Staying hydrated, eating healthy and investing in quality skincare—these are the prime catalysts for a glowing complexion. But if you want instant results, nothing beats a good facial. What if we told you that you can ace a spa-like facial treatment from the comfort of your own home?
When life gets stressful, the best thing you can do is take a little break and indulge in some much needed self-care. While we all have our favourites, there are certain rituals that have the power to calm both your mind and your skin, and a rejuvenating facial comes at the top of this list. The comfortable feeling of slipping into a fluffy bathrobe, the scent of your favourite candles, and relaxing music playing in the background—all while your skin soaks up a nourishing face mask— is top-tier self-care.
Along with providing relaxation, self-care activities like these can also help your body release happiness-inducing hormones like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. But the benefits of treating your skin to a facial don’t end here. According to research by Dr Neena Khanna, MD, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, All India Institute of Medical Science, New Delhi, stimulating your facial muscles can help tighten skin, relieve knots, and boost circulation, ultimately leaving you with smoother and more glowing skin at the end of each session. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to step out of your house for the procedure. Whether you’re staying indoors as a Covid precaution or simply don’t want to spend money on a professional, there’s no time like the present to teach yourself the art of an at-home facial.
Performing an at-home facial is also a good opportunity to break in your skin-care tools, indulge in the skincare products you’ve been stocking up on, and get reacquainted with your skin. After all, it’s your face, and no one knows it better than you. Here’s how to start.
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Step one: Double cleanse
Every skin care procedure begins with cleansing. After all, you would require a clean slate before you proceed further. First, wash your face with an oil-based cleanser to remove any traces of makeup and then go in with a water-based cleanser to get rid of any remaining impurities and traces of oil. “If you have oily skin then make sure that your cleanser contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid and tea tree oil, while people with dry/sensitive skin should look out for ceramides and fatty acids on the ingredients list,” says Dr Hiteshi Kamboj, MD, a dermatologist based in Sirsa, Haryana.
Step two: Exfoliate
After cleansing, it’s time to exfoliate. Exfoliating your skin helps shed off the uppermost layer of dead skin cells and ensures that your skincare ingredients penetrate deeper and you get the most out of the upcoming steps. Depending on your skin type, you can either go the physical or chemical exfoliant route. If you’re picking the latter, then make sure that you don’t use more than one acid-based product at a time as it can be harsh on your skin. “But if you want a simple physical exfoliant, then simply mix equal parts granulated sugar and honey to concoct a DIY face scrub,” says Dr Kamboj.
Step three: Mask
Think of a face mask like a nourishing supplement for your face. And while picking a face mask, make your decision based on whatever current issues your skin is facing. If it is prone to breakouts, go for clay-based. If it feels dry, pick one with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. For reducing fine lines and aiding collagen production, get something that contains peptides and antioxidants like Vitamin C. Leave your face mask on for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then subtly wipe it off with a damp washcloth. If you’re using a sheet mask then let it stay on while you steam your face.
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Step four: Steam
When it comes to at-home spa treatments, nothing comes in more handy than your steamer. But if you don’t own any steaming equipment, then simply fill in a vessel with boiling water and position your face over the vessel with a towel over your head to let your pores open up. According to research by Dr Jeong Woo Lee, School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA, steam opens up congested pores, releases trapped sebum and increases skin’s permeability, enabling it to better absorb topical ingredients. Steaming your face also improves blood flow, which is known to make your skin more firm. A study by Dr Poulami Basu, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Louisville School of Medicine, USA, states that blood flow helps aid collagen and elastin production. Steam your face for about five to ten minutes for best results.
Step five: Moisturise
After removing your face mask and steaming your face, it’s time for deep hydration. You can either choose a nourishing face cream that contains all the essential hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, squalene and ceramides, or layer separate serums and creams in the order of thinnest to thickest consistency. Remember to put on more product than you would generally use, because the next step requires extra lubrication.
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Step Six: Massage
After applying your moisturising creams and hydrating serums, it’s time for the final and most important step of your at-home facial treatment—massage. According to a study by Dr Elisa Caberlotto, L’Oréal Research and Innovation, Chevilly Larue, France, a stimulating facial massage helps increase skin-blood flow, and when used in conjunction with the right skincare ingredients, it can significantly reduce signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. To give yourself a professional-like facial massage, start from the chin area and gently stroke outwards. Then slowly follow the same technique to massage your entire face. You can use your fingers or even better, the Gua Sha tool you’ve been meaning to use for a long time. Just make sure that you don’t bruise yourself.
While an at-home facial can be incredibly beneficial for your skin, it’s easy to get carried away and enter dangerous territory. Invasive procedures like chemical peels, micro-needling or LED treatments are best left to the professionals. Just because you can easily buy this equipment online, doesn’t mean you have to experiment with it.
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