After a rather massive girls night out in Essex (blog post to come) my skin was in need of some serious TLC. Other contributing factors to my poor complexion include alcohol, late nights, long days, the grimey commute and so on and so on. Sometimes no matter how good we are or religious we are at removing make-up, cleansing, toning etc we just get hit with the acne stick. Despite passing adolescence even at the mature age of 24, we still have hormones whizzing around our bodies and apparently even moving into our thirties, breakouts and adult acne isn’t uncommon. GREAT!
Whilst I don’t enjoy being repeatedly hit with the acne stick I do LOVE indulging in beauty rituals. A good half hour fake tanning,15 minutes or so moisturising, 20 minutes massaging my face before bed… you get the idea. It is my equivalent of retail therapy (although I obviously do that too). Therefore in situations such as the above, it is my time to shine. I shut my door, light some candles, put on Enya… and indulge in my own DIY facial. Done on a regular basis it gives results that would rival that of decent beauticians (just without the price tag).
Perfect for tired, congested or dull complexions or a full whack breakout here is a step-by-step guide to a quick but effective facial.
I pay £67 a month for the gym. Pricey but it has the benefits of one-on-one sessions with the attractive and oh-so-defined personal trainers as well as a sauna and steam room. Since I’m shelling out for it, I try and make the absolute most of my time there and steam two-three times a week. This is generally great for sweating out the toxins all over and hydrating the skin but it also works wonders on opening the facial pores and bringing that weekly grime to the surface. Nice.
Therefore I try and combine part of the facial with a trip to the gym. If you don’t have access to a steam room, I find even just having a nice hot, steamy bath will bring also do the trick.
Not in the way you think. No nails, no scars, no Kevin and Perry style bursting spots over the mirror. I’m talking about a gentle nudge and a push to get rid of blackheads and any blocked pores. As your pores are now open from the steam and your skin is nice and supple you should have no trouble getting those little buggers out! Using the pads of your fingers (not nails – that’s how you scar) apply pressure and push on each side of the congested area. Watch it squiggle up to the surface like a worm and wipe it away with tissue. Keep going until you feel like you have sufficiently cleared the area. Any bits you’ve missed the mask should help draw to the surface.
I will always maintain that exfoliation is the key to perfect, well-cleansed, blemish-free, glowing skin. Your facial skin sheds on its own rotation, however this more than often needs a helping hand. Like with split ends, we need to shed the old skin in order to let the new skin shine through! Not only does gentle exfoliation remove dry, flakey skin, it deep cleanses, clearing all of that grime (clearly my few favourite word – but isn’t that what it feels like after a day in the city?) and renews the skin which gives a hefty contribution to fading scars and marks.
So as you can see, I LOVE a good exfoliation. Whether I embark on the full DIY facial or just cleanse, I make sure I exfoliate two-three times a week. I tend not to exceed more than three time a week, as then you enter the dangerous territory of stripping your skin’s natural oils. This then causes the skin to produce excess sebum which leads to blemishes etc etc. You get the idea.
Everybody’s skin is different and thus has various, specific needs. Whereas my skin isn’t in the slightest bit sensitive and can take a good grainy scrub, other drier types need something a bit more gentle/cream based. Generally I find, like with any product and with this blog… it is about trial and error, e.g. whatever works best for you.
I personally have always loved the St Ives Scrub for blemish prone skin (£3.99 for 150ml), which is a very grainy but when massaged in properly doesn’t scratch the skin but leaves it ultra smooth and cleansed. My little tip (similar to scrubbing the body) is add a tiny splash of water to your hands before lathering up a pea size amount of scrub which is then applied to dry if not slightly damp (from the steam) skin. Like with the body, I find applying the scrub to a wet face lessens the ability of the product.
Gently, (and I mean treat your face like you’re polishing an ancient, valuable statue), massage the scrub all over in circular motions using the pads of your fingers. I am a little more rigorous around the congested areas such as my nose, to make sure it’s getting a thorough cleanse. I spend a least a minute massaging this in. Like with make-up application or I guess anything, when you spend those few extra minutes, taking care to make sure you’re doing a thorough job, you see the results.
Once your skin has been squeezed, steamed and exfoliated, it is fully prepped for a good mask. My primary concern is always congestion and blackheads, rather than hydration or dullness however without sounding like a parrot, chose a mask that suits your own skin’s needs, whether it be congestion or hydration.
Whenever I am looking for a mask I’m searching for the following descriptions: ‘deep-cleanse’ ‘detox’ ‘clay’ … Basically anything that is going to get right down the nitty-gritty of my pores and extract the impurities.
Therefore it will come as no surprise that I love The Sanctuary’s 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask (£10.20 for 100ml), with clay AND charcoal. This product not only luxuriously self-heats, it gives a truly deep cleanse, getting right to the bottom of your pores. The results are instant; purified, clearer skin with several blackheads gone and a noticeably clearer nose!
Another nice option was Dr Organic’s Dead Sea Mineral Bio-Plasma Mud Mask (£7.99 for 100ml) which had similar effects to The Sanctuary one but produced a tingling sensation rather than warming. It cleared my skin nicely, nourishing it with minerals. It actually initially, seemed to make my skin worse as it drew the impurities and blackheads to the surface. Another gentle squeeze with the pads of your fingers will be sure to diminish the buggers and leave a nice, clear complexion.
Many beauticians are divided over the importance of a toner. Some (myself included) swear by a toner as it closes the pores and goes that further step to cleansed skin. Others argue that it is unnecessary and actually strips the skin, which may well be the case if your skin is super sensitive. I however, still love my Avene Cleanance Toner (£8.75 for 200ml) for its mattifying and purifying properties. Whether I have used a masked or simply cleansed, I swipe a loaded cotton pad gently over my face and let the skin dry before applying a moisturiser.
I love to moisturise. Whether it be the body or the face. My best friend (the one with that enviable, thick, luscious brown hair? Don’t worry I still hate her too) agrees with me on this one. She loves nothing more than spending a good 10 minutes massaging herself. When it comes to moisturising the face, spending that extra 10 minutes can make all the difference. Even if you just add a few extra minutes to your daily cleanse, tone, moisturise you will see results. It helps drain the toxins from your face (lymphatic draining) as well as plumping up the skin and making sure you get the most of your product. When I do my facial, I tend to use an oil over a moisturiser as it is especially satisfying to massage in as well as providing extra minerals, hydration and just general all round loveliness. I still stick to good old Bio Oil because I genuinely think it’s the best value for money oil out there. However there are a range of excellent facial oils available that offer various result so do have a look.
Pouring a pea size amount of the product between my hands I rub them together and then sumptuously massage my hands over my face, using the pads of my fingers and palms of my hands to apply pressure. Then starting at the forehead, I draw the pads of my fingers down and around the face in a circular motion as if I am literally drawing the toxins out. I make sure I cover the entire face as well as giving myself a very gentle temple massage (you will sleep like a baby).
One Final Step…
If I am suffering from a breakout, I apply either a dot of tea tree or Sudocreme (sometimes both) all over the area which helps treat and soothe the infection (mine tend to get quite angry). Try Australian BodyCare Tee Tree Spot Stick, which has roller-ball top for easy application.
For some, the DIY Facial may simply just be too fussy and quite honestly nothing beats someone doing all the hard work for you. However, when money is tight and you’re in need of that extra bit of TLC it is sure to help. You will go to bed feeling pampered only to wake up to super soft and clear skin. Let me know how you get on…