Hi, beauty editor here! As eye roll-worthy as this is to admit, my job has blessed me with the opportunity to have tried countless beauty treatments through the years in pursuit of skin so good, it draws the attention of strangers. Despite having experienced some pretty amazing professional services, to me, nothing compares to the immediate results of a really good facial. Pre-pandemic, I’d try to treat myself to one monthly as both a way to rejuvenate my skin and put aside some time to treat myself. But when the global health crisis forced us into our homes, I decided it was time to get serious about taking matters into my own (freshly sanitized) hands. I made it a mission to develop a restorative facial routine that I could confidently perform from the comfort of my bathroom.

For expert insight, I reached out to celebrity esthetician Melanie Grant, whose clients include Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Cate Blanchett, among others. Thankfully, the Sydney-based skincare specialist was more than happy to walk me through the *chef’s kiss* perfect at-home facial that she swears by, using some of her all-time favorite products. Take note that this routine is tailored to normal-to-dry skin, ideal for those looking to make their skin looks as youthful as possible. But even so, you can tweak it with products tailored to your specific skincare concerns. Ahead, find a breakdown of the facialist’s five-step regimen perfect for implementing into your routine when a trip to the spa is out of the question. 

step 1: double-cleanse

Double-cleansing is the first step of an effective DIY facial, and to get the job done, we used the Augustinus Bader Cleansing Balm. “The first cleanse is really about removing makeup, SPF, pollution, and sweat from the day,” explains Grant, adding that the second cleanse is meant to deep-clean your pores. As I took my time washing my face over Zoom with Grant, I realized that I tend to rush through my double-cleansing routine. Instead of taking my time to focus on my problem areas and enjoy the experience, I’ve been speeding through it absentmindedly. If you’re guilty of moving too quickly, too, I recommend investing in a luxe formula like Bader’s—it’s too nice to rush through.

Following both of our washes using Bader’s oil-based cleansing balm, we patted our skin dry with a face towel from Resoré. If you’re new to the brand, its towels are made from a blend of antimicrobial fibers that kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and germs. In other words, this is the perfect face towel to incorporate into your skincare routine to avoid getting breakouts caused by bacteria.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Admittedly, this was my first time using Biologique Recherche P50, so I opted for the sensitive skin version: P50W. The cult-favorite exfoliating lotion is commonly seen in celebrity skincare shelfies, well-loved for its skin-transforming effects. It contains AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs that exfoliate the skin’s surface, balance its pH and regulate sebum secretion. To apply, Grant suggested I use a few drops, noting that if your skin is sensitive, it may help to apply it to a damp cotton round instead of a dry one. “If you’re new to the product, I like to just press it into the skin rather than swiping or being too aggressive,” she says. “Erythema is normal, so a little bit of redness is OK.” Rather than redness, I experienced a slight tingling sensation, which is also normal for this product.

Step 3: Massage

Prior to this Zoom call, I’ve never been particularly excited to give myself a facial massage. The concept is just a lot less enticing than someone else doing it. But being on camera forced me to try, and reflecting back on the experience, I’d do it again. To start, Grant advised me to warm a half a dropper full of the vitamin-rich Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum in my hands. “With massage, you don’t need to overcomplicate it,” says the pro. “The most important thing is that you’re working upwards and outwards and that you have slip, so you’re not tugging or pulling on your skin.” She walked me through a series of techniques (see: the video above), my favorite of which was a sweeping massage, best for people like me who struggle with puffiness and fluid retention. 

Step 4: mask

Without removing the serum from your skin, apply a hydrating cream face mask. We used Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2, a moisturizing formula ideal for dull skin in need of a boost of radiance. Grant recommends squeezing a dollop onto the back of your hand, using a brush or your hands to apply a thick layer to your entire face and neck, and then leaving it on for up to 20 minutes. Finish by removing the mask with a face towel.

Step 5: Moisturize

As the final step in Grant’s facial routine, I reached for the newly reformulated Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, a deeply hydrating and skin-renewing formula frequently raved about by beauty industry leaders and regular people alike. I used two pumps for my face and neck, which left my face with a fresh-faced, dewy sheen.

the verdict:

I haven’t started getting in-person facials again, so Grant’s facial has become my go-to monthly DIY treatment. Likewise, her favorite products have become staples in my day-to-day routine. I admit that my skin is probably still in dire need of extractions, but I can’t complain otherwise. In the weeks since the expert walked me through the routine and I’ve started using her recommended products more frequently, my skin looks even and radiant, and it feels soft and plump. It’s not the service I looked forward to before the coronavirus pandemic, but it’s pretty damn close.

Shop the five-step routine:

THE CLEANSING BALM, $70 VIA AUGUSTINUS BADER. SHOP NOW
RESORÈ ANTIBACTERIAL FACE TOWEL, $35 VIA NORDSTROM. SHOP NOW
BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE LOTION P50 W, $96 VIA MELANIE GRANT SKIN CARE EDIT. SHOP NOW
BIOLOGIQUE RECHERCHE MASQUE VIP O2, $186 VIA MELANIE GRANT SKIN CARE EDIT. SHOP NOW
VINTNER’S DAUGHTER ACTIVE BOTANICAL SERUM, $269 VIA MELANIE GRANT SKIN CARE EDIT. SHOP NOW
AUGUSTINUS BADER THE RICH CREAM FACE MOISTURIZER, $265 VIA NORDSTROM. SHOP NOW

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thoughts?