Many years ago, as a teenager with spotty skin and no money, I tried making my first homemade face masks.
I mixed oatmeal with water and smeared it on my face. As it dried, it hardened on my skin. Smiling hurt. I washed off the mess and peered hopefully at my reflection. Nope. Still spotty.
I decided that homemade didn’t work. There was a reason that products in bottles cost so much. They were scientific. They’d been tested. Nothing I could create in a kitchen would compare.
It wasn’t until I got older and wiser that I began to reconsider.
A health-conscious ex-boyfriend showed me his own homemade avocado moisturizer (avocado, olive oil, and a squirt of lemon). At first, I was repelled. It was GREEN, for goodness’ sake! But his arms were super-soft. Was I missing something?
He believed that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin you couldn’t eat, because skin absorbs everything you put on it. Fresh, food grade moisturizers and masks deliver vitamins and minerals that commercial preparations can’t.
Yes, the recipes often call for ingredients you don’t have – bentonite clay? castile soap? – but once you get hooked by the homemade beauty bug, you’ll find that those ingredients go a long way.
The Face Mask in Your Fridge
Years ago, when I was a new mom and feeling exhausted, I splurged on a facial.
The facial was a special offer from my baby yoga teacher. She set up a massage table in her front room and brought out products from her kitchen.
I don’t remember everything she applied, but what I did remember—and have never forgotten since—was the 10-minute yogurt mask.
She brought out a tiny pot of plain organic yogurt and rubbed it gently on my face. “If it’s too runny,” she said, “use thicker yogurt on the side of the pot, where it’s dried out a bit.”
The yogurt mask was a revelation. From that day on, every time I’ve had a bath, I’ve put on a yogurt mask while I soak. My daughter, who’s now in elementary school, thinks it’s hilarious.
Sometimes, I mix it up. I put honey on my face (the local kind that comes in glass jars, not the kind that comes in a squeezy plastic bottle). Or I mix honey and yogurt together.
Or—when I’m feeling really daring—I mix honey and yogurt and turmeric.
The exact proportions are 1 tablespoons of yogurt + 1 tablespoon honey + ½ teaspoon of turmeric. (Be careful with the turmeric. Too much can sting sensitive skin.)
The mask is vivid yellow. Turmeric stains, so avoid white towels. If you do the mask in the bath, it’s easier to clean up, though your bathtub may have a yellow residue.
Superfood Face Masks
Several years ago, I went on a smoothie binge.
I made every sort of superfood smoothie. My favorite was mint chocolate chip, with huge bunches of mint leaves along with frozen spinach and cacao nibs.
I ended up with a cupboard of superfoods, like maca, lucuma, and goji berries.
In the process, I discovered that many natural beauty recipes incorporate superfoods in them.
Some are even edible, such as this delicious chocolate face mask. Mix yogurt (1 Tbsp) and honey (1 tsp) along with raw cacao (2 Tbsp) and mashed up banana.
(Raw cacao powder is not the same as Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Try it. It’ll make your chocolate smoothies and hot chocolates a healthy treat.)
Or, for a non-edible mask, you could mix ½ teaspoon each of maca powder, raw cacao powder, and bentonite clay, then blend with a teaspoon of liquefied coconut oil.
These homemade masks are messy. They may not feel as satisfying as the $1 masks you can buy in the beauty aisle of your favorite supermarket. But they put you in control of what goes on your skin.