For some, face masks are just another needless expense, synonymous with luxurious, out-of-reach spa treatments. However, face masks offer amazing benefits to skin and they need not be expensive. You probably have several in your kitchen!
Face masks are a great way to maintain beautiful skin and rid yourself of the dead skin cells that make up the outer layer of your skin. At times, these dead skin cells accumulate, making your appearance dull and aged. Face masks not only improve the appearance of the skin, but are also vital in promoting its health. Good face masks have the ability to clear the pores, cleanse, detoxify and hydrate the skin, in addition to ridding it of toxins. They may also nourish, tone, tighten, calm and soothe the skin.
Different face masks serve different purposes depending on one’s skin type. As mentioned, face masks need not cost you a fortune. You can make a great face mask right from your kitchen using the ingredients in your refrigerator. Yoghurt, eggs, honey, milk and some fruits are common ingredients for homemade face masks. Here are a few simple recipes for homemade face masks for all skin types.
Egg whites and yoghurt mask
You will need two egg whites, separated from the yolk and placed in a bowl, and two tablespoons of plain or natural yoghurt. Avoid using flavoured yoghurt. Mix the ingredients in a bowl then apply on the face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water. This mask is ideal for moisturising, soothing, and tightening the skin.
Wash and cut a chilled cucumber into thin circles then apply them to the entire surface of your face, including your eyes. Lie down and let the cucumbers rest on your skin for 10 to15 minutes then rinse your face with cold water. You can also add plain yoghurt to this mask. Blend half of a sliced cucumber with a tablespoon of plain yoghurt and apply to the face evenly. Leave on for 10 to15 minutes then rinse off with cold water. This mask is great for cooling, hydrating and soothing the skin.
Coffee and cocoa mask
This mask is great for decreasing puffiness in the face and eye area, and also brightening the skin. You’ll need four tablespoons of finely ground espresso or coffee beans, if you own a coffee grinder. Instant coffee is also acceptable. You also need four tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and eight tablespoons of a dairy product like milk, yoghurt or cream.
Whole milk, coconut milk, cream or plain yoghurt may be used in this case. An egg or olive oil may also be used in place of dairy products for dehydrated skin, and two table spoons of honey (for dry skin) or lemon juice (for oily skin). Mix the coffee and cocoa powder in a bowl then add the dairy product and stir until a smooth paste forms. Stir honey into the mix. Warm the honey in a warm water bath or microwave so it mixes better. Apply the paste to a clean face and neck and let it dry. After 10 to 15 minutes, use a wet washcloth to loosen the mask from your skin. Press it on your skin instead of rubbing, especially if you have sensitive skin. Rinse off with warm water.
There are several fruits that are ideal for making face masks.
Avocados are among the fruits best suited for this as they are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E and oil, and are a good choice for dry and sensitive skins. Halve an avocado and chill the half you will use, ensuring that you cover the surface area with plastic wrap to prevent browning. Mash and mix the chilled half with two teaspoons of honey and apply to the face and relax for at least 30 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.
Papayas contain papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that dissolves the dead outer layer of the skin. They are also high in healing enzymes and can be used to treat sunburned or irritated skin. Peel and blend a ripe pawpaw until smooth, add a little honey then apply to the face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with cold water.
Bananas also make good facemasks as they have vitamins that have been known to improve complexion and smooth wrinkles when applied directly to the skin. Mash a banana thoroughly and mix it with one-teaspoon honey or lemon juice and two teaspoons yogurt then apply it on the face evenly. Leave it on the face until the skin absorbs it thoroughly and it dries completely on the face and then rinse off with warm water. The same can be done with a mixture of ripe apples and oatmeal.
Honey hydrates, tones and tightens the skin. Warm honey in a warm water bath or microwave to make it easier to apply if it is in a solidified state. Using a teaspoon or your fingers, smear the honey evenly all over your face. It helps to dot it on first then smear it gently. Leave it on for about 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water. Honey can also be mixed with yoghurt to make a cooling face mask especially for sunburnt skin. Mix one tablespoon of plain yoghurt with one tablespoon of honey, apply to your face and leave on for 15 minutes then remove with a steamy washcloth.
When applying a face mask:
Have your hair away from the face. Pin it up or tie into a ponytail.
Make sure your face is clean.
Don’t apply the mask around the eye area, though you may do this with the cucumber mask.
Leave it on for the recommended period of time.
Try to relax and stay in one place, especially when using a face mask that may drip.
Published on February 2013