Give your skin some TLC with this step-by-step guide. 

By Hana Hong
March 25, 2020
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Whether your skin is feeling parched or your complexion is just looking a little blah, there’s nothing like a facial to bring your pores back to life. We’re not just talking about slapping a sheet mask on here; we mean the whole spa shebang. Since everyone is finding themselves trapped at home lately (and we all need spa time more than ever), we tapped Heather Wilson, a licensed esthetician in Orlando, Fla. and Director of Brand Development at InstaNatural, to find out how to perform a spa-level facial from the comfort of home. So go ahead and indulge yourself—you deserve it.

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1
Double Cleanse

A good facial stars with a clean base. “While double cleansing is a great part of a daily routine, it is especially important to begin your facial with this method to ensure the skin is deeply cleansed and all makeup, dirt, and debris is removed,” says Wilson. First, use a makeup removing balm to completely rid all the makeup, dirt, and impurities from your face. Opt for something gentle and non-stripping, like the Drunk Elephant Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser ($34; sephora.com). Next, follow up with your favorite foam or gel cleanser to make sure everything is squeaky clean. We love coupling this with a cleansing device, like the PMD Clean Smart Facial Cleansing Device ($99; sephora.com), which uses 7,000 vibrations per minute with warming technology for a deeper clean. 

2
Exfoliate

Depending on the level of exfoliation your skin needs, Wilson recommends picking a chemical peel or an exfoliating mask that contains physical exfoliation properties to buff the skin. We love the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($59; ulta.com), which you can mix with a tiny bit of water to create a paste. For a more intensive treatment, try a glycolic peel, like the InstaNatural Glycolic Peel ($24; instanatural.com), which reduces the appearance of wrinkles, discoloration, and pores. A dermaplanning tool can also help: Stacked Skincare’s version ($75; sephora.com) was sustainably developed by an expert aesthetician to safely remove dead skin cells and excess peach fuzz from home.

3
Steam

This step is optional (but probably the most relaxing). Not only is it meditative, steaming your face can help open your pores and soak in all that skin goodness to come. Try something like the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer ($149; sephora.com), which comes in a compact design and heats up in less than a minute, in tandem with distilled water. If you don’t have a mini-steamer on hand, you can use the steam from a hot shower for the same effect.

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4
Serum and Massage

“Not only does the facial massage feel nice, it is also incredible for skin health,” says Wilson. “Taking a few intentional minutes to give yourself a lymphatic facial massage, using tools like gua sha stones, a jade roller, or even your hands, will increase skin energy and help de-puff your face.” Be sure to start by applying a serum or facial oil to prevent tugging at the skin (the rolling process helps penetrate the product more). If you’re in need of a recommendation, the Skin Gym Face Sculptor Beauty Roller ($69; ulta.com) is a cult favorite from beauty editors and estheticians alike. 

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5
Tone and Mask

At this point, your face should already look and feel softer. It’s time to reset your skin balance and hydration levels. “Toning the skin by misting with a gentle, hydrating toner will balance and soothe,” says Wilson. Follow up with an application of your favorite replenishing mask to infuse the skin with ingredients that help address specific skin concerns. We love the Foreo UFO ($199; sephora.com), which combines masking formulas with heating, cooling, and T-Sonic pulsations for maximum absorption. After you’re done, remove the mask with a warm damp muslin cloth, softly wiping everything off in small motions without dragging your skin. 

6
Moisturize

Finish the facial with a light application of a replenishing moisturizer. “Avoid anything with acids or retinols, as applying these after exfoliation can result in dryness or irritation. Instead look for soothing moisturizers that contain antioxidants and nourishing oils,” says Wilson. As the final step, gently dab on an eye cream to give your undereyes some love.

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