In Style: The Facial

Last Saturday I lined up the ingredients and gave myself a variation on “The Brightening Facial” from “A Spa of Your Own.” Variations were necessitated by my budget. (See the comparison at the end of the post.) The immediate results felt good, though I didn’t see much of a difference. I was going to post before and after photos but I couldn’t stand looking at my face long enough to crop the images. Here’s the procedure with my modifications.


  • Wash with a mild cleanser. I did not spend the $28 for Bliss Clog-Dissolving Milk (Blissworld must have paid big bucks for its several mentions.) Instead I used Cetaphil. A doctor recommended this  product years ago, and it’s the only thing that seems to keep my perioral rosacea  (which a dermatologist told me the other doctor may have caused) at bay.
  • Mist face with 1 Tbsp. lemon mixed with 1 cup water.
  • Deep clean. I did not spend the $189 ($185 on the website) for the Bliss Pore-fector deep cleanser. After reading the reviews, most of which said the product did not perform, I opted for a three-step process from Livestrong that felt fantastic.  Mix 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin with 1 Tbsp. milk. Microwave for 10 seconds. Spread on face and allow to dry. Peel off. Boil a cup of water and add dried herbs. Cool slightly. Place in a bowl. Put a towel over your head and sit for five to ten minutes. The instructions say to apply moisturizer afterward. I didn’t. Combine 1 cup sugar with 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Add enough oil to form a paste. Massage into to clean skin and let sit for five minutes. Rinse.


I did splurge for the $46 glycolic-acid serum from Renée Rouleau, which I will use again and again. It stung a bit. Then I added the mask of 1/ 2 cup mashed papaya, 1 tsp. yogurt, and 1 tsp. honey. Let it sit for 10 minutes. It felt fabulous going on and my skin felt soft after I rinsed it off.


I applied the spot fader all over, just because it looked so amazing in the bowl: It was a couple of mashed strawberries and an equal amount of baking soda, which stayed on my face until it dried. I looked like a teenager broken out with zits as the little pieces of strawberry stuck to my face. I also skipped the $85 color-correcting serum.

A few observations.

  • Have lots of towels nearby because you will be washing your hands over and over. You may also want to consult the manicure section after all that hand washing.
  • Mix everything ahead of time except the gelatin and milk. It hardens into cement pretty quick. I also had to use somewhat more milk to get it to spreadable consistency. And it was a total pain to remove. Next time I’ll use my old oatmeal and egg white mask.
  • Protect your hair really well. I was still picking bits of the gelatin mix out of my hair two hours after the facial ended even though I thought I pushed it well out of the way with a headband.
  • Eat something before you start to avoid the temptation to lick papaya, etc. off your face. I started the process just before lunch. Big mistake.
  • The sugar and oil combo, the papaya combo, and the strawberry combo make far more than you’ll ever use in one application. Amounts can be reduced to one tenth of the original amounts. I also had enough unmashed food product left over to make a very nice fruit salad. Next time I think I’ll run the stuff through a strainer or put it in the blender before I apply it. Of course that will involve another kitchen utensil.
  • The sugar and oil felt so terrific I didn’t want to proceed with the next steps.  I’ll make this part of my routine. Will also continue with the steam clean, which I used to do and somehow abandoned.
  • Be prepared to do some fairly serious cleaning of surfaces used and to run the dishwasher or wash lots of dishes afterward.
  • The tiny little bottle of serum came in a box big enough to hold eighteen of them. But it also had a sample of “AHA/BHA cleansing gel” which claims to promote clearer skin. I haven’t tried it yet. In fact until I started writing this entry I didn’t know the product existed. It says it’s for oily skin, so I’m not likely to use it. The company is also emailing videos with bad audio, bad video and large photos of its products, telling me how to take care of my skin.
  • The instructions say to set aside twenty-five minutes. That does not include the prep time, nor does it include the cleanup time. I didn’t time myself exactly, but I started at 1:30 and finished somewhere around 4 p.m.

Cost comparison.

In Style: $28 for the cleanser; $189 for the Pore-fector; $46 for the serum; $85 for the pigment regulator. Plus fruit, as below. Total: $349.80

Me: (Not including stuff I already had around the house.) gelatin $0.40; serum $46; papaya, $1.50; strawberries, $0.30. Total: $48.20.

Next project.

“The Frizz Factor.” If In Style can cure my hair in this humidity, I just might subscribe to the magazine.


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