About the only thing I crave more than a soothing, expert spa facial is a slab of double-fudge chocolate cake drizzled in icing. And because I don’t indulge in either as much as I would like to, I find that creative substitutions keep the cravings in check: Cocoa-covered almonds for a daily chocolate fix, monthly express facials at my neighborhood day spa and a weekly facial at home. If you’re hankering for facial but don’t have the time the time or funds, switch into home spa girl mode and follow these five easy steps. And if you’re craving a slice of chocolate cake, how about we share it?
1. Deep Clean
Mix a dab of your daily cleanser with a pinch of cornmeal in your palm. Gently massage the mixture in circular motions onto face and neck. Take your time and enjoy the moment. Rinse with tepid water and dab face dry with a clean towel. Be careful never to shock your skin with water that is too hot or too cold water.
Store-bought option: Bliss Pore-perfecting Facial Polish, $28, blissworld.com.
2. Steep and Steam
Bring about 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and drop in two herbal tea bags (try chamomile for dry skin, peppermint for oily skin or lemongrass for breakouts). Let tea steep for five minutes. Remove the tea bags and carefully pour the water into a deep, wide, heatproof bowl. Drape a towel over your head to form a steam tent and hold your face above the bowl. Relax and breathe deeply for about 5 minutes.
Store-bought option: Conair Facial Sauna, $35 drugstore.com.
3. Purge the Pores
For a deep pore detox, try a clay mask. French green clay is among the most absorbent for drawing impurities from the skin and is available at most health food stores or websites. Wet the clay with a small amount of water until it forms a thick, creamy mixture. Apply to face and allow dry up to 20 minutes. If your eyes need a lift, cut a thin slice of cucumber in half and place a half under each eye while you wait for the mask to dry.
Other masks to try:
Store-bought options: get grounded Skin Purifying Clay Mask or take it all in Skin-Drenching Moisture Mask from the grassroots collection at Kohl’s ($14-$15), kohls.com.
4. Find Atonement
Soak a cotton ball with witch hazel or your favorite toner and swipe away mask remnants.
Other toners to try:
Store-bought option: Breath of Fresh Air Water Facial Toner from LUSH Cosmetics, $14.40, lush.com.
5. Seal with a Kiss
Seal in the good vibrations with a moisturizer for your skin type and a dab of eye cream around the eyes (try Hope in a Jar, $25 and Hope in a Tube, $30, from philosophy.com). If you’ve planned your at-home facial for early in the day, don’t’ forget a final slathering of sunscreen.