One of our favorite things to do on a day off is put on a replenishing face mask and lounge around the house. Even better? Making the mask ourselves.
DIY face masks are the best way to know exactly what you're putting on your skin. There are plenty of natural ingredients you can find in your own fridge that can hydrate, brighten, and give all-around love to your skin. And you don't have to go crazy! Just two ingredients can be enough to give you a glow.
Before you decide on a recipe, it's important to know your facts.
the natural barriers
Your skin has natural barriers that protect it from the elements. You want to pick ingredients that help these, not hurt them.
- The Acid Mantle: This layer of your skin has a pH of 4 to 5. This slight acidity helps keep unwanted bacteria off your face, while supporting the good flora.
- The Lipid Layer: A thin layer of fatty oils secreted by the sebaceous glands. This protects your skin and helps it retain moisture.
Too many blogs out there are recommending ingredients that can be harmful to your beautiful face. And we think you should know.
- Lemon/Citrus: Often recommended as a dark spot corrector and skin lightener. But with a pH of 2, the acidity can irritate your skin and mess with its natural acid mantle. What's worse, if you leave it on your skin in the sunlight, you can get chemical burns.
- Sugar: There are SO many sugar scrub recipes out there, but you shouldn't use them on your face. Sugar crystals are jagged and will tear at your skin cells, giving you microabrasions. Sugar also disrupts the natural lipid barrier and can leave your skin flaky, and irritated. Over time, you can end up with rougher skin than when you started.
- Hydrogen Peroxide: Dries the skin out and disrupts that natural acid mantle
- Baking Soda: Often used as an exfoliant, but it has a super basic pH of 9. This will ruin the acid mantle of your skin, and if that's destroyed, you're more prone to bacterial infections.
- Blueberries: They stain your skin!
Depends on your skin type and how you use them. You're better off asking a dermatologist first.
- Egg Whites: The astringent properties of egg whites help shrink pores by tightening the skin. And egg white have proteins, which can improve skin tone and elasticity. But BE CAREFUL. Egg whites can clog the pores and increase likelihood of breakouts on acne-prone skin. They can also cause dry skin and irritation, and in some cases, spread bacteria (remember good ol' salmonella?)
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Contains alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells and make your face more vibrant. But it can also be an irritant because of its high pH.
!! Always do a patch-test first on any ingredient to see how your skin will react !!
These ingredients are safe and healthy for your skin. Just one or two will do the trick, but feel free to get creative with your mixtures!
- Avocados: Full of essential nutrients that soothe and moisturize your face. They contain vitamin B, vitamin E, and amino acids.
- Honey: Full of antioxidants and amazing for your whole body. It can refine your pores, smooth over wrinkles and even reduce aging spots. The moisture can bring a glow to your face. And it's antibacterial, so it helps to naturally fight and treat acne.
- Coconut Oil or Olive Oil: Naturally antibacterial and antifungal, and EXCELLENT moisturizers.
- Turmeric: This delicious spice has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that fight breakouts. It can also help to clear up scarring, sun damage and inflammation. Side note: Turmeric stains clothes! Wear an old t-shirt or mask in the buff.
Yogurt: It's a smoothie for your face! Yogurt has lactic acid which acts as a natural exfoliator, dissolving dead skin and tightening pores.
Papaya: Full of enzymes, this fruit cleanses, rejuvenates, exfoliates and works as an antioxidant. It can also lighten discoloration from age or sunspots.
- Pumpkin or Pineapple: These fruits do the same thing as papaya, but also contain loads of Vitamins A and C, which increase natural collagen production (that stuff that makes your skin look plump and young.)
Oatmeal: Remember when you got chicken pox as a kid and you had to take an oatmeal bath? That's because oatmeal has healing and soothing properties (and, incidentally, relieves itching.) It's one of the best at-home fixes for restoring those natural skin barriers. Great for clearing up eczema.
Coffee: The caffeine stimulates circulation, which will give you a natural glow! It's also a great exfoliator, but you'll want to make sure it's ground very fine so you don't scratch or damage your skin.
Coconut Milk: Ah, the power of coconut! It's loaded with nutrients and fatty acids, fights free radicals, and can even give your skin a firmer appearance.
- Rosewater: This one is great for cleansing purposes. So hydrating and refreshing. It can help fight acne, dermatitis and eczema. And we've even heard it can have healing properties on scabbing or scarring skin. Plus, it smells AMAZING. Because, duh.
Make your mask
Pick any two (or more) of the above, and blend into a paste. Remember to patch-test each ingredient because you never know how your skin will react. Apply the mask and leave on for up to 30 minutes. Rinse and behold!
This week Kat tried a coconut oil and turmeric concoction, and was so pleased with the results she went makeup-free for the next two days.
Have fun, and let us know how it goes!