The Pros’ Guide to Pampering
Hair and Face Treatments
Whether you have a little time or a lot, use one of these tried-and-true beauty routines. They’re as effective as spa treatments but considerably less expensive. And you get to choose the music.
A Hair Moisturizing Mask
“To get my hair looking soft and shiny, I deep-condition it twice a week,” says Ji Baek, owner of the Rescue Beauty Lounges, in New York City. She wets her head and applies a handful of Hamadi Shea Mask ($25, hamadibeauty.com), a pudding-thick cream that’s rich in shea butter, avocado, and organic essential oils. Next, Baek wraps her hair in a plastic bag to trap the warmth from her scalp (heat helps masks penetrate deeply into the hair shafts), then rinses after 20 minutes. When her hair is looking especially dull? “Instead of using the mask, I use good, old-fashioned mayonnaise,” she says.
The Pore-Purifying Facial
Los Angeles makeup artist Taylor Chang-Babaian loves to give her face a deep cleansing after a long day on the job. (“It can get a little grimy,” she says of working on different locations.) Chang-Babaian takes a warm shower to relax and remove surface dirt. Then she steps out of the shower and uses an electric facial steamer (available at beauty-supply stores) to begin unclogging pores (putting your face over a pot of steaming water for five minutes will also work). She smooths on Shiseido the Skincare Purifying Mask ($30, macys.com), which contains marine clay to dislodge oil and debris. If stronger measures are in order, like for clearing up a patch of blackheads, she steams her face, then uses Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips ($7 at drugstores). “This makes a world of difference,” she says.
A Tall Drink for Really Dry Skin
When her skin is feeling tight and moisture-sapped, Ashunta Sheriff, a New York City makeup artist, reaches for an old family remedy to get a healthy radiance: She rubs a freshly cut lemon half over her complexion (the fruit’s natural acids remove flakes and smooth skin), then steams her skin over a pot of warm water. Next, Sheriff slathers her face and neck with Jarrow Formulas Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil, a luxuriously dense emollient (jarrow.com for stores). “It makes my skin glow like a Tahitian princess,” she says with a laugh. Finally, Sheriff coats her lips with a favorite botanical salve, Decléor Paris Nourishing Lip Balm ($16, decleordirect.com).
A Quick Refresher for Dull Skin
The moment bicoastal makeup artist Christy Coleman gets home from work, she uses an Arcona Triad Pad ($30 for 45, beauty.com) to clean her face. The natural cotton pads, which come from one of Los Angeles’s top spas, are soaked in cranberry extract, a natural astringent, and nourishing essential fatty acids. “They really purify and moisturize skin,” says Coleman. “You feel refreshed and alive.”
The Sensitive-Skin Soother
Julie Harris, a makeup artist in New York City, gets in the spa mood (a cup of tea, relaxing music, low lighting) and uses extra-gentle treatments when pampering her skin. She washes her face with Amala Rejuvenating Cleansing Milk ($40, amalabeauty.com), a chemical-free cleanser. Then she applies YonKa Paris Gommage 305, an exfoliant for dry, sensitive skin ($39, skinstore.com). “Once the product dries, you rub it and it peels away,” Harris says. “It removes dead skin without irritation.” Last, she pats on Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask ($85, fresh.com), a creamy treatment that’s “calming and cooling.” After she relaxes with it on for several minutes, her skin is left soft and dewy. If she has time, she draws a bath containing Amala Detoxifying Bath Crystals ($12, amalabeauty.com), which contain sea algae to smooth skin.
Body, Hand, and Foot Treatments
Pampering yourself can be as simple as adding an easy step to a daily routine―like dry-brushing your skin before showering―or as luxurious as kicking back in a bath once a week with rich creams and masks.
A Skin-Softening Salve
“I like to make homemade scrubs,” says New York City makeup artist Gucci Westman. “I don’t use an exact recipe, but my favorite mix is honey, used coffee grinds, brown sugar, oatmeal, ginger, and noni extract.” The latter comes from a tropical fruit (find it at health-food stores) and may have anti-inflammatory properties. Westman grinds about two cups of oatmeal, a natural skin soother, so that the scrub goes down the drain easily. Next, she adds a few handfuls each of coffee grinds and brown sugar to give the scrub its soft grit. Then she stirs in three or four spoonfuls of skin-nourishing honey, ginger, and noni. Before storing the batch in the refrigerator, she scoops out enough for a week into a jar, which she keeps in her shower, using it daily. “It smells lovely, and it’s gentle,” says Westman. “When my skin feels really dry, I add olive oil, too.”
A Beneficial Brush-Up
The Hand and Foot Healer
When New York City manicurist Elisa Ferri finds her feet feeling rough, she uses a coarse emery board to smooth them, then massages them with Vermont’s Original Bag Balm ($5.50, amazon.com), a thick salve containing petrolatum and lanolin to hydrate skin. She slips on a pair of cotton socks and does things around the house while the product goes to work. When Ferri’s hands and cuticles are dry, she grabs olive oil. “I just rub some on my hands and nails,” she says. “It spreads so evenly, and it really works the best.”
The Head-to-Toe Works
“Once a week, I take an hour for myself for my little bathroom ritual,” says Teddi Cranford, a hairstylist for Bumble and Bumble in New York City. “It helps me feel cleansed, less stressed, and more focused for the week.” First she exfoliates with her go-to products: Clinique Exfoliating Scrub ($18.50, clinique.com) for the face and Origins Incredible Spreadable Scrub ($27.50, origins.com) for the body. “Both have oils that help hydrate parched skin,” she says. Cranford then draws a bath and adds basic Epsom salts (available at drugstores) and a long pour of olive oil into the running water. These “give some moisturizing properties to the bath,” she says. While Cranford soaks, she combs Bumble and Bumble Bb Deeep treatment ($26, bumbleandbumble.com), her favorite product from the salon, through her hair. “This mask gives my hair a ton of shine,” she says. “It’s packed with wheat and soy protein, plus sunflower-seed oils, so hair is strengthened and moisturized, too.”
A Sleep-Inducing Soak
New York City makeup artist Helen Macaulay slips into a steaming bath after a long day on her feet. She adds several drops of relaxing essential oils (available at health-food stores), like jasmine, rose, and neroli. “After bathing, I slather my skin in sweet-almond oil,” she says. “It’s soothing and inexpensive and can be found at many supermarkets.”