How to Give Yourself a Facial at Home

Getting Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Keep your money in the bank and give yourself a facial at home. See more pictures of ways to get beautiful skin.
Getting Beautiful Skin Image Gallery Keep your money in the bank and give yourself a facial at home. See more pictures of ways to get beautiful skin.

Your eyes may be the window to your soul, but your face is the first clue to your age. The prominent desire for a youthful appearance sends some people running to the doctor's office for expensive treatments like chemical peels and Botox, and even invasive plastic surgery. So it's important to realize that taking good care of your facial skin from an early age can ease the signs of aging for both women and men.

As the wise Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this applies to pretty much anything health related, included caring for your skin. For example, limiting your time in the sun will benefit you more in the long run than trying to un-do the wrinkles and skin damage that prolonged exposure to the sun causes. Different skin types can handle different levels of sun exposure, and each skin type requires a particular kind of care. Skin types are generally divided up into dry, normal, combination and oily, and they're based on factors such as pore size, tone, texture and sebum production. In addition to proactive health measures, developing a skin care regimen that fits your skin type is a great way to stave off the inevitable signs of age.


In addition to regular cleansing and moisturizing, facials make a great addition to your skin care program that results in a smooth, glowing complexion. Facials are a popular at spas and take your skin through a specific multi-step regimen that involves cleansing, detoxifying, toning and moisturizing.

While you can get these enjoyable spa treatments from a licensed esthetician, and it's always wonderfully pampering to have someone else slather scrubs and oils on your skin, it can also be expensive. So here's how to save a little dough and give yourself a facial at home.



Prep, Cleanse and Steam

Before you get started, you'll want to gather up all of your washes and creams and tools. If you want a truly zen-like spa atmosphere, you'll also want to light a few candles and pop in some groovy tunes. Here's a list of what you'll need for the optimal home facial treatment:

  • Headband
  • Washcloth(s)
  • Several clean towels
  • Box of tissues
  • Facial steamer or pot with water
  • Cleanser
  • Scrub
  • Witch hazel (if you plan to do your own extractions)
  • Mask
  • Cucumber slices or chamomile tea bags (already steeped)
  • Moisturizer

The first step is to thoroughly cleanse your face as well as your neck and upper chest area, which are also referred to as the décolleté. Before you can start the deep clean, you need to get all of the surface dirt off of your face. Be sure to pull your hair back so you can scrub all the way up to your hairline and around your jawline, both of which are primo hiding areas for pimples. Start by taking off any eye makeup, then give your face a good once over with your regular face wash, using a washcloth or just your hands. Follow up with a toner to make sure your skin is a fresh and clean blank slate for your facial.


Now it's time for a steam. Steaming softens your skin and opens up the pores. There are a few of ways you can steam your face. The easiest way is to use a facial steamer -- it's like a vaporizer for your face. You just fill it up with water and plug it in. But since most of us don't have one readily available, you can also use the steam from a boiling pot of water. Wait until the water has come to a boil and stand over it with a towel over your head to help concentrate the steam onto your face. You'll want to steam for about five minutes. For an aromatherapy treat, you can add fragrant herbs or essential oils to the water, such as lavender or rosemary. If you want to avoid downtime between steps, go ahead and put the water on the burner before you start gathering up all of your supplies. Be careful not to stand too close, because you want to avoid steam burns. (Tip: if your face is screaming "too hot!" then you're probably too close.) The most relaxing option is to soak a washcloth in warm water, get horizontal and drape it over your face. The only drag about this is that it's ideal to steam for about 10 minutes using the washcloth method, and the washcloth will cool off pretty quickly so you'll have to keep swapping it for a warm one.


Exfoliate, Mask and Moisturize

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.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • "Do It Yourself Extractions.", March 21, 2008.
  • "Give Yourself an At Home Facial.", 2009.
  • Hilker, Carol. "How to Give Yourself a Facial - Best at-home facial and homemade face masks." Haight Ashbury Budget Living Examiner, November 1, 2009.
  • "Pamper Yourself With a Home Facial.", 2009.