Of our many and varied attempts to will the hands of time still, few are as nice as a facial. If you are like me you find that the luxurious types that happen at someone elseís soft, skilled hands are just too luxurious to afford more than a couple of times in a year. And yet the benefits are so scrumptious, and the delectable promise of cleaving to youth, nay, even recapturing the thing, is so intriguing that we almost have no choice but to muddle through on our own and slather up with all manner of promising goo. I believe the last time I actually walked through the doors of a day spa was a month before my triplets were born--coming up on five years now. While I cannot promise that youíll halt the aging fairy in her tracks if you use my method, I can say that when I keep on top of things my skin remains supple and well-hydrated, and lacks those irritating flake-like intruders that invade every winter.
The regimen below has evolved over several years, during which I swear Iíve Googled every variation of at-home facial, homemade beauty masks, and affordable skin care possible within the limits of the English language. Feel free to adapt my system according to your skinís needs and the ingredients you have available. But somehow I While you could get through the entire process in a half hour or so, I try to draw out the process, spending extra time in each step. I have a tendency to set my own needs aside in favor of my familyís (I know, this is totally uncharacteristic of moms in general and Mormon moms in particular), and I find that choosing a time when there is solitude and quiet forces me to slow down and pay attention to what my systemís requirements are. I have made this a part of my weekend routine and try to do it every Friday or Saturday evening in the winter months, but if I donít make it every week, at least once a month.
Though itís been a while since Iíve had someone else care for my skin, I recall the crucial facial elements as clearly as I remember what a full nightís sleep feels like.
What You Need
- Gentle cream based facial cleanser or cleansing cloths
- Clean, dry, soft toothbrush
- 1-2 Tablespoons Miracle Whip
- Lip Balm
- A couple of tablespoons white sugar and one cup warm water or commercially prepared gentle exfoliating face scrub
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Large Towel
- Approx 6 cups boiling water
- Dried Herbs such as Rosemary, Lavender, Chamomile, Tulsi (Sacred Basil), Red Clover, Mint, Rose, Sage, lemon zest. May use commercially prepared herbal teas
- For Mask-- ľ cup pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling!), 1 Tablespoon powdered milk, 1 Tablespoon warm honey, 1 lightly beaten egg. Or commercially prepared hydrating facial mask.
- Massage oil suitable for face. I like Africaís Best (may be found in many retail stores in the ethnic hair and skin section), a combination of vitamin E and vegetable oils, or straight olive oil.
- Your regular moisturizer and eye cream (make sure these do not include chemical exfoliators, such as Retinol or Glycolic Acid)
What to Do
- Before you begin prepare yourself and your stuff. Lay out your supplies. Mix your mask, put your herbs in the large mixing bowl, put kettle or pan on the stove to begin heating the water. Wash your face with cleanser.
- Exfoliate--First Miracle Whip. Oh yes, it is quite disgusting. This is a beauty ďsecretĒ that has been floating around the internet for at least 5 years. Why/how does it work? Not sure. Iíve read speculation that the vinegar helps exfoliate, while the eggs and oil hydrate. This may be true, but Iím no scientist. I just know Iím happy with the results and do it a couple of times a week in the winter. You may skip this part entirely if you wish, but Iíd say itís worth a try.
Simply apply MW in a thin layer over face and neck, avoiding eyes, and leave on until it is dry or nearly dry--20-60 minutes. While it is drying use the clean toothbrush to gently brush lips and apply balm. For the first few minutes of this mask the vinegar smell might irritate your eyes a bit. I get around this by straightening up the kitchen during this step. (I donít count sandwich spread as the for-realsies start anyway, since MW is decidedly unluxurious.) Once dry begin massaging with fingertips in a circular motion until most of the MW comes off in little balls, similar to a mild peel. Finally, rinse with cool water.
Finish exfoliation by dissolving most of your sugar in the warm water (not the boiling steam water, just out of the tap), massaging over face and neck, and rinsing.
- Steam--Pour boiling water over the herbs in the mixing bowl. Lean over the bowl with a towel over your head encasing the bowl. Be careful not to lean too close or inhale the steam in the first several seconds! Steam at least 5 minutes, preferably 10-20. If you have no herbs the water alone will do.
- Mask--The recipe I provided is very good for dry skin. You may, of course, use a masks more suited to your skin type. Pat any excess moisture off your skin. Apply mask to face and neck and leave on for at least 15 minutes. I like to go a good 20. Rinse off with cool water. (This is a good time to lay back and put cucumber slices, lavender in cheesecloth, or chamomile tea bags over your eyes.)
- Massage--Using fingertips and a small amount of oil (Ĺ or 1 teaspoon), either simply move lightly in a circular motion over face and neck, or use a specific regimen. Continue at least 3-5 minutes and until face is no longer oily.
- Moisturize--Apply moisturizer and eye cream. You may also use your moisturizer for the massage and combine the final two steps.
It seems very step-intensive, but I figure if Iím going to go to the trouble I might as well go all out. Get really crazy and put on some music only you like, prepare some nice tea, hot cocoa or fruit juice, scrounge up an engrossing bit of fiction to read, and, of course, make sure you wonít be disturbed by little needy voices--either emanating from your children or your own head! Come on now, you know as well as I that you really deserve it!
May your skin be line-less and your pores small!