Sunday Spa Routine

A Beauty Editor’s Sunday Routine to Tackle Adult Acne and Unruly Hair

Prepare for light-up masks and a Chinese face massage.

By: Katie Becker
Photography: Tristan Kallas

You would think a beauty editor would spend all her personal time playing with beauty products. Considering I don’t know what personal time is anymore (do any of us?) my only play time is during my rushed morning routine and on the occasional blessed Sunday without plans. On those days, my ritual is very particular and mostly targeted toward controlling both my adult acne and my dry curls. I deep-condition my hair, I hook myself up to my high-tech face mask, and I take a long-ass bath to chill out. After years of research, these are my Sunday saviors.


Taking a shower is always the first step to my whole shebang. Between the sudsing and shaving, I also exfoliate my face with Lancer The Method: Polish. I rarely scrub my sensitive skin, but the heavy concentration of crystals in this formula do the trick without applying any pressure. I only do this once a week.

There is one hydrating hair mask that stylists and editors all swear by: Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil. Buttery goodness for my dry curly hair that makes it feel soft and healthy.

Out of the shower, with totally bare skin, I use my Deesse Pro LED Mask for 40 minutes, while I scroll through Instagram at the same time. (Note the totally-not-creepy eye holes.) The red and blue lights really calm down and flatten my breakouts if I use it regularly. I actually try to do at least 20 minutes every day. One look at the price tag and it’s clear this mask investment (full disclosure: I was given one to test out), but you can get similar benefits with cheaper versions such as the Revive Light Therapy Panel and even the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Treatment Mask has a good track record.

After my hair has air-dried a bit, it’s the perfect time to put in my styling products. I’m currently using a cocktail of Shu Uemura Kengo Feather Cream and Fiber Lift Volumizing Gel as recommended by my stylist Eva Scrivo.

I do a traditional Chinese massage technique called gua sha on my face that I learned from my acupuncturist Sandra Lanshin Chiu. (If you’ve seen it done on the body, you’ve noticed the big dark marks it leaves behind—not the case on the face.) I use a jade tool like this one from Amazon and massage with Marie Veronique Replenishing Oil Cleanser, which I am completely awestruck with. The oils and extracts in it help break up congestion in my pores, and it’s one of the best-smelling products I’ve ever tested. I take at least ten minutes to massage, really focusing on my jaw and cheeks. I sometimes use the Georgia Louise Lift + Sculpt Butterfly Stone, too. Then the oil gets wiped off (not rinsed) with a clean cloth. 

A moisturizing mask is key after a week of my usual anti-acne treatments. Mahalo Skin Care, a smartly formulated all-natural line from Hawaii, makes the aptly named The Petal mask. I let it soak in extra long while I draw a bath.

I treasure bath time. It really changes my mind, body, and spirit, and there is no better concoction to steep in than one from Pursoma. The Digital Detox Bath will soften your stiff muscles and sooth your soul. Please don’t tell the founder, Shannon, but I sometimes watch Bill Maher on my laptop that I prop up on a chair, which is kind of the anti-digital detox. But I do diligently follow the instructions to crawl into bed and take a nap after the soak. Work hard, rest hard.

In case I gave the impression that I’m an all-natural type, I’m like 25% not. There are some tried-and-true conventional products I still swear by, like my self-tanner. One meticulous swipe down with Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads for Body takes 5 minutes and is a surefire body confidence booster.

Now in my usual multi-layered nighttime skin care ritual: a spritz of Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator followed by Marie Veronique x Kristina Holey Intensive Repair Serum, Gentle Retinol Night Serum, and Barrier Restore Serum. It’s a lengthy routine, but as someone switching from conventional acne drugs to a natural routine, this stuff is pretty damn good.