I was never one for facials. I wasn’t opposed to them, per se, but I never thought I needed them. I always just washed my face with mild soap and warm water and moisturize with vitamin E cream or lotion. I was pretty ignorant to the whole concept really. I thought of it as something people with money or even acne mostly got, not someone that had fairly normal skin, and not to mention broke, got regularly. So, I always ignored them. Now, being 36 and very much aware of my health and self-care, I wanted to explore what facials really meant and how to properly give yourself a basic one.
Reasons for Facials
- Anti-aging – you want a youthful glow, even when you’re 80. You want to look healthy and rejuvenated and full of zest and life. Facials can help to breakdown and remove unhealthy bacteria that lies in your skin. They also aid in boosting cell regeneration. And, for real, who doesn’t want to look younger?
- Reduce stress – I believe there are pressure points that lie in our skin that when massaged and worked through thoroughly can release tension and tightness. The feeling of relaxation and relief can instantly be felt as your anxiety levels are reduced.
- Open your pores – our pours tend to get blocked through oils, dirt, dead skin cells, and even dry skin, which eventually lead to pimples. Facials help to cleanse and, essentially, give you a fresh start. You’re stripping away all of the buildup your skin has accumulated and allowing your skin to…breathe.
- Even skin tone – sun, aging, hormones, are all related to melanin, which is what gives your skin it’s color. When you skin has too much melanin production it can result in dark spots or patches on your skin. Facials even out your skin tone and reduces those dark spots giving you the glow that you desire.
- Know your products
- Cleanser – this gives your skin a fresh canvas to work with, a clean slate. You’re washing your face and getting rid of an excess dirt, makeup, etc. so that you can begin your facial. Types of cleansers: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser; Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser; Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser. These are just a few, there are sooo many! You want to use the ones that work with your skin type (oily, normal, dry).
- Steamer – steam helps to open your pores and prime or “ready it” for exfoliation. This also helps to soften your skin. Some buy facial steamers (I bought one from Amazon) and some just use steam from a hot pot of water. Either one will work.
- Exfoliation/Masks – exfoliation is mostly used to remove dead skin cells. It acts as a scrubber, getting into your pores and scrubbing away any additional bacteria to clear away. Masks act the same way in that they help to hydrate your skin and remove excess oils. Types of exfoliators: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliate; Neutrogena Hydro Boot Exfoliating Cleanser; Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator. Types of masks: Nature Republic Real Nature Mask Sheet; Vitamasques; Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask.
- Toner – restore PH to your skin after you cleanse. It removes any leftover cleanser from your face that may have been missed during washing and provides a layer of hydration depending on the type of toner you use. Be sure to use a hydrating toner that will keep your skin healthy and clear. It’s not necessary to use it every time, so very much a personal choice. And if you do go with a toner make sure it is alcohol-free. Types of toners: Lancôme Tonique Douceur Alcohol Free Toner; Bliss Clear Genius Clarifying Toner + Serum; Kiehls Ultra Facial Oil-Free Toner.
- Moisturizer – we always need moisturizer to smooth our skin and maintain balance. This is for all skin types. Types of moisturizers: Clinique Moisture Surge; Bliss Drench & Quench; Neutrogena Hydro Boost with Gel.
The Facial Routine
- Begin by washing your face with your cleanser. Make sure you gently work the product into your skin. Many suggest cleansing with an oil-based cleanser, which removes makeup and products, then a second water-based cleanser. This will remove the dirt from your skin and leave your skin clean. Pat your skin dry with a cloth.
- Apply your facial toner using a cotton pad, swiping over your face, neck and chest.
- Using your steamer (or steaming hot pot of water), hover your face over the steam. Do not over steam as this can cause dryness. You’d only need to do this only 10 minutes (you may not need all of that time).
- The dampness from the steam will allow you to work in your exfoliation scrub. Rinse away the scrub and pat your skin dry with a soft towel. You can also choose to use a mask instead. Place the mask on your face using the time permitted on the product label. Rinse off traces of the mask and pat with a towel.
- Finish your routine using a light moisturizer. Your skin should be slightly damp when applying your moisturizer to achieve the dewy, glowing look you seek. Apply to your cheeks, forehead and chin and work in gently.