Real talk: a facial isn't really a facial unless you're reclined, cocooned under a warm blanket and listening to the soft, soothing sounds of waves lapping against the shore while an esthetician massages your skin. But the next best thing is recreating the professional experience at home. Give your skin a beauty boost, your mind a rest and your bank account a break by pampering yourself with an at-home facial.
1. FRESH START
First, remove all traces of makeup, dirt and impurities from your face. If you have an oily complexion, use gel-based cleansers, which will balance out the skin’s natural oil. A gentle, creamy cleanser adds hydration to dry skin. For a spa-like experience, fill the sink with lukewarm water and add a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender, rosewood or eucalyptus. Dip a cotton face cloth into the water, then wring out gently and press it soothingly on your face to further cleanse the skin. This second cleanse will help you unwind—and remove all residue without stripping away essential oils.
2. SLOUGH OFF
Next, choose a mild exfoliant, which will remove the surface layer of dead cells. If you frequently skip this step in your regular beauty regimen, it can cause your skin to have a dull and listless appearance–so get scrubbing! Depending on your preference, needs and skin sensitivity, you can either use a manual exfoliant with spherical beads that lift dead cells off the skin’s surface or a chemical exfoliant, which uses natural enzymes, like pineapple enzymes, that digest [or dissolve?] skin cells. Make sure skin is still moist before applying the exfoliant. Then, for a manual scrub, distribute the product around the face in a circular motion, using light pressure (avoid the eye area, as the skin is thin and can be damaged easily); rinse with tepid water. Slather on a chemical exfoliant, leave for a specified time and rinse with tepid water or micellar water. Your skin will instantly feel smoother and your complexion will look more radiant.
3. MIRACLE MASKS
Now it’s time to indulge in a refreshing, invigorating or soothing mask that’s designed to accomplish your skin care desires. Regrettably, there’s no such thing as a mask that can treat all of our skin care woes in a single application. That’s why treatment menus at spas include multiple facial options; each one targets a specific problem area. If your complexion is oily, use a clay mask. Natural clay masks are detoxifying treatments that help remove excess oil and cleanse pores deeply, which can help clear up pesky white and blackheads over time. If you have dry, dehydrated skin, opt for ultra-nourishing cream masks that add moisture and plump up the skin. These types of masks will likely be absorbed into the skin; however, they still require a final rinse. Women with combination skin can customize, by multi-masking, using a mixture of the different types. In oilier areas, such as the t-zone, try applying a clay mask, then apply a hydrating gel or cream mask to the rest of the face. When applying any kind of mask, ensure that it’s a safe distance away from the hairline, eye area and lips. After the specified time, use a clean, cotton face cloth drenched in lukewarm water to remove the mask.
4. ADD THE MOISTURE
Finally, it’s important to seal in all that hard work with your daily serum, eye cream and moisturizer. This also helps to rehydrate and calm the skin. Don’t forget your lips; apply a rich hydrating balm or treatment to get them looking just as radiant as the rest of your face. If you’re planning on stepping outside into sunlight after your facial, be sure to apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF.
SET THE MOOD
Get yourself in the mood for a relaxing in-house session with these suggestions.
This unique eye treatment uses a cooling gel technology that lets you feel the difference right on contact. It's a three step eye system that works together to aid with an uptake of hydration, depuffing and firming.
Flawless By Friday Mesmereyes, $26.
If a Snapchat filter and a mask hooked up we'd have this brightening character mask. It helps boost dull skin to look brighter and matte with cotton seed extract. Perfect for oily skin complexions
Character mask puppy brightening, $4.
This charcoal mask draws out deep-dwelling pore-cloggers.
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores, $31.
Whip it Good
This nutrient-rich mask contains Argan oil and Moroccan rhassoul clay—whipped together to nourish, clarify, firm, and refine skin.
Josie Maran Whipped Mud Mask Argan Hydrating and Detoxifying Treatment, $59.
When it comes to skin care, NEVER FORGET YOUR NECK! This bio-cellulose patch mak intensely hydrates and moisturizes skin with amino acids and wheat proteins with skin tensing properties.
RODIAL Neck Masks, 8 for $64.
Looking for an greener option. This radiance repair mask is formulated with a gentle exfoliating blend of Glycolic and Lactic (AHAs) Acids to improve skin’s clarity and firmness. Bioflavonoid-rich hibiscus, raw blueberries and cranberries and super hydrating cold-pressed oils to restore moisture.
Kat Burki Hibiscus Antioxidant Face Mask, $86.
Great for oily and acne prone skin, this mattifying mask absorbs oil, impurities and environmental pollutants to help detoxify skin. Charcoal powder draws out deep-seated debris to purify pores, while mineral clays soak up excess oil.
Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask
This super luxe mask uses extract from honey which is repairs and smooths skin. This gel-textured honey mask leaves the skin plumped up and exceptionally smooth right from the first application.
Guerlain Abeille Royale Repairing Honey Gel Mask, $182.
Halloween is just around the corner and even if you're not planning on dressing up, you still can get in on the festivities. Here are 10 stylish Halloween-inspired manicures that will get you in the spirit of Halloween—no wig or face paint necessary.
Sometimes one single colour can do the justice. Keep it easy by applying dark burgundy that really sets the mood for Halloween.
Ombre-ing with a mix of two dark sultry colours will give your nails some sexy eerie vibes.
Keep it simple but a little spooky with clean black french tips.
Give your nails a cute twist by matching them to candy corn candies that are given out during Halloween.
Challenge yourself by recreating the simple black french tip to something a little more cute and spooky, like Black Cat tips to your nails.
Spider webs have been a Halloween theme for as long as we can remember, add a little spook to your nails with a web detailing.
If you don't want spooky or 'in-your-face' Halloween nails, keep it modern by adding glitter to your nails on top of a dark beige brown base colour.
Keep the Halloween spirit on your nails by applying simple Jack o' Lantern nail art at the tip of your nails.
If you are dressing up as an animal for Halloween you can make it look more convincing by adding animal prints to your nails to match your costume.
After all, Halloween is about anything bloody and gory. Keep your nails consistent with your costume by splattering red nail polish over your nails to create that bloody look.
Image courtesy of iStockPhoto Credits: Image courtesy of iStockPhoto
Tired of the same old mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring! Add a burst of flavour to your mash with these 10 flavourful mashed potato recipes!
Sweet potatoes are a well-known superfood and an excellent addition to any holiday dinner. This dish can be assembled a day in advance. Just sprinkle it with streusel at the last minute and pop it into the oven.
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Mash With Pecan Streusel
If you're making this recipe ahead of time, choose a large shallow ovenproof dish, which will decrease the time needed to warm it in the oven while the turkey is resting.
Get the recipe: Crunchy Parmesan-Topped Double Potato Mash
The secret to crispy salmon skin is cooking the fish 90 percent of the way through on the skin side, in a nonstick pan! Don't try to turn the salmon too early; if it's sticking to the pan, it's not ready to turn. Potatoes mashed with spinach, tarragon and horseradish make the perfect accompaniment!
Get the recipe: Crispy Salmon on Braised Vegetables and Spinach Mash
This twist on shepherd's pie features smoky, spicy chorizo and flavourful Oka cheese. A casserole this large will take several days to thaw in the fridge, so don't worry if it's still a bit firm after thawing for a day. The partial thawing just allows it to reheat a bit more evenly.
Get the recipe: Pork Pie With Oka Mash
Korean cuisine is renowned for its spicy fermented cabbage (kimchi) and beef dishes. Here, juicy beef tenderloin and creamy potatoes mixed with pungent kimchi use that inspiration for an East-meets-West entertaining meal that's as special as it is tasty. Serve with crisp stir-fried vegetables.
Get the recipe: Soy-Ginger Tenderloin Steaks With Kimchi Mash
Take mashed potatoes (a favourite comfort food) to soaring new heights with the simple addition of goat cheese and garlic. You might want to make a double batch for a crowd – it will fly off the table.
Get the recipe: Garlic Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
We boost the flavour of this potato purée with olive oil and fresh parsley. On another night, make this dish with fresh sole fillets or scallops instead of the salmon, and call it the catch of the day. Serve with lemon wedges.
Get the recipe: Lemon and Caper Salmon With Herbed Potato Mash
Looking for a change from plain old mashed potatoes? Spruce up your holiday table with this seasonal side dish. Buttermilk and Dijon mustard add pleasant tang and creamy texture (without the addition of cream). To avoid a gluey purée, do not overmix. Fresh chives add a festive hit of colour.
Get the recipe: Parsnip and Potato Puree
Rutabaga, also called turnip, is an often overlooked (but tasty) root vegetable. With a texture similar to potatoes, rutabaga is delicious mashed or roasted. It is available year-round and stays fresh thanks to its waxy skin. You can use a sharp knife to peel the skin away, or buy the vegetable already peeled and cubed.
Get the recipe: Pan-Fried Steak With Horseradish Rutabaga Mash
Slightly sweet and peppery turnips hold their own in this extra-creamy mash, adding a welcome hit of flavour to the classic comforting side. Make it ahead and simply pop the dish in the oven to reheat before your meal.
Get the recipe: Roasted Garlic Potato and Turnip Mash