Facial is an integral part of a good skincare routine, boosting your skin’s immediate appearance and overall health and longevity. However, not all facial treatments are created equal.
If you have acne, clogged pores, or brown spots, look for facials that include clarifying, purifying, or LED light therapies.
The skin on the face is thinner than elsewhere on the body, and it requires special care. Cleansing removes make-up, dead skin cells, excess oil, and other pollutants to keep pores clear and prevent acne and other blemishes. A gentle cleanser will remove impurities without disturbing the natural barrier of the skin or drying it out.
The sebaceous glands produce oil (called sebum) to help lubricate the skin and hair, but overproduction can lead to clogged pores that cause blemishes such as blackheads and whiteheads. When these clogs are removed, the skin appears brighter and more youthful.
Cleansing is also essential in preventing other health problems, such as infections, which can happen when bacteria and dirt accumulate on the skin. It’s important to wash your face twice a day, morning and night, and especially before applying makeup or other skincare products to ensure the best results.
Facial skin cleansers are formulated to be gentle, and they come in different textures for various skin types. Gel cleansers are clear and have a gel-like consistency, and they often have clarifying properties that target oil production to help fight blemishes. Foam cleansers create a light lather and can be great for normal to oily skin because they can target oil and dirt while also providing hydration. Cream cleansers are thicker and can be moisturizing for dry, sensitive or combination skin.
If you have very oily skin, we recommend double cleansing in a two-step process with an oil-based cleanser to more thoroughly clean the pores and remove oil and sweat that may be trapped. This will help balance the skin and improve its ability to absorb skincare products you apply later.
You’ll want to start with a clean slate, so cleanse your face (either with a scrub or your regular skin-care routine), then use a physical or chemical exfoliant. Both are great for brightening the complexion, smoothing rough texture, and evening out skin tone. But if you’re using a physical exfoliant—think washcloths, facial scrubs, or face brushes—it’s important to be gentle; over-exfoliating can lead to redness and irritation. GH Beauty Lab experts recommend you only exfoliate a few times a week and that you use a scrub with a soft-bristled brush or your fingers, instead of a harsh, rough sponge.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to skip the scrubs and opt for a chemical exfoliant, such as an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA). These ingredients work to dissolve the sticky glue that holds dead cells together, says Farris. She also recommends looking for products that contain both AHAs and BHAs, like the ghd beauty ultimate glow cleansing brush, which contains glycolic acid—a gentle AHA that helps lighten pigmentation and smooth skin’s texture, as well as salicylic acid to unclog pores.
Those with oily or normal skin can usually handle an AHA or BHA exfoliant one to three times a week, says Farris. But always read labels, and test any new product on a small patch of skin to make sure your skin can tolerate it.
It’s best to wait a few days between exfoliating and applying makeup, as your newly-exfoliated skin is more vulnerable to sun damage and other environmental factors. It’s also a good idea to skip exfoliating if you have any open cuts or sores on your face, flaky skin, or irritated spots—they need some TLC and not an extra scrub.
Face masks are a great way to target specific skin care concerns. They deliver ingredients deeper and more quickly than regular skin care applications. They can help with hydration, oiliness, fine lines and wrinkles, brightening and dark spots, and more.
The best time to use a mask is right after cleansing and exfoliating, before you apply your normal moisturizer. This is because the masks work more effectively on clean skin.
Depending on the type of mask you choose, it can contain restorative ingredients such as clay, mud, aloe vera and essential oils, or ingredients that target particular skin issues like acne, blackheads, redness or discoloration. For example, masks that are formulated with benzoyl peroxide and sulfur help to fight papules and pustules, while salicylic acid is excellent for clearing pores and reducing excess oil. Other acne-fighting ingredients include glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which also have exfoliating properties.
Masks that are formulated with anti-aging ingredients such as vitamin C, shea butter and resveratrol can help to soften and plump skin. They can also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while kojic acid, tranexamic acid and licorice root extract can brighten dark spots and unwanted pigmentation.
However, it’s important to remember that not all face masks are created equal. While some may offer a number of benefits, others can actually contribute to the development of breakouts and other skin conditions. According to a study by Roongpisuthipong, a dermatology professor, some face masks can interfere with the natural shedding process of the skin, which allows dead skin cells to remain clogged in the pores and lead to an infection. In addition, some masks can also create a humid environment in which bacteria can grow and cause pimples to develop.
Face serums are lightweight products that contain a high concentration of active ingredients. They absorb quickly and work as an ideal next step after cleansing and toning. Different types of face serums target different skincare needs, from brightening and reducing blemishes to hydrating and fighting the signs of ageing.
Some are formulated with oil-absorbing clay, while others contain antioxidants and vitamins to protect against free radical damage. Others contain hyaluronic acid, which helps your skin to retain moisture and create that plump healthy look of youth. They may also contain ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and other vitamins that help to repair damaged skin cells and fade dark spots and fine lines.
Acne prone skin can benefit from a serum with salicylic acid, which can unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. It can also help reduce the appearance of dark spots that form from blemishes. This serum from celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau uses a blend of exfoliating acids and soothing green and white teas to treat discoloration.
This serum targets blemishes and blackheads by targeting sebum levels, unclogging pores and removing excess oil. It also contains natural antibacterials to kill bacteria, while a blend of nourishing oils helps to soothe the skin and promote healthy cell growth.
This anti-aging serum has a blend of hyaluronic acid and powerful antioxidants to target fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin firmer and more youthful-looking. It also contains a blend of calming botanicals to reduce redness and inflammation.
Hydration is essential for a healthy, glowing complexion. It keeps skin soft, smooth and supple, and it helps balance oil levels to keep your face from looking shiny or oily. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and using a moisturizer with added hydrating ingredients are both great ways to keep your skin hydrated. You can also boost your hydration with a facial treatment, like our Hydrating Facial.
Our Hydrating Facial is perfect for anyone who has dry, dehydrated skin. It starts with a cleanse to remove impurities and dirt. Then, we use a toner to prep the skin and help it absorb the serums and mask more effectively. Next, we exfoliate to eliminate dead skin cells, revealing a new layer of soft and smooth skin underneath. Finally, we use a serum that contains hyaluronic acid and other nourishing ingredients, and a rich hydrating mask is applied for maximum absorption.
The results are a noticeable improvement in skin tone, elasticity and glow factor. The best part is that the effects last for several days!
You can maintain the benefits of a hydration facial with regular at-home treatments. Drink plenty of water, and try to avoid harsh products and hot showers that can dry your skin out. Also, keep in mind that a diet full of whole foods and getting plenty of sleep are great for healthy skin, too.
Depending on your skin type and lifestyle, it is recommended to get a hydration facial once every few months or as needed. This is especially true in colder weather when the air is drier and your skin can become dehydrated more easily. Hydrating facials are also a good idea before extended travel when environmental conditions can leave your complexion dull and dehydrated.