Fake the Skin Benefits of a Vacation (Minus the UV Rays) With This At-Home Facial

This routine gives you the perks of sun and ocean without the damage.

Ever notice how, when you spend time at the beach, your skin looks extra-awesome? After spending a week in Hawaii recently, I came back home glowing with a vengeance, and wondering how I could get that perfect post-vacation skin to last. I chalk up the temporary boost to sun, salt water, eating a ton of fresh fruit and, well, having this as my backyard for a week.

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😎

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Stress is bad for your skin, guys.

Anyway, the problem is that the very things that make your skin look good in the short term — UV rays and ocean water — can be damaging in the long run. So instead of suggesting you spend a week at the beach (because that would be such a drag, amirite?), I've devised a facial routine you can do at home to get the same benefits.

Cue your ocean-sounds apps and let's go!

Cleanse

Start by removing your makeup and sunscreen with an oil cleanser. I love Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oil. This is unlike any other cleansing oil I've ever tried because it also has papaya enzymes to gently exfoliate. And I mean really gently — you're not going to get peel-like results, but it's safe to use even if you have sensitive skin. Also, it smells like fresh pineapples and sunshine.

I like to take a couple of extra minutes massaging it in to loosen up clogged pores (don't massage too hard though, or you could cause broken capillaries) before rinsing off with warm water. It'll leave a bit of an oily residue, but we're about to do a clay mask to take care of that anyway, so no need to do a second cleanse.

Mask

Ocean water can be especially effective at clearing up skin because the salt kills bacteria. On the downside, it can also dry out your skin.

To get the benefit without frying my skin, I mix up a gentle saline solution to use as a mixing medium for clay masks. I take about ⅓ sea salt (I got a fancy black Hawaiian kind, but you can use the normal stuff from the grocery store) and dissolved ¼ teaspoon in half a cup of warm water. Don't overdo it — even the ocean is only 3% salt. Then I mix the saline at a one to one ratio with plain white kaolin clay from the bulk section of my local health food store and apply the mixture for 10 minutes.

I'm also multimasking with the Sephora Collection Pearl Eye Mask. Pearls come from the ocean right? And these feel really soothing on tired, jet-lagged eyes.

Moisturize

After rinsing off my mask, I do a key step missing from an actual beach vacation: rehydrating. As much as I love a mojito in the sun, too many days of that routine can leave my skin looking parched. Same deal with too many clay masks.

Avoid that effect by applying ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which pull water to the top layers of the skin. I use Drunk Elephant's excellent B Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel. It also contains pineapple ceramides, so in addition to helping soothe and repair your moisture barrier, it's also very on-theme.

Bonus tip? Keep it in the fridge and smooth a second layer on damp skin before bed.

And of course: Never. Forget. Sunscreen.

  • Do you have a favorite product you use to fake that vacation glow?
  • Anyone take any good trips lately? Pictures please!