How to do a facial at home from a professional skin therapist

Luxury spa vibes in your living room. Skin therapist Diandra Politano shares her expertise in our step-by-step guide.

Dealing with ‘iso skin’, stress breakouts and trans-seasonal complexion issues are easier when you’re taking care of your skin. Between all-day masking (heck, we have the time), to going makeup-free for a while, there’s endless ways to give your skin some love – and thanks to isolation, it seems we’ve been doing just that.

Between the pandemic, working from home and quarantine, we’ve been turning to skincare to deal with stress and anxiety. Coined The Lipstick Indicator, or the Serum Index, the act of using beauty products as an affordable indulgence during uncertain financial times is proving popular.

That’s where an at-home facial comes in. Yes, beauty salons around the country are beginning to reopen, but a little DIY love will help your complexion stay on track between professional appointments while supercharging your regular routine. Skin therapist Diandra Politano shows us how it’s done.

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Do the double cleanse

“I always start my professional treatments with an oil cleanse, it’s decadent and the perfect way to relax into your home facial. Use an oil cleanser and gently massage it into skin and around your eyes, this provides slip for the massage before transforming into a milk emulsion with water that rinses away. For your second cleanse, use your standard daily cleanser ensuring it’s gentle but effective enough in removing dirt and makeup without stripping skin of its natural oil.”

Tip: If your face feels tight and dry after cleansing, ditch it for a softer, more hydrating formula.

Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil ($52, at Adore Beauty)

Clear your pores

“To choose the right exfoliant go by your skin type. If you have reactive skin use a mild granular scrub with lots of water to dilute and soften beads. Apply a pearl sized amount to slightly dampened skin and using very light circular movements. If skin is sensitised exfoliate the evening before your facial to avoid irritation. For congested and acne-prone skin use a chemical exfoliant to work into your pores and lift sebum. These dissolve dead skin cells and unclog pores, revealing juicy new skin underneath.

If your skin is very tough and really missing your salon peels and needling sessions, do a double exfoliation. Do this by using your granular scrub with plenty of water, pat the skin dry, and then follow with an application of a very low strength AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) or BHA (beta hydroxy acid) toner. Then rinse.”

Natio Renew Radiance Exfoliator ($19.95, at Myer)

Tip: An additional option I recommend for congested skin types is to steam skin to help unclog pores by softening sebum to allow the product to infuse. Pour boiling water into a bowl and hold your face above it with a towel over your head for a few minutes.

Put on a mask

“These customisable treatments will work much deeper into your skin because of the deep cleansing. If you have ageing, dehydrated or dry skin choose hydrating sheet or cream masks. For congestion use clay formulation and for combination skin, try multi-masking by applying different masks to different areas or double mask by using a purifying formula first before washing off and applying a hydrating mask.”

Tip: Mist a toner over your face and neck to amplify the application of the next product you apply, leaving skin plump and dewy by improving the skin’s moisture balance.

Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask ($54, at Sephora)

Massage in serums

“Apply your regular serum of face oil and massage into your skin using upward circular motions. I recommend taking at least 15 minutes to infuse the product into the skin. You can use a gua sha or jade roller massaging tool, you may need to use more serum than usual here, too. To brighten skin try vitamin C, for congestion go for jojoba oil to reduce inflammation.”

The Jojoba Company Jojoba Oil ($19.95, at Nourished Life)

Rebalance with moisture

“To restore hydration and nutrients back into your skin (especially after intense exfoliation) use a calming rich lotion like your evening cream and eye cream. Gently pat into skin taking long deep breaths.”

Tip: If you use Vitamin A or retinol, skip it.

Nuori Infinity Bio-Renewal Night ($299, at The Lab Organics)