Beauty: The Weekly Facial

If I had a bottomless budget, I know what I'd go crazy on. It wouldn't be shoes or holidays or dinner out all the time (although I'd do those things, obviously!) My number one indulgence would be skincare, and facials in particular.

I love having a good facial. I love being pampered, adore the relaxation (yes, I even find extraction strangely calming), and all that followed by plumped and gorgeous skin? Sign me up! I'd happily hand myself over to a professional every couple of weeks if I could justify the extravagance.

As you'll gather from the proliferation of 'ifs' in this post, I have neither a bottomless budget nor the ability to convince myself that having my face kneaded bi-monthly to the sound of wind chimes is a sensible use of my money. So, how do I cope? Why, I invested the cost of aforementioned good facial on a selection of lovely 'do it myself' products! Ta-daaaah!

My weekly facial takes place on Grooming Night aka Sunday evening. TV is generally crap, you're back to work the next day so going out is unwise, so why not spend it beautifying? Sundays' long candlelit soak in the bath followed by buffing, plucking, moisturising, painting and general preening has been my end-of-weekend routine for as long as buffing, plucking, moisturising etc have been high on my priority list.

Here's the current product line up:

From left to right: No 7 Beautiful Skin Radiance Exfoliator, Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, Bliss Steep Clean, No 7 Beautiful Skin Energising Mask, Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, Estee Lauder Triple Creme 
Here's how I do it:

Step 1: Prep

Remove any makeup with Cleanse & Polish (tip: even if you haven't worn makeup, it's good to 'take the day off' with a cleanser first). You all know that this is my absolute favourite cleansing product. It leaves your skin brilliantly clean but with absolutely no irritation and without impacting on the natural oil balance of your skin.

I generally complete step 1 in a hot bath which obviously helps to open your pores. If you want to do this facial without bathing/showering, it's worth steaming your face over a bowl of hot water (boil the kettle and then let it cool for a few minutes so the steam doesn't burn your skin)

Step 2: Exfoliate

Although C&P exfoliates well, I like to use a grainy scrub once a week as to me, they really feel like they're doing something extra for my skin. I'm currently using No 7 Beautiful Skin Exfoliator and I'm completely in love with the smell. I'll definitely be repurchasing this one.

Here's how it looks:

Starting from the base of my neck, I sweep both hands quickly upwards over my neck a few times before applying a little more product and making small circles along my jawline, up over my cheeks, down my nose and the from the centre of my forehead outwards. Remember not to exfoliate the skin around your eye, which is my thinner and more delicate and therefore won't benefit.

Step 3: Cleanse

This is my favourite step, because this is probably my favourite product. It took me a while to find my groove with Bliss Step Clean, but once I got into the habit of using it once a week, the clarity of my skin improved dramatically (it's now very rare for me to get blemishes, although this is probably a combination of skincare, age and diet, so I'm not placing it all on this!)

The bottle has two tubes inside - keeping the active ingredients separate.

You pump a grape-sized amount onto the back of your hand. You can see the blue and green gels here.

You then blend them together with your finger, which produces a pretty aqua-coloured gel which you then apply to dry skin, again, avoiding the eye area.

This is left on for 15 minutes, at which point I remove it with a muslin cloth. It should be noted that this product really doesn't like water. If your face is wet, you can feel it slipping off, and that's not really where you want it to be. I tend to make sure my bath has cooled down by this point, or even wait until I'm out so that the steam doesn't interfere with the product doing it's job.

Step 4: Moisturise

Now for the moisturiser. I have quite dry skin, so depending on how it's looking (and how much time I have), I either choose Bliss Triple Oxygen Energizing Mask or Estee Lauder's Triple Creme (clearly good moisturisers do things in threes!) Let's start with Bliss.

The pictures below show the product on the back of my hand so you can see how it works, but you should pump the product onto your fingers and apply straight to your face. You can put this one near your eyes, but apply slowly at first, for reasons that will become clear in a moment!

Triple Oxygen is a pretty pink gel when it comes out of the pump. This mask is great as it only takes five minutes, making it perfect when you're short of time, or if you need a quick skin-boost before work.

Apply the product to your face and massage in small circles to activate the product. It's not long before this happens:

See how much foam there is from such a tiny amount of product? This is why application near the eye needs to be done delicately as you risk short-term, foam-based visual obstruction! There's never a time I put this on when I don't end up with little foam dots all over my lashes, making me look like I've just returned from the arctic. As the skin absorbs the product, the foam starts to disappear (this happens more quickly the drier the skin). Again, remove this with a muslin cloth or water (it does leave quick a slippy residue on the skin so make sure it's all off).

Now to Triple Creme. This is much, much richer, and is thick cream formula. It smells beautiful and feels utterly luxurious. Estee Lauder recommend leaving this to work for 20 minutes, but I often like to put this on when I know I won't be going out or use it instead of my night cream for bed. This can be gently tissued off the skin but no need to worry about removing all traces as it's just a very rich moisturiser. It leaves skin beautifully plump, and is one of my must-have products.

I haven't used this for at least a week and finger marks are still clear in the cream, showing just how thick it is.

Also, it was my Mum who tipped me off on this product, so it works brilliantly on mature skin, too.

Step 5: Finish! 

Follow with your usual serum and moisturiser, using the technique from facialist Vaishaly's website.

Image courtesy of vaishaly.com

If you find yourself needing a boost in between facials, the No 7 Radiance Boost mask is a lovely peel-off gel formula which really does brighten skin.

As always, remember that these are products I've selected for my skincare concerns. If you're thinking of purchasing anything I've recommended here, have a look at my 'about' page so you can get a sense of what my skin type is, and see whether they might be suitable for you. I don't have any qualifications in this field, but the above method really works for me.

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