Some top chemical exfoliant picks include the fan-favorite Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, Georgia Louise's pH Perfecting Tonic and CosRx AHA / BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner.
Step 3: Mask
Choose your face mask based on the current problems your skin is facing. If it is oily and prone to outbreaks, you should suffice for one that is clay-based or contains vitamin C. Conversely, if it feels parched or generally dry, use a face mask formulated to replenish hydration; Vargas recommends that you look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5.
For smoothing lines, Vargas suggests using a face mask formulated with peptides and antioxidants. Ultimately on face masks is to address whatever question you are currently asking, Vargas says. Some of the most common acute conditions she treats with masks include dehydration, dullness, sensitivity, eruption or oil, lack of firmness and sun damage.
For oily, acne prone skin, two of our favorite clays are mud, Dr. Dennis Gross DRx Blemish Solutions Clarifying Mask with Colloidal Sulfur, formulated with bentonite and kaolin clay, and the best of beauty-winning VENeffect Skin Calming Mask, made with pink clay.
If hydration is your primary masking goal, try Eve Lom's Moisturizing Mask, Kiehl's Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque, or one of our favorite (and best of beauty-winning) moisturizers, Mamonde Flower Lab Essence Sheet Mask.
Step 4: Steam
"Fill a bowl [with] warm water and place your face over the bowl with a towel over your head to allow your skin to "open up" while you mask, "Louise recommends, noting that you do not need a neat home device to reap the benefits of steam." A good old-fashioned bowl of orange slices do a fantastic job of softening the skin and opening the pores. "
Step 5: Moisten and massage
After removing your face mask, Morav says it's time to put on your favorite serum and moisturizer – with the overall goal being hydration. Some of our favorite moisturizing facial serums include La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum, Caudalie Vinosource SOS Deep Hydration Serum and SkinCeuticals H. A. Intensifier.
After the serum, apply a layer of your favorite moisturizer. For an ultra-luxurious alternative, Morav Valmont's Prime proposes Regenera I.
After applying as many fluid products as you want (working from the thinnest to the thickest), give yourself a facial massage to increase blood circulation and lymphatic drainage. "It is important to use very moisturizing, rich ingredients because the skin is massaged," says Morav. To give yourself a first-class facial massage, start at the chin and stroke gently outward, Louise suggests. Follow a similar pattern on all facial areas, including often neglected spots like behind the earlobes, nostrils and middle of the forehead.
You can use your fingers, a roller or a gua sha tool – whatever tool you have – just as long as you don't push too hard. "Don't blow yourself," says Louise. "The idea is to go really easy and focus on emptying versus rubbing."
Failure to create – and enjoy – some atmosphere
"We are surrounded by so much noise of all kinds, so I think it's very important to create an atmosphere for yourself," said Morav, whose own spa-like set at home contains an essential oil diffuser, candle, music and crystals. When all the hard work of cleaning, exfoliation and masking is over and you're in the middle of a gentle facial massage, Louise also suggests that it might be the right time to light a candle, play some soothing music and give yourself some "lymphatic love."