FYI: This Is How Our Beauty Editors Execute an Expert-Approved Facial at Home


(Image credit: @court_higgs/@erin_jahns)

Giving yourself a celeb-caliber facial at home might sound intimidating, but we're here to break the joyful news that it definitely doesn't have to be. Sure, there are a number of steps involved and it's definitely the kind of self-care ritual to indulge in when you have some extra time on your hands, but we're fully convinced our at-home routine is *almost* as transformative as an in-office booking. (That said, you'll save yourself a large booking fee and some painful extractions!)

As beauty editors, Courtney and I are well-versed in the art of home facials. We've tested enough products, chatted up enough dermatologists, and experienced plenty of professional-level treatments to know how to re-create a truly indulgent glow-up from the comfort of our own homes. That said, to back our regimens with some extra expert guidance, I asked one of L.A.'s most sought-after celeb facialists, Candace Marino, to break down a 10/10 at-home experience step by step. Then, Courtney and I filled in the blanks with all the specific formulas we rely on no matter the state that stress, lack of sleep, or one too many glasses of wine throws our skin into.

So take a deep breath, tap that diffuser, light a candle, turn on your humidifier, put together a playlist, and have at it. Your expert-led guide for how to execute the facial of all facials at home is just below. Keep scrolling!


1. Thoroughly Cleanse Your Skin

First and foremost, Marino says to start your at-home facial with a thorough cleansing. If you're not wearing makeup, you can probably get away with just one cleanse, but if you just worked out or are wearing makeup, you'll likely need a double or even triple cleanse to make sure you eradicate every last iota of dirt or buildup.

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2. Exfoliate Your Face & Lips

Next, it's time to exfoliate. "I start by exfoliating the lips with a lip scrub to remove dead skin before I move to the face," shares Marino. "Look for a gentle, chemical exfoliation or peel formula that's geared toward your skin type."

Essentially, your peel will help slough away pore-clogging buildup, giving your complexion a clean slate for the products you add later on (like masks, serums, and moisturizers) to penetrate more effectively.

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3. Mask Your Face and Eyes

Up to bat, some TLC courtesy of face and eye masks geared toward your skin type and skin concerns. According to Marino, your mask will help replenish hydration and calm the skin post-peel while targeting specific concerns depending on the formula you choose. Oh, and don't forget your eyes! Eye masks are a great way to kill multiple birds with one stone and can help diminish dark circles, puff, fine lines, and wrinkles, the full gamut. 

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4. Tone & Hydrate

Now, it's time to tone and hydrate. Marino recommends pressing (versus rubbing!) your toner into the skin using cotton pads or toning pads to hydrate and balance the skin. (You can also use your fingertips or your palms if you're trying to cut down on waste.) "A good hydrating toner will also be a carrier system to help with product penetration with your serums and creams," Marino continues.

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5. Massage & Treat

Hot tip: Combining circulation-promoting facial massage with your favorite serums will not only feel amazing, but it will also deliver oxygen-rich blood to your complexion, which will help boost your glow, lift, and tone. Not to mention it will also help your treatments absorb deeper into the skin, thus enabling them to wield their face-improving magic more effectively.

As Marino points out, the serum, cream, and/or oil you choose to treat and moisturize your complexion will be contingent on your skin type and skin needs. Do your research, consult a professional (if possible), read your labels, or take recommendations from people you trust (like us!) to choose what kind of ingredient-focused formulas you want to top off your facial with.

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6. Add Your Closers: Lip Balm & Eye Cream

"Never forget the eyes and lips. No facial is complete without treating the eye and lip area," says Marino. "Apply your favorite lip balm and finish with a good eye product. I'm into eye serums because their smaller molecules deliver targeted ingredients to the delicate skin around the eye area." Then, if necessary, top it off with a high-quality eye cream to seal everything in and lock in essential moisture.

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Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.