It was Friday night and 5 days away from my next facial, and my skin just looked terrible. I was having some breakout, plus was feeling dry and rough- not the way I wanted to start my Saturday! Even if I had wanted to, I couldn’t move up my facial appointment because I knew the weekend was jam packed and that was no time to be dealing with all the havoc a great facial can wreck on your skin.
**Heads up Ladies, a GREAT facial WILL make you break out! It get’s all that gunk out of your skin, not to mention professional products usually singe the top layer to reveal the new skin underneath. This is all wonderful… THREE DAYS after the facial. Do not get a facial the day before a big event!**
Story starting to sound familiar? Ever had that happen? Here you are, like a good woman you have all your appointments lined up and just days before you see your guru your suddenly wishing you had made your appointment for three and a half weeks, instead of the usual four.
I needed a pick-me up, something to get me feeling smooth and glowy without the unavoidable down-time a true professional-grade facial brings on. Good thing I’ve got a trick or two in my kitchen! I’m a huge fan of going natural and organic when I can, so I’ve got quite the collection of books on home-made skin care recipes. They are mild enough for my emergency facial, but strong enough to perk up my face before a long weekend. Consider this your go-to for a facial emergency when the powers that be keep you from your aestheticians bed for a few more days.
Step 1) Cleanse your face
I always have two parts to cleaning my face: First, I remove all my makeup with a wipe. I just can’t help being grossed out by the idea of dumping face wash on my face and making a brown sloppy mess when I’m supposed to be cleaning! It’s like trying to mop your floors and not sweep first. Then, go in with your cleanser and warm water. Spend at lease 3 minutes massaging your cleanser into your skin, and don’t forget your neck and hairline. Pat dry.
Step 2) Steam
Those steam machines in your spa make a big difference! The reason why they are used is because the gentle, hydrating heat of the steam opens up your pores, allowing whatever goodness your about ready to use on it to penetrate deeper. I love a good home-made steam, even if it’s not facial-day. In a heat-proof bowl, microwave approx 5 cups of water. I like to add a few sprigs of mint and some rosemary from my yard. Place bowl in front of you, drape a towel over your head and bend over the bowl but do not let your face touch the boiling water. Steam for your face for 3-5 minutes.
Rosemary and Mint Facial Steam
Step 3) Make your mask
One of my favorite masks is super easy, super effective and nearly always in my kitchen: Oatmeal and Milk Mask. The oatmeal works as a mild anti-inflammatory, soothing any sensitive spots on your face. It also helps draw out impurities in the skin as it dries, for an even deeper clean. Milk is one of the holy little wonders of the kitchen, and way over-looked: milk contains lactic acid, which in much stronger concentrations is used in dermatologists offices for intense exfoliation. Lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant. For you crunchy moms out there, next time your baby doesn’t finish their sugar-free natural baby cereal, take a spoonful of it and smear it on your face. You and your kid will look alike, and you’ll get a quick facial while they are giggling at you.
Oatmeal and Milk Mask
Recipe: 1/4 cup oats, coarsely crushed with a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a heavy glass. Add milk a few teaspoons at a time till it forms a thick paste. It should look like breakfast!
Apply to the face and neck, then grab your favorite book and chill out for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to protect your hair if it’s not your wash day!
One of my finer looks…
After about 10-20 minutes, the mask will have started to dry. It’s easier to remove if you gently wipe your hands over your face to remove the bulk of the oats. Follow by a good rinsing. That milk does wonders, you’ll notice right away how much smoother your skin is!
Step 4) Tone
I’ve only found two toners that I like: Witch Hazel and Obagi. Most toners contain such high concentrations of alcohol that it totally wipes your skin out of any moisture and leave’s it shiny and tight- that is NOT healthy skin, healthy skin is soft and supple and has some natural oils to it. In this case, I used witch hazel, the perfect ending to my natural facial. I’ll talk more about Obagi in another post.
Witch Hazel, the perfect gentle toner
Wet a cotton ball with toner and apply to the face and neck.
Step 5) Moisturize and Protect!
You should always follow up every cleansing with moisturizing! Allow me to repeat: Always moisturize after cleansing! There is one time and one time ONLY when you do not moisturize, and that is when you are on a specific skin-care regimen that a professional has designed for you. And by professional, I do not mean the ads in beauty magazines. Going to bed? Skip sunscreen. Going out? SPF 30 or more, please!