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How to give yourself a DIY facial at home

With salons closed until December, we're retreating to our own bathrooms for a stress-busting DIY facial treatment. Fluffy white robe and cucumber slices optional.

Step one: Double cleanse

Whether or not you’re wearing makeup, cleansing is the only way to start a good facial – not only is it therapeutic to start the process with a good massage, it means all your other products will work twice as hard. Ideally you’d start with an oil-based balm or cream cleanser to dissolve any makeup, dirt and debris (lovely), before following up with something lighter to cleanse that freshly-washed skin, but if you only have the one cleanser to hand, then simply washing your face with it twice will do the trick. We love Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Cleansing Ritual (£32.50) and Pixi Double Cleanse (£24) for easy-peasy 2-in-1 systems.

Pixi Double Cleanse

Step two: Steam

Ahhh, our favourite step – and it’s pretty much unchanged since our teen years. It’s a long-held beauty myth that steam opens pores, but what it does do is loosen up any stubborn sebum and allow products to penetrate. If you’re feeling fancy, you can invest in a pro steamer like this one from facial queen Sarah Chapman (£119), but you can pretty much get the same job done by filling a bowl with hot water and draping a towel over your head, or just applying a warm flannel directly to your face for five minutes. Not too hot, though – we’re going for energised glow, not burnt tomato.

Sarah Chapman steamer

Step three: Exfoliate

First things first, put the St Ives Apricot Scrub down. If you’re opting for a physical scrub to slough off any dead skin cells (blergh), then something gentle like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant (£55) is going to get the job done without being too rough on your face. Even better though, is a chemical exfoliant. AHAs are ideal for reducing fine lines, wrinkles and improving cell turnover, while BHAs work best for reducing inflammation and clearing out any stubborn maskne breakouts. Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£28) is our top pick for blemish-prone skin, while Beauty Pie’s Dr Glycolic™ Pore-Purifying Glow Toner (£11.46) is a fab all-rounder with niacinamide for reducing dark marks and scarring.

Beauty Pie Dr Glycolic™ Pore-Purifying Glow Toner

Step four: Mask

These days there’s a face mask for every skin type and issue imaginable, so this step can be as complex or as simple as your patience (and budget) allows. A clay mask like Sand + Sky’s Australian Pink Clay Porefining Face Mask (£41.90) is great for balancing oily areas or clearing blemishes (plus it comes with a wholly unnecessary but lovely-feeling brush to apply it with, which definitely ups the spa-at-home factor). We’d pop this on the T-zone, then apply a moisturising or soothing mask to the rest of the face (hello, multi-masking). Our favourites include Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask (£45) for all skin types, the Clarins SOS Comfort Face Mask (£30) for drier skins, and the altogether more budget-friendly No7 Instant Results Nourishing Hydration Mask (£10). Top tip: sheet masks may be fun to buy (and make for hilarious selfies), but they won’t do the job any better than anything out of a tube – in fact, they can be more wasteful as half the product stays on the mask. Ditch them and be done, we say.

Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask

Step five: Moisturise

Now to seal all that goodness in. If you’re not going anywhere after your at-home facial (one bonus of lockdown – silver linings and all that), then an oil is perfect for this step. A couple of drops of Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil (£16) is great for dry skin types, while Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (£40) is more lightweight, so good for oily or combo skins. If you don’t get on with oils, or you’re headed out, then slap a good intensive moisturiser on instead. Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice (£40) is a great gel formula that cools and calms even the shiniest of foreheads, while Glossier Priming Moisturiser Rich (£29) is plumping, buttery and sits beautifully under makeup. Whichever one you choose, whack a load of it on ready for the next step…

Superfacialist Rose Miracle Makeover Facial Oil

Step six: Massage

The only way to finish a fantastic at-home facial is with an extra pampering massage step. It’ll improve circulation and blood flow (hello, extra glow), sculpt and tone and generally feel fabulous. You can easily do this with your fingers, following a tutorial – experts like Danna Omari of New York-based Noy Skincare do plenty on Instagram, or you can even pay £10 for a Zoom-based facial massage class with specialist masseuse Beata Aleksandrowicz. Having said that, tools are fast becoming the new must-have skincare item, with everything from jade rollers to traditional Chinese gua sha taking the Western market by storm. We’ll be treating ourselves to this Mount Lai Rose Quartz Facial Spa Set (£47) and using the whole of November to perfect our technique ready for the holiday season.

Mount Lai Rose Quartz Facial Spa Set

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