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.
A gentle, deeply hydrating cleanser that cuts grime and debris without stripping the skin. It's great for both morning and night and is developed by one of our favorite celebrity facialists, Shani Darden.
A luxurious cleanser that immediately elevates your facial and is great for self-care. It self-warms and is especially great for acne-prone skin thanks to exfoliating and nourishing perks from raw honey, royal jelly, propolis, papaya enzymes, and green tea extracts.
This mild exfoliating cleanser has the best lightweight gel consistency, can be used daily (not all resurfacing cleansers can), and quickly relieves and transforms congestion-prone skin. It's a celebrity, dermatologist, and facialist favorite and beloved by both of us WWW beauty editors!
This face wash is an underground A-list obsession. It plays well with all skin types and effortlessly wipes away acne-inducing oils and impurities while also waging war against enlarged bores and dullness.
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.
Infused with exfoliating and vitamin-rich ingredients like cherry seed, sweet cherry purée, and hibiscus flower extract, this nontoxic lip scrub smells heavenly and instantly smooths, softens, and plumps up lips.
This cooling and tingle-inducing treatment has everything skin craves for a gentle, radiance-enhancing resurfacing: azelaic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, sodium PCA, and cell-sloughing enzymes from pineapple and pumpkin.
This is one of the most-loved facial peels on the market. The triple-berry formula (think blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry) is a favorite among the glowiest of celebrities and also utilizes key ingredients like pomegranate, bromelain, and a strategic mix of mandelic, lactic, salicylic, tartaric, and malic acids.
Meet one of the most iconic exfoliating formulas of all time. This staple from Kate Somerville smells amazing and does basically everything we'd ever ask from an exfoliating formula—exfoliating dead skin cells and infusing your complexion with all the best resurfacing ingredients like papaya, pineapple, pumpkin enzymes, lactic acid, salicylic acid, silica, aloe vera, honey, and vitamin E.
Two fun facts here: A) Jennifer Lopez is a known client of Lancer's, who created this lovely skin polish, and B) it actually comes in three different iterations depending on your skin type. Choose from Normal-Combination, Oily-Congested, or Sensitive-Dehydrated.
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.
This pore- and acne-transforming face mask starts as a powder and activates with water for a super-detoxifying result. Jet-black, it boasts organic, wild-crafted MVP ingredients like raw cacao, clays, activated ("black diamond") bamboo charcoal, vitamin C, red algae sea salt, and warming spices like cayenne, nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon to boost circulation, heal blemishes, calm inflammation, and visually tighten up your pores.
I'm newly obsessed with this affordably-priced face mask from NxN. Technically, it's designed as an overnight sleeping mask that you apply after cleansing and let marinate all night while you sleep. That said, I've found the nutrition-packed formula featuring marine algae, seagrape, licorice root, and chia seed extracts curbs dehydration, pigmentation, and even fine lines as a shorter treatment mask while I binge my favorite Netflix show. It feels like it should be about ten times its $15 price tag.
In just five minutes, these fan-favorite eye gels transform even the most sleep-deprived eyes. The all-star lineup includes brightening mica, hydrating castor oil, firming caffeine, and other nourishing nods from antioxidants, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid.
Developed by leading dermatologist Gary Goldfaden, this detoxifying mask is suitable for all skin types, is formulated with natural and organic ingredients, reduces the appearance of blackheads and pores, and treats breakouts and redness.
Studded with skin-replenishing nutrients like turmeric, manuka honey, and avocado oil, this healing mask is an antidote for dry or easily irritated skin. (It also encourages velvet-soft skin texture and megawatt glow.)
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.
Hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10, aloe vera, and herbal extracts like chamomile and cucumber remove impurities and residues left over from cleansing or masking, balance your complexion's pH levels and skin barrier, plump and brighten, and even lessen the severity of fine lines and stave off skin-compromising free radicals from your environment,
This French skin staple works to encourage a far more even, plumper, and more radiant complexion.
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.
My favorite facial massager from Joanna Czech is sold out everywhere, but this version from Skin Gym is almost identical. It expertly fits the contours of your face and mimics the circulation-boosting and lymph-moving perks of a professional massage.
I've had so many celebrity facialists recommend this hydration-packed cooling serum to me to benefit my dry and acne-prone complexion. (And my skin has significantly cleared up since I started being diligent with my morning and nighttime applications.) It contains antioxidant Centella asiatica alongside vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, kojic acid, and soothing menthol.
This serum (a superstar collab between Victoria Beckham and Augustinus Bader) addresses every kind of skin woe. It features the same patented technology which has made Bader's face creams the best thing since sliced bread, but it's also brimming with other strategic additions like yeast ferment complex (for smooth skin texture and hydration), triple-weight hyaluronic acid (to lock in moisture), niacinamide (to calm and diminish redness), olive fruit extract (to protect against blue light damage), microalgae extract (to reduce damage from environmental pollutants), and floral biopeptides (to rebalance skin's surface bacteria).
Created in collaboration with the industry's best makeup artists, this ultra-light face cream is great for both morning or night, fueled by pharmaceutical-grade botanicals, copper peptides, and antioxidants, enzymes, and hyaluronic acid.
I'm not a huge face oil person, but this is one formula that I truly do love and that has never exacerbated (and only helped!) with blemishes and acne scarring. In fact, it's specifically formulated to address breakouts and telltale signs of aging by promoting a clear, radiant complexion thanks to potent antioxidants and omega-3 essential fatty acids sourced from hemp, pumpkin, and grape-seed oils, algae extract, astaxanthin, and helichrysum.
This high-powered serum is a great way to dip your toe (or fully dive in) to the skin-improving goodness of retinol. The formula is patent-pending, teaming with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol. It does everything from minimizing pores to help fade fine lines and wrinkles.
Whether it's the stem cell–stimulating TFC-8 technology or some sort of sorcery, Courtney says her skin has legitimately changed in texture since she started using this cream. So yes, it's worth every penny of that expensive price point.
"Not only is this fatty acid–rich rose-hip oil an ultra-luxe finishing touch to my nighttime routine, but it also helps to get rid of imperfections caused by an imbalance in my skin's pH," Courtney says. "I know that using oil to treat breakouts sounds counterintuitive, but this oil does just as much to calm and soothe the skin as it does to moisturize it."
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.
This is a splurge, but it also performs borderline witchcraft on stubborn shadows, fine lines, wrinkles, and puff. I'm addicted, and since a tiny bit goes a long, long way, you're really getting a lot of bang for your buck. And I'm not the only one who's a fan. My 73-year-old mom is a huge believer, and Violet Grey tested hundreds of eye serums, and this formula was the only one to make its high-stakes cut.)
To help balance out your eyecare budget, this affordable, clean pick from Versed is always on my top shelf. It has a luxe, super-rich consistency and features line-smoothing algae extract, firming peptides, and nourishing olive oil. It also leaves a soft-focus, filter-esque finish (just like the serum, above!) thanks to mica.
Courtney loves this eye cream for its uncanny plumping and moisturizing perks. It has a little retinol in it, which overtime basically gives you a low-key eye-lift effect. (It's one of my favorite eye creams as well, and I totally concur.)