How to do an at-home facial: skincare experts reveal their routines

Products for the perfect at-home facial
Editorial Team

Glowing, radiant skin from the comfort of your own bathroom

The secret to achieving that glossy, post-facial glow at home? Professional-grade products, plus some world-renowned professional tips. And a great night’s sleep, if you can. 

Consider this your crack team of elite facialists – soothing and unblocking the congested complexions of a legion of A-list clients. But what do Nichola Joss, Abigail James and Sarah Chapman actually do with their own skin? 

Run a bath, light a candle, call it a wellness moment – and settle in as they share their ultimate tips for the perfect at-home facial. 

Nichola Joss: the cheekbone sculptor

As one of the UK’s most in-demand skincare experts, Nichola’s legendary sculpting ‘inner facials’ focus on massaging the inside of the mouth to contour and tone.

‘I approach my routine as a mindfulness ritual, taking the time to focus on myself and to still my thoughts,’ Nichola says. ‘It’s through massage that I see the biggest benefits to my complexion. Massage immediately tones the muscles while bringing blood to the surface to feed the skin cells with oxygen and nutrition. At the same time you’re helping to eliminate puffiness and toxins. Here’s a technique I do every day…’

Image of a woman dripping Votary product on her face
Image of a Votary product stacked on a globe artichoke

‘Apply your favourite facial oil to the palms of your hands and rub together before pressing into your skin. Stroke your hands from under the ears across the centre of the neck towards the opposite shoulder, repeating three times each side to open up the lymphatic system. 

‘Secondly, working from the bridge of the nose, sweep outwards and upwards towards the hairline. Then, holding your chin between the knuckles of your index and middle fingers, sweep along the jawline six times. Afterwards, use the base of the palms to press under the cheekbones, breathing in as you do. Hold for a count of three, remove the hands and exhale. Repeat three times. 

‘For eyes, place your index fingers on the temples, gently pulling the skin towards the hairline, then use your middle fingers to gently sweep under the eye area towards the bridge of the nose, inhaling as you do so. Next, use pressure to work along the brow bone while exhaling through the mouth.’  

And Nichola’s tips when it comes to skincare? ‘Never treat your skin in isolation,’ she says. ‘I take skincare supplements and a probiotic. A healthy gut means healthy organs – and our largest organ is the skin.’

Abigail James: the skin whisperer

As one of the most respected voices in the health and beauty industry, Abigail’s bespoke facial massages are renowned for creating radiant, healthy skin. ‘My skincare routine is part of my daily life and something I could never imagine skipping,’ she says. ‘Cleansing is definitely one of the most important parts of my regime. Every morning I cleanse with either a wash, cream or oil depending on how my skin is feeling. I always apply two serums – antioxidant, stem-cell or hydration-focused –followed by an eye cream, day cream and mineral SPF

‘For evening, I’ll usually cleanse twice – first with either a balm, oil or cream, then with a gentle wash. I then alternate between a retinol or stem-cell-pigment serum followed by an oil. To keep my skin glowing, I exfoliate three times a week and I’ll use a mask at least once a week.’ 

What does Abigail suggest for glowing skin at home? ‘Be hands on,’ she says. ‘I incorporate massage into my cleansing routine using brisk movements on my face and neck in the morning to wake up my skin, while in the evenings I find acupressure points and slow, lifting, deep massage relaxes me for bed as well as helping to boost circulation.’  

Sarah Chapman: the massage maestro

As one of London’s most sought-after skincare experts, Sarah Chapman’s signature facials are renowned for leaving her clients with radiant, youthful-looking skin. What are her rules for the perfect at-home facial?

‘Clean skin is the foundation of a healthy complexion and, after from SPF, it’s the most important part of any skincare routine,’ Sarah says. ‘I love balms as they melt in and lift away dirt, pollution and impurities. The skin’s natural rejuvenation process takes place at night, so applying treatments like my Overnight Facial will maximise cell renewal. 

‘Facial massage is unbeatable for giving an instant glow. Here’s an easy technique that you can do with any product. Firstly, create a loose fist with your palms facing your chin and use your knuckles to massage the product all over your face, working from the centre outwards as well as down the sides of the neck. Then, using your index finger and thumb, pinch along your jawline from the chin six times, then repeat this action from the corner of your mouth to your ears.

‘Next, do an exercise for your eye area. With your middle fingers, start at the inner corner of the eyes, and slide upwards and outwards with a lifting movement along the orbital bone to the outer corner of the eyes, then slide under the eyes and back to your starting position. Repeat six times.’ 

Which products will bring the most effective benefits? ‘In general, your daytime products should be focused on SPF and defence,’ says Sarah. ‘Night-time is when you should focus on repair, renewal and nourishment. This is also when you should apply vitamin A, retinols or resurfacing products. Layering is key – don’t be afraid to use several products and keep your serums targeted to your specific needs, whether anti-ageing, hydration or exfoliation.’ 

Related Articles

Winter skincare routine
How to improve your skincare routine for winter
Read more
2023’s best beauty, by Gilly Ferguson
Editor’s picks: 2023’s best beauty
Read more
10 new party essentials our beauty editor is using now
10 new party essentials our beauty editor loves
Read more
More stories