No time to go to the spa for a facial, no problem!

Whenever people ask me how things are lately, the same word seems to pop to my mind: busy. Like all working mammas, I have tons of things going on in my life at the moment: baby swimming classes, business trips, girlie lunches, date nights, workouts,... phew, I need extra hours to fit it all in one day!

As much as I'd love to go to my beloved Spa NK in Notting Hill to get regular Oxygen facials, it's not easy... Plus a girl has to choose: if I'm to spend any time at all with my family I can't have twice-monthly mani-pedis, monthly laser hair removal sessions, my Jo Hansford standing appointment, plus regular facials!

However, since I'm not prepared to go with dull and congested skin for the next few years until Monsieur Baby's week-end schedules get filled with extra-curricular activities which keep him busy and in no need of his mamma, I've spent quite some time devising my perfect at-home facial! Of course it does help that I've spent years getting my skin facialed professionally, I picked up the some tips along the way! Here it is, my at-home facial routine: 

Step 1: Cleanse skin
It's no use applying exfoliating products over skin which is not squeaky clean: make-up products and any traces of pollution should be wiped out and cleaned out  before any facial. I use my Clarisonic Plus, its pulsations are stronger than manual cleaning and it can be used with mild or strong cleansing gels, which means it works whether my skin is feeling sensitive or when it needs a more radical cleanse. I use it twice-daily but also before any facial to get my skin ready, and honestly it is well worth the investment!

Step 2: Extractions
The worst thing about living in a city is that pollution gets everything, with a strong preference for pores around my T-zone. So, whenever I get a facial and the therapist doesn't bother with extractions I feel cheated. That's why, as soon as my skin is clean, I apply an Eve Lom Muslin Cloth that's been dunked in hot water to open my pores and start with the extractions. For this I use a dry cloth and some Q-tips, rather than that metal tool you see on some beauty shops, that's never worked for me... The nice thing about extractions is that if you do them regularly you don't need to spend too much time at it each time!

Step 3: Mask
I've spent many years looking for the perfect mask to use at home, and at the moment I'm particularly in love with this one, the Dr Sebagh Deep Exfoliating Mask. It combines azelaic and lactic acids for that perfect exfoliation that boosts cell renewal and leaves skin glowing. Applied once a week for 5 to 10 minutes, it leaves skin as smooth as glass and with that gorgeous post-facial glow that I only used to get from spa facials! And, all you need is a thin layer of it so even though it's a bit pricey a jar goes a long way. One word of caution: the skin gets quite tingly and red during application so 10 minutes is really the most it should stay on... There is a sensitive skin version which is, handily, milder.

Step 4: Toner
One of the basic mistakes that people make when applying masks at home is that they forget the toner step, but I believe it is as essential as cleaning your skin before the mask, as it is meant to re-balance the skin PH and perfect the glowing effect. I love the Clarins One-Step Cleanser: although it is not technically a toner, it is the perfect combination of fresh and soft which I need after a mask, and leaves skin just perfectly moist and soft, with no oily residue or tight feeling which I sometimes get from other toners. What is also perfect about this cleanser is that it's made with orange extract, which helps close the pores after the facial and contributes to the brightening effect of the whole exercise! Ooh, and its zesty perfume is perfect to give that little post-facial boost!

Step 5: Moisturize
As tempting as it is to make this a zapping splash and dab application, moisturizing right at the end of a facial needs to be a little more than that. We're all strapped for time but once a week is not too much to ask: to make sure I get the best effects, I apply my moisturizer of choice (I don't always use the same product: a gel if my skin feels a bit oily or something richer if it's sensitive and dry...) using a full forehead to neck massage lasting a few minutes to boost circulation. Did you know that, just like it causes cellulite on the thighs, poor circulation is the main reason for dull skin? If you want a bright and dewy complexion, make sure you indulge in a little massage at least once a week!

There you have it, my weekly at home facial. The added bonus? It costs a fraction of the price of a professional facial, and I can do it anytime I want... 


Stephanie said...

thank you, Sandra! I certainly will copy this routine as I was a bit lazy lately and need to get back to a nice routine! Off to finally buy a Clarisonic and this Dr. Sebagh Mask :-)

xoxo, Stephanie

LittleS said...

You're welcome Stephanie! I really recommend both, they work really well on me! xxx

Mona P said...

Very helpful tips!

What is the advantage of Clarisonic Plus over other Clarisonic models?

Can you recommend a couple of your favorite moisturizers?

Thank you!

LittleS said...

Thanks Mona! I think the Clarisonic Plus has different settings including one for body exfoliation which is handy. However it's not as portable or small as the Clarisonic Mia which didn't exist when I bought my brush...
Re moisturizers, I use the PH Advantage range most of the time but when my skin is feeling parched I use either Creme de La Mer or Clinique Moisture Surge.

Anonymous said...

Just curious to know if you have tried other products by Dr Sebagh? I have not heard of this brand before but it seems rather interesting. // Linda

LittleS said...

Hi Linda! I've had his professional facials at the spa before with the Vit C powder etc. and it was an amazing experience, but at home the mask is the first product I've used, and it is very impressive!

Mona P said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks! I think I will buy the mask. // Linda