At least once a week one should have a thorough facial. Ideally this is best done in a spa by a professional esthetician or holistic therapist. However, if you don’t have the time or the money to do this every week at a spa you can easily modify these six steps to give yourself an at home facial that will keep your skin healthy looking, moisturized and radiant. The following is an outline of the six steps and how you can adapt these steps for your own at home spa experience.
The first important step to any good facial is cleansing the skin. This helps to rid the skin of make-up, dirt and left over oils on the skin. For the skin it is best to use a creamy or milky cleanser or a foaming cleanser. Avoid using soap to cleanse the skin as it can be drying. If you have this done in the spa the therapist will likely cleanse your skin more than once and cleanse the neck and other harder to reach areas. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse your skin and remove the cleanser with a warm cloth.
Steaming is good for all skin types whether oily and congested or dry and dehydrated. If the skin is oily, with acne, and blackheads steaming helps to open the pores and cleanse the skin. For those with dry skin steaming naturally hydrates the skin and in both cases improves circulation. The one skin type that needs to be cautious of steaming is those who have sensitive skin or those who are prone to thread veins. No matter what your skin type, make sure that the water you use is hot and steamy, but not hot enough to burn.
If you go to a spa for your facial the therapist will use a professional steamer that keeps the water at an appropriate temperature and distributes the steam evenly and fully. At home add some hot, lightly boiled water to a larger mixer bowl with a few drops of essential oil or a couple of tablespoons of herbs. Choose herbs and oils to work with your skin type. Essential oils of lemon or orange for oily skin or thyme or lemon slices for non essential oil choices. For sensitve or combination skin add lavender or chamomile to the water or essential oils of neroli or chamomile. For dry skin add rose petals to the water or sandalwood essential oil to the steaming water. Cover your head with a towl to keep the steam close to the skin.
A mask should also be a part of any good facial. A clay or mud mask works to help cleanse and detox the skin, while a simple mask of honey and yogurt or eggs, honey and oatmeal will help to cleanse and moisturize most skin types. Relax and rest back for ten or fifteen minutes on a pillow. Add cucumbers or cold tea bags over the eyes to help relax and reduce swelling and strain around the sensitive skin of the eyes. Ensure to wash off mask thoroughly.
Add a toner to the skin as a final step before moisturizing. A toner acts as an astringent cleaning out the skin and tightening the pores. Avoid toners that have alcohol as they are overly drying and damaging to the skin. Instead use a hydrosol such as rose water as a toner, or a herbal tincture that suites your skin type. Witch Hazel also makes a nice natural astringent and toner.
Massage and Moisturize
Again, a facial at a professional spa will often include a fifteen or twenty minute massage with massage oils that are chosen especially for your skin type. Professional therapists will use different strokes and moves to help smooth and soften the areas of the skin or the face that are tense or wrinkled. They will also use faster tapotment movements to improve the circulation of the skin. If you are doing your own facial you can finish it off with a hydrating moisturizer or your own carrier oil with a mix of essential oils to suit your own particular skin issues and needs. If you chose an oil mixture all you need is 3 milliliters with five or six drops of essential oils.
If you have never had a professional facial, consider treating yourself to one. Having a professional work on your skin can be insightful and relaxing. The therapist will be able to treat your skin thoroughly and be able to massage and cleanse your skin better than your own hands can do creating a greater sense of tranquility for your treatment. Either way if you give yourself a facial or have one given to you professionally, your skin will benefit. To find out more about what oils to choose for your skin read back on my previous articles about treating different skin types including: Skin Care for sensitive skin (November 11, 2010), Skin care for dry and aged skin(November 7, 2010), Treating and managing oily sebaceous skin (November 3, 2010).