A DIY facial is one of those things most of us plan to do regularly, but life often gets in the way. However, if there is one small positive thing to come from this unsettling period of enforced social distancing and self-isolation, it’s having plenty of ‘me time’.
And while your beauty routine may be pretty far down on your list of priorities at the moment, which is fair enough, speaking from experience, we say taking the time to do something lovely for yourself and your skin can be a soothing balm for the soul or, at the very least, a fun distraction for an hour or so.
So how do you recreate the benefits of a professional facial in the comfort of your own home? woman&home has the low-down for every skin type…
What makes the ultimate DIY at-home facial?
There’s a formula for a good at-home facial, and what’s great is that it’s pleasingly simple. The products and ingredients will vary according to skin type, but you can’t go wrong if you follow this four-step routine:
4 Finishing trick
Most of us already have a cleanser we like and probably a few exfoliators and face masks knocking around the bathroom, so feel free to dig those out rather than buying anything new.
Ready To Try Your Own DIY Facial At-Home?
Run a bath, put on a podcast and dedicate a little bit of your day to feeling good in your own skin.
For Dry Skin
1 Cleanse: Choose a balm or a cream cleanser that’s rich and nourishing. Work it into your skin with warm water (hot can have a drying effect) using small circular movements, and then remove with a soft facecloth.
New Sukin Sensitive Cleansing Lotion, R136,99 for 125ml, is a great product to try, as it’s packed with jojoba, avocado and rosehip oils that hydrate skin and relieve irritation.
2 Exfoliate: Using glycolic acid is an excellent way to exfoliate dry skin, not only loosening dull, dead skin cells, but promoting collagen growth for plumpness. It’s often found in products labelled as peels (don’t worry, you won’t actually peel).
Look for a serum, mask, or toner that includes nourishing ingredients as well as acids.
L’Oreal Revitalift Bright Reveal Bright Peel Pads, R349,95 for 30 pads, contain a 10% glycolic acid complex to be swiped on clean skin for gentle exfoliation.
3 Treatment: Sheet masks are divisive, but there’s no denying how satisfying the good ones are – nothing feels quite so quenching on dry, tight, or parched skin.
Look for solid hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerine, or squalene rather than anything gimmicky or perfumed.
4 Finishing trick: The skin around the eyes is thin and lacks sebaceous glands for natural hydration, so if dryness is a problem it’ll be doubly so here.
A really luxurious eye cream may seem like an indulgence, but it can make all the difference. Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing Eye Serum, R1 720 for 15ml, is on the spendy side, but it’s absolutely worth it.
ALSO SEE: Bedtimes Hacks For Wide Awake Eyes
For Sensitive Skin
1 Cleanse: Avoid anything that’s fragranced, or contains sodium laureth sulphate or essential oils, which can irritate your complexion.
Go for a simple fluid cleanser, gently massaged in with lukewarm water and splashed off with (clean) hands.
If your current product makes your skin flare up, try Avène XeraCalm AD Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil, R269 for 400ml. It’s soothing and ultra-effective.
2 Exfoliate: It’s a myth that those with sensitive skin should avoid acids.
Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) are a good bet, as they have larger molecules that don’t penetrate as deeply, and draw moisture into the skin to help it feel pleasant. Try Exuviance SkinRise Bionic Tonic, R610 for 36 pads.
3 Treatment: Depending on your skin, you may want to avoid strong actives like retinol, particularly if you have rosacea or are prone to flushing.
Instead go for cooling, calming creams and get your active-ingredient fix from peptides – versatile cell-communicating ingredients that perform all sorts of skin-energising functions and are unlikely to cause irritation.
Try Lamelle Serra Soothing Cream, R695 for 50ml, to ease discomfort.
4 Finishing trick: Ceramides are brilliant for sensitive skin, as they promote a healthy skin barrier, which keeps irritants out.
Try Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Youth Restoring Serum, R1 195 for 60 capsules, the original and best skin-plumping and strength-restoring capsules.
ALSO SEE: The Best Moisturisers To Tackle Dry Skin
For Oily Or Combination Skin
1 Cleanse: Prone to clogged pores, shine, or breakouts? You may gravitate towards foaming cleansers for that ultra-clean feeling, but make sure they don’t include sodium laureth sulphate, a foaming agent that strips the skin of natural sebum, usually making it produce even more.
Aēsop In Two Minds Facial Cleanser, R610 for 100ml, ticks every box.
2 Exfoliate: Beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are your best bet for unclogging pores, and salicylic is the gold standard.
I find swipe-on acid treatments feel the most pleasant on oily or congested skin. Look for one with antibacterial ingredients like witch hazel or clary sage, too.
Dermaquest DermaClear Pads, R650 for 50, contain 2% blemish-banishing salicylic acid, are easy to use, and really work.
3 Treatment: Clay is a brilliant natural ingredient to take on congestion; particularly white kaolin or bentonite, which crop up regularly in masks billed as ‘clarifying’ and ‘purifying’.
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, R895 for 50g, is a power-packed formula for congested skin, as it contains activated charcoal and kaolin clay.
4 Finishing trick: Oily skin needs hydration, too!
Use a light cream or serum that sinks in and does its thing from within. Anything too rich and occlusive will sit in an unpleasant layer on top of the skin.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream, R129,95 for 50ml, is not only affordable, it’s also deliciously lightweight, with loads of hydration and a non-sticky feel.
Words: Fiona McKim. Additional words: Martinique Stevens