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How to Do an At-Home Facial

You don't need to go to a spa to give your skin some TLC. Check out this easy and effective advice for doing a facial treatment at home and your complexion will thank you.

When you don't have the time or the money to hit the spa, an at-home facial can be equally relaxing and beneficial. "I always encourage clients to take good care of their skin in between facials," says Joanna Vargas, Founder and President of Joanna Vargas Skin Care Salon in New York City. "If you put in a little effort, your skin will reflect health and beauty - the compliments you get will be worth it!" Read on for her tips for a DIY facial.

To make your facial relaxing, light some candles and turn on some soothing music. "Never have your phone on while doing a facial and don't multi-task," Vargas advises. "Make this all about you!"

The steps of an at-home facial reflect those of one at a spa. "Whether at home or in the salon, the steps are meant to prepare the skin sequentially for extraction," Vargas says. Start by washing your face to remove makeup and oils, then use an exfoliating product, such as a mask or a gentle scrub. "At home, I recommend applying an exfoliating mask before you jump into the shower. The steam from your shower will keep the mask active while you shampoo, shave, etc." Alternatively, you can use an at-home steamer for similar results.

Though most doctors and aestheticians, including Vargas, don't recommend doing extractions yourself, for those who opt not to follow that advice and are confident they can do them properly, Vargas recommends using two cotton swabs instead of your fingers. "We tend to break the skin with our fingernails and can risk leaving a mark. I would extract after the shower or steam by using two cotton swabs. Once you have extracted the area, clean the area with a toner."

Follow with a mask appropriate for your skin type. A hydrating mask works for dry skin, a brightening mask helps to bring back a glow, and a clarifying mask will deep clean pores. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm, not hot, water.

The final step is to apply a serum and moisturizer. For added benefits, massage these products into your skin. "A gentle massage downward on the sides of the neck in a circular motion encourages lymphatic drainage and decreases swelling," she says. To reduce puffiness underneath your eyes, gently massage from the inner corner to the outer using circular motions.

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