**Disclaimer** To all the so-called “manly” men who think facials are “for chicks”: You couldn’t be more wrong. Furthermore, don’t come crying to me when no one wants to go near you (let alone date you) because your failure to maintain general dermatological upkeep has left you with pores so large that Kodiak bears are able to take up residence during the winter season.
In an ideal world, you would glide into the spa biweekly to get your epidermal glow on.
The reality of the situation is that facials are expensive, dinero is in short supply, and frankly, you all have items that fall under a higher priority on your ‘To-Buy’ lists.
The fact is, there are a variety of advantages that come with taking a more hands-on approach to your skincare routine. The most obvious being you get to slather goo all over your face and pretend you’re a swamp creature. This, in addition to skin that’s healthy, youthful, and positively radiant.
Our skin is perpetually in limbo, constantly adapting to internal forces (age, health, stress) and external (climate, season, pollution). It goes without saying that its needs are going to be constantly changing as well. For example, during a ski holiday in Aspen, a moisturizing mask might be a good choice to counteract the dual drying forces of sub-zero temperatures and fierce windburn.
Flash forward a few months. You’re DJing a rave in the middle of the jungle at high noon (all the cool kids are doing it) when you suddenly realize that the disco ball suspended from a nearby baobab tree is being reflected by the overwhelming amount of oil that has accumulated on your T-zone. In this situation, one might opt for a mud-based facial mask to absorb excess oil and deep-clean sweat and dirt from the pores.
While each of us has a basic skin “type,“ learning to effectively anticipate and adapt your routine to your skin’s needs, using some of the techniques outlined in this article, will invariably leave you with a regimen that is all-natural, cost-effective, and ensures you will be hearing, “Excuse me, do you model? Well, you should…” a whole lot more.
Step 1: Clean Slate
Thoroughly remove all makeup, dirt, oil, etc.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Depending on what sort of skin you have (oily, sensitive, or dry) you can whip up one of these all-natural recipes to effectively scrub your way to a glowing new you.
Corn Flour Scrub (Oily)
- 2 tbs.corn flour
- a little bit of apple juice (enough to create a paste, which is then applied to skin in a circular motion)
Oatmeal Scrub (Sensitive)
- 1/2 cup uncooked oats (for finer scrub you can blend into powder)
- 1 tbs.honey (if you use ground-up oats, you may want to adjust honey)
- Mix ingredients together to form a paste. Massage into face and neck. Let scrub sit on skin for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.
Olive Oil Sugar Scrub (Dry)
- 1 tbs. sugar
- A few drops of olive oil
- Blend together both ingredients, adding a few drops of oil at a time to form a spreadable paste. Gently massage into skin. Rinse with warm water.
Step 3: Steam
To further unclog trapped dirt and oil and open the pores, steam your face for 10-15 minutes. You can purchase a facial sauna, which is relatively cheap. Otherwise, simply hold your face above (but not too close) to a bowl of simmering water, wrapping a towel around you (like a tent!) to block in the steam. Feel free to toss in some herbal tea sachets (chamomile is a good one), into the water for extra points. Careful not to burn yourself!
Step 4: Apply Mask
You should prepare your mask beforehand. Also, if it begins to burn or cause discomfort at any time, *remove immediately!*
Using the following cheat sheet (below) to decide on no more than four ingredients for your mask.
For example, a good mask for problematic skin could use an oatmeal base, mixed with honey and grated apple. When you first start out, pick one of the following base ingredients:
- Baking Soda
- Plain Organic Yogurt
And mix it with the following:
- Dry: Avacado (mashed)
- Sensitive: Cucumber, Crushed Mint Leaves
- Combination: Grated Carrot
- Problematic/Oily: Apple (grated), Tomato Paste
As you get the hang of it, you can feel free to get more creative. Carefully apply the mask with your fingertips, add cucumber slices on the eyes, and relax for 10-15 minutes. Feel free to mix in some relaxing jams.
Step 5: Tone Up
Thoroughly wash off your mask and pat your face dry. Apply one of the following as a toner/astringent:
- Rose Water (Dry/Sensitive/Combination)
- Witch Hazel (Oily/Combination)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (Problematic)
Apply a gentle moisturizer like Oil of Olay and you’re done!