Listen To An Esthetician-How To Give Yourself A Facial

Yeah fools! That's me in my professional getup featured on New York City's number one source for news, NY1! Just look at all the love between me and my former boss.

Yeah fools! That’s me in my professional getup featured on New York City’s number one source for news, NY1! Just look at all the love between me and my former boss.

Sometimes I forget that I have this vast wealth of knowledge when it comes to skincare, and by “vast wealth” I mean only just slightly more than you do. Why? Because one time, five years ago, I went to a six month technical school and learned all about pimples and rashes and serums and masks. But then I went into laser hair removal and forgot all about that stuff.

HOWEVER, there are a few things that I’ve picked up over the years that I believe actually do make a difference when it comes to your complexion so I figured I’d be a champ and fill you in on all sorts of stuff that can make you even more beautiful than you already are. Is that even possible? I know, I asked myself the same thing. Turns out, it is. This is how:

#1 Cleanse


You really don’t have to spend a ton of money on a cleanser. From working in a dermatologist’s office I’ve had access to everything from $1 beauty bars to $40 cleansing lotions and I’ve never noticed a significant difference from using one over the other. Just make sure what you get is skin specific. I’ve had the good fortune to develop adult acne over the last couple of years so I use Neutrogena’s Oil Free Acne Stress Control Power Cream Wash which sounds like something you’d use to hose down a Buick but I’ve been told I have a rather large face (the actual quote was “So much of your head is face.”) so it seems appropriate.

If you really want a deep clean though, use a Clarisonic. They’re a little pricey but they claim their brush cleanses your skin six times better than using your hands alone and they have this picture here of something next to nothing, so it must be true.



#2 Exfoliate


This is what gets rid of all of those dead cells that clog up your pores, giving you spots or a dull appearance. Properly exfoliating can even make you look younger because it exposes the new, fresh layers of skin that were underneath the old ones, so you’ll want to do this regularly. I love the Olay Cream Scrub with microbeads however if you want a chemical exfoliator you can make your own.

Back when I was working at the dermatologist’s office I concocted a homemade strawberry-milk mask for my clients. All I did was blend around half a dozen strawberries with a quarter cup of milk. When I applied the mixture to their skin, the enzymes in the strawberries dissolved the dead cells and the milk helped to soothe the area after. The best part however, was if my clients didn’t show up for their appointments, I could eat their masks for lunch.

#3 Steam


Photo from

This doesn’t cost anything. Boil some water, dump it in the sink and put your face over it for two minutes. You can throw a towel over your head to create a tent so that the steam goes directly to your pores to open them up.

#4 Extract


If you’re hardcore you can get yourself this medieval pick ax called a comedone extractor but let me warn you, they hurt like a bitch so I would only recommend one if you have an excess of blackheads and don’t want to make monthly appointments with a facialist. However if you’re all gung-ho like I am, watch this video and go to town. Make sure to clean your extractor with alcohol before each use!

#5 Apply A Mask


If you have dry skin, use a hydrating mask, duh. If you have oily or acneic skin you need to get a mask with clay or sulfur to draw out impurities. Cosmedix makes one that also has salicylic acid in it to kill any bacteria left behind. However if you simply want to tighten your pores, I’ve done homemade egg white masks that work just as well as the super expahnsive nonsense I used to slather all over the rich ladies that came in for three hundred dollar “Intensive Radiance” facials. It’s all the same shit.

#6  Moisturizer With An SPF!


If there are two things that I’ve learned about that will effectively halt the aging process, it’s moisturizer and sunscreen. Hands down. We all love to be tan but the sun is murder on our skin. Depending on your tone, get something with a 15-30 SPF. Anything above a 30 is just extra chemicals. I use Neutrogena’s Oil Free Facial Moisturizer with a 15 sunblock. Then I go to the pool all day and hope that it wears off just enough to get me some color.

#7 Bonus


There is this one thing that I do spend a ton of money on. If you want to splurge on a fancy skincare product, go with an antioxidant serum from Skinceuticals. Antioxidants keep you looking younger for much longer by neutralizing free radicals which are the main culprits in causing damage to your skin. Skinceuticals carries the only line of antioxidants that are stabilized though and they need to be in order to work!

I use their C+AHA formula which is also an exfoliator, so don’t use it directly after this facial. It may cost a lot but you only need to apply it every three days so it lasts a long time. I love the way it tingles when it goes on. The only problem with this product however is you won’t fully know that it worked until you hit around eighty years old. If you still look like you’re forty-five, then the couple grand you spent on product over the years will all have been worth it.

If not, well then…look me up.

P.S. If you guys really want an authority on skincare, check out Kathleen Neves’ site My Life As An Esthetician. She’s the real deal.


  • Robin

    You are wearing a lab coat in the above photo, therefore everything you say must be scientific fact. COLLAGEN.

    • Kelly

      I like where your heads at.

  • DQ

    This was informative and helpful, thanks Kells!!

    I especially loved the “so much of your head is face”. But it makes me wonder what the alternative is. So much of your head is ears??

    • Kelly

      Haha! I guess like in the case of Theresa Guidice, so little of her head is face because her hair is devouring her forehead. I have a big forehead and was told that my expressions are overwhelming, thus making my face a little intense. I can see it.

  • Jackie

    Oh god that picture is HI-larious!!!! And here I though i successfully blocked out all the memories of that place. I wish that was photoshopped to show the lasers shooting out of your eyes into his face lol. Love the article! Reminds me…I need my pores extracted pronto 😉

  • Martha

    What about toner? I have heard over and over that applying any sort of toner before moisturizer is also necessary…. thoughts?

    • Kelly

      Good question. Toner is really only used to remove any dirt and oil that your cleanser has left behind. Some people say that they rebalance the PH of your skin but your skin does that naturally over a matter of hours. If you have dry to normal skin or the Clarisonic, you don’t need it. If you have oily skin toners can be useful but many of them have alcohol which can be drying and then cause your oil glands to kick into over drive. My friend Lisa just turned me onto these cleansing pads They have tea tree oil which acts as an antiseptic so they’re good if you’re prone to breakouts.

  • jessica

    Fantastic article! Going to try the Acne Stress Control for sure. I am not amused by my adult acne. At all.

    • Kelly

      Lucky us, right? I made it through all those bullshit teenage years only to be greeted with this nonsense in my thirties.

  • Velvet Barentine

    Oh my dear….this post is so awesome for me..I’m at that age where I am starting to research anti aging creams and about ten years or so out from when I worked part time at a salon and spa with an Esthetician from Europe who used to hold me down and wax my eyebrows into tiny thin lines, so I totally remember the crazy sales pitches. I’m with you- anything with COLLAGEN! Anything, right? Egg white masks and that crazy pinterest honey cinnamon scrub with lemon mask are probably just as useful as most stuff. I’m not deep sea diving for my next good skin day, so that seaweed/kelp craze a while back was lost on me.
    Sunscreen, wash your face daily, and antioxidants sounds good.
    On a side note, much of your head really is face… I scrolled back up to look. Is that awful? My head is ALL face so I will invest in some good serum too :)

    • Kelly

      Haha! Deep sea diving. I know! It’s nuts. However now you don’t have to go quite so far. A good skincare regime is as easy as going outside and letting a bird shit on your face. No, like, I’m serious.

      • Velvet Barentine

        Holy bird crap batman! Bird poop facial for $180? What is wrong with these people? It is so easy to get bird poop as long as you stand in the shade of a nice tree (which you should be doing anyway to avoid the sun!) Next thing you know they will be selling the free water we get from the tap in special bottles for lots of money ;-). Man we are such rubes, eh?

  • Damien

    Actually, I do have a question. I live in the Czech Republic, which has an extremely mild climate and very dry winters. This is in direct contrast to the humidity and damp winters I used to endure in Pennsylvania. So, for the first time I am dealing with dry skin. Though it isn’t unsightly or noticeable at all, it itches like a mo fo – usually after a shower. Do you recommend any specific creams or lotions that can help this out?

    • Kelly

      I’m so glad you asked! You can see me looking completely natural, like I have absolutely zero idea there’s a camera on me, in this video right here on dry, itchy, winter skin. I think in order to watch the video you may have to be a Time Warner subscriber. Do they have Time Warner in the Czech Republic? Anyway, if they don’t, the article attached will help. Enjoy!

      • Kelly

        Hang on Damien, I just stepped outside of my ego for ten seconds to see what the article actually recommends and of course the douchebag I used to work for suggests a Dior facial which will run you about four hundred dollars. A humidifier will come in handy though and also avoiding super hot showers. Outside of that, get Cetaphil, the cleanser and the moisturizer. It’s for dry, sensitive skin.

        • Damien

          Hey thanks! I appreciate the help…and so do my calves!

          PS: The body part, not baby cows. I don’t live with them anymore.

  • Jana

    So you are recommending the Clarisonic? I wasn’t quite sure and I’m always back and forth on this thing!

    • Kelly

      I am. I like it because when I use it and then use a toning pad after, nothing comes off on the pad so I know it’s cleaning deeper than when I was just using my hands. Plus, the brush acts as an exfoliator. In fact, I haven’t spoken to anyone who doesn’t like this thing.

  • Erika

    Wow, this is really helpful! Thank you! And I just love the way you write and the natural humor you inject into everything… it makes me want to read about stuff like this (which normally I would pass on because I’m a geeky late bloomer who’s only recently gotten in touch with her more feminine side). Anyway, I’ve been really blessed with great skin (black don’t crack!) but I do know that it’s better to start taking care of it now as a preventative measure rather than waiting until the damage shows up. I definitely need to get much better at all of this, but especially moisturizing. Man, I love moisturizing; I should do it more often… it’s like a beautiful facial massage… it’s like coming home. :)

    • Kelly

      Aw thanks Erika! I hear you. I hate reading beauty blogs to be honest. I find them to be pretty boring but all this stuff can be a necessary evil, you know? So I’m glad to be of some service! Keep moisturizing!

  • Castro

    I wish more of my head was face so I could utilize all your pointers for longer.

    Then again…does larger extend time frame? Probably not…?

    Awesome post. :)

    • Kelly

      Plenty of your head is face! Just the right amount in fact. And you have to know who made that comment. Charming as usual.

  • Michelle

    Very comforting reading this post considering I let you have a “go at it” at my giant pimple those years ago. Now I know you really had no clue what you were doing;)

  • http://charter Oma

    Well Kelly I hope you will not loose your Job with this Blog. But I like it !!!!! even if it is not for me anymore! I am 80 and sure as hell don’t look like 45!!! (well a little more then 80) Sooo keep on telling as it is and save some of your friends a few Dollars.

  • Gabriele Davieds

    Your old boss looks like he’s hitting on you! You look like you’re putting up with him. Or was he admiring the work he did on you…finding both you and his work “Breath taking!’ Thanks for all the tips. Will be sure to try them. Perhaps I can retard some of the aging process with your helpful hints. And I must say…the price is right as well.

    • Kelly

      That’s not the one who does all the work. The one who does all the work I actually like. The guy in the picture, not so much.

  • Kathleen Neves

    I swear by the Clarisonic. It’s an investment worth making!!

    I recently ran out of my expensive moisturizer. I was in a pickle because I couldn’t make it to the city where I normally buy it so I did some research and went with a Neutrogena moisturizer, only I got one without SPF. So far, it’s working pretty good. My skin feels hydrated and I haven’t had any breakouts. Not to mention this moisturizer was only a third of the price of the expensive one I was using.

    I do splurge on SPF and I apply it separately from my moisturizer. An SPF 15 in moisturizer isn’t a true SPF 15 because it’s diluted. I love SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion SPF 50. Great coverage, slight tint so it doesn’t look chalky on the skin and isn’t irritating like some sunscreens are. Then to reapply throughout the day without disrupting my foundation, I use Colorescience’s Sunforgettable Mineral Powder.

    I’m a fellow licensed esthetician as well and I also don’t work in the treatment room giving facials all day. I handle all of the marketing and social media for the medical spa I work for. I know what you mean about having to sell, sell, sell. They enforced that concept all the way back in beauty school. Honestly when it comes to skincare products, it’s all about what works for your own skin. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it’s always going to be better. The ingredients might be a higher quality with the expensive stuff versus the drugstore brand, but if it irritates your skin or doesn’t treat your skin condition, then it’s a waste.

    • Kelly

      See! I told you she knows what she’s talking about!

  • cantaloupe

    What about what you put into your body, isn’t that also important? I know soooo many who swear by lemon water.

    Also not wearing makeup except for special occasions did wonders for me.

    • Kelly

      Absolutely! I really don’t drink enough water and that makes SUCH a difference in how your skin looks. Very good point.

  • Alisha

    This is very helpful. Also love your commitment to oil-free products. I’m on crappy roaccuatane right now and need more recommendations for oil free stuff!

    • Kelly

      Yikes! Accutane is intense. But effective! Good luck!

      • Alisha

        Yeeeaaah…. I definitely wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t feel it was entirely necessary! Ah well, 6 weeks down; 6 months to go!

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