Now that your skin is clean and your pores are open, the next step is to exfoliate, using a gentle scrub that's specifically formulated for your tender facial skin. Wet your face and neck with warm water, apply a scoop of scrub and massage your face with it in a circular pattern for about one minute. Be sure to steer clear of the eye area because of its thin, sensitive skin. You'll want to work all the way up into your hairline, and don't forget the areas around your jaw line and behind your ears where oil tends to build up. The purpose of the scrub is to remove dead skin, and to loosen up dirt and congested pores, which lead to pimples and blackheads. When you're finished, rinse with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a tissue or soft towel. Now comes the fun part (if you're into this sort of thing): extractions. The key to successfully doing your own extractions is not to squeeze too hard, and to make sure your fingers don't touch the area that you're squeezing in order to keep finger bacteria away from open pores. You can use a magnifying mirror to locate areas that seem to be concentrated with pimples and blackheads. Even if you're the lucky sort who isn't prone to acne, you're likely to see some action in the T-zone, which consists of your forehead, nose and chin. Before you start squeezing, wrap each of your forefingers with a tissue. Place your fingers about a half inch apart and facing each other, then, gently apply pressure, squeezing ever so slightly. You never want to pinch or gouge an area, because you'll end up leaving a puffy and swollen sight worse than the offending pimple. And you never want to force something out -- it's best to leave the hard-to-get extractions to your licensed esthetician. Once you're finished, swab the areas with witch hazel to remove any bacteria and encourage your pores to close back up.
Now comes the most relaxing part of your facial. Apply a mask and have a lie-down, basking in the spa-like goodness. Face masks are toning and clarifying to your skin. Be sure to choose a mask specifically made for your skin type, and remember that you've just given your skin a workout, so err on the side of a soothing formulation. Dampen your skin first, and then apply a thin layer of mask all over your face and décolleté, giving your delicate eye area a wide berth. Lie down, apply cucumber slices or steeped chamomile teabags over your eyes, (which are great for de-puffing that area) and relax for about 20 minutes. Gently remove the mask using warm wet washcloths, and apply a toner to get off any additional residue.
The final step is to treat that fresh, clean skin to a nice moisturizing treatment. Choose your favorite moisturizer or face cream and massage it onto your face and décolleté using upward strokes. Then it's time to go forth and glow!
Here are a few final notes to follow up your facial. It's best to keep from touching your face or putting on makeup for at least an hour after you finish your facial, and plan on some redness if you perform extractions. If you can, try to wait until the next day to give your skin a little time to breathe. And between facials, be sure to drink lots of water to keep those toxins flushing out and improve skin elasticity.