We agree: It would be more fun to jet around the world sampling spa treatments, but what with work and kids and, well, real life always getting in the way of our wild fantasies, a D.I.Y. facial feels like a far more doable option to keep skin toned and glowy. That’s not to say an at-home treatment can’t be a thoroughly effective, thoroughly relaxing experience, though. Just close your eyes, visualize yourself in a tiny seaside spa on the French Riviera, and put the spa-approved products ahead to work.
1. CLEANSE: Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm
Your first step, of course, is cleansing off all the filth that’s glomed onto your skin and burrowed sneakily into your pores. Scoop up a dollop of this melting cleanser—from British spa Elemis—warm it with your fingers, then work over skin in circular motions. Sweep off with a warm washcloth.
2. EXFOLIATE: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment
L.A.-based esthetician Kate Somerville’s exfoliator dissolves the dead layers dulling your complexion by tag-teaming two methods. Enzymes dissolve the bonds that seal cells to your skin while gentle scrubby bits slough those loosened cells right off.
3. STEAM: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer
We’d rate this steamer as a major upgrade on the old holding your towel-draped head over a bowl of steaming water trick. Its balmy mist encourages circulation, and—most importantly—opens pores, which is an essential step in your facial because…
4. PERFORM EXTRACTIONS: Beaute Bleu Blackhead and Pimple Remover Kit
We know you really, really want to do extractions. You steamed your face and everything. And they’re so disgustingly satisfying. We get it. That said, be warned. Best worst-case scenario: You leave pigmentation marks that can last for months. Worst worst-case scenario: You leave scars that last forever. If you must extract, however, choose a pro-quality kit like this one that contains everything for ridding yourself of blackheads and other unwanteds.
5. MAGNIFYING MIRROR: Conair LED Vanity Mirror
Before you head in with your extractor kit, though, up your chances of actually seeing what you’re doing with a light-up, magnifying mirror that makes easy work of spotting spots.
6. TREATMENT MASK: Nuxe Clarifying Cream-Mask
You’re cleansed, steamed, and extracted, so now, of course, it’s time to clarify skin with a treatment mask. This one from Nuxe (check out their spas scattered across France) couples kaolin clay and rice powder to soothe skin and tighten back up the pores you just opened and cleansed.
7. TONING MIST: Caudalie Beauty Elixir
While this step might seem superfluous, we assure you it’s not. Choose a toner packed with soothing ingredients that calm skin as they pump it full of antioxidants. French spa brand Caudalie’s elixir taps resveratrol from grape stems as well as rosemary to improve tone and texture in a few swift mists.
8. SERUM: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Next, smooth on a coat of Danish-born, L.A.-based cosmetician Ole Henriksen’s Truth Serum. The star ingredient is quick-absorbing vitamin C. It protects skin’s ability to produce collagen, which, of course, is essential to staving off pretty much every sign of aging.
9. MOISTURIZER: Cold Spring Apothecary Rosehip and Lavender Facial Creme
A good moisturizer fills the final spot in your line-up of topicals. We like this one from Cold Spring Apothecary, both because of the Upstate New York spa’s stance on keeping beauty products all natural, and also because the products remind us of relaxing in the wilds of the Hudson Valley.
10. ULTRASOUND TREATMENT: Jenu Ultrasonic Infuser
Trace this little wand over skin to drive all the actives from your toner, serum, and moisturizer as deeply as possible into your epidermis using ultrasonic energy that triples absorption rates.
11. BLUE LIGHT TREATMENT: Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask
Be warned: You will look like Elon Musk predicted correctly and the robots have taken over everything, including your face. But maybe that’s not so bad, when you consider what an excellent job this spa-inspired blue-light mask does at fighting acne while you do nothing but laze around.
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