Prepare for the dreaded back-to-school season with this at-home facial.
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I hate to admit it, but back to school season is upon us. If the world was normal right now, we might prepare by relaxing at a spa or treating ourselves to a salon visit. But alas, that’s not the case.
With spas closed for the foreseeable future, and school stress already giving students a headache, a way to chill the fuck out is much needed.
So let’s do an at-home facial! A facial may seem like a frivolous luxury right now, but self-care should never be put on the back burner, especially during stressful times. And best of all, you can get spa-level results while still on a broke college student’s budget.
1) Cleanse not once, but twice
The double cleansing method is one of the best skincare tricks that the Asian beauty industry gave the world. This holy grail method involves first massaging in an oil-based cleanser and following up with a water-based lather to create the perfect clean slate for your routine.
The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil ($11) is a cult favorite from Japan and it truly delivers by dissolving excess oil and impurities.
DIY Hack: use an oil such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, or jojoba oil, which will run you around $5 at the grocery store and last awhile.
After you rinse, make sure to follow up with a gentle water-based cleanser to ensure the oils don’t clog your pores. Simple’s Water Boost Gel Wash ($6.99) is a tried and true, yet affordable, facial cleanser that works great on all skin types and is easily accessible at your local drug store.
2) Slough off that dead skin
Exfoliation is an essential step to get great skin, but you have to be careful to not over-do it. While most physical exfoliators can be harsh and cause microtears in the skin, chemical exfoliant masks – like AHAs and BHAs – are much more effective.
The Ordinary’s blood red AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution ($7.20) — yes, the one that took TikTok by storm — is a holy grail exfoliator for many. But it might be too harsh for some skin types.
For those with sensitive skin like me, a rice scrub such as the Skinfood Rice Exfoliating Mask ($10) could be a gentler alternative.
DIY Hack: make your own exfoliating rice powder at home. Take a few tablespoons of raw rice and blend it to a very fine powder, and you’ll have your own DIY exfoliant.
3) Mask on, mask off
Choosing a face mask should be based on whatever specific skin issues you’re currently facing. Since we’ve already exfoliated, though, you don’t want to choose something too harsh.
For my acne-prone friends, the Rosen Tingling Mud Mask ($18) acts like a skin detox with purifying tea tree oil and astringent zinc oxide. If you’re looking for something to soothe sensitive skin, the Mamonde Flower Lab Essence Mask ($3) cancels redness in minutes with calming rose and nourishing eucalyptus.
DIY Hack: Make your own sheet mask by soaking cotton pads in any hydrating toner and apply them to the areas of your face that need moisture. And don’t be afraid to multi-mask, too, if different parts of your face have different needs.
4) Let’s get steamy
No, you don’t need a fancy at-home facial steamer to get that impeccable feeling of being in a sauna.
DIY Hack: After you apply a mask, prepare a bowl of hot water and sit with your face over the bowl (not inside) and place a towel over your head for a relaxing spa moment. And if you’re feeling fancy, add a few orange slices or drops of essential oil to the water for the full sensorial experience.
5) Moisture, moisture, and more moisture
No skincare routine is complete without moisturizer, regardless of your skin type. If you’re into moisturizers that feel light as air, give the Versed Dew Point Gel-Cream ($14.99) a go. If you’re like me and need more serious hydration, opt for the e.l.f. Happy Hydration Cream ($12) instead.
Oils can also be great for nourishing the skin post-facial for people with both oily and dry skin. Dry oils such as rosehip, blue tansy, and sunflower seed oil have crazy moisturizing powers, without causing crazy breakouts. (P.S. This is also the best time to give your face a much-deserved massage).
6) Never forget SPF. And I mean never.
No excuses here. If you didn’t put on sunscreen, your facial was basically pointless. From preventing wrinkles to dark spots, sunscreen will be your best friend in skincare.
The Versed Daily Sunscreen ($21.99) is a solid choice for all skin types and doesn’t leave a white cast. If tinted sunscreens are more your style, the CeraVe Tinted Mineral Sunscreen ($15.99) blends seamlessly into all skin tones.
Caring for your skin should always be an essential part of your daily routine, but it can also be a special way to treat yourself, too. And whenever life, including school, starts to get stressful, a little bit of self-care never hurts.
Maya Lang is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She enjoys playing guitar, staying up far too late, and daydreaming about living in the '80s. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and movie recommendations.