Beauty

How to give yourself an at-home facial

©iStockphoto.com/Laflor Photography Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Laflor Photography

Beauty

How to give yourself an at-home facial

Thanks to the heat, humidity and smog, we need facials in the summer more than any other time. But you don't have to spend top dollar on a day at the spa; you can achieve similar results at home with just six easy steps and a few key products.

To make an at-home facial less intimidating, we spoke to Erica Vega, LUSH North American trainer, who reminds us that treating ourselves is supposed to be relaxing -- and that means it should be easy.

1. Create a peaceful setting
According to Vega, facials should nourish both your skin and your mind, so it's important to create a space that will be conducive to doing both. "Get your supplies together and set up a lovely environment," she advises. "People don't think they have the time to do that, but it's such a rewarding experience."

Get rid of the bathroom clutter, dim the lights, put some fresh flowers in a vase on the counter: Do whatever gives you a sense of peace and calm to help create the spa experience at home.

2. Opt for fresh ingredients
The key to an effective facial is to use the best ingredients for your skin. "Your skin is a living, breathing organism, so you want to make sure the ingredients you use are able to penetrate it," Vega explains. "Anything that's put on your skin is going to go right into your bloodstream, so use healthy ingredients."

When searching for products, high-quality cold-pressed vegetable oils are the first thing to look for, including avocado oil, sesame oil and almond oil, she advises. "Almond oil is one of the finest oils you can put on your skin." It absorbs easily into the skin without leaving much residue, and it moisturizes without clogging pores.

You'll also want to look for products that contain fresh juices that are full of enzymes that help break down dead cells and smooth and brighten skin, Vega notes. But stay away from mineral oil, which sits on top of your skin and fails to absorb.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover four more great tips for at-home facials on page 2.
3. Massage your face while removing makeup
Products won't absorb properly if you're still wearing makeup, so take it off by massaging your face with a cleanser. "I'm a big fan of the facial massage," says Vega. "By doing this, you're encouraging the blood to start flowing. And when blood circulates, it brings fresh oxygen to the cells and promotes cell growth while flushing away waste and toxins." The massage also helps promote elasticity, which is crucial in keeping skin looking healthy and young, she explains.

Gently work your cleanser of choice around your face using small but fluid circular motions for one to two minutes before rinsing.

Bonus:
The longer you keep the cleanser on your skin, the greater benefit you'll get from any active ingredients (such as anti-aging or blemish-busting ingredients) in the product.

4. Exfoliate
The next step in your at-home facial is exfoliation. "Those little granules will get the dead skin off," explains Vega. Dead skin clogs pores and can leave skin looking dull and lacklustre. Exfoliating also ensures that any other product you apply to your skin, such as a mask or moisturizer, will penetrate and therefore be able to do its job, she says. You'll want a product that contains all-natural ingredients to ensure your skin is getting the best kind of treatment.

5. Apply a mask
Choose a mask that is formulated for your skin type or that targets any skin issues you wish to correct (such as redness, fine lines or blemishes). You'll want to keep your mask on for about 10 minutes, and keep it moist, advises Vega. "You want to make sure your mask is staying hydrated and alive," she explains. "So spritz it with toner or water. Once something is dry, it's not really active."

And don't just use the mask on your face. We tend to neglect the skin on our necks, but Vega says to apply products generously. "I like applying facial masks to the neck as well, because the skin is so sensitive," she says. "The neck and chest can show your age, and we forget that we need to moisturize the skin there to keep it as elastic as possible so it will stay firm."

6. Remove the mask and moisturize
Using a warm, moist washcloth is the best way to remove your mask, says Vega. Once you're ready, take it off in a few gentle stokes before rinsing away any residue. Avoid applying cold water right away; it might be a shock to your face after the warmth. Follow up with your moisturizer of choice. It should be applied while your skin is still damp to achieve optimum absorption.

An at-home facial can be a relaxing and affordable way to treat your skin -- and yourself. With the right products and techniques, you can skip the spa and create a simple complexion-boosting treatment in the comfort of your home.

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How to give yourself an at-home facial

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