How to get glowing, beauty-salon skin at home

wax in a jar with a spatula and leaves

Blanche Clark

Posted April 21, 2020

Can't get to the salon? Get your glow on at home with these DIY skincare ideas.

As a teenager I was a devotee of craft and DIY potions. I crocheted my own shoes, decorated wooden boxes with shells and made perfumes out of rose petals.

Now that all beauty salons and spas have closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I retrieved an old book from my shelves that would help keep me beautiful and strong during these challenging times.

Simply Living by Gwen Skinner, published in 1981, has recipes for such novelties as broad bean wine, dandelion sherry and nettle beer. It also has a cure for freckles, a poultice for carbuncles and tips for keeping your silverware clean.

Importantly, for those of us who want to keep up appearances for virtual meetings, there are more than a dozen recipes for facials. But before I start plastering my face with something akin to breakfast, I consult an expert for advice on DIY facials.

Professional beauty advice

RACV City Club One Spa Manager Marnie Bennett says facials are a wonderful way to pamper and take care of yourself, especially in uncertain times.

“When we are stressed, we don’t tend to look after ourselves or drink as much water, and along with those extra wines that you might be having, this leads to your skin being dehydrated,” she says.

Marnie says there are many cleansers you can safely use at home, especially if you don’t have access to your usual skincare products.

“A good all-rounder is olive oil with a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon. I also like to add a drop of my favourite essential oil to make it smell nice.”

She warns against putting vinegar or acidic fruit, such as raspberries, directly on the face, as these ingredients can irritate the skin.


person pouring essential oil onto their hand

Beauty salons and day spas might be closed, but that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself to a luxurious facial at home.

The experiment

Once assured that I was not going to break out in carbuncles (although I do have a cure for that), I opted to make an oatmeal mask from Gwen Skinner’s book.  

It consists of oatmeal and milk, with a dash of rosewater so you won’t smell like porridge.

Gwen suggests lying down for 20 to 30 minutes once the facial mask is applied, but I keep working, thankfully remembering to keep my camera off during a virtual meeting so my colleagues don’t think they’ve tuned into The Mummy Returns II

Ten minutes in and my face feels tight, but pleasantly tingly. Twenty minutes later the mask starts to crack as I stretch my mouth and wriggle my nose.

After rinsing the mask off with warm water, my skin feels refreshed, albeit a bit dry, so I slap on my daily moisturiser. 

The result 

Based on my experience, I recommend grinding the oats in a food processor, lying down and relaxing while the mask is on, and using a face washer to remove the paste. 

Marnie recommends patting serum on your face after a cleansing and finishing with a moisturiser. 

“Remember to also apply [moisturiser] to your neck working in an upward motion, rather than pulling the skin downwards,” she says.


Recipes to try 

The best part about these DIY facials is that you can eat the leftover ingredients. 

Marnie’s Deep Cleanse 

Stir a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt together. Rub the mixture into your face to help the enzymes from the yoghurt penetrate and brighten the skin. Rinse off and dry your face. Apply your favourite serum and moisturiser. 

Marnie’s Mature Skin Mask 

Mash together one tablespoon of plain Greek yoghurt, half an avocado and one tablespoon of honey. Use as is, or if the skin is dull, add a tablespoon of lemon juice, and/or a tablespoon of blueberries for antioxidants. Blend it to a smooth paste and then smooth the paste over your face. Rinse off and dry your face. Apply your favourite serum and moisturiser. 

Gwen’s oatmeal mask 

Take two tablespoons of oatmeal, put into half a cup of milk and cook until soft. Add a little rose water and mix together. Cool and then apply the mask to your face. Lie down for 20 to 30 minutes and leave the product to do its job while the whole body is totally relaxed. Rinse off and dry your face. 

(More: How to make your own cleaning products.)