Cleansing: Easy at-home facials

Get gorgeous skin instantly when you pamper at home

Sun, pollution and extreme weather conditions are all factors when it comes to the state of your skin. Your face is the one part of your body that is exposed all year round, says Della Bayani, owner of Studio de la Vida spa in Yorkville, Toronto. So it’s important to care for it with a regular routine and regime.

“A facial will help you retexture and re-mineralize your skin and prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging,” says Lisa MacDormand, owner of Remedy Facial Bar & Spa in Halifax. MacDormand says skin cell turnover decreases as we age, and regular facials help to plump-up skin cells, lock-in moisture and freshen the skin.

“After a facial your skin will look dewy, will glow and be highly oxygenated,” says MacDormand.

Although facials can be done in the privacy of your home on a regular basis, both Bayani and MacDormand advise going to a professional aesthetician at least once every change of season for a skin analysis and recommendations based on your personal needs.

We asked these two experts for some tips to performing the perfect at-home facial.

Pre-facial pointers

To create a relaxed atmosphere, Bayani likes to dim the lights and play soft, soothing music. Light candles and keep a large glass of water close by to re-hydrate while performing your facial. Bayani says you must take your time and not rush through the process.

Steps for the perfect facial

Generally a facial consists of two parts: the first half involves cleansing, steaming and the extraction of impurities, while the second half includes a massage, masque and final application of moisturizer. While most of these steps can be carried out at home, both Bayani and MacDormand recommend that the extraction of blackheads and other blemishes only be performed by a professional.

· Cleanse: Perform your normal cleansing routine, which should include makeup remover, cleanser and a toner. Makeup remover is an important step that should not be forgotten, says Bayani, since it truly eliminates traces of mascara and foundation that can be harmful if left on the skin overnight.
· Exfoliate: Use a gentle exfoliant to eliminate dead skin cells, paying particular attention to the T-zone area. Bayani says an at-home skin-care regime should include exfoliation once a week. Look for products with a papaya enzyme or bromelain (pineapple) enzyme that will not be harsh on the skin. Massage the exfoliant gently over forehead, cheeks, nose and chin.
· Steam: Steaming helps to open up pores and expose blemishes and impurities. It also prepares skin for the next step in your facial: a masque. Bayani says steaming time should depend on skin type—for sensitive skin steaming should be less than five minutes, for dry skin, steam for eight minutes and for oily skin you can steam for up to 10 minutes.
· Masque: Facial masques allow you to deeply cleanse your skin. Bayani says you should apply a face masque at least once a week. Make sure you choose a product made for your skin type. After performing the steps above, smooth the facial masque onto your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin, avoiding the eyes and mouth. Find a place to lie back and relax while waiting for the masque to dry. Depending on skin type and product, facial masques can be left on from anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes.
· Massage: Bayani suggests a gentle massage after removing your masque to stimulate the flow of blood and nourish the skin. Facial massages should be done with the tips of the fingers in gentle, rotating circles along the brow bone, cheeks and down to the chin. Once again, the amount of massage time depends on skin type: sensitive skin needs a light massage; dry skin requires a more invigorating approach; while, oily skin can undergo more pressure.
· Moisturize: Lock in the re-hydrating qualities of a facial with a final application of your preferred moisturizer. To pick the perfect moisturizer, you must determine your skin type.
Post-facial tips
· Take time to relax, if possible.
· Drink plenty of water after your facial and avoid the sun.
· Do not put anything on your face for at least eight hours, says Bayani. “You have already treated your face for the day.”
· Do not use makeup immediately after. “The last thing your want is a dirty compact and brush on your face,” says MacDormand. If you must dress your face with cosmetics, be sure your brushes or sponges are sanitized.