Beauty & Wellness

The Most Intensive Thing You Can (and Should) Do to Your Skin During Quarantine

In the continual pursuit of silver linings, I don’t think I’m the only one with questions for any estheticians listening: What’s the best way to take advantage of this time at home when it comes to skincare?

Luckily for me, Sofie Pavitt, an esthetician who runs her own skincare studio in Chinatown and is known for the Krispy Kreme-caliber results following her esthemax jelly masks (available to order online at the moment!), has answers. Pavitt graciously walked me through the steps of the more involved at-home skin treatment we can do with a little extra alone time at home. My moisture barrier feels more lush already.

I think the best thing about being stuck at home is the fact that we can spend a little more time on ourselves. This might mean doing some beauty treatments that would be at the back of your list in normal times.

The week before we closed the studio, I had an inkling that we were nearing the need to close. I had some of my regular clients come in for a deep peel so they could spend some time at home flaking—but a professional deep peel is not something people should be buying off the internet to do at home. But I do think that we can take the time to do some more intensive treatments.

Gua sha routine

Gua sha stones are inexpensive to buy and easy to use. After cleansing your face, apply your favorite serum or oil for slip and use your tool to depuff by lifting and sculpting the face. It’s also super relaxing! You can search YouTube videos on technique.

Double mask (one resurfacing, one hydrating)

I learned about mask layerings from facials in Seoul when I used to work there. I often layer more than one masking treatment in my facials at the studio. My favorite trick is to use a resurfacing mask, and then a hydrating one after removing it for superb moisturizing.


Icing as a facial treatment is extremely underrated. When we get inflammation due to a twisted ankle, we ice! Same can be applied to the face. If you have a painful cystic pimple, put a shot glass filled with water into the freezer can be a great tool for soothing—rubbing in circular motions for one to two minutes to bring down the inflammation. It’s also great for depuffing in the mornings! You can also use a homemade popsicle tray to sculpt an ice form if you don’t have a shot glass.

Here is a really great, aggressive scrub treatment you can do at home:

Interestingly enough, I find that most people spend a lot of time on their face but not on the rest of the body. I’m really missing going to the Korean spa a lot, so I formulated an at-home body scrub routine that I’ve been enjoying every couple of weeks.

All you’ll need is a scrub mitt, bar soap, whole milk, and your favorite moisturizer. If you can’t be bothered to do the entire scrub treatment at home, use a body lotion with an AHA ingredient that will exfoliate the skin gently and effectively. My favorite is AmLactin, found at any drug store.

1. First, make sure you didn’t shave your legs in the last 24 hours, or you’re going to have some irritation.

2. You can buy scrub mitts online called Italy Towels. They’re really common in Korean scrub houses. If you don’t have an Italy Towel at home or don’t want to wait, you can use a Scrub Daddy sponge as a really great substitute.

3. The trick is to not use body wash when working on your scrub routine. Body wash tends to stick to the skin and hinder the exfoliation process.

4. Soak in the tub for at least half an hour. It’s vital that you soak before scrubbing to soften the skin. Once you’ve been soaking for long enough, use your Italy Towel or Scrub Daddy and rub it onto a bar of soap. Start at the ankles, and using a circular back-and-forth motion, scrub away every last piece of dead skin on your body.

5. Momentarily exit the bath. Get a bowl and pour a cup of whole milk into it. Using a washcloth, use the milk as a wash over your body after your scrub. Leave on for around 10 minutes. The lactic acid in the milk is a gentle alpha hydroxy acid and will loosen the bonds between any remaining dead skin and fresh healthy skin underneath. Your skin will be as smooth as a dolphin!

6. After you rinse your milk wash off, use your favorite moisturizer to seal everything in.

I added a seventh step: Recreate this Annie Leibovitz portrait of Whoopi Goldberg.

Have you been taking skincare treatments into your own hands? Any you’d recommend? Let me know below!

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