Before self-care became the official buzzword of the last decade, Paris-based acupuncturist Elaine Huntzinger had long been devoted to healing the body with a focus on skin health. The skincare guru combines her deep knowledge of Chinese Medicine, Master Tung acupuncture, and crystals (she’s also added certified gemologist to her extensive résumé) with modern techniques — all with the goal of completely rejuvenating your skin. So it’s no wonder her contact info has been routinely passed between models and tired beauty editors who are in town for Paris Fashion Week to reboot their complexions between shows. (Eva Chen, former Lucky Editor-in-Chief and Instagram’s Director of Fashion Partnerships, and Laura Kim, the Co-Creative Director of Oscar de la Renta, are long-time fans.)
As Fashion Month wraps up this week, we couldn’t wait to get the chance to sit down with Huntzinger to learn how to bring some of her masterful facial techniques home year-round. “A mini at-home facial allows you to take responsibility for your skin regularly and helps educate you on what works for your skin. A mask followed by a massage and LED, for example, allows you a nice time out for self-care. One or two days a week can make all the difference in the overall health of your skin and your attitude towards it.”
Below, she dives deeper into how to create the perfect at-home facial experience.
Meet the Experts
Elaine Huntzinger is a Paris-based acupuncturist and facial rejuvenation specialist.
How should an at-home facial be different from your regular skincare routine?
“An at-home facial is a moment where you treat the skin on a deeper level and take time to address certain issues with your skin. It is also a nice time out to focus on yourself. This is the place where you can use masks that have active ingredients (perhaps ones that you can’t or don’t use every day), and you can take the time to use facial tools such as an LED mask to treat certain skin conditions. Plus, focusing on facial massage is something you don’t always have time for in your everyday skincare routine.”
What steps should we consider for those of us who have minimal time yet want maximum efficiency?
“You can break up the facial between a couple of days: On night one, use a gentle exfoliator like Sunday Riley Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment. You’ll wake up super glowy, and exfoliating your skin will make your hydration routine more effective.
The following night, I like to use Monastery Rose Cleansing Oil, followed by Jordan Samuel Skincare Matinee Gel Cleanser. I love the cleansing oil because it smells wonderful and leaves my skin nourished without feeling oily. In addition, the gel cleanser is gentle, has a lovely texture, and has the proper pH for a water-based cleanser.
I would then use Agent Nateur Holi Water and pat it gently on my face to ensure good hydration. This essence has a great texture, right in between water and gel, plus it contains pearl, which is used frequently in traditional Chinese Medicine to rejuvenate the skin. The scent is refreshing without being cloying.
I would follow all this with a rich face cream and then a luxe oil like Montersary Gold Oil Serum to ensure my skin is nourished for the night. It protects the skin without overpowering it. I never used to love oils because I always ended up wiping them off because it was just too heavy. The smell reminds me of the finest oolong tea.
After you finish this routine — it should only take five minutes — I recommend a quick gua sha massage to drain the lymphatic system, so you wake up without any puffiness.
In the morning, I would use the Activist Mānuka Honey Mask, leave it on for five minutes and then do my honey massage for the next five minutes. You kind of use your hands to pull the honey off your face, and this not only stimulates circulation but exfoliates at the same time. You end up with a magic glow. Follow this with an essence — another dose of Agent Nateur Holi Water, face cream, and a light face oil if you need extra hydration.”
What facial tools do you recommend?
“I use the Cecily Braden Gua Sha tool daily and an LED mask two to three times per week. I use the Celluma LED Therapy Mask in my studio and love the CurrentBody Skin LED Light Therapy Mask for travel. I’m also using the Lyma Laser at the moment.
Talk to us more about your techniques with the gua sha.
“You can either use a gua sha tool or just your hands. I massage upwards and sometimes lightly slap upwards very quickly, using quite a bit of energy to get the circulation going. A particular area to focus on is around the ears, where the lymph nodes are — paying attention to the space just in front of the ear lobe helps release tension and blockages here. The general rule for facial massage is up and out; the movements start from the jaw and work up toward the forehead, and always from the midline of the face out toward the ears or hairline.”
What tweaks would you make deending on skin type?
“If you have drier skin, pat on the essence at least five times. If your skin is oily, use less or no oil.”
What are some signs of stressed-out skin, and how can your at-home facial speak to them?
“Signs of stressed-out skin include redness, breakouts, puffiness, or a sallow color. To calm redness, use Cryo Sticks or cold spoons from the freezer — or even an ice cube wrapped in a paper towel.
For a breakout, the simplest remedies are often the most effective: Use COSRX Acne Pimple Patches with hydrocolloids to help calm it down. In addition, having access to an LED with blue light will help kill the bacteria and clear the breakout faster.
For puffiness, do a gua sha massage or a light lymphatic drainage massage to move the stuck fluid. A cooling and hydrating mask will also help your face look fresher. One of my favorite masks right now is Bioeffect Imprinting Hydrogel Mask.
Drink lots of water, and try to meditate! Your skin is just a reflection of your internal state of being.”
What’s the best skincare advice that you’ve ever received or given?
“You don’t have to do actives such as vitamin C, retinol, or acid exfoliation every day. If it doesn’t work for you, there is no rule saying you have to start doing these — or that age dictates what you should use.”
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