Home facials can be fun, relaxing and rewarding. Everyone should take some time out for themselves once in a while, and a facial is a great way to do it. Below are instructions and some recipes for a 5-step at home facial. No appointments, no expensive spa, just pure pampering in the comfort of your own home.

There are 5 steps to this home facial: Cleansing, Steaming, Masks, Toning and Moisturizing.

Step 1 - Cleansing

Remove all makeup from your face. Place a warm washcloth or towel over your face to help soften and moisten your skin to prepare it for cleansing. Leave the cloth on for a few minutes. Using your favorite cleanser or one of my soaps, gently cleanse your face. Do not scrub as you don't want to irritate the skin. If you have them, use cotton cleansing pads instead of a washcloth.

Step 2 - Steaming

Steaming your skin helps to soften any dirt particles embedded in your pores and increase blood circulation to the skin. It is also believed to help pores eliminate toxins. Place one Facial Tea bag in a bowl and add boiling water. Let it steep and cool for a few minutes. Lean over the bowl and drape a towel over your head. Make sure to keep your face at least 15-24 inches away from the water. If you have sensitive skin or enlarged pores, keep further away. Remain under the towel for a few minutes, up to 5.

Step 3 - Masks

Facial Masks draw dirt, oil, and impurities out of the skin. Most clay based masks have a drying, heavy draw and are for younger, oilier skin. My Rose Petal Face Mask is specially formulated for mature skin that requires a more gentle cleansing.

There are many varieties of masks you can make at home. Here are a few simple recipes.

Dry Skin Honey Mask

1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. aloe vera gel (you can get this at any pharmacy or health food store)
1 vitamin E capsule

Mix together honey and aloe gel. Slit open vitamin E capsule and squeeze out contents into mixture and stir in. Spread on face making sure to avoid getting too close to your eyes. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Gently rinse off with warm water.

Oatmeal Mask

1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup mashed banana (optional)

Mix all ingredients together to form a paste. Spread on face, making sure you avoid the eye area, and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

One Ingredient Mask

1/2 avocado mashed
May add 1 tsp. honey or jojoba oil.

Spread on face, watching out for that eye area. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Chamomile Gel Mask

1 package unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup chamomile tea

Make chamomile tea using 1/2 cup boiling water and 1 tea bag. Let tea steep for a few minutes. Add gelatin to tea and stir until completely dissolved. Chill until  almost set, about 30 minutes. Spread on face, avoiding eye area, and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

China Clay Mask

1 Tbs. China (Kaolin) clay
1/2 tsp. of any or mixture of the following:
jojoba oil
vegetable glycerin
olive oil

Mix ingredients together to form a paste. You may need to add extra liquid ingredients to make the mixture moist enough. Spread on face, avoiding eye area, and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Step 4 - Toning

Applying a toner or astringent helps to clear the skin of soap film, any remaining dead skin cells, and mask residue. Do not use an alcohol based toner as it will dry out your skin. Aloe vera makes a good toner as does witch hazel. Use an herbal toner with a witch hazel base or make your own (see recipe below). Use cotton balls to apply the toner and wipe the face in upward and outward strokes.

Herbal Toner

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup witch hazel
2 Facial Tea bags
1 tsp. aloe vera gel

Bring water and witch hazel to a boil. Turn off heat, add the tea bags and let steep for 5-10 minutes. When mixture has cooled, remove tea bags and mix in 1 tsp. aloe vera gel. Pour into a clean bottle. Wet a cotton ball with some of the mixture and wipe the face in upward and outward strokes. It would be a good idea to keep the remaining mixture in the refrigerator as there are no preservatives in it.

Step 5 - Moisturizing

This is the final step. Use your favorite moisturizer, preferably one that is all natural. Do not use any that contain mineral oil. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and leaves a film on your skin that can clog your pores and interfere with the skin's natural processes. Shea butter is a good moisturizer as well as Rosehip Seed Oil.