You guys are getting to know me. You probably realize by now that I’m a health nut and I go bananas over any and all natural beauty products—as long as they work. (Just had to clarify that, because as we know, some natural prodz don’t live up to their claims. Tom's of Maine deodorant—we're lookin' at you). Something you don’t know, however, is that I’m thrifty. Yes, I’ll blow my budget on Dr. Hauschka facial creams, probiotics, eyeliner and oils, but when I can save money and make something myself, you best believe I do.
When I lived in L.A., I'd spend hours perusing the beauty departments at Barneys and Neimans (a.k.a. beauty heaven—and home to zillions of fab products I couldn't afford). Most of the time I’d window shop, but if I was really lucky I’d get samples. (See? Thrifty.) That’s how I had my dangerous encounter with Sisley Paris Intensive Day Cream—quite possibly the most a-mazing thing I’ve used on my skin. Evah. (And at almost $300 a jar, probs not something I’ll be using again in the near future.) So yes, I know that there are lots of expensive products out there that work wonders, but I also know that most of us have to pick and choose where we spend our money.
Facial masks and scrubs are one category I like to save on. Why? Because when I make them at home, I know what’s going into 'em—AND they’re super easy and cheap. There's just something about a product sans parabens and fancy chemicals that I love! Whether your skin is dry, oily, or needs brightening or soothing, there’s a mask for you. Wanna check out some of my faves?
Ever since high school I’ve been a big fan of raiding the kitchen to concoct masks and play around with ingredients. I've got combination skin so have pretty much tried everything under the sun, but these are the masks—plus a few scrubs—that have worked best for me, as well a few that I’m looking forward to trying.
Most derms recommend using a mask once a week (but frequency of use will also depend on your skin type). And remember to always start with a clean face and use a toner and moisturizer when you’re finished. Another trick I use is to spread a warm washcloth over my face near the end of my mask time to really open up the pores and help it work. So, what're you waiting for? Get bizzy!
SKIN FEELING PARCHED? WHIP UP SOME NOURISHING GOODNESS
Avocado, Banana and Honey Face Mask: This mask is super-moisturizing! Avocados contain tons of minerals plus vitamins B and E, and honey is a humectant (it draws moisture to your skin) and helps reduce inflammation. Mix together ½ mashed avocado, ½ mashed banana, and 1 teaspoon of honey (preferably raw, organic and unfiltered) until blended. Spread over your face and neck and leave for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water.
Honey, Essential Oil and Almond Oil Mask: Almond oil is ultra-nourishing and absorbs easily into the skin. Essential oils—in addition to smelling incredible—have various healing properties. Combine 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered honey with 2 tablespoons almond oil and 2 drops of 100 percent pure essential oil—my faves are rose, lavender, lemon and geranium. Massage on skin and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
Egg Yolk, Honey and Almond Oil Mask: Egg yolk adds moisture to the skin, and so do nourishing almond oil and honey. Combine 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of honey and 3 drops of almond oil. Apply mixture to face and neck and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
BANISH IMPURITIES AND EXCESS OIL WITH THESE BAD BOYS
Egg White, Honey and Lemon Juice Mask: Egg whites tighten the pores and give skin a temporary lift, while lemon juice can help lighten discolourations and acts as a natural disinfectant. Beat 1 egg white until stiff, and then combine with 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to skin and leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. NOTE: Lemon juice can burn your skin, so don't use more than 1 teaspoon, and don't leave this mask on any longer than 15-20 minutes.
Tomato Mask: I love this one! Tomatoes contain tons of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants and also have natural astringent properties which help remove excess oil and refine pores. In a blender, combine 1 ripe tomato, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of oatmeal until a paste is formed. Apply to skin. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water.
Egg White and Peach Mask: Peaches are the perfect summer fruit—not only are they delicious, but they also contain natural alpha-hydroxy acids that exfoliate and cleanse the skin. They're high in vitamins A and C too. Blend 1/2 a ripe, mashed peach with 1 egg white and a bit of water if needed to help the blending process. Apply to skin and leave for 20 minutes; then rinse.
IS YOUR SKIN RED AND IRRITATED? SOOTHE THAT PRETTY FACE
Pumpkin and Yogurt Mask: So apparently Audrina Patridge is a big fan of pumpkin masks—and it shows because her skin looks amaze! (Side note: what was she thinking with that show of hers on MTV? Her family is C.R.A.Z.Y!) I make this one with canned organic pumpkin puree, but fresh would be great too. Pumpkin is loaded with exfoliating acids and antioxidants, and plain yogurt contains lactic acid (which is a natural exfoliant). Combine 4 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin pulp, 2 teaspoons of honey and 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Apply to face and neck and leave for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
WAKE UP DULL SKIN WITH THIS INSTA-BRIGHTENER
Turmeric, Oats, Honey and Yogurt Mask: (Be careful not to stain your clothes with this one! But no, it won't stain your face). Turmeric is amazing—it has natural cleansing properties that brighten the skin and is a potent anti-inflammatory. In addition to using it in this face mask, I sprinkle it on everything from salads to scrambled eggs to hummus. Oatmeal is smoothing and soothing, honey adds moisture (plus it's a natural antibacterial agent) and yogurt exfoliates. Combine 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 3 tablespoons of ground oats (use a blender), 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of yogurt. Mix into a paste and add more honey or oats depending on consistency. Apply to skin and let sit 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
AND NOW LET'S TALK FABULOUS FACIAL SCRUBS
Be careful with these if you have sensitive skin!
Lemon Juice, Honey and Brown Sugar: Reminiscent of Fresh's Brown Sugar Body Polish, this one smells divine. Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil, 1 tablespoon of almond oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of honey. Mix, and massage gently into skin. Rinse.
Brown Sugar and Coconut Oil: This is Good enough to eat! And, if a little bit should happen to make its way into your mouth (by accident of course), there's no need to worry—it's all-natural! Sugar is a natural glycolic acid and helps exfoliate dead, dry skin and coconut oil is a fabulous moisturizer. Combine 4 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of melted (cooled) coconut oil. Mix together into a paste and gently rub over skin. Rinse.
Olive Oil and Coffee Scrub: Apparently the caffeine in coffee grinds helps stimulate circulation in the skin. I used to make this one all the time when I drank a lot of coffee. Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 or 4 tablespoons of coffee grounds (recycle 'em from your morning java). Apply to face and exfoliate gently. Rinse off.
NOTE: All of these scrubs can be made in big batches and used on the body, too! Make sure you store 'em in air-tight containers.
MASKS ON MY DIY TO-TRY LIST
Aspirin Mask: I actually read about this one in Michelle's interview with Erica Lam of the Style Spy—she swears by it! Aspirin contains beta-hydroxy acids, which help exfoliate, and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Finely crush 3 or 4 Aspirins into a grainy consistency, and then add a tiny drop of water and 1 teaspoon of honey until you get a mask-like consistency. Apply to face and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing. Make sure you're using an SPF after this one in particular!
Marie Antoinette Mask: Apparently this mask (or a variation of it) was the secret to Marie Antoinette's porcelain skin. Rawr, she was a fox. Combine 1 egg white, the juice of 1 lemon, 1 drop of witch hazel and 4 tablespoons of non-fat powdered milk. Massage on skin and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.