With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it can be challenging to find the time to focus on your skin. And even if you are diligent about your skincare routine, seemingly innocuous factors like not getting enough sleep or ordering take-out too often can take a toll on your skin’s health and appearance. Thankfully, you don’t have to visit a spa to treat yourself: Doing a facial at home can be just as relaxing as a professional treatment (Bonus: you can do it in your comfiest pajamas).
Whether you’re looking to address a specific skin concern, like maskne, or simply want to unwind in luxury, a facial can be an ultra-relaxing way to give your skin the care it needs. So to help you out on your pamper days, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to our at-home facial routine that you can follow anytime you need a little extra TLC. Read on to learn how to pamper yourself and your skin, the Kiehl’s way.
Cleanse Your Skin
Ultra Facial Cleanser
For an effective facial routine, it’s crucial to start with a clean canvas. We recommend cleansing your face with a mild exfoliating cleanser, such as our iconic Ultra Facial Cleanser. This creamy, pH-balanced formula contains olive-derived squalane to cleanse the skin without stripping it of its essential moisture. It also contains crushed apricot seeds, which provide gentle physical exfoliation to remove dead skin cells.
Apply a dime-sized amount of this foaming cleanser to damp skin and use your fingertips to massage it over your face using the 3rd and 13 technique—inspired by the corner of 3rd Avenue and 13th Street, where Kiehl’s began. Use your hands to make a three shape on either side of your face, hitting your temples, cheekbones, and jawline. Then, create a one shape by trailing straight down the center of your face from forehead to chin. Agan, make three shapes on either side to complete the technique.
Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, or gently wipe the cleanser off with a washcloth dampened with warm water. You can also hold the washcloth over your face for a minute or two to help soften your skin and open your pores.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you’re wearing sunscreen or makeup, you’ll want to remove that before cleansing. We recommend using a cleansing oil to melt any product away before washing your face with Ultra Facial Cleanser.
Apply a Mask
After cleansing your skin and patting it dry with a clean towel, apply a face mask. When choosing a formula, it’s essential to consider your skin type and the ingredients the mask contains. Additionally, we recommend looking for a formula designed to target any complexion concerns you may have.
For Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, a clay mask can help absorb excess sebum. Our top-rated Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask stars Amazonian white clay and soothing aloe vera to draw out dirt and toxins from within the pores. This detoxifying action helps minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, which are a common concern for those with oily skin. Our formula also reduces surface oil production by 46.7% for a more refined complexion.* Apply a thin layer to damp skin and allow the mask to dry for around 10 minutes. Then, remove it with a warm, wet towel and rinse your face thoroughly.
*Based on results two hours after use vs. untreated skin.
For Dry Skin
Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask
To moisturize dry or dehydrated skin, we recommend Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask. This creamy mask contains avocado oil and evening primrose oil to help moisturize under-nourished skin and lock in moisture. After just one use, this rich treatment leaves the complexion softer and more hydrated.* For best results, apply a thick, visible layer to damp skin. Let it work for about 15 minutes before removing it with a damp washcloth. You can incorporate this mask into your routine up to three times a week for softer, more supple skin.
*Based on a consumer perception study in the US with 55 subjects, all skin types, and an immediate time point.
For Dull Skin
If dullness is your primary concern, reach for Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask. This best-selling treatment contains antioxidant-rich turmeric and crushed cranberries to exfoliate and brighten dull, tired complexions. It leaves skin softer and smoother and provides an energizing boost for a more radiant-looking appearance. Apply a generous layer to damp skin and let it dry for 10 minutes. Then, add warm water and gently massage the mask over your face to allow the cranberry seeds to exfoliate and slough away dead skin cells. Rinse thoroughly and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
For All Skin Types
Regardless of your skin type, everyone can benefit from an extra dose of refreshing hydration. If you don’t have any major complexion concerns to contend with but still want to pamper yourself, try Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask, which is suitable for all skin types. This gentle formula contains calendula extract to help hydrate the skin and soothe any signs of distress. It also contains aloe vera for a refreshing cooling sensation upon application. Apply a visible layer of this softening mask to clean, damp skin and let it rest for around five minutes. Then, gently wipe off with a warm washcloth and pat skin dry.
In your daily skincare routine, toner should come after cleansing. But if you’re doing a facial, you’ll want to use your toner after rinsing off your mask to remove any leftover residue and prep your skin for the remainder of your routine.
We recommend reaching for a mild hydrating formula, like Ultra Facial Toner, which is suitable for all skin types. The alcohol-free toner features squalane and vitamin E-rich apricot kernel oil to remove debris without stripping the skin. The gentle formula comforts and hydrates the skin for a clean, balanced complexion. Allow your skin to dry slightly before moving on to the next step.
Smooth on Serum
The next step in your home skincare routine is serum. Serum’s concentrated formulas are packed with skin-friendly ingredients to help hydrate the skin and alleviate any complexion concerns you may have.
Our new Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum is ideal for applying during a facial, since it boasts herbal adaptogens (plant extracts that help replenish and protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier from external stressors). It also contains 11kDa hyaluronic acid, an engineered form of hyaluronic acid that penetrates into skin’s deeper layers. This powerful formula is clinically-demonstrated to double skin’s strength and visibly improve the appearance of myriad complexion concerns, including fine lines, texture, and radiance.* Apply a small amount to clean palms and gently pat it onto your skin for a more resilient, healthier-looking complexion.
*Based on a 4-week clinical study on 58 subjects tested in urban and polluted environments, as well as on the Skin Strength Index = Composite average score of skin suppleness, plumpness, and resiliency.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: If you want to incorporate multiple serums into your facial, layer them from thinnest to thickest. This same rule can be applied to the rest of your skincare routine order and allows you to reap the benefits of each product.
Replenish Your Complexion
The botanical and essential oils in facial oils can help hydrate and strengthen skin for a plump, glowing complexion. But, like with most things in skincare, it’s important to pick the right formula for your needs at any given time. Regardless of your skin type, we recommend reaching for a lightweight, non-comedogenic facial oil for a fresh, weightless feel.
Daily Reviving Concentrate
For the daytime, we suggest Daily Reviving Concentrate. This face oil stars ginger root essential oil and sunflower oil, which work together to revitalize the complexion. The antioxidant-rich formula helps protect against damaging free radicals for fresh, healthy-looking skin.
At night, try Midnight Recovery Concentrate. The best-selling formula helps visibly reduce fine lines and improve skin texture for a smoother, firmer-looking appearance. It’s formulated with moisturizing evening primrose oil and calming lavender essential oil to help replenish skin overnight for a more radiant, youthful appearance by morning.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: For a little extra TLC on pampering days, use a skincare tool, like a jade roller, to massage the face oil over your face. The rolling action helps the oil sink into your skin better and improves circulation for a more refreshed, radiant-looking complexion.
Hydrate Your Eye Area
When doing facials and other skin treatments at home, it’s important not to neglect your eye area. The skin around your eyes is delicate and therefore is especially susceptible to age-related concerns like crow’s feet and dark circles.
While the face oil is absorbing into your skin, apply a hydrating eye cream, like Avocado Eye Cream. This best-selling treatment contains creamy shea butter and avocado oil to provide instant and long-term hydration. It’s clinically-demonstrated to de-puff and brighten the under-eye area in just one use, and helps improve the appearance of fine lines over time.*
Kiehl’s facials always include a calming eye treatment. To replicate it at home, start by dispensing a pearl-sized amount of eye cream onto the pads of your thumbs and ring fingers. Using your thumbs, apply gentle pressure to your brow bone, just above the start of your eyebrows. Count to three, then move to the arch of the brow. Press and hold for three seconds, then do the same to your temples.
With your ring fingers, gently press on your orbital bone, below the inner corner of your eyes. Hold for three seconds, then pick up your fingers and move to the center of your under-eye area. Press and hold before moving to your temples. Complete the treatment by using your thumbs to massage from the start of your brows to your temples. Move your thumbs in slow, fluid strokes. At your temples, continue to massage with gentle circular motions. Repeat this full eye treatment twice.
*Results based upon expert grading evaluated with the product in a 4-week clinical test.
Kiehl’s Expert Tip: Applying eye cream provides another opportunity to elevate your routine with a skincare tool. Pop an eye roller into the fridge, then use it chilled to help de-puff and relax.
Lock In Moisture
After everything you’ve done up to this point—cleansing, toning, masking, applying serum, using a facial oil and eye cream—your skin probably looks and feels really good. But you still need to apply a moisturizer to lock in all that hydration and keep your skin soft and supple.
Try a hydrating formula suitable for all skin types, like our cult-classic Ultra Facial Cream. It’s formulated with olive-derived squalane and glacial glycoprotein for lasting, 24-hour moisture. The balancing formula absorbs into skin easily with a lightweight, non-greasy feel. Rub a dime-sized amount of our top-selling moisturizer onto your face and neck for a smoother, healthier-looking complexion. You can also use the 3rd and 13th technique you started your facial with to apply your moisturizer. For daytime, try Ultra Facial Cream SPF 30 for added UV protection.