Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Perfect Facial

Skin. It's the body's largest organ and one of the most difficult to maintain, especially for teenagers.One of the best ways, though, to give it the flawless, acne-free finish that you desire is to give yourself a monthly facial. While you may think of a facial as an unobtainable, salon-only treat, it can be broken down into several steps and then customized based on your needs, money, and time constraints. 
However, if you're thinking about putting "the procedure" off, don't. Most dermatologists believe that the fall is the best time for a facial. You've just had two to three months of exposure to harmful UV rays, chlorine, and extra oil from sweat, and you're about to head into two to three months of cold, damaging weather. It's the perfect time for a pick-me-up for your face if you're only going to do it once a year.
So, this is the way I do my facial. However, it's completely customizable. You can skip steps, add steps, make your own treatments, or buy them all. 
My Facial: Top Row Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Cleanser, DIY mask, Kiss My Face Honey Calendula Facial Lotion. Bottom Row: Salt Water toner, lipton tea bags for eye cover up, and St. Ives Apricot exfoliant

Here's how it's done

1.  Planning- Planning is what takes your facial from good to spectacular. You'll have to plan the basics, like what products you want to use and such. However, you can also plan details like a perfect playlist to listen to while you pamper, the activities for any down time in the facial (masks), or what problem areas you specifically want to target in the facial. 

2. Cleansing- This step is pretty simple: was your face with your choice cleanser. Because I gave myself an "anti-acne" facial, I used my Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. 

I've mentioned this stuff before here. It's pretty nice. Always wash your face with lukewarm water: anything hotter could burn you, or basically undo all the love you're giving to your skin. 

3. Exfoliate- Exfoliating is both my most and least favorite part of a facial. Whenever you try it, you feel like you're hurting your skin by scrubbing the little particles all over, but when it's over  your skin is soooo smoooooooth. It's the part of the facial that gives you results instantly, especially if you haven't been giving yourself facials regularly. I like to use the Saint Ives Apricot Exfoliant. It says you can use it 3 to 4 times a week, but over-exfoliating is tough on skin so I use it once a week at most. A lot of times products will recommend using more of the product than necessary because then they can sell more units. Make sure you research how much of all products you really need, and see how your skin reacts. No one else has your DNA, so it isn't always necessary to do the dame beauty routines as someone else. Experiment!

4. Steam- Perhaps the most neglected aspect of the facial is the steam. Steaming is especially effective for anti-acne treatments as it soften the outer layers of the skin, allowing the dirt, bacteria, and oil that causes acne to escape. One big no-no of the steam though, is "tenting", or putting a towel over your face to prevent steam from escaping. Instead of lifting the impurities out of the skin, tenting traps them in. For an easy steam, simply boil water in a large pot, adding scented essential or oils or basil leaves to give it a fresh scent. When the water has begun to profusely steam, pour it into a bowl and rest your head above it for 8 to 10 minutes. If you need to, take a break for some cool air. 

My steam- fresh basil to give it a scent.

5. Mask- The mask is definitely the most fun part of the facial. It feels so lovely and girly to slap a mask on and sit around painting your toenails or reading magazines. They are also one of the easiest things to DIY: I made one (see photo) comprised of honey and cinnamon (I added a bit of lemon juice too) from a recipe on Michelle Phan's website. 

6. Tone- Okay, I lied before. The most neglected part of the facial is the tone, and this absolutely sucks because it is so helpful. Toning makes any facial completely customizable: just pick something about your face you'd like to fix (for example, anti-acne, anti-aging) and google a toner to help target that specific problem. Because my entire facial was anti-acne, I took a tip from Andreas Choice and mixed salt with water for a super simple and yet effective toner. I just mixed it all up, soaked the mixture in a cotton ball and spread it all over my face. 

7. Moisturize- Do not skip this step. Especially after a facial. You've just subjected your face to a ton of water, products, towels, and many different temperatures really quickly, and your skin is probably reeling! Care for it with a nice moisturizer. 

Alrighty. That is the perfect 7-step facial. Seriously, you've got to try it. It's the perfect time of year, it's easy, it can be fast if you need it to. As Nike says, "Just Do It."

ooooo (hugs) 

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