Here’s How To Do A DIY Spa From Your Sofa

Zero prospect of a spa trip on the horizon? Master the art of the DIY facial and get glowing...

At Home Spa

by Sophie Qureshi |
Updated on

For most of us, working from home is the new normal and the need for a pick-me-up is as prevalent as ever. So, it's good to know you can feel infinitely better at the prospect of an at-home DIY spa facial, that won't cost you an arm and a leg. All you need to do is draw upon your favourite skincare staples (cleanser, oil/or serum, acid and a cream), get your trusty hands at the ready, and follow international facialist and wellbeing expert, Abigail James' guide on what to apply and how. Ready, steady, glow...

1. Give Yourself 20 Minutes

This isn’t about a 5-minute fling with a sheet mask. Let’s get real: if you want spa-style results, you need to put in the time – ideally 20 minutes minimum, according to James.

‘A face mask alone is never going to give you the results of a more focused at-home facial. You need to super-charge your products with massage at every step to really get the best from them.’ Schedule your at-home spa sesh on Sunday evenings, to compensate for a slightly slapdash routine in the week and ensure you wake on Monday good to glow.

2. Start With A Cleanser

‘For the ultimate at-home facial, start with a cream, oil or balm cleanser, and then rinse off with warm water and a warm, damp cloth,’ says Abigail. For a spa-like experience, we recommend Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm, £43, Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser, £42, and Bamford Cleansing Balm, £55.

3. Nail Facial Massage

Nail the right massage moves and you’ll not only get your circulation going for a wholesome rosy glow, you’ll also encourage lymphatic drainage, which will sharpen your facial contours more effectively than any contour kit. Arm yourself with a good oil – Votary’s Dew Drops Jasmine Facial Oil, £65 is brilliant for calming skin, but jojoba oil or grapeseed oil are alternatives if you don’t want to splash out. Here's James' very comprehensive 12-step routine:

  1. Start by warming half a teaspoon of oil in your palms, then smooth it over your face, neck and décolletage.

  2. Using the right hand, make downward circles on the left side of the neck. Repeat on the other side using the other hand, then using both hands together, massage both sides of the neck at the same time.

  3. Make scissor shapes with your middle and index fingers. Place the index finger behind the ear and the middle in front. Push your hands back and forth either side of the ears and along the jaw to support lymphatic drainage.

  4. Place your thumbs under your chin, then push to drain the lymph nodes under your jaw from the chin to the ears.

  5. Keep the thumbs under your chin and make a pinch with the sides of the index fingers. Pinch and push out along the jaw. Pressing firmly, make circular moves all around the mouth.

  6. Concentrating on one side of the face, use alternate hands to push up, lifting the cheek. Repeat on the other side.

  7. Make a fist with both hands and press your knuckles into the cheeks, under the cheekbone. Hold for five, before gliding your knuckles out to the sides. Then ‘knuckle-massage’ your whole cheek area.

  8. Using all your fingers, push up just under the brow and glide outwards.

  9. Using the finger pads of both hands, firmly stretch out the crow’s feet, holding each stretch for five seconds.

  10. Using your middle and index fingers, stretch out and hold the frown lines.

  11. Still on the frown lines, firmly make a criss-cross movement. Continue criss- crossing across the whole of the forehead, then change the direction of your fingers and zig-zag up and down over the forehead.

  12. Calm everything down with some gentle outward smoothing movements. Finish by gliding alternate hands out from under the chin to the ear in the direction of the lymph nodes and down the neck. Repeat this on the other side.

4. Use A Peel

‘The next step is to exfoliate with an acid tonic, peel pad or mask,’ says James. ‘I’m a huge fan of lactic acid as it exfoliates, brightens and hydrates at the same time.’ FYI: peels provide deep, non-abrasive exfoliation, while also killing bacteria, improving pigmentation and speeding up sluggish cell turnover. Try Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate, £50, with lactic and glycolic acids, or Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Brightening Treatment with Ferment² + Vitamin C , £90 – a potent combo of AHAs and pore-clearing salicylic acid.

5. Skip The Squeeze

‘I would really leave extractions to the pros, unless there is an obvious white head,’ warns James. ‘If you really must do it, make sure you extract in the evening, so you’ve got a good 8-10 hours for any inflammation to calm down. Wrap some tissue around your fingers and then gently squeeze from either side with a down, inwards and upwards movement.’ Word to the wise: apply ice-cold water straight afterwards to take down the inevitable redness.

6. Mask Force

Pick your mask according to your skin’s mood, or multi-mask and apply one mask to your T-zone and another to your cheeks. For dry or hungover skin, we’re obsessed with Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, £85, with 1,000 micro and macro molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid, it erases all signs of Saturday night excess. Blemish-prone types should go for Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, £21, which contains umbrian clay to absorb excess shine and lavender water to sooth, or Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Mask, £120, with kaolin to mop up sebum and zinc to stop breakouts.

7. Face Finishers

To leave skin fresh and bouncy, finish with a hyaluronic acid serum like Balance Me Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum, £30, and top with a liberal application of Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Intense Moisturising Cream, £24 – it leaves skin plump as a grape, with an enviable spa-break glow.

Facial Steaming

If you really want to crack your DIY facial up a notch try steaming your face ahead of applying all your products. Steaming will help to open and clear the pores by loosening trapped sebum, ensuring that you have a clean surface to begin with and an ideal base for the absorption of products. Opt for Sarah Chapman's Pro Hydro-Mist Steamer, £138,for a high-tech approach - it emits a fine and even veil of mist around the face.

SHOP: Your DIY, At-Home Facial Kit


DIY At-Home Facial - Grazia



Arm yourself with a good oil – Votary’s Dew Drops Jasmine Facial Oil, £65, is brilliant for calming skin.

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm, £442 of 5

Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm, £44

There is nothing more luxurious than wiping the day away with a nourishing balm cleanser and and a hot cloth. This one is infused with rose and boosts skin elasticity thanks to its hydrating formula.

Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate, £503 of 5

Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate, £50

Packed with lactic and glycolic acids, this will improve pigmentation by speeding up sluggish cell turnover.

Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, £834 of 5

Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, £83

We’re obsessed with Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, £85, with 1,000 micro and macro molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid, it erases all signs of Saturday night excess with ease.

BalanceMe Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum, £305 of 5

BalanceMe Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum, £30

To leave skin fresh and bouncy, finish with a serum like Balance Me Tri-Molecular Hyaluronic Serum which features hydrators like hyaluronic acid and aloe vera.

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