Our Holistic Esthetician Shares Her Secrets For An At-Home Facial
First of all, let me just say: facials are far from fluffy.
It’s not just about slapping on a sheet mask or focusing on superficial results. And in times when you’re feeling a bit off, stressed out or stuck at home, doing an at-home facial may be just the thing you need.
No matter what the day has held or what uncertainties lie ahead, creating space to reconnect with your skin + self through an at-home facial has a powerful ripple effect that impacts your soul and spirit as well – and I think we may need that now more than ever.
We have the privilege of providing facial treatments to our community at our very own holistic spa, The Spa at Primally Pure, and have seen firsthand the power that these experiences hold. Our guest’s demeanor drastically changes from when they first arrive (often feeling flustered or stressed) to when they leave – feeling heaviness + tension soften and returning to their day-to-day with a fresh sense of hope and healing.
See, facials are powerful stuff. 🙂
Alright, sweet friends, grab something nourishing to sip on and get cozy because I’m spilling all of my secrets to help you create a skin sanctuary in your very own home.
Facial Note: I’ve listed *a lot* of facial secrets below! But you can always simplify these steps if you’re tight on time – so to start, just try picking out at least 2 or 3 steps to follow for your at-home facial! This time is for you. With that said, I do want to encourage you to try to implement as many of these tips as possible to promote overall skin health and optimal wellness from within.
Here we go!
Create the mood
The very first step in cultivating a spa sanctuary at home is creating the mood.
- Aromatherapy is key – diffuse either uplifting or calming essential oils (whatever you’re needing to feel in the moment, support your mind + mood with the appropriate aroma!). Try blue tansy, vetiver or lavender to relax your nervous system or lemongrass, bergamot or jasmine to lift your spirits. You can also burn a candle made with essential oils (remember to alwayssss avoid artificial fragrances) or light palo santo to clear your space and set the tone for a restorative at-home skin treatment.
- You want to support all of your senses so pick a playlist that you can unwind to. For some people that may be rap (like our Founder, Bethany!), but for most of us, it may be something more soft and soothing. You can easily search your favorite music app for spa-like playlists or nature sounds to create the most relaxing atmosphere possible. I’m a big fan of nature sounds (I find mine from this app!), especially if you live in a city or are stuck indoors. 🙂
- And of course, if we’re talking all things sensory and setting the tone, we can’t forget taste! Pour yourself a tall glass of water and infuse it with some fresh organic herbs, fruit or veg for the ultimate spa experience. Some of our favorite blends we use at The Spa at Primally Pure are: Orange + Rosemary, Lime + Mint, Strawberry + Basil, or Cucumber + Lemon. You can also brew a hot cup of herbal tea – for promoting serious skin health (sans caffeine, of course), try hibiscus + rose, roasted dandelion or peppermint. Plus the aroma + warmth of the tea helps you slow down and start to unwind.
Okay, you might be wondering, a foot soak? In an at-home facial? I told you, I’m spilling all my facial secrets! And a facial is intended to support so. much. more. than just your face. If you’ve received a facial with us at The Spa, you know that to be true. 🙂
We start every treatment with a warm, soothing foot soak to begin the relaxation process and optimize not only your skin health, but your overall sense of wellness. This unexpected (and welcomed!) step is such a supportive way to relax and relieve tension you may have not even realized you were carrying.
If you have a bathtub at home, fill it up just enough to cover your feet or if you aren’t #blessed with a tub (sadly, that’s me!), you can find a smaller basin to soak your feet. Fill it with hot water, sprinkle in some Sea Soak and let your stress start to melt away. As you soothe tired toes and focus a few minutes on slow meditative breaths, trust me, your entire body and mind will feel the benefits too. And we all know, a calm mind + healthy body = happy skin!
Once you’ve set the tone for your facial and have soaked your feet, tie your hair back, take in 3 deep diaphragmatic breaths (inhale for 3, hold for 3, exhale for 6), and let’s begin!
Cleanse + Tone
While we always say cleansing is the *most crucial* step in any skincare routine, it can also be the most relaxing. Especially when you’re oil cleansing!
This isn’t just a quick splash-and-rinse-kind-of-cleanse – for this first step of your facial you really want to allow more time + intention to:
- soften tight facial muscles and feed your skin through circulation from the massage component of oil cleansing
- allow your mind to unwind and let go of any stressors or anxiety from the day (or week or month) with the warm washcloth removal
- begin breathing in the aroma from the organic essential oils to recenter + ground your sense of wellness
- and of course, to break up makeup, dissolve buildup and deeply cleanse the skin, too!
For my full Oil Cleansing tutorial, click here! Want to take your cleansing to the next level? You’ll want to watch this tutorial on Double Cleansing next. (I start all of my Holistic Skin Treatments with this 2-step cleansing technique!)
Next step: Toning. Which, in my humble (*ahem* and professional) opinion, is the glue that holds your skincare routine together. This. Step. Is. A. Must.
You may think this simple spritz doesn’t do a whole lot for your skin, but let me tell you, without it, you’re missing out on a whole slew of nourishing ingredients that your skin craves and needs to be resilient, replenished, and balanced. Generously misting toner (trust me, you can never be too generous!) after your cleansing routine properly rebalances and provides a boost of hydration that’s essential for optimal skin health.
Plus while your skin is still damp, the products you apply afterward are able to absorb more deeply and be received more readily by the skin. And the pure plant essential oils + hydrosols have powerful aromatherapy properties. I’d call that a skin win-win!
Toning Tip: Anytime you remove a product, tone! And sometimes, I’ll even sandwich my serum or cream with a final mist to seal in all the skin-loving goodness. Like I said, you can never be too generous with your toner. 😉 But beware of toners with more harsh ingredients such as alcohol (yes, even my oil-rich/acne-prone friends) – we want to rebuild the skin, not strip it.
This is one of my favorite secrets for an at-home facial: steam.
I incorporate steaming into most of my facial treatments and you can re-create the same skin-softening, pore-opening, circulation-boosting effect at home. An aromatherapy steam facial is such a therapeutic way to boost beauty, immunity and well-being during times of stress and much-needed self-care.
Not only does the warmth of the steam help to purify pores and give your skin a healthy glow, by adding organic essential oils or slices of fresh fruit or herbs helps to clear sinuses, relieve congestion and provide some serious aromatherapy benefits for your mood and mind. (And if you don’t have space in your schedule to follow every step of this at-home facial, just taking 10 minutes to be still + steam will be a game-changer on dreary days!)
Here’s how to create a steam facial at home:
- Bring a pot of pure water to a boil and while the water is warming up, this is when you can take a few minutes to cleanse + tone your skin (see the step above!). Transfer boiling water to a large bowl and add several drops of your favorite essential oil or fresh fruit slices. Try: orange slices for a mental pick-me-up, lemon slices to refresh your spirit or eucalyptus essential oil to soothe your senses.
- Find a comfortable place where you can sit with your face over the steam. Drape a towel over your head to hold in the heat and deeply relax. If at any point the steam feels too hot, be sure to pull your face back a bit!
- Take several deep breaths, allow the aromas + warmth to do its healing work, and let the music you’re playing + the mood you’ve created help support wellness from within.
- After about 10-15 minutes, spritz skin with Complexion Mist and your skin is prepped + ready for masking!
When it comes to masking, one and done isn’t always the answer.
Multi-masking is a powerful way to help support the diverse, ever-evolving nature of your skin. While we do our best to bring balance to our wellness within, this approach to masking helps to bring balance back to the surface. By applying different masks to different areas of the skin, you’re able to specifically support unique skin needs – all at the same time.
Depending on the day, the climate, your monthly cycle or a stressful season in life, let your skin guide you in choosing the most supportive masks for your current skin state.
After cleansing, toning and steaming, look closely at what you’re observing on the surface of your skin and start to reflect on what you’re seeing: Larger, more visible pores? Red, inflamed areas? Specific spots of hyperpigmentation? Healthy glow? Smile lines? Worry lines? Based on what you’re observing, you can opt for a clarifying mask, calming mask or hydrating mask!
Want a little more support to discover your skin state? Click here to learn more!
Mask Tip: One of the benefits of masking in an at-home facial is that you can pair it with another self-care practice you love! While I’m all about multi-masking, my only tip for this part of your facial is no multi-tasking – no laundry, no cleaning, no emails. Once you apply a mask, this time is yours! Refill your water and try practicing deep breathing, taking a bath, reading a book, writing in your gratitude journal, or simply sitting in solitude. Just enjoy a few quiet minutes to yourself to care for your skin and your self in even more holistic ways.
It’s not an at-home facial with my favorite facial tool ever of all time: Gua Sha.
After removing your mask, spritz your skin (generously!) with your toner and apply a light layer of the best skin-specific serum for your skin state. Apply about 5-8 drops of your serum – keeping in mind that you don’t want to apply too much oil so that the stone slips right off the skin. We do want a little pulling/tugging action to happen!
Think of Gua Sha like yoga for the face! It’s through movement that the skin is fed and the muscles are strengthened – creating a more toned, lifted, and sculpted appearance. Each part of the tool has a unique purpose in rejuvenating the skin by:
- promoting lymphatic drainage
- decreasing discoloration from sun damage, hormonal changes and acne scarring
- detoxifying/depuffing (say goodbye to undereye bags + dark circles!)
- clearing blockages + buildup of toxins and excess fluid
- calming the nervous systems + minimizing effects of stress
Plus with its rhythmic, repetitive massage movements, Gua Sha powerfully supports stress levels by sedating the sympathetic nervous system (our fight/flight/freeze response – which is active all too often in our society right now) and tapping into the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest/repair) to allow the body and mind to enter a state of relaxation, focusing on reparative functions + restoring overall health. Because one of the biggest causes of premature aging is chronic stress, a consistent Gua Sha practice helps to not only address stress-induced skin conditions, it creates a calm, quiet mind.
Here are a few resources to get you started with your personal Gua Sha practice:
- If you’re still unsure about this stone’s skin-transforming power, you’ve got to read this post.
- Don’t have a Gua Sha stone at home? Get one here!
- Now that you’re on board with this beauty technique and you’ve got your stone, click here for our step-by-step tutorial to follow along at home!
By finishing off your at-home facial with a full Gua Sha routine, you’ll be ready to face anything that comes your way – or maybe you might just be ready to climb into bed! 😉
Facial Tool Tip: Rolling with our Ridged Facial Rollers is a bit more simple than Gua Sha, but still provides similar benefits (and a much-needed boost!) for your skin health. Since facial rolling doesn’t require tons of time or expertise, this is the perfect tool if you’re tight on time, need a quick morning pick-me-up, or are a mama who’s got her hands full.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
If you’ve made it this far, well done, friends! By now I hope you’re already feeling a major shift in how your skin is looking and feeling – and more importantly, that YOU are feeling more balanced, grounded and glowing from the inside out. That’s what all this is about anyway.
The last step is a simple one. Simply tone (you could have guessed that one by now!) to dampen your skin, take a deep breath – in and out – and seal it all in with a final layer of Beauty Cream.
Finish the rest of your fruit-infused spa water and smile at your sweet self in the mirror – and always remember: you are beautiful, you are strong, and you are not alone.
I hope by taking intentional time to create your own skin sanctuary at-home and care for yourself holistically, no matter what you’re going through, you will discover a deeper sense of beauty, hope + healing within. XO