With salon facials now no longer an option due to the additional restrictions, this calls for some swift action. Don’t need to fret — if facials have always been part of your regular skincare upkeep, then go ahead and gather up your sheet masks and your nearest scented candle, and pop on the calming sound of ocean waves; bring the spa into your home instead.
While the idea of a D-I-Y facial is definitely tempting, you don’t want to just slap on a sheet mask and call it a day. Well, you can, but we’d rather go all out with a luxurious pampering session. Sure, we may not be able to replicate the masterful, decisive strokes of the experts, but we can strive for a full regime that emulates the best of a classic facial. From deep cleansing to masking, even LED light therapy and a soothing facial massage, here’s how you can recreate the professional facial experience.
STEP 1: DOUBLE CLEANSE
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser, $116 ; Caudalie Vinoclean Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil, $36 ; Pixi Beauty Double Cleanse, $39 ; Aesop Purifying Facial Cream Cleanser, $49
As with any type of facial, the first step is always to cleanse. To start with the most optimal clean slate though, a double cleansing routine is absolutely necessary. Start with an oil-based cleanser or cleansing balm to break down and melt away makeup, sunscreen, and impurities while keeping your skin barrier intact. Follow this up with a more gentle foam or cream cleanser that removes any traces of what’s left, just as it conditions and preps your skin for the next steps in the regimen.
STEP 2: EXFOLIATE
Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta® Extra Strength Daily Peel, $135 ; Chanel HYDRA BEAUTY Camellia Glow Concentrate, $129 ; Eve Lom Rescue Peel Pads, $130 ; Paula’s Choice Resist BHA 9 (Salicylic Acid), $66
After cleansing, it’s time to go deeper with the exfoliating step. You don’t do this every day, of course, but a spa-like facial often includes this essential process. Instead of a physical scrub, opt for chemical peels that are gentle on the skin, as they usually contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to slough off the top layer of skin cells and excess oils. Stubborn skin concerns such as clogged pores and bumps are also addressed here, especially by the products we’ve listed here; these work by resurfacing the skin, which then reveals brighter and smoother skin after.
STEP 3: DETOX
Skin Inc Oxy-Recharge Bubble Mask, $76 ; innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask, $21 ; Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Pore-Refining Clay Mask, $59 ; Sulwhasoo Purifying Herbal Mask, $66
A classic facial often includes the extraction step, which you’ll know when your aesthetician starts using steam to open up the pores on your skin. To emulate that, use a warm cloth and press it lightly against your face. And instead of cleaning out clogged pores with specialised tools that might lead to scarring if not wielded deftly, we’d recommend purifying skincare products instead, since these are easier to manage. A clay mask acts like a magnet for trapped sebum and impurities, drawing them out of the pores as good detox should do. Look out for those with pore-tightening properties, as well as soothing skincare ingredients that won’t dry your skin out. Skin Inc’s bubble mask also happens to mimic the effect of an oxygen facial, both cleansing the pores and energising the complexion at the same time.
STEP 4: MASK
Foreo UFO 2, $428 ; Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask, $82 ; Dr. Jart+ Dermask™ Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution, $40 ; Saturday Skin Spotlight Brightening Mask, $43 ; Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C™ Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches, $109 ; Handmade Heroes Cocolicious Luscious Lip Mask, $14.90
Needless to say, this is the most obvious step in a facial, where you lie back and relax with a sheet mask or leave-on mask on, letting the serum or rich moisturiser truly infuse into the deep layers of your skin. The good thing about doing this at home is that you can truly pick a mask according to your skin need of the day, whether you’re considering one that intensely hydrates, or a skin-brightening formula.
Fresh touts a two-step approach, while these from Dr Jart+ and Saturday Skin are some of our personal favourite sheet masks. The Foreo UFO 2 device combines heating, cooling, and T-Sonic™ pulsations to achieve the welcome effects of a sheet mask session in under two minutes. You can also layer on gel eye patches or a buttery lip mask for full measure.
STEP 5: LYMPHATHIC MASSAGE
Foreo BEAR, $436 ; Skin Gym Cryocicles Face Massager, $214 ; Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool, $43 ; Angela Caglia La Vie en Rose Face Roller, $98 ; Porcelain RevitalEyes Concentrate, $135 ; est.lab Eye-Spa Kit, $160
We’ve come to the extras — or rather, the step that makes a facial actually feel like one. A lymphathic massage involves gentle kneading on targeted areas of the face, which helps boost circulation, relieve tension, minimise puffiness, and stimulate the lymphatic glands for effective toxin drainage. At home, this is best done with the help of beauty devices and tools.
Facial massagers, rollers, and gua shas are popular these days, because they give the sensation and the effects of a good massage without anyone’s help; when used in upward strokes, the gua sha tool also encourages firm and lifted skin. Foreo’s BEAR is a microcurrent device that’s safe to use at home, and acts like a workout to contour the face by stimulating and toning the skin. You won’t want to neglect your eye area as well — Porcelain’s latest eye cream features a micro-vibration massaging device in the same product, while est.lab’s OptimaLift A+ Intelligent Eye Revitaliser 2.0 combines heat, sonic vibrations and LED light for the most potent eye treatment.
STEP 6: LED LIGHT THERAPY
Foreo UFO 2, $428 ; OSIM u Glow Eye, $129 ; Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++, $408 ; Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpotLite™ Blemish Reducer, $100
Here’s another well-known procedure we can totally replicate at home too, thanks to these innovative, high-tech devices. At a salon, Colour Light Therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses different wavelengths of LED light to address specific skincare concerns. Red light, for instance, is known to stimulate collagen production for firm skin, blue is essential in curbing acne breakouts and troubled skin, whereas green helps even out the skin tone and softens the look of dark eye circles.
Beauty devices these days are able to achieve this in conveniently-packaged forms that are easy to operate. Two stand out in particular — the OSIM uGlow Eye offers customisable settings, and on top of that, delivers micro-vibrations with a nice warming effect; the Foreo UFO 2 is proving to be the ultimate home facial device too, with groundbreaking technology that gives us the full spectrum of 8 LED lights.
BONUS: SET THE MOOD
Byredo Cotton Poplin Scented Candle, $120 ; Mauli Sleep Dharma Pillow Mist, $35 ; Le Labo Encens 9 Classic Candle, $110 ; SOVA Silk Pillowcase, $179 for a pair
It’s obvious, isn’t it? If you want your home to feel like a spa, a scented candle, a spritz of your favourite scent, or a silky pillowcase to rest your head on goes a long way in getting you in the right head space for an indulgent time.