Face Time


Making your own facial masks lets you

control what you put on your skin.

Are you due for a facial?


What if you could have an at-home spa day with ingredients sourced straight from your refrigerator and pantry? It’s true: Certain fruits and spices—as well as honey, oatmeal and even coffee grounds—can double as ingredients to improve your skin.


In fact, DIYing your own face mask comes with all types of benefits. The ingredients are accessible, can help reduce food waste, are affordable and are more pure because you’re skipping preservatives and fragrances, explains Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD, a dermatologist with TopLine MD, a network of doctors in south and central Florida.


Some ingredients are especially popular in masks. For instance, aloe juice “can penetrate seven layers of skin, while water can just seep through two,” explains Diana Ralys, board-

certified holistic practitioner and owner of Radiance Wellness Spa in Santa Monica, California (drskinhealth.com), making aloe a wonderful skin softener. And papaya, a great source of vitamin C, “can help tighten and brighten your skin,” says Holly Harding, integrative nutrition health coach and founder of the skincare company O’o Hawaii (oohawaii.com). She recommends using the fruit with raw honey and olive oil for an easy, hydrating mask.


Always use products either right after creating them or within a couple of days at most.


“Homemade masks will not last more than a few days in your fridge since there is nothing to stabilize and preserve the mask,” says Marci Howard-May, director of spa and wellness at Red Mountain Resort in southwestern Utah (redmountainresort.com).


The following mask recipes are approved by skin experts. Ready, set, glow!


Wonder-Working Ingredients

“Oatmeal can reduce redness and inflammation,” Blyumin-Karasik says. Yogurt is a probiotic and lactic acid that can help diminish pimples and blemishes and restore your skin’s pH balance. Meanwhile, avocado can hydrate and smooth your skin, she explains.

For a moisturizing mask to help restore dry, damaged skin, Blyumin-Karasik suggests the following:


> 1/2 ripe, mashed avocado (no skin or seed)


> 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal


> 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt


> 1 teaspoon pure wildflower honey


Mix the avocado and oatmeal until you get a pulp-free paste. Add the yogurt and honey, and mix well. Apply to your skin, and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a towel.


Give Turmeric a Try

“We know that consuming turmeric is great for you and it turns out that applying it directly to the skin has some great beauty benefits also,” says Howard-May.


Turmeric has strong anti-inflammatory properties that calm skin, which can help with conditions like acne, psoriasis and eczema, Howard-May says. The curcumin in turmeric also protects the skin from fine lines and can brighten complexion.


Howard-May recommends trying this turmeric face mask:


> 1/4 teaspoon turmeric


> 1 tablespoon flour (regular or rice   flour, or ground oats for dry skin)


> 1 tablespoon milk


> A few drops of raw honey


Mix ingredients together in a small bowl to make a smooth paste. Apply in a thin layer to a clean face, neck and upper chest, avoiding the eye area. (Turmeric will stain skin and clothing, so be sure to use a thin layer, especially where the skin is thinner on the neck and upper chest.) Allow the mask to sit for 10 to 15 minutes until dry, then rinse immediately with warm water in the shower or with a washcloth. You may wish to do a second cleanse using an oil cleanser and/or a gentle exfoliant to help remove the spice’s yellow color.


Masking by Type

When you’re determining what type of mask to make at home, “it’s important to keep your skin type in mind,” says Jennifer Douglas, who launched the skincare startup Rose & Abbot two years ago (roseandabbot.com). Coffee grounds can be great if you want to tone and firm your skin, she says, while bananas can help keep oil production balanced if you have oily skin and cinnamon helps unclog pores. You want a real power combination? Douglas suggests mixing whipped egg whites, honey and papaya to reduce redness and help deal with acne.


Here is Douglas’s simple recommendation for sensitive skin:


> 2/3 tablespoon plain yogurt


> 2 tablespoons cooked oatmeal


Mix the ingredients together in a glass bowl until a paste forms, and apply evenly to cleansed skin. Leave for 15 minutes, rinse and finish off with your moisturizer.


“Applying oatmeal to your skin will help it retain moisture and keep irritations at bay,” Douglas says. “Yogurt without any additives will help revitalize skin texture and give the skin a glowing appearance.”


Using facial masks on a regular basis can help keep your skin looking and feeling good—and making them yourself lets you determine what goes on your face.


Hold the Acids—and the Scrubs

You may see ingredients such as vinegar and lemon juice in homemade face mask recipes on the Internet. Avoid them! “They can lead to significant irritation, redness, itching and discoloration of the skin,” Marianna Blyumin-Karasik cautions.


While you’re at it, steer clear of salt- and sugar-based scrubs, warns Diana Ralys. While such substances are great exfoliants for the body, she says, they can create microtears in facial skin, and can also cause saggy or uneven skin tone.