Let’s be honest with each other: lockdown skin is real. While some are seeing the benefits of having more time to sheet mask and cleanse properly, not to mention wearing less make-up on a daily basis, the stress of the current situation means that plenty of others are seeing their complexions lose radiance, break out and essentially, play up even more than usual.
However, while you may not be able to book yourself in for a soothing facial from a professional right now, DIYing one at home is actually pretty simple, and could give your skin that little extra dose of TLC its craving. Best of all, you can do so using products you probably already have stashed in the bathroom cupboards.
But before you go slapping on masks and moisturisers with aplomb, there is an order to these things, and it’s one that will help you achieve the best possible results from the comfort of your own four walls. We asked skincare expert Ashanti from Ashanti Treatment Rooms, a partner of beauty appointment booking service Treatwell, for her secrets to at-home facial success, and she’s broken it down into an easy 10-step programme that anyone can follow (even your other half, kids, or housemates, if you trust them enough to perform it for you).
So fire up the scented candles, set your Spotify playlist to ‘spa’ and get glowing. Here’s everything you need to know:
You will need:
- Hair tie or hair net
- A clean towel
- Cotton circulars or facial sponges
- Facial cleanser
- Facial exfoliator
- Facial toner (advisable but not totally necessary)
- A facial massage medium – I use pure organic shea butter, however, a good quality coconut oil can be applied (more on this below)
- A face mask
- Eye cream
- Face moisturiser
How to give yourself an at-home facial:
Tie your hair back making sure there are no strands of hair loose. If you have one, use a hair net or headband which will help keep those loose strands/baby hairs away from the face.
Take a small amount of facial cleanser, roughly the size of a pea or if you’re feeling generous, a 10p piece and cleanse your face using medium-sized circular motions. Gently remove any product with damp cotton circulars or your facial sponge. You can also just rinse off with lukewarm water. Do this twice – double cleanse removing any traces of product afterward.
You have two choices here, either a chemical (liquid) exfoliator, or a granular one (typically a scrub). Depending on the type of exfoliator being used, apply in the following way:
- If using a chemical exfoliator, pat dry the skin with a tissue or a clean dry towel and apply the solution to the face using dry or damp cotton circulars. Do not remove.
- If using a granular exfoliator apply to the face using the fingers to create circular movements paying particular attention to areas such as the nose and chin and any other areas where we may experience congestion, blackheads or breakouts.
This should take no more than a few seconds, removing any traces of product with fresh damp cotton squares, rinsed facial sponges or lukewarm water.
Always check that your exfoliant is a good fit for your skin type and avoid anything too harsh. SPF is always crucial, but especially when you’re using acids.
Dry the face and using a facial toner, remove any traces of product from the skin.
Place a good amount of massage medium (see below) into the palm of one hand and apply liberally to the face. Starting at the jawline, perform a facial massage routine for around 5-7 minutes.
Ashanti recommends these two routines to get you started. End with some strokes or actions up the neck and across the décolletage.
Facial massage medium: Shea butter or coconut oil?
Our first question to Ashanti was, won’t these butters and oils break us out? But she explains that both products are anti-inflammatory, so whilst we’re not using it specifically to treat acne or oily skin conditions, they should not aggravate them.
Shea butter is known as the skin’s superfood; it’s extremely nourishing and can be used to minimise wrinkles, help dry skin conditions, reduce pigmentation and aid radiance, all without clogging pores.
It also contains vitamin A, E and Omega oils, and so helps with the fight against free radicals. Vitamin A also slows the production of sebum the skin and helps to clear pores and so should help to reduce blackheads, skin congestion and breakouts.
Coconut oil is another extremely balancing medium which means it can assist in the therapeutic treatment of both oily and dry skin conditions. It has antimicrobial properties to help with the management of oil and acne-related skin conditions and can help to kill the harmful bacteria commonly associated with these skin types.
Ashanti uses the two together as coconut oil, when blended, creates a thinner/lighter consistency than just the shea butter on its own.
When including massage in your facial at-home facial routine, these massage mediums are used to allow the hands to glide over the skin. When you’re finished, they’ll be removed from the skin with the mask.
Apply the face mask to the entire face avoiding the eye orbital area. Place a cucumber slice on each eye for hydration or some cotton circulars dampened in rose water.
Remove all traces of the mask with damp cotton circulars, rinsed facial sponges or tepid water.
8. Dry (again)!
Gently pat your skin dry.
9. Eye cream
Apply your favourite eye cream.
What are the benefits of an at-home facial?
Ashanti says that an at-home facial:
- Cleanses the skin
- Helps to prevent ageing
- Increases blood circulation to the face
- Rejuvenates the skin
- Helps reduce blackheads
- Removes dead skins cells
- Tones and tightens the skin
- Reduces dark circles and fine lines from around the eyes
- Increases the absorbency of other products applied to the skin
‘It’s also a great way to also relax and try a different activity on yourself, partner, friend or family member in what is for many a stressful and anxious time. As we are being asked to self-isolate, it’s encourages crucial contact with those we are in isolation with,’ she adds.
‘Facial massage activates your sympathetic nervous system. This can also reduce your anxiety levels and uplift your mood.’
How often should I do an at-home facial?
Oily skin types that are prone to breakouts and acne: Every 2-3 weeks.
Dry to normal skin types: Once a month.
A note on product
‘During this period of isolation, when cost is potentially a factor, try reducing the amount of product your using per application,’ says Ashanti. ‘This won’t necessarily affect its effectiveness in most cases.’