Thursday, 3 November 2011

7 Steps to Facials

As enjoyable as a spa day is for any woman who didn’t grow up under a rock, the costs and the time can be prohibitive. But when you’re too broke or busy to hire licensed aestheticians to coddle your complexion, your skin suffers—especially during the winter months, when the one-two punch of dryness and acne flare-ups often kicks in full-force. Fortunately, giving yourself an energizing, luxurious facial at home is easier than you think. Simply follow these seven steps to success—just don’t forget to leave the house afterward so you can show off the glowing results.

Step One: Set the Scene
Gather all your supplies together before you begin the process, to achieve maximum efficiency and relaxation. If you have long hair, pull it back into a braid or ponytail and use a headband to keep loose wisps off your face. Put on your favorite soothing music and adjust the lighting in your home to create a spalike ambience. Make sure your bed or couch is clear, so that you can lie down as needed.

Step Two: Cleanse
Wash your hands, then use warm (but never hot) water and a mild, milky cleanser, such as Cetaphil, to remove all traces of makeup and dirt from your face. If you’d prefer to create a moisturizing cleanser from scratch

Step Three: Exfoliate
When dead skin cells accumulate and block facial pores, they cause blackheads and dullness. Exfoliation is the key to removing those dead cells and liberating the skin underneath for a more luminous complexion, in addition to evening out skin tone and decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and sunspots. A number of granular substances found in your own pantry—namely, salt, sugar, and oatmeal—are ideal for achieving these results.

Step Four: Tone
Though it’s an oft-overlooked step in the facial-care regimen, toning is not only refreshing but also important for restoring skin’s optimal pH (5.5) after cleansing strips it of some of its essential acids. To mix up an invigorating toner, Carswell recommends combining one part witch hazel (a natural antiseptic that fights blemishes) with two parts rose water (which fosters circulation). Wet a 100 percent cotton pad with the liquid, then sweep it upward along your neck, jawline, and face and allow it to dry.

Step Five: Steam
During a professional facial, the aesthetician trains a small steam machine on the client’s face for five to ten minutes in order to open the pores for deep cleaning and extractions. You can achieve the same result at home by boiling one quart of distilled water in a saucepan on the stove top; if you’d like to infuse the water with your favorite soothing fragrances, bundle fresh lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus in gauze and steep for five minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. At this point, Carswell advises coating your face in a thin layer of almond or sesame oil to protect your skin from excessive heat. Then, using a clean towel to cover your head and capture the steam rising from the water’s surface, lower your face over the steam (taking care not to get uncomfortably close) and remain in that position for five minutes, then pat skin dry.

Step Six: Apply a Mask
Whatever your skin type, a mask can work wonders at drawing out impurities, minimizing pores temporarily, sloughing off dead skin, and moisturizing. Select one of these custom concoctions, and while you wait for it to take effect, cover your eyes with thin slices of cucumber or freshly steeped chamomile tea bags and relax on your back on your bed or couch.

Step Seven: Moisturize
For this final, calming step, put a generous amount of your favorite moisturizer in your palms, then rub them together to warm it up. Then take your time massaging the cream into your face, focusing on your cheeks, your forehead, and around your eyes, until it’s absorbed enough that your fingertips encounter resistance.

All Done
How do you feel now? Relaxed and refreshed? A decade younger? Take a good, long look in the mirror and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Then put your best face forward and go out to celebrate.

Culled from Skincare By Annie Tucker Morgan

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