BYO Skincare Expert: At-Home Facials

Since we don't have access to the latter right now, we asked Kathryn Sawers of Collective Skin Care for her advice on at-home facials

Learn how to treat yo’ self

During these (deep breath) unprecedented times, there’s lots of media pressure to be “productive”—write a novel, become a bodybuilder, paint your garage, et cetera. We’ve got a couple of qualms with that. One, productivity doesn’t have to look like a finished manuscript, six-pack abs or a purple garage. And two, we’re living in a wacky world, so it’s OK to take some time to relax.

Face masks (the skincare kind, not the medical kind) have long been my self-care method of choice, and a facial from a pro is even better. Since we don’t have access to the latter right now, we asked Kathryn Sawers of Collective Skin Care for her advice on at-home facials.

Facials aren’t a one-size-fits all skincare solution, so Sawers recommends (virtually) consulting a professional skin therapist to determine what your skin needs. “Trying to decide on the best routine for your skin is not easy, and too much choice can lead to a cupboard full of half-used products,” she says. Consult a skin expert so you can spend you heard-earned cash on a routine that works for you. Some basic things to consider before you begin your facial are:

Is your skin feeling bumpy, or do you have active breakouts? In that case, Sawers suggests using a clay mask, or a mask that contains anti-bacterial ingredients. 

Is your skin feeling tight and dry or flaky? If so, use a hydrating, soothing or moisturizing mask.

Do you have a lot of tension in your face, or deep expression lines you’d like to soften? You may want to spend a bit more time on your massage routine.

If you don’t have a stockpile of face masks at the ready (is that just me?), you can whip one up with your fridge and pantry items. There are plenty of recipes online, but Sawers notes that the most common ingredients in at-home concoctions are raw honey, matcha green tea, plain yogurt, ground oats, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil and turmeric. Careful with that last one—it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, but it can also give you a not-cute orangey glow.

How to give yourself a facial:

  1. Make this into a relaxing ritual. Light some candles, and listen to some calming music. The more relaxed you are, the more receptive your skin will be to the products.
  2. Pull your hair back so you won’t get product in it.
  3. Cleanse your skin and pat dry.
  4. Exfoliate to remove surface dead skin cells. This will make your skin noticeably smoother and improve product penetration.
  5. Don’t perform your own extractions, and especially avoid using extraction tools. There’s a risk of damaging the skin and causing scars.
  6. Apply a serum.
  7. Give yourself a massage with a face oil. Integrate any tools you may have (like a jade roller or gua sha). If your skin is normal to dry, you can leave the oil on. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, gently rinse it, or use a toner with cotton pads to wipe away any excess oil. 
  8. Apply your mask and and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, or as directed by the manufacturer. Take a moment to relax while your mask is on—now’s not the time to roll cookie dough or scroll through Twitter. Sawer recommends meditating while your mask does its thing.
  9. Remove your mask, avoiding extreme heat or cold when rinsing (room-temperature water is best). Apply your finishing products: toner/facial mist, eye cream, moisturizer.