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How to give yourself a facial at home – top tips and techniques

If you’re craving the feeling of dewy, glowy skin right after a professional facial, who’s to say you can’t give it a try yourself? Facials don’t have to be expensive, plus they’re a great way to rejuvenate a dull and ineffective skincare routine. So if you’re wondering how to do an at-home facial, we’ve put together our top tips and techniques to get you started. From a step-by-step facial guide to Dermalogica-approved massage techniques, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a facial at home whenever you fancy.

Young woman with a hydrating mask and towel on head

First step: understand your skin concerns

Before you spend the time perfecting your facial at home, make sure you’re using the right products for your skin. Without the right products, you could end up doing more bad than good. 

Take a look at the most common skin types below and have a think about which category describes your skin the best. Tailor your products and techniques around this.

Dry skin

You’re likely to have a dry skin type if your skin sometimes feels tight, especially after you’ve washed your face. If this is you, try to use hydrating products to improve and protect your skin’s barrier. Facial oils, thick moisturisers and gentle cleansers will be your holy grail.

Oily skin

Skin can become oily when it creates too much sebum, leading to further problems like spots and acne. So if your skin gradually gets oilier throughout the day or you struggle with breakouts, it’s likely you have an oily skin type.

When you create your facial, try to include an exfoliant (such as an AHA toner) as well as oil-free products.

Combination skin

This skin type is for people who have a mixture of dry and oily skin. It can cause your skin to be a bit more dry in some places, but your T zone (forehead, chin and around the nose) gets oily throughout the day. 

You can combat this skin type by focusing on your dry and oily patches with different products. For example use a thicker moisturiser in your dry areas while only using oil-free products on your T-zone.

Normal skin

When it comes to skincare, ‘normal’ skin doesn’t have any significant problems or issues. Rare breakouts, no oily areas and no dry patches. If this is you, a simple skincare routine should be fine and only basic facials are needed. Simplicity is key.

A step-by-step guide to giving yourself a facial at home

For a basic at-home facial, these are the most popular steps to follow:

Create a spa-like atmosphere

One of the most enjoyable parts of a facial is the feeling it brings of calm and indulgence.To get into the right headspace, create an atmosphere that makes you feel relaxed and spa-like. You know yourself best, so do whatever gets you in that mindset whether it’s lighting candles, burning incense or playing comforting music.

Start with a double cleanse

To start the facial, you want a clean base. Doing a double cleanse will make sure you’ve got rid of any makeup, excess dirt, oil and sebum. Begin with your favourite cleanser and cleanse as normal.

The most common double cleanse starts with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based one. This might not work for you if you have oily skin, so look for an oily skin-friendly product instead, such as a hydrating or skin-balancing cleanser.

Steam it up

Steaming your face helps to open up your pores to help your skin soak up all the goodness of your facial. If you don’t have an at-home steamer, you can easily create your own. Simply boil some water and pour it into a bowl and wait for it to cool down slightly. 

Once it’s no longer boiling hot,  place your face about 12 inches away from the bowl and lay a towel or face flannel over the top of your head. Steam your face for five to 10 minutes – if this hurts, wait a few more minutes to let the water cool until it’s more comfortable.


Next, exfoliate the skin. Make sure to use an exfoliant that works for your skin type to help get rid of dead skin cells and even out your skin tone. It’s recommended to avoid physical exfoliants like scrubs to avoid causing small tears on the skin.

Instead, try a gentle chemical exfoliant or a chemical peel to do the work. AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) are a type of chemical exfoliant and help brighten the skin, fade dark marks and improve texture. The main AHAs to look for include glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, and mandelic acid.

Another type of chemical exfoliant are BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). These are similar to AHAs but they’re also great for unclogging pores and getting rid of excess oil and build-up, making them ideal for acne-prone or oily skin. These types of exfoliants include salicylic acid and willow bark extract, so look for these ingredients when shopping for an exfoliant.

The final type are known as PHAs (poly hydroxy acids) and are considered to be the calmer, more gentle version of AHAs. They don’t go as deep into the skin, making them a more mild type of exfoliant. Want to give it a try? Shop for ingredients like gluconolactone, galactose and lactobionic acid.

Male rubbing in foamy mask into skin

Add a mask

Now you’ve opened up your pores, apply a face mask suited to your skin goals. If you want to hydrate your skin, look for an overnight sleep mask. For oily skin, choose a charcoal, clay or mud mask to soak up excess sebum. Follow the instructions of whichever mask you choose.

Focus on your specific skin concern

This step is tailored to you. If your skin is dry, use a hydrating toner to give it some moisture. Acne? Add a serum containing niacinamide, azelaic acid or salicylic acid to help clear skin. Or if you just want glowy skin, add a brightening serum.

Still not sure what to choose? Hyaluronic acid is a renowned ingredient for helping all skin types, resulting in a plump, dewy look. It’s a moisture magnet, soaking up 30 times its weight in water. But remember to moisturise afterwards to help your skin soak in the goodness.

Lock in the liquid with a moisturiser

The final step is to moisturise and lock in all the goodness you’ve given to your skin. Now’s a great chance to give yourself a facial massage, follow our expert tips below.

Top tips for giving yourself a facial massage

A facial isn’t just about the products you use and which steps you use them, it’s also about giving your face a massage. During your facial you can use certain massage techniques, like different strokes and pressures, to help with things like puffiness and improving fine lines.

Here are some of the top techniques used by skin care specialists Dermalogica. For the best results, use an oil for these techniques.

To relax muscles and improve fine lines

Place your fingertips in the middle of your forehead and press firmly – make sure your hands and elbows are out. Glide your fingers together, adding slight pressure to your temples. Press and release three times.

To reduce eye puffiness and help headaches

Take your middle or index finger and stroke in between your brows, around the eyes, then return to the centre. Next, make an S shape with your fingers to help release your brow muscles. Go around the eyes again, returning to the centre and repeat. Press, glide, drain, S movement. Repeat as much as preferred. 

Encourage circulation and boost radiance

Place a finger either side of your nostril and glide up to your lower cheek bone, pressing firmly. Next, slide your fingers towards your ear and press. Repeat as much as preferred.

Release jaw tension

Keep your fingers flat and place them in the middle of your chin. Use small circles to massage along your jawline up until below your ear, press and drain down the side of your neck. Repeat as much as preferred.


Fancy a facial at home without any effort?

Learning how to do an at-home facial is a useful skill. But sometimes you can’t beat an expert doing it for you. If you’re wanting to have a professional facial at home with a qualified therapist, book one to your door with Urban. 

From glowy skin with the hydrating facial, to our expert Dermalogica Pro60 treatment, there’s a facial for all skin types. Even if you’re in a rush, our express 25 facial will leave your skin looking brand new in just 25 minutes. 

Take a look at our full facial range to decide which is best suited to your skin – your skincare goals are just 60 minutes away.