With many states and cities issuing shelter in place orders, people are being asked to stay at home and practice social distancing. For those experiencing anxiety or stress, self-care is an important way to cope, and an at-home facial could be a way to both take care of your mind and your body.
With salons and spas closed and social distancing in effect, those who receive regular beauty services are no longer able to make appointments for their regular facials making at-home skincare a must-do. But even for those who don’t regularly visit the spa, beginning a skincare routine or participating in an at-home facial can be soothing.
Regardless of whether you fall into the routine beauty service camp or you want to form a new self-care ritual, learning how to create a facial routine may be a self-isolation activity to pursue.
To make sure you’re getting the best at-home facial, Bustle reached out to a dermatologist and esthetician about the steps you should be taking and the products to use in order to ensure your skin thrives, even when social distancing.
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1. Wash Your Hands
The first piece of advice dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, MD, FAAD has is simple and more important than ever. Wash your hands. Before beginning the process of your at-home facial, use soap and water to cleanse your hands for at least 20 seconds before beginning any part of the routine.
2. Cleanse Your Face
Once you’ve washed your hands, it’s time to gently but effectively clean your face. Both Dr. King and esthetician Josie Holmes of SKINNEY Medspa recommend an oil cleanser. Holmes explains, "First up is to remove any makeup and thoroughly cleanse the skin. If you live in a heavily populated area or a big city, I always recommend a double cleanse. I love the Caudalie Make-Up Removing Cleansing Oil! This product will help to melt off any makeup you have on your face prior to using your second cleanser. Cleansers will vary per person, as you pick the type of cleanser you will use dependent on your skin type. Make sure to massage your cleanser in for at least 60 seconds."
If you’ve never used an oil cleanser before, don’t fret. Dr. King explains the best way to do. "Gently work the oil into your face, neck and under your chin. Spend 1-2 minutes massaging this in with your fingertips, and then wet your hands to turn the oil into an emulsion and go over the face again, massaging all areas. Then rinse with warm water."
Up next is exfoliation. Dr. King recommends a gentle physical scrub, particularly one from Schaf Skincare which is made from lava particles and bamboo beads that more gentle than many other manual exfoliants.
"Made from lava particles from France and bamboo beads, combined with African shea butter and hyaluronic acid, it gently polishes away dead skin cells and leaves the skin hydrated and moisturized," says Dr. King. "Mix a small amount with a tiny bit of water to create a paste and massage gently around the face with your fingertips for about a minute, working upwards from your neck and under your skin up the sides of your nose and outwards over the forehead coming down the sides of your face, being careful around the eyes. Then rinse clean and pat dry."
As for Holmes, she prefers enzymatic exfoliation to physical scrubs. She recommends Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator which she explains uses "chemically exfoliating enzymes as well as mechanical exfoliants. Dermalogica’s product is a powder that you mix with water to create your scrub; it turns into a very fine polish that helps to manually exfoliate the skin while utilizing its enzyme component to chemically loosen the bonds between skin cells." Holmes also says that if you want an extra bit of luxury, you can purchase an at-home facial steamer as well.
4. Use A Toner
While Dr. King doesn’t have toning as part of her facial routine, it’s a step that Holmes recommends. Toning can be used for a multitude of different things, and all of them are dependent on your skin type. Most commonly, however, toners are used a way of balancing your skin post-cleanse, add hydration, and allow for better absorption of follow-up products. With this in mind, Holmes utilizes Caudalie toners for their gentleness and hydrating properties.
Holmes says you should give yourself a facial massage, but don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be complicated. "For those of you who like to keep things simple, I suggest finding a skincare oil you like and grabbing a jade roller," Holmes tells Bustle. "You want to be using outward sweeping motions to help move lymph into the right direction. Facial massage helps to promote circulation, relaxes the muscles, increase product absorption, and just feels so good."
Both Dr. King and Holmes recommend a mask as one of the final steps in your at-home facial. Dr. King says, "Your skin should already feel softer and look clearer, and the exfoliation has prepared it to absorb all of the helpful ingredients in a mask!" She recommends the Sunrise Service sheet mask from Loops, a new line of hydrogel masks. The Sunrise Service mask is rich in baobab oil, pumpkin extract, flower extracts and a probiotic, designed to hydrate, moisturize, brighten, smooth, depuff and protect from free radicals. All of the Loops masks are compostable, cruelty free and free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates and synthetic fragrances."
As for Holmes, she says any type of mask will work be it a sheet mask, cream mask, or even a DIY mask. Simply choose one that addresses the skin concerns you have.
Your final step in your facial should be to finish your skin care routine as usual. For most, this means using your serums, moisturizer, and SPF. Dr. King recommends Schaf Skincare’s moisturizer thanks to its hyaluronic acid for moisture, hemp oil for Omega 3 and Omega 6, and antioxidants. As for Holmes, she simply explains that you should use your regular routine as your last step.
While you may not be able to head out to your favorite spa, these at-home facial tips should still keep your skin (and hopefully your mind, too) in great shape.
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