DIY Beauty: Facial Mask Recipes

You don’t have to be a domestic goddess like Martha Stewart to concoct your own facial mask. Any girl can raid her refrigerator and larder to whip up her own delicious beauty treatments right in her own kitchen. If it’s good enough to eat, it’s good enough to put on your face!

Yoghurt & Honey Radiance Mask

The lactic acid in yoghurt is a wonderful brightener. Honey is a natural hydrating agent. For people with blemish-prone skin, manuka honey can be used to suppress the bacteria that causes breakouts.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon natural, unsweetened yoghurt

1 tablespoon honey

Procedure:

Mix the yoghurt and honey well.

Apply over cleansed skin (face and neck) by massaging in circular, upward movements.

Leave on for 15 to 20 min.

Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Oatmeal & Apple Brightening Mask

Colloidal oatmeal is a key ingredient in many state of the art skincare products because of its purifying saponins and moisturizing polysaccharides. Apple contains malic acid, which is an effective brightening agent. Lime or lemon juice can also be added for an extra boost of Vitamin C.

Ingredients:

slice ripe green or red apple, peeled

1 teaspoon oatmeal, finely ground

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon lime or lemon juice (optional)

Procedure:

Mash the apple with a fork.

Mix well with the oatmeal and honey. Citrus juice is also a great option, especially for those with oily skin types.

Massagein circular movements over cleansed skin for 1 to 2 min.

Leave on for 15 to 20 min.

Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Pick-Me-Up Caffeine Mask

Caffeine has the ability to constrict small blood vessels. Egg white is an astringent which causes a temporary tightening effect on the skin, similar to the action of peptides in expensive facial serums which have a firming effect.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon finely ground coffee beans

1 egg

1 tablespoon honey or olive oil (optional)

Procedure:

If you have dry skin, use the whole egg. You can add the honey or olive oil if you want an extra moisturizing effect.

If you have oily skin, use only the egg white. The yolk can be used as a deep-conditioning treatment for the hair. For blemish-prone skin, manuka honey can be added for its anti-bacterial properties. Skip the olive oil.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

Apply over cleansed skin (face and neck) using upward sweeping movements.

Leave on for 15 to 20 min.

Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Soothing Cucumber& Banana Mask

Cucumber is a powerful soothing and calming agent. Banana peel has highly effective anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients:

cucumber, skin removed

1 banana peel, exterior scrubbed clean

1 tablespoon honey or yoghurt

Procedure:

Puree the cucumber and banana peel in a food processor or mash with a fork.

Mix in the honey or yoghurt.

Apply over cleansed skin (face and neck).

Lie back and place a slice of cucumber over each closed eye.

Leave on for 15 to 20 min.

Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for Facial Care

From Zhuge Liang to Chiang Kai Shek, the political history of China is replete with heroes. The herbal history of China also has its heroes, which modern day Science is re-discovering and integrating into the formulae of skin care products. Regular applications of facial masks containing these ingredients can help brighten the skin and delay the appearance of age.

Astralagus Root is the traditional herb used for treating inflammatory skin conditions and maintaining dermatological health. Today, scientists have discovered that this herb causes the enzyme Telomerase to spring into action, bolstering the skin’s DNA to improve elasticity and boost collagen production.

Hailing from the north of China, Goji Berry is believed to improve the body’s energy levels. This fruit has excellent anti-oxidant properties, which means regular ingestion of this fruit or application of its extract can help in preventing lines and wrinkles. Goji Berry is also rich in amino acids and fatty acids which aid skin function, collagen production and moisture retention.

Safflower oil is a highly effective, nutrient-rich emollient. Linoleic acid (anti-inflammatory) and Vitamin E (anti-oxidant) are contained in the oil of the Safflower herb, which translate to moisturizing and wrinkle prevention. Many natural and organic skin care brands use Safflower oil instead of man-made petrochemicals such as mineral oil which have no nutritional value for the human skin.

The Chinese value fair, unblemished skin. Licorice root is a popular skin brightening ingredient that can improve skin radiance. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, eczema and rosacea sufferers might also benefit from regular applications of moisturizing products containing this ingredient.

Hawthorne, also known as San Zha in Mandarin, is also an effective skin brightener. This herb also helps to address hyper-pigmentation issues. Hawthorne has also been prescribed by TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) physicians to treat eczema, making it a good alternative to cortisone which has harmful side effects with prolonged application.

Ligustrum is extracted from a shrub that grows in China. Ligustrum can boost the immune system and is a good de-toxic agent for the skin. Research is still being conducted on the effects and benefits of Ligustrum. The herb is well-tolerated in general with no significant track record of adverse reactions.

Pearl powder or zhen zhu fen is a favourite amongst Chinese women. Rich in amino acids and minerals, pearl powder is mixed in water or tea and drunk to brighten the skin, and prevent pigmentation and acne. According to legend, Cleopatra famously imbibed a cocktail made from a crushed pearl dissolved in vinegar.