Thursday, June 12, 2014

DIY Face Mask


I love a good indulgence, especially of the spa variety. Alas, I was born with champagne taste and I live on a beer budget. Like, a PBR budget. But that's okay. A frugal and resourceful gal doesn't let that get her down, she finds a way to make it happen. I can still indulge in facial treatments - just not at a spa. I treat myself to at-home facials at least once a week. These are easy to whip up and are the perfect way to have a little "me time". Even better, you probably have all the ingredients on hand for your normal breakfasts!  This gentle, but effective yogurt/oatmeal/honey mask featured today is my favorite. After I tried it for the first time, I couldn't believe how soft and glow-y it left my skin!


DIY Mask Rule #1: NEVER PUT BAKING SODA ON YOUR SKIN!
Well intentioned, but bad, skin advice abound on Pinterest and the internet in general. Please, for the love of your skin, do NOT put baking soda on your face. Just because someone puts a picture of Lauren Conrad next to it or says it's "natural", does not make it okay for a mask. Baking soda is incredibly drying to skin, not to mention something you use as an abrasive cleaner in toilet bowls or to get burned on junk off of your stove top. If I don't wear gloves when cleaning said junk, I get scary reptilian-feeling hands. Your face is not a toilet bowl or ceramic stove top, it does not deserve a baking soda cleaning or a scary reptilian, dried out texture. You only have one skin, so please treat it kindly.
Here's little science t back it up and some scientific reading, if you're interested. Your skin's pH is around 4.5-5. Baking soda is around 9. If you put something too alkaline on your skin, it can disrupt the acid mantle of skin and can cause overgrowth of bacteria, leading to acne (see this article). The skin's pH can normally bounce back, but only for so long. Repeated use of alkaline products can really mess up your skin barrier (article here). Pinky promise me you won't ever put baking soda on your face. Opt for more gentle options. Okay. PSA/rant over. A more gentle alternative follows below.


At Home Yogurt Mask


The Power Players:

Greek Yogurt  is naturally packed with zinc and lactic acid, a gentle chemical exfoliant. Over time and with consistent use, you can even see some skin lightening effects on hyperpigmentation. Try to get the full fat Greek yogurt; the extra lipids will make your skin super soft and supple. If you can't find it, the non fat will work too. I like Greek yogurt because of it's thick texture (and I already have a tub in my fridge because it's my usual breakfast).

Oatmeal is a great skin soother, which I'm sure some of you remember from having chickenpox as a kid. I took at least two oatmeal baths a day when I got chickenpox (right at Christmas when I was 11...still a little scarred - physically and emotionally) to ease my itchy, awful misery. But it's soothing goes way beyond a bath for soothing. Due to it's anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal can help temporarily calm dry, itchy skin and can help reduce redness. It also functions as a gentle, physical exfoliant.

Honey is a skin super hero. It helps skin retain moisture, has natural antibacterial properties that can help with acne and clogged pores. Opt for raw, organic honey over the little bear shaped bottle at the grocery store. And because it's good to support your local beekeepers. If you can get your hands on some manuka honey, give it a try. It's magical.
At first, I was really afraid to put straight up honey on my face because I thought it would be sticky and I would wake up with a face full of pimples. Not so. It leaves skin feeling smooth and supple and did not make my sensitive skin react at all! I like to dab a bit of pure, local honey on a pimple and leave it for a while to help with inflammation and dryness. Some people suggest leaving the spot on overnight, but I've woken up to a sticky pillowcase when I've done this. 




To Make the Mask:

Dump about 1/4 cup of oatmeal in an airtight container (steel cut oats are best for this, but use whatever you have on hand. I used old fashioned oats because I've had the container in my cabinet for months). I like to crush them up a little bit to create smaller pieces using a muddler, but you can totally skip this step if you want. Add about 1/2 cup of full fat, plain Greek yogurt. Drizzle about 2 tbsp of pure, organic honey and stir.
After cleansing and exfoliating, apply a generous amount all over your face and relax for about 20 minutes. Gently rinse off with lukewarm water and follow with moisturizer.
Enjoy your soft, luminous skin!


This stores well in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container. I usually get about three or four masks from this recipe, so feel free to adjust as you need. I use a 1:2 ratio of yogurt to oatmeal, and just eyeball the honey. I've even convinced my hubs to use this too. After his initial protests of "ugh, I don't want to sit with breakfast on my face", he humored me and now he totally loves it.

Do you have any DIY masks that you love? I'd love to hear your recipes in the comments!

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