DIY A Luxurious Facial With Stuff You Already Have

With Bliss' Facial in a Box as my guide, I whipped up this at-home spa experience.
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Publish date:
January 7, 2015
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exfoliation, bliss, face masks, chemical exfoliator, facial, diy facials, scrubs

Going to a spa for a facial is a really nice treat, but it's not something I can justify spending money on regularly. As such, I picked up this $12 Bliss Facial In A Box to try at home, but then I realized I could probably DIY (or at least dupe) the effects of the box's mask, peel, treat formula with things I already had

Bliss' facial in a box is decent, but it doesn't contain everything you need for a full facial experience. It's also got some pretty dubious science behind it.

If you're giving yourself a facial, you won't be able to lie down, but you can get the chilled environment right.

Light a candle and minimize any disruptions. Shut the cat in another room and tell your roommates to play their video games with headphones on. You don't need a goofy Velcro headband, but they are very handy for keeping hair out of the way.

STEP ONE: Cleanse and massage


You'll want to start with a thorough clean; I recommend using your regular face cleanser.

Staying with products you're familiar with will reduce the chance of irritation. Take your time with the cleanser and use it as a lubricant to massage your face. Massage with upward strokes.

STEP 2: Hot towel and toner


Another major part of the at home facial experience is the hot towel.

Soak towels in the hottest water you can handle, wring them out, and leave them in a covered metal bowl--that way they'll stay hot. I like to follow each step in my at-home facial with a hot towel and a spritz of toner.

STEP 3: Exfoliation


Now we get to the exfoliation stage. If you don't love chemical peels, a physical scrub does the job just fine. (Just please, for the love of marine life, don't use something with plastic microbeads.)

You can DIY this step by mixing a teaspoon of sugar with some oil--or even your cleanser--and massaging it onto your skin. (The Internet is divided on whether it's a good idea to use sugar as a scrub, but being gentle with a fine-granule sugar, such as castor sugar, seems to be safe.) This costs nothing, assuming you have sugar in your pantry. Who doesn't have sugar? If you don't, go knock on your neighbor's door and ask them to lend you some. You should probably take the headband off first.


To stay true to duping the Bliss Facial In A Box, you'll need a chemical exfoliant.

This is like a low concentration acid peel, but DON'T read the words "acid" and "peel" and think you can stay in the kitchen and whip out a lemon. Lemon juice is not a friend to your skin, and the Internet is agreed on this one. Just don't do it!

This is also not the time to use a chemical exfoliant for the first time. Patch-test first, please. If you know if your skin can tolerate AHAs or salicylic acid, rummage through the mountain of samples that inevitably pile up, especially if you're a regular Sephora shopper. I found about five different glycolic peel pads in my stash. Alternatively, I'm a huge fan of the Stridex Maximum Strength Acne Control Pads. Their active ingredient is salicylic acid, and they’re under 10 cents a pad.

STEP 4: Mask time!


The Bliss Box puts the mask before exfoliation, but I don't see any sense in treating a layer of skin you're about to scrub off, so I'm putting the mask after.

I'm also skipping extractions, which are best left to professionals. And good riddance, because they can hurt.

The mask is where you can customize your treatment to your skin type. My skin is oily, so a clay mask suits it best. I did some research into the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, and my queen Paula Begoun tells me that oxygen isn't something you want happening on your face anyway, as it can cause free-radical damage.

Again, you can raid your sample stash, use your favorite mask, or DIY your own. Massage your face as you apply your mask--our girl Danielle has some tips, as does Lisa Eldridge.

STEP 5: Don't forget the SPF

Finish with your regular moisturizer, and don't forget sunscreen. Chemical exfoliation leaves your skin extra vulnerable to sun damage, even in winter.

  • Let's chat! How often do you get a spa facial?
  • What tips or techniques (or products!) have you picked up at the spa that you've integrated into your DIY skin pampering?