You don’t need costly spa services to give your skin what it needs to look fresh, healthy, and restored. The only necessary investments are time and a few quality products. Follow these simple tips for weekly at-home facials that will keep skin glowing—at an affordable price.
What to do: Wash and rinse face with warm water. Blot skin dry.
Product Ingredients: Use your favorite cruelty-free natural facial cleanser that contains no toxic chemicals such as parabens (preservatives) and phthalates (plasticizers that can build up in fatty tissue and interfere with endocrine function).
Two: Steam & Scrub
What to do: Put a saucepan of water on to boil. Use your fingertips to gently apply scrub to your face with small, circular motions, taking care to avoid the delicate eye area. Remove the pan from heat after the water boils. With the scrub still on your face, hover over the pan, being careful to stay at least 12 inches above the water. Use a towel to create a tent over your head for maximum effectiveness. Close your eyes while the steam opens your pores. After several moments, rinse face thoroughly with warm water, using a wet face cloth to remove any residue.
Product Ingredients: Select an exfoliant scrub with fruit enzymes like papaya or pineapple. Both fruits contain beta hydroxy acids, which remove surface cells gently. Pumpkin is a skin superfood rich in healing retinoids, so choose products containing it. Pumpkin enzymes help unclog pores and soften skin while pumpkin oil moisturizes with essential fatty acids (EFAs) that help regulate skin oil production. Other good ingredients include antiaging green tea extracts, EFA-rich rose hips, soothing aloe vera, and natural vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), which improves skin elasticity and firmness.
Three: Apply Mask
What to do: Once again avoiding the eye area, apply facial mask and leave on for the length of time indicated on the package. Rinse with warm water and blot dry with a towel.
Product ingredients: Those with normal complexions might choose a hydrating mask with antioxidants. Those prone to dry skin might want a mask with hyaluronic acid, which binds moisture to the skin to soften it. Masks made with Dead Sea salts offer deep cleansing and detoxification. A kaolin or bentonite mud mask can be used monthly for treating acne and oily skin. Look for mud masks that also contain rosemary essential oil.
What to do: While skin is still moist, smooth a thin layer of moisturizer on face and neck using gentle upward strokes. Try to go without makeup for the rest of the day or at least for several hours.
Product ingredients: Good ingredients include rose essential oil, which promotes new skin cell growth and hyaluronic acid, which helps flatten fine lines and make deeper wrinkles less noticeable. Look for moisturizers with vitamins A, C, E, all of which help prevent premature skin aging.
“Vitamin A is the number one wrinkle fighter,” says Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS. Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production. Products containing goji berry extract contain all three of these powerful vitamins. Those with acne or problem skin should look for moisturizers with extracts of calendula or lavender.
Allure Confessions of a Beauty Editor by Linda Wells with the editors of Allure ($24.99, Bulfinch Press, 2006)
Living Beauty by Lisa Petty ($21.95, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2006)
The Living Beauty Detox Program by Ann Louise Gittleman PhD, CNS 9424, HarperSanFrancisco, 2000)
Return to Beautiful Skin by Myra Michelle Eby with Karolyn A. Gazella ($14.95, Basic Health, 2008)