Recreating a spa treatment at home requires a little more than Epson salts.
For facials that make a real difference, gel manicures that can be done at the kitchen table, and a foot bath that soothes, we sought out the most highly reviewed and innovative personal care instruments available in Canada.
HOT AND COLD FACIALS AT HOME
Before launching her eponymous skin care line, Charlotte Tilbury was a celebrity makeup artist and a product developer for beauty brands. She worked backstage at designer fashion shows, which led her to hand-mix special creams for the models that could help mitigate the effects of travel, staying up too late, hangovers and smoking.
In 2013, she launched Magic Cream (the silky and rich formula works both as a glow-inducing moisturizer and base for a full face of makeup). Today, her skin care and makeup line is sold in the poshest department stores in the world. Her newest creation is the Charlotte Tilbury Cyrotherapy Mask (cold can be great for puffy eyes and skin tightening). This mask goes in the freezer for 30 minutes before being strapped to the face and gently massaged into place.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone looking for a multi-purpose, cutting-edge beauty treatment at home.
Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, innovation.
Where it could use improvements: The complementary eye serum is an additional purchase.
Size/weight/dimensions: One size fits most faces.
(To try this beauty trend on the cheap, this gel eye mask from Amazon works as a cold or warm compress, is reusable and users seem to really find it useful.)
Many professional facials involve a gentle steam before extraction (which is when a facialist manually cleans out blackheads and blemishes from the skin) as the warmth preps pores for a deep cleanse.
This Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steamer can be used at home to prep skin for a clay face mask or over-the-counter peel. If a mask is too intense, use the steamer to promote circulation (skin will be dewy and flushed after nine minutes) and apply a soothing serum right after.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone with a combination of oily skin and clogged pores.
Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, ease of use.
Where it could use improvements: Always be sure to use distilled water when steaming. Premium price.
Size/weight/dimensions: 26.16 x 19.56 x 14.22 cm.
(For a less expensive option, this mini facial steamer comes with a four-piece extraction kit and hundreds of five-star reviews. Be sure to use distilled water and read instructions for assembly, distance and length of use details.)
GOING DEEP ON PORES
Not for the squeamish, this vibrating skin scrubber and blackhead remover has two adjustable silicone cases for face washing. Here’s how it works: wash face in cleansing mode and rinse but do not dry. There is a lift mode (facial massage), as well as Ion+ (to remove gunk from pores, whiteheads and blackheads) and Ion- (to help skin absorb skin care products). A pre-steam treatment would be a great way to prep the face for this.
Who it's ideal for: People who want to do at-home extraction of blackheads, sebaceous filaments and comedones.
Why we're endorsing it: User reviewers, multi-use modes, price.
Where it could use improvements: Not waterproof but face needs to stay wet for it to work. Extraction mode can cause redness.
Size/weight/dimensions: 20.8 x 7.1 x 3.7 cm.
THE OTHER KIND OF FACE MASK
Once celebrities started posting selfies in their LED masks (light-emitting diode) that make them look a little like Jason from Friday the 13th, everyone wanted one. While the technology is effective at treating everything from acne (blue) to fine lines (red), light therapy takes time. Moving it from the spa or dermatologist office for treatment makes consistent treatments much easier, but the trade-off is the strength of the wavelength and the cost (some masks runs in the thousands).
Who it's ideal for: The DRx SpectraLite Faceware Pro is for someone who commits to their routine and wants to invest both time (three minutes day for 10 weeks) and money. This one uses powerful red and blue lights to treat acne, fine lines and discolouration.
Why we're endorsing it: Brand trust, detailed user reviews.
Where it could use improvements: Some users do not like the strap used to hold the mask in place. Light therapy has vastly different results for different skin types; some people swear by it while others see no difference.
Size/weight/dimensions: One size fits most faces.
STICK YOUR FOOT IN IT
A soothing foot massage can ease soreness and pain. It has other health benefits like improved circulation, stress release and can even help with better sleep. Having a foot spa for home, one that can give a light massage while keeping water warm and bubbly, absolutely beats a warm bucket of water.
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who could use a massage after a long day.
Why we're endorsing it: Heats up water to 47.7 C and has six motorized rollers for massage plus a bubbles mode; electronic interface.
Where it could use improvements: The massage is gentle.
Size/weight/dimensions: Fits up to a men’s size 12 foot.
NAILING GEL POLISH AT HOME
Chipping or smudging a nail straight after a manicure used to be really frustrating, but gel polish changed that process (it dries in under a minute and lasts up to four weeks).
The only downside is that a gel manicure requires a salon visit because of the LED lamp. This Le Mini Macron kit has everything needed for a DIY gel manicure, including cherry red polish, a single finger LED lamp, nail file and 10 remover pads. (When those run out, gel nail polish remover pads can be purchased on Amazon.)
Who it's ideal for: Anyone who wants to master the at-home manicure.
Why we're endorsing it: It’s a complete kit idea for beginners or to fix chips at home.
Where it could use improvements: More gel polish colours and pads need to be purchased separately.
Size/weight/dimensions: Single finger LED lamp.