July 17, 2024


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10 At-Home Beauty Hacks to Keep Your Skin Healthy and Glowing

Local pros offer their at-home tips and treatments, including DIY face masks and scrubs.

These at-home beauty and skincare tips and treatments from Philly experts will keep your face and hands soft, hydrated, and glowing. / Photograph courtesy of Getty Images.

For going on three years, our faces have been at the forefront of our daily lives. With so much attention on our skin (hello, masks and Zoom calls), it might feel like it’s time to give it a little extra love — after all, prioritizing healthy skin is not just about getting glowing skin, but also about maintaining our overall health.

Because we don’t all have the time (or the budget) to always run to our local esthetician for treatments, these 10 tips and hacks from local beauty experts are here to help you improve — and keep up with — your skincare routine from the comforts of your home. Bonus: A step-by-step guide on giving yourself a no-tools-needed face massage.

Use SPF daily, not just when you’re down the shore

While the sun’s rays provide essential nutrients and vitamins our bodies need, across the board our experts agree that protecting against overexposure year round is the most important part of maintaining healthy skin, reducing premature aging, and protecting against skin cancer. Sure, no one wants to have a greasy face all day, but according to Becky Fenlan, practice coordinator at About Face Skin Care, you don’t have to. She says there are plenty of tinted moisturizers, powders, and other products in which SPF is already included (so read the label to make sure the one you’re using or buying includes it), and that many oil-free products are so light you will forget you are even wearing any.

Another great way to protect your skin against the sun is to use a vitamin C product, says Viviane Aires, local esthetician and founder of Viviane Aires Skin Wellness. While it might be tough to remember to reapply SPF-included products every two or three hours, she says ones that feature vitamin C will help build immunity to catch and protect against anything coming into contact with your skin when the SPF might have worn off.

Wash your face!

While sometimes it might feel easier to take a full shower than wash your face before bed, don’t skip this step. That’s because throughout the day, our faces are exposed to endless bacteria. Luckily, “our skin is composed of many layers which act like a factory both keeping bacteria and harmful substances out of the body, while simultaneously excreting toxins out of the body,” says Jewellee Williams, owner of Crown Jewel Esthetics. At night, the pros suggest cleansing your face twice, once with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen, and then a second time with your typical cleanser to remove any residual up.

Tirzah Blair, owner of Kári Skin, recommends adding a pea-size amount of clay to your cleanser for a deeper cleanse, or incorporating some baking soda for added exfoliation. She says it’s important to exfoliate the skin two to three times a week to ensure products absorb into the skin.

Reduce inflammation the easy way

We are all guilty of washing our face with warm water to “open our pores,” but the increased absorption of products from this method is a myth. Aires recommends splashing your face with cold water to better eliminate toxins. “Doing so helps to stimulate the receptivity of the skin, which enhances the absorption of products and also increases blood flow,” she says.

Cold products are also great for reducing inflammation — think ice packs on an injury. If you can’t book a cryo treatment, Aires recommends using beauty products such as eye patches, creams, moisturizers, face masks, and jade rollers in the fridge to keep them cold and better reduce inflammation. (Just don’t forget they are in there!)

If you need to reduce some inflammation around your eyes, Blair suggests placing thinly sliced cucumbers on your eyes for 15 minutes. The vitamin C and hydrating nature of the cucumbers can aid in brightening and de-puffing the area. You can even try green tea or chamomile tea bags instead; incorporating some caffeine into products works to constrict blood vessels, which in turn, can reduce inflammation and brighten the eyes.

Stop picking!!!

While watching extraction videos online might inspire the need to pop your own blemishes, don’t! Our experts agree at-home extractions can lead to lasting damage, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation. Instead, Williams suggests icing your blemishes.

Get naturally plump lips

Fillers are an option, but if you don’t want to go that route, Blair says adding five drops of peppermint oil into your regular lip gloss will plump your lips at home. She also recommends maintaining hydrated lips by using petroleum-free products and exfoliating two times a week with a dry washcloth on damp lips.

Utilize your pantry for DIY treatments

Sure, your pantry has been keeping your belly full, but it can also be a huge resource for nourishing your skin. (Just be aware that some ingredients might not be appropriate for your specific skin type.) Julie Featherman, owner of Juju Salon, offers this weekly foot exfoliating treatment: Crush six to eight aspirin and dissolve in lemon juice. Stir in two tablespoons of honey to thicken into a jelly-like substance. Apply the mixture to the bottoms of your feet, paying extra attention to the callus prone areas. Cover with a warm cloth, elevate your feet for 10-15 minutes, then rinse.

For an anti-aging DIY face mask, Skin House owner Shireen Mustafa combines yogurt and honey to gently slough off old skin and leave you glowing, soft, and hydrated. (Skin House actually uses a higher concentration of this in their peels!) To create, mix two tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt with one tablespoon of raw honey in a small bowl. Apply to the face and let the mask dry for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

To wake up your skin in the morning, the team at Freedom Apothecary recommends a simple body scrub of sugar, coffee grounds, and oil. Combine one cup of already-brewed coffee grounds, ¼ to ½ cup of brown sugar, and a dash of olive or coconut oil. Right before turning off the water in the shower, gently apply this mixture all over your body except your face — a product this coarse is too abrasive for the skin on your face — and rinse.

For an at-home facial, Blair suggests starting with a vigorous cleansing of the face, then steaming your face over a pot of boiling herbal tea for five minutes with a towel over your head. Next, beat together raw egg whites and paint over your face. Rest with cucumber slices over your eyes for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize into damp skin.

Change the way you’re showering

As much as we love long, hot showers and sudsy soaps, they actually take away from our skin’s natural thin layer of oil. Featherman says you should brace yourself for shorter, more tepid showers, reach for a gentle lotion-based cleanser, and use deep-hydrating body lotion or oil immediately after. Plus, you should “look for key ingredients like calendula, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and borage” when buying shower products.

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize

While slugging — the skincare method trending on TikTok that involves lathering the skin in a silicone-based product like Vaseline — is not for everybody, our experts offer other ways to moisturize and absorb. Williams suggests using high-concentrated serums to keep your skin cells functioning and healthy. Adeline Koh, owner of Sabbatical Beauty, recommends doing a multi-step regimen to target the various layers of skin. Use a six-step Korean beauty method, or simply start with a toner, then oil, and finally your moisturizer. “Think of it like a wardrobe,” Koh says. “The layers of hydration will keep skin plump and hydrated and you can take them on and off just like you would in different seasons.”

You can also use some at-home staples like olive or coconut oil, or honey to replenish your skin, as they contain hydrating humectants and naturally occurring antimicrobial properties, according to Rescue Spa founder Danuta Mieloch.

Focus on your insides too

In our busy lives it is easy to forget that what we put into our bodies is as important to our skin as what we put on it. “So much of our food is processed with hormones and preservatives,” Williams reminds us. “Anything that you digest can directly affect your skin health and the way your cells are functioning.” She suggests limiting your intake of dairy, alcohol, processed sugars, and saturated and trans fats to reduce inflammation and improve your skin’s overall health.

Additionally, our experts emphasize how proper hydration is essential in aiding the elimination of toxins from the body. Blair and Aires both say that adding a humidifier to living spaces is “life changing.” It will add moisture to the air, which helps to hydrate the skin from the outside in.

Adding collagen to your diet is another easy way of properly nourishing your skin. Collagen is the protein that makes up our hair, nails, skin, bones, and joints, and according to Fenlan, “after the age of 25, our body’s production of collagen starts to diminish.” The team at About Face Skin Care recommends adding a scoop of flavorless collagen powder into your water, coffee, or smoothies so you can seamlessly incorporate it into your diet.

Learn how to massage your face like a pro

When you are in need of a little extra glow and lift, face massages are a great way of increasing blood flow and assisting in lymphatic drainage, which helps to eliminate toxins in the body and improve the circulation of nutrients to vital organs. Below, Aires provides a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Breathe
It is okay to relax for a minute. The way we move through the world (starting at our phones, computers, tablets, etc.) causes us to hold a lot of tension in our necks, contributing to the lymphatic stagnation we experience. By taking three long breaths, you send a message to the brain preparing your body for relaxation and released tension.

Step 2: Oil your face
Warm an oil in your hands and apply it all over your face, moving down towards your neck and décolleté. Make sure you are creating a good glide, otherwise you will pull at the skin, creating damage.

Step 3: Scissor fingers
Separate your index finger from your middle finger and place the scissor shape around your ear with your index finger below your earlobe and your middle finger above it. Lightly massage the area in a circular motion to begin stimulating the lymph nodes. This will help to eliminate any stagnation. Repeat seven to 15 times. This will also help to stimulate the absorption of products. (Make sure to maintain your breath as you do this — we are relaxing here.)

Step 4: Knuckle sandwich
Take your index and middle fingers again, but bend at the knuckles as if you are making air quotes. Keeping your fingers in this position, sandwich your jaw bone at your chin between your two knuckles. Slowly move your hands up your jawline towards your ears, ending with the knuckle of your index finger below your earlobe. Repeat three to five times. This will help to define your jawline while also stimulating your glands. Repeat this same process, this time sandwiching your cheekbone between your knuckles, ending with your middle finger towards your temple.

Step 5: Brow lift
There are a lot of acupressure points in the eyebrow, so it is important to give love to this area. Following your brow bone, move your knuckles over the area focusing on an upward motion.

Step 6: Forehead
Moving from the center of your forehead down towards your temple, move your fingers in a circular motion over the area, pulling gently upwards.

Step 7: Back to the neck
Finally, take your hands and put light pressure on either side of your neck, pumping them lightly, five times.

By the end of this massage, your skin will be so relaxed that any products you apply should absorb more quickly and effectively. Finish with a facial moisturizer over your face oil, layering your products for the best results.

This guide contains additional reporting by Laura Brzyski.