stimulate collagen synthesis and helps keep our elastin strong. You can literally give yourself an instant facelift with this device, and with long term daily use, you will see incredible results," explains Marino.
If you're looking to go all out with an at-home treatment, consider adding the Vital Red Light to your facial routine. "The Vital Red Light is equipped with industry-leading, medical-grade 5-watt LED lights that are not only effective but get the job done in less time... A 10-minute treatment daily will aid in skin rejuvenation, collagen stimulation, reduction of inflammation (the key trigger to the aging process), and reduction in redness," she says.
Blow Off Some Steam
In addition to helping draw dirt, oil, and grime out of pores, facial steam just feels so relaxing. It's easy to DIY, too: Heat some water over the stove, and add a mix of dried flowers or tea—plain lemon slices are fine, too. After letting it simmer and steep for a few minutes, pour the mixture into a large bowl, and drape a towel over your head and the bowl so the steam has no other place to escape. Stay put for about five minutes.
Click Play to Learn At-Home Facial Massage Techniques
Relax the Face With a Massage
Facial massage is just as much a part of proper treatment as the products themselves; it boosts circulation and lymph flow and may help ensure that the formulas penetrate deeply. Gently massage your products into your skin in a circular motion, and switch to light tapping with your fingers on the delicate skin surrounding your eyes. When your skin needs a little extra TLC, take a facial massage to the next level with a leave-on balm.
"My current obsession right now is [the] Rinascita Delle Olive Replenishing Balm from Furtuna Skin. This is a reparative and healing balm made from a natural blend of medicinal wild foraged botanicals that rejuvenate the skin while restoring the luminosity of the skin... The balm melts into an oil that works as a beautiful medium for facial massage, and once finished can be left on the skin," says Marino.
Amp Up Your Massage Technique
To up the ante with your massage technique, try using a jade roller. "Jade rollers can help promote relaxation and if there is excess fluid/swelling in the skin, using a jade roller can help stimulate lymphatic drainage," explains Herrmann. For an optimal jade rolling experience, Hatfield says to roll it in upward and outward motions. "You should try to avoid dragging your skin down with the facial roller," she adds.
Try a Peel
Facial peels take that exfoliating step a notch further, promising to chemically resurface dead skin to reveal a brighter, younger complexion underneath. It's the ultimate fast track to a radiant glow. If you're looking to add a peel to your at-home facial regimen, Hatfield says the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial AHA + BHA Mask and the Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Extra Strength Daily Peel are great starting points.
These peels "won't actually lead to peeling as they are self-neutralizing," Hatfield says. "It is not safe to do a highly concentrated chemical peel on your own at home, but these concentrated [over-the-counter] products can resurface the skin and hold you over until your next professional peel," she explains.
Double-Team Your Masks
Even if you're too time-strapped to do anything else on our list, try this for a near-instant face refresh—it feels SO good. For an experience that comes close to a facial at the spa, Marino likes to use an exfoliating mask, then follow with a hydrating one. "The Kora Organics Mask Duo contains the Turmeric Brightening and Exfoliating Mask to polish the skin and break down cellular debris [...]. I leave this on 5 to 10 minutes and follow with the Noni Glow Sleeping Mask, which addresses the hydration of the skin and can be left on overnight to sleep in. You'll wake up with a soft, plump complexion, fewer fine lines, and an insane glow," she says.
Treat Your Skin With a Serum
Dullness got you down? Looking to obliterate those blackheads? Consider targeting any specific issues with a serum. "Serums are a great way to deliver concentrated ingredients into the skin that help to treat your skin concerns. I highly recommend investing in high-quality professional-grade skin serums that can make real changes to your skin over time," explains Hatfield.
Stock Up on Some Water
You might be inclined to ignore this step, but don't: Any skin-pampering session requires replenishment. "Drinking water is important because when skin cells are adequately hydrated, they function optimally, meaning they optimally absorb nutrients and generate collagen and elastin most efficiently," says Herrmann. Besides, do you ever really need an occasion to knock back some H2O?
Cleveland Clinic. 5 myths about massage therapy. Updated June 24, 2020.