Updated: Sep 29, 2022
There are times when you absolutely need a skincare professional and professional treatments to cater to your skin concern. There are also times when you might have to skip your routine facial with your esthetician and perform an at-home facial so your skin can still receive the extra love it needs. Facials are designed to accelerate the skin's cell renewal cycle. Your skin has about 4-6 weeks until it pushes up the old dead cells to the surface. The dead skin can cause dullness, dehydration, it can clog pores, cause acne, etc. Accelerating the cycle also speeds up the healing process for acneic skin so it takes about 2-4 weeks to get rid of new acne instead of 6-8 weeks to appear and heal on its own. Facials also cater to the proper renewal of cells which is ideal for anti-aging; it preserves and protects the skin. This is exactly why facials are important but it is also why at-home care is crucial. As a skincare expert and facialist, it is my civic responsibility to make sure you have the proper knowledge, steps, and products to safely and effectively cater to your skin.
First, you need to know the steps of a proper facial. Regardless of your skin concern or skin type the steps will usually remain the same.
Step 1: Cleanse your skin in gentle circular motions with your fingertips to remove makeup or the oil and dirt that remains on the very surface. This cleanser is typically very gentle. My favorite type of first cleanse is an oil cleanser, which is great for all skin types) or a creamy cleanser. Creamy cleansers have a consistency that is similar to lotion or a moisturizer and it is best for dry skin types or combo skin that is more on the dry side (this type of skin only experiences oiliness on the T-zone). Those with oily skin can also use a gentle foaming cleanser. Foaming cleansers remove excess oils. Since dry skin is lacking oil it is best to stay away from foaming cleansers which is why creamy cleansers or gel cleansers are best for this skin type. Use esthetic wipes or a damp cotton pad to remove the cleanser.
Step 2: Double cleanse your skin. Keep in mind that double cleansing may not be necessary for an everyday routine depending on your skin type, but for an at-home facial where you give your skin extra attention, it is essential. For the second cleanse, you can use a facial cleansing brush instead of using your hands to boost the cleansing process. Using a cleansing brush, no matter how gentle it may be, is technically a form of exfoliation and in my opinion, I would not use a cleansing brush for daily use. Even though there are brushes marketed for daily use, Over exfoliation can increase oil production and can sensitize your skin.
You can double cleanse with the same cleanser as your first cleanse unless your first cleanser is an oil cleanser. My favorite way to second cleanse is to use a cleanser for a targeted skin concern. If the concern is acne then use an acne medicated cleanser. If its pigmentation or anti-aging, then use an exfoliating cleanser (these will contain acids like glycolic, lactic, mandelic, etc). If your concern is excess oiliness you can use a cleanser that has a low percentage in salicylic acid (0.5%-1.5%). Dry skin can reuse their creamy cleanser for added oils.
Step 3: Steam. Contrary to popular belief, steam does not open your pores. Pores do not open and close. They do not have muscles around their opening to allow them to open and close. Steaming can loosen up underlying debris which can make it easier to extract blackheads. You can purchase an at-home facial steamer or, my personal favorite, a table steamer. You can also microwave a wet hand towel; heat it up one minute at a time until you reached a temperature that is hot enough to create steam but not too hot where it's burning your hand. Even then, open up the towel and air it out before letting it sit on your face for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Exfoliate. There are a few ways to exfoliate your skin under the two types of exfoliation: chemical and mechanical. Exfoliation is meant to get rid of the dead skin. Physical/mechanical exfoliation includes grainy or gritty skincare products and facial brushes. If using a grainy product, be sure not to use one that is too abrasive. Safe ingredients include jojoba beads and rice powder. St. Ives apricot scrub is a huge skincare no-no because of how rough it is. If you have sensitive skin and you decide to use a cleansing brush, that might be the only exfoliation you need. However, those with sensitive skin might want to stick with a gentle chemical exfoliation instead of a physical/mechanical because it can affect your skin's barrier function which is already compromised if you're experiencing sensitivity. Skincare acids are AHAs or BHAs (chemical exfoliants) that dissolve "the glue" holding the skin cells together. Dissolving this glue will cause the dead skin cells to slough off and it will gently peel away the surface of your skin. AHAs are water-soluble so it does not penetrate into the pores the way BHAs do making BHA's the best kind of acids to reduce inflammation and bacteria growth (great for acne-prone or oily skin).
Step 5: Extract. Typically this is a step to leave to a professional because if done incorrectly it can cause inflammation and that leads to scarring. You can also spread bacteria to other pores causing more breakouts. If you must extract, wear gloves for cleanliness and grip because you will need to wrap a tissue around your fingers to wipe and to prevent the spread of bacteria. You can also use two Q-tips. The only ones you should attempt to gently extract are blackheads or whiteheads that are not painful or red. If there is no head, do not even try it. You might also see closed-comedones that look like small bumps on the skin and it's filled with thick white hardened oil. Although these do not contain harmful bacteria, extracting these can be difficult because they are under the skin. Extracting closed-comedones can easily cause scarring.
Step 6: TONE. If you skip extractions or if you have sensitive skin, use this time to hydrate your skin with essence water, a hydrating toner, or a hydrating facial mist. Hydration has to do with water, not oil, so it benefits ALL skin types to constantly hydrate.
You can also use a brightening toner or exfoliating toner but I do not recommend it for sensitive skin. The best technique to tone after extractions is putting some on a cotton pad and wiping your skin as a way to remove any excess debris. Then go in with a hydrating toner, mist, or essence water by placing some on your hands and gently pressing it into your skin.
Step 7: Mask. There are all types of masks for every concern and you can use any for this step as long as it's not a mask that contains an ingredient meant to exfoliate your skin. If you choose to use an exfoliating mask i would use it for step 4 and skip step 7. Double exfoliating can be too harsh and/or drying (not recommended to double exfoliate at home). This step is meant to soothe and hydrate the skin.
Step 8: Dermalogica specialists like to call this step "dermal layering". This is when we put the necessary serums, toners, eye creams, moisturizers, spot treatments, and SPF. Dermal layering is completely dependent on your skin type and main concern. These can vary and I recommend contacting a skincare expert or professional who can suggest the proper products specifically for you!
Now that you have all the steps I'm going to list a few of my favorite supplies and how I use them. The prices listed are the prices I found on amazon for the exact supplies in the graphic above.
Esthetic wipes: $8-$12
dampen and use to wipe off cleansers, exfoliators instead of dipping your head in the skin and wetting the entire bathroom
Spa headband: 4 pcs for $5.99
The towel-like material protects your hair from getting wet
Rose quartz roller and Gua sha tool: Set for $10.99
These are my favorite tools to use after dermal layering. I roll my face at the very end to soothe my skin and for better product penetration. The Gua Sha tool is meant to exercise and tone the facial muscles. It is great for relieving tension, promote blood circulation, and eliminate fine lines. I love to pair this tool with a facial oil right before bedtime.
Facial steamer: $26.59
Use right before extractions to loosen the dirt and debris in the pores. Skin tip: Steam your skin while gently rubbing in your exfoliator in a circular motion.
Silicone facial brush: $29.99
This brush has 3 settings. Great to cleanse, exfoliate, and includes LED light therapy! Blue light and red light are both beneficial to use after extractions to kill acne bacteria and soothe any redness or swelling. Red light is also great for anti-aging and can be used after dermal layering.
Latex-free gloves: Make sure they are tight-fitting to make it easier to extract. Prices vary
Skin Scrubber aka Skin Spatula: $20.00
It has 3 modes...
cleansing: impacts dirt and lifts it off the surface. This mode is great to use to remove your first cleanser. This mode also helps remove blackheads!
Ion mode: this mode can be in positive ion which further cleans out the pores. (Skin tip: use to remove your exfoliate from your skin). Negative Ion nourishes the skin. (Skin tip: use after dermal layering for deeper penetration.)
Lifting mode: micro-current is used to stimulate collagen and tighten the skin!
If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please feel free to submit it in the comment section or you can always reach out to me directly!
Take care of your skin Bare Babes and fun doing it!