8 expert tips for the perfect spa day at home

Treating yourself to a facial is one of life’s little luxuries. With the pandemic forcing spas across the country to close and the risk of developing COVID-19 still looming, a facial at home is the next best option.

Fortunately, a variety of skin care products and devices on the market make taking facial steps at home into a walk in the park.

The night is a good time to start. “During the day, the skin is in a more protective mode, but at night it is more relaxed and starts repairing mode so that it can accept additional love,” says Renée Rouleau, prominent beautician and founder of her skin care line of the same name.

Here’s a great way to treat yourself to a DIY facial.

Whether it’s a tried and tested skin care regimen, how often you wash your hair or what cosmetics you’re curious about, beauty is personal.

This is why we rely on a diverse group of writers, educators, and other experts to share their tips on anything from the way the product application varies to the best sheet mask for your unique needs.

We only recommend something that we really love. So when you see a shop link for a specific product or brand, you know it has been thoroughly researched by our team.

To maximize each step, the idea is to start with a clean board. The general rule is that when wearing makeup, you should use a cleansing lotion or oil first. Then clean again with a slightly foaming gel or an exfoliating detergent to remove residue.

“The plasticizers used in make-up are removed more effectively with other plasticizers,” says Rouleau.

Start by massaging the lotion or oil onto dry skin first. Then moisten your fingertips and massage them a second time.

For rinsing, Jennifer Swisher, beautician at SkinCeuticals SkinLab from Dr. Roth in Texas used a microfiber washcloth to ensure the lift and make sure everything comes off.

Then clean again with a sulfate-free, low-foam gel with nourishing ingredients. These components do not dry out your skin.

“Your skin barrier is genetically coded to produce a certain amount of oil. If you remove that completely, you’re sending the wrong message to your skin to make more oil and then you’re creating imbalances in your skin, “says Stevie McCord, esthetician and founder of the Urban Alchemy Lab in Texas.

If you have oily skin, you can opt for a cleanser, such as: Farmacy Clean Bee Ultra Gentle facial cleanser that helps remove excess oil.

If the skin is dry it is Renée Rouleau vitamin-infused cleansing emulsion cleanses without peeling the skin.

And for normal skin, CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser gently exfoliates and removes oil and dirt.

The exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and ensures that the rest of the products you apply are properly absorbed.

There are several types of scrubs:

  • Physical peels include products like facial peels, home microdermabrasion tools, or derma planer blades.
  • Chemical peels refer to acids like lactic acid or glycol that help break down dead skin cells.

For the ideal facial at home, Rouleau recommends using physical and chemical peels, starting with an acid scrub (try this Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial AHA + BHA Mask)

After leaving it on for about 10 minutes, she recommends physically exfoliating it “to make sure you’re actually removing the dead skin cells.” Try that Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser or SkinCeuticals micro-peeling.

You can also just do one thing or the other, depending on your skin type.

“Someone with oily skin can get away with exfoliating four or five times a week,” says McCord. “Someone with drier skin should do a lot less scrubs about once a week.”

Now that you’re working with freshly peeled skin, you can use a steamer like that. Steaming Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care Pro Facial Steamer or LONOVE Nano Ionic face steamer.

Steaming offers several advantages.

“It warms the skin’s internal temperature and slightly expands the pores. This causes the hardened oils in the pores (also known as blackheads) to melt a little and make extractions easier, ”says Rouleau. “It also increases blood flow to the skin and is very moisturizing as it brings a lot of moisture to the skin.”


  1. Fill a bowl with warm or hot – but not boiling – water.
  2. Place a towel over your head and hover over the bowl, about 6 to 8 inches away.
  3. Soak for 5–10 minutes before gently patting your face dry, performing extractions, and then applying a moisturizing face mask.


However, when steaming, it is important that you use quick moisturizing products like a mask or extraction (more on this below).

“You never want to leave your skin bare after steaming because it will tighten and you will lose all of that moisture,” adds Rouleau.

Steaming may not be suitable for people with skin problems such as melasma. If you are unsure whether steaming is the best step for your skin, consult a dermatologist.

If you are steaming at home, only do so for 5 to 10 minutes. Longer than that and you risk dehydration.

If you are considering extracting your own blackheads, it is important to do it properly to avoid damaging your skin and pores.


  1. If you are using an extraction tool, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. When using your fingers, wash your hands thoroughly.
  3. Wrap your fingers in tissue or toilet paper.
  4. Wrap your fingers around the comedy and press it once.
  5. Change your position to prevent your skin from marking or causing inflammation and pinch a second time.
  6. If nothing comes out, go ahead.
  7. Dab with a topical acne treatment.


There are several types of masks including:

  • Clay. Clay masks, like that Origins Original Skin Retexturing Mask with Rose Clay is particularly suitable for oily skin and clogged pores. The clay helps remove impurities from the skin. “If it dries and breaks into a million pieces, it means the mask is too strong,” says Rouleau. “Look for a moisturizing mask with ingredients that nourish the skin.”
  • Cream. Cream masks like the FAB Pharma Arnica Relief & Rescue Mask are usually thick in consistency. They are great for drier skin types that need more lipids, oils and nourishing components.
  • Sheet masks. Sheet masks, like Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mask are usually gel that is infused with moisture on a water basis. These masks are also great for dry skin types.

You can also make a great mask at home using ingredients like yogurt, honey, oatmeal, avocado, and papaya.

The perfect mask for you depends on your skin type. Whichever type you choose, leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes and then remove it with a damp washcloth.

Serums are ideal for the targeted treatment of specific skin problems such as wrinkles and pigmentation. Serums contain active ingredients like niacinamide, antioxidants, peptides, vitamins A, C, and E, and even topical retinols.

For pigment issues, opt for a vitamin C serum like this Ole Henriksen Banana Light Vitamin C Serum.

For dry, red, or flaky skin, try a serum with peptides and niacinamide like this Lancôme Advanced Génifique Youth Activation Concentrate.

Wrinkles are best for retinols or phyto-retinols like that Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum.

Bringing a little massage into your facial not only feels good, but it also promotes blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. This can lead to a damp, puffed complexion.

It can also reduce dullness and skin irritation, according to Swisher.

If you want to use your fingers, you can. But this is also a great opportunity to wipe yours Herbivore Jade Facial Roller or DEOYOKA Rose Quartz Gua Sha Tool and pair it with a lovely face oil for a final boost (think of it as a topcoat for your moisturizer).

“Work out from the center and always move up,” says McCord. “If you want to work around the eyes, you need to make sure you have enough products around the eyes. You certainly don’t want to pull this area as the tissue around the eyes is much thinner. ”

If your skin is oily, you can be careful putting an oil on your moisturizer, but McCord recommends it “because it actually helps balance [your] Sebum production. “

For oily skin, McCord recommends jojoba or sesame oil, while coconut, borage, rose hip, or avocado oils are good choices for people with dry skin. When your skin is something in between? You can’t go wrong with frankincense or marula oil.

Lastly, dab on a little eye cream like that Fresh Crème Ancienne eye cream around the eyes.

With the right products and the right steps in the right order, you can indulge in a luxurious spa-quality facial at home.

Mellanie Perez is an editor on the Healthline wellness team. When she doesn’t cover all things like health, beauty, and wellness, she can make pizzas from scratch, try a new workout routine, read novels, discover new songs on Spotify, and travel the world. The native Puerto Rican flies through life, humming salsa songs and battling the incessant need to stand up and turn.

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