As much as I’d like to call myself a skin-care addict, I literally can’t remember the last time I got a facial. Sure, facials are an excellent way of sloughing off dead skin, destroying blackheads and combating acne, but there’s something about paying a ton of money for a treatment you need at least every month that I’m just not about. So, believe me when I say my little beauty-product obsessed heart sang when I discovered a new, game-changing solution: at-home facials.
Nope, these aren’t DIY masks filled with the contents of your refrigerator or hardcore chemical peels that leave your skin red and sensitive for three weeks after. Instead, at-home facials are powerful, yet surprisingly gentle formulas loaded with skin-fixing ingredients, like brightening and smoothing fruit acids, acne-fighting beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and dark-spot and discoloration-fading alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Yes, it all sounds kind of intense, but we promise these acids are nothing like, well, whatever comes to mind when you hear the word “acid.”
Instead, fruit acids (like papaya and lemon) tend to be the most-gentle and well-tolerated of the acids, followed closely by low-percentage BHAs (commonly known as salicylic acid, a.k.a. the ingredient you’ve been slathering on your zits since puberty), followed by low-percentage AHAs, like lactic acid (the gentlest) and glycolic acid (the most potent). Of course, this is just a super-basic guide, because when it comes down to it, choosing the right acid totally depends not only on your skin type, but what you’re trying to target, the concentration of the acid you’re using and how you’re using it. (Sound totally overwhelming? Check out our skin-care guide to figuring out the exact products to use for your skin type).
But don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you become an at-home chemist. Instead, we made it as easy as possible for you by rounding up the 11 best at-home facials—including Drunk Elephant’s cult-favorite Babyfacial ($80 at Drunk Elephant) and Beauty Pie’s Five Minute Facial ($70 at Beauty Pie)—broken down into categories that fit each and every one of your skin-care needs. Just layer one on your face at night for a few minutes (make sure to read the instructions—some work in as little as five minutes, while others can chill on your skin for 20 minutes), and let these straight-up miracle workers leave you with a softer, brighter and clearer face by bedtime.
A version of this article was originally published in July 2017.