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At-Home Facial: How to Get Professional Results and Full-On Pampering Without Straining Your Budget (Recipes Included!)

08/16/2012 11:01 am ET

In addition to a pampering treat, facials are the key to healthy skin. To maintain a radiant healthy glow, you should try to fit in two facials per month (or one a week if you can make it happen). If you follow these simple tricks of the trade, you will be amazed with the results you can achieve at home. Plus, I know how hectic it can be to try to squeeze in time for a facial at the spa or salon. Now you'll be able to get a great facial whenever it's convenient for you -- no commitment required. And if you get in the habit of doing your own facials, you'll get to know your skin better -- what it responds to in different situations. Ultimately this will keep it healthy, youthful and glowing. Being intimate with your skin is the first step to maintaining its beauty.

The basic steps:

1. Cleanse

Why? Before starting any facial procedure, it is imperative to cleanse the dirt, oil and
chemical buildup. This will allow the other products to penetrate your pores.

How to: Perfect skin starts with perfect face-washing technique. To start, wash your hands to avoid transferring dirt and oils onto your face. Then rinse your face with lukewarm water -- too hot and you might break capillaries, too cold and you pores will close up. Now you're ready to apply cleanser. To apply properly, gently move your middle and ring fingers in small upward circles. Start at the bottom of your face and move to the top for an anti-gravity lift! These circular motions gently exfoliate skin and increase blood flow to open pores for maximum cleansing. To rinse, splash your face with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.

2. Tone

Why? Most people skip this step in their daily routine. Don't! Toner closes your pores and rids them of the last traces of dirt and oil that the cleanser may have missed.
Additionally, if your toner has effective actives (ingredients added for desired
results, e.g., anti-acne or age-defying), applying toner directly after cleansing allows the toner to penetrate deeper and deposit these actives. Unlike cleanser, toner is also not washed, which means the actives continue to work throughout the day.

How to: Use a cotton ball or soft cotton round and apply toner starting at your neck line and moving upward. Use two cotton balls or rounds and apply to both sides of your face at once using both hands.

3. Mask

Why? Masks are another oft-overlooked step in home skin care. I cannot stress enough how important they are to maintaining skin. They truly are the workhorses of a good skincare regimen. Masks do everything from deep pore cleaning to eliminating dead skin cells and balancing pH.

How to: Instead of letting your mask harden and crack, try hydrolyzing with passive steam. This keeps your pores open, allowing the mask to penetrate more deeply. I prefer powdered masks such as the ones we offer at Sumbody. You activate powdered masks at home, which means you get the benefit of the active ingredients at the peak of their potency and freshness. While you can always create a paste with water; spicing up your routine with different liquids allows you to boost your mask with additional actives. I suggest honey for dry skin, banana for acne, coffee for anti-aging benefits, and apple cider vinegar for oily skin. Whether you choose a powdered or pre-made mask, apply with either a fan brush or fingers (same method as cleanser). After applying the mask, either take a shower (plan ahead to make this work for when you do the facial), or use a hand towel with warm (not hot) water. For the hand towel method, place the towel from chin to chin with a opening in the middle leaving your nose and mouth out. Let stand for five to 10 min and rinse (with water only) the mask off in the shower or sink.

4. Moisturize

Why? Dry skin is unhappy skin. It can lead to premature signs of aging, cell damage, and loss of beneficial nutrients. Proper hydration is a crucial part of skin health and anti-aging care. Even oily skin needs hydration (fluid) between the cells. Proper hydration is two-fold: skin needs both fluid and oil content. There are two main kinds of moisturizer: oil and cream. Oil can penetrate more deeply than cream and will actually help moderate skin's oil production. Although it may seem counter-intuitive to put oil on oily skin, this benefits cells in the long-term by conditioning them to regulate oil production. Cream moisturizers are more common. Although they penetrate pores less deeply, many people prefer the consistency. I would say, if you're okay with oil, then use that, otherwise go with a cream moisturizer. Apply moisturizer after your serum to help plump and protect cells. A good moisturizer will help you skin look youthful and vibrant all day while also providing lasting moisture content to your cells. In addition, moisturizer creates a perfect base for foundation and helps prevent makeup from penetrating your pores.

How to: Apply a small amount by massaging into skin using your ring and middle finger. Use small upward circular motions. This is one place where a professional facial really stands out. A good facial massage has numerous beneficial elements for skin. When you're giving yourself a facial, be sure not to skimp on the facial massage. Finish with a dash of lip balm for complete moisture.

6. Admire your skin!

Easy At-Home Recipes

1. Cleanser

1 tablespoon almonds
½ tablespoon oats
¼ teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon soymilk (if you have on hand, otherwise it is fine to leave out)

Place oats in food processer and pulse until powdered.
Add almonds pulse until finely ground.
Mix in honey and soymilk (optional).

2. Toner

Place a bag of green, red, black or white tea in 1 cup of water and simmer until reduced to half of the original volume. Place in refrigerator overnight with a slice of cucumber and orange. Toner will be ready in the morning.

Optional for acne: 1/8 teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar (in the morning).
Optional for all skin types: 1/8 teaspoon kombucha (in the morning).

3. Mask

½ teaspoon avocado
½ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon yogurt
1/8 teaspoon Brewers Yeast
1/2 teaspoon cranberry, apple juice or kombucha

Add all ingredients to the food processer and pulse until creamy.

4. Moisturizer

Add equal parts Jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil, sesame and safflower oil.

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