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7 Steps to Mastering the Perfect At-Home Facial

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7 Steps to Mastering the Perfect At-Home Facial featured image
Photo Credits: Getty Images

For the majority of us working—or trying to stay busy—from home, it’s fair to say our skin-care stashes look more tempting than ever. If today’s (and tomorrow’s) plans includes an at-home facial with all the goodies that have been collecting dust, you’re in the right place. Below, seven steps to perfecting the at-home facial, straight from the masters.

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Heed Professional Advice
With all of this newfound free time, it might sound easier to apply every skin-care product you can find than carefully reading labels, but celebrity aesthetician Ildi Pekar says we should be picky about what we put on our skin. “Communicate with your aesthetician to see what the best-fitting products are for your skin,” she says. If your dermatologist has pointed you in the right direction in the past when it comes to products, heed that advice now.

Cleanse, Then Cleanse Again
“One crucial piece of a facial that sets you on a path to glowing skin is the double cleansing massage,” says Janet Schriever, aesthetician and founder of skin-care brand Code of Harmony. “Your first cleanse is to remove makeup, sunscreen, skin-care products and pollution. The second cleanse where the magic happens, so don’t rush it!”

A general rule of thumb is to use an oil-based cleanser for the first cleanse—this will dissolve all of the hard-to-remove nasties—before following up with a cleanser better suited for your specific skin type. However, Schriever loves an oil cleanser for both steps because it makes for the easiest deep-cleansing massage. 

Use a Facial Steamer
If you happen to have an at-home facial steamer (I highly recommend) now is the time to use it—be sure it’s on clean skin—in order for pores to open and better absorb the nutrients you’re about to apply. Pro tip: Fill the steamer with distilled water, not tap, to ensure no heavy metals commonly found in tap water enter pores and hinder a glow. 

Master the Massage
“Once you have the right products ready, don’t just simply apply them, but give yourself a facial massage,” adds Pekar. Her all-time favorite tool: the Gua Sha, which she says helps to penetrate products, reduce puffiness and sculpt the face. “Thoroughly massaging the face during cleansing will stimulate the pores to release blockages, loosen dead skin, relax facial muscles, and prep the skin for the rest of your facial,” adds Shriever.

Set a Timer
“If you don’t know how to massage your face, don’t worry. Close your eyes and gently massage in circular motions, spending a little extra time on textured or congested areas,” explains Shriever. “Let it be about how your skin feels under your touch, not technique. I tell clients to set a timer for two minutes while massaging the cleanser in. That way you will be sure that you aren’t rushing your cleanse!”

Don’t Skip Exfoliation
Heather Wilson, aesthetician and director of brand development for skin-care brand InstaNatural, says the exfoliation step in a facial is what really sets it apart from your daily routine. “Depending on the level of exfoliation your skin needs, you can pick an at-home chemical peel or an exfoliating mask that contains physical exfoliation properties to buff the skin.”

Finish Strong
After a mist of a calming, balancing toner, Wilson’s recommended last step is a light layer of a soothing hydrator—nothing containing acids or retinols “as applying these after exfoliation can result in dryness or irritation. Instead, look for soothing moisturizers that contain antioxidants and nourishing oils.”

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