From neighborhood pharmacies to luxury retailers, store shelves are lined with commercial products that manufacturers say can work wonders on your skin. A healthy complexion, however, doesn't have to come in slick packaging or cost you a bundle at a spa. With minor effort and little cost, you can whip up effective facial masks for your skin type in the comfort of your kitchen.
Dry-Skin Damage Control
Environmental factors, hormones and aging can dry out skin, which makes lines and wrinkles more pronounced. Hydrating masks are a good way to add deep moisture and make skin look plumper and more radiant. For a DIY moisture boost, grind about 1/4 cup oatmeal in a blender, and mix it in a bowl with 2 teaspoons orange juice, 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon sour cream. Smooth the mixture on and leave for 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. The sour cream and egg yolk help moisturize the skin, while the citrus enzymes and oatmeal gently exfoliate dead skin cells.
A super-simple recipe requires only avocado -- the flesh of the avocado is rich in vitamins, moisturizing proteins and skin-repairing lecithin, and its oils dissolve dirt that can clog pores. Mash the flesh of one ripe avocado, spread it over your face and leave it for half an hour. Then rinse it off with cool water, pat dry and follow your normal skin-care regimen.
Certain citrus fruits are great at supplying nutrients while removing excess oil and sloughing off dead skills to reveal glowing skin. Smash 2 strawberries in a cup and then whip in 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sour cream. The sour cream moisturizes without adding oil, and strawberries are rich in salicylic acid, which helps remove skin-troubling impurities. Use a soft-bristled pastry or paint brush to apply a thick layer of the mask to your face. After 10 minutes rinse the mask off with warm water. Keep the remainder of the recipe in the fridge for up to 14 days.
For an oily-skin mask that lifts and tightens immediately while fading acne scars and age spots over time, mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 2 tablespoons plain yogurt. Leave the blend on your face for 30 minutes, or until it is dry. The longer you leave it on, the more you'll feel it tightening and lifting your skin. Rinse it off with lukewarm water followed by cool water. This mask is gentle enough to be applied two or three times a week.
Skin can be sensitive for reasons ranging from acne and allergies to sunburn and eczema. Honey comforts and heals, and mixing 3 tablespoons of it with powdered milk and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt makes a cooling mask. Use enough of the powdered milk to give the mask a paste consistency, and leave the paste on your face for 15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. The lactic acid in the milk and yogurt are gentle and calming to troubled skin.
The high water content in watermelon -- along with B vitamins, vitamins A and C, and potassium -- allows the juice of this fruit to help soothe and heal skin that's sensitive from acne, sunburn or other inflammation. Mix 1 teaspoon watermelon juice with 1 teaspoon mashed banana, leave on your face 10 or 15 minutes and rinse with warm water. As with any facial mask, cleanse your face before applying, and pat your skin gently with a clean, lint-free towel after rinsing.
Oatmeal For All Of Us
Oatmeal benefits all skin types because it calms, nourishes and gently exfoliates. If you have dry skin, mix 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 egg yolk, 1/2 mashed banana and 1 teaspoon honey. When cooking the oatmeal, use less water than the package directions call for so that the result is a little thicker. Spread the mask on your face, leave on for about 15 minutes, then gently massage in a circular motion with your fingertips before rinsing with cool water. Banana adds important minerals and, like honey and egg yolk, hydrates and softens. For oily skin, mix 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 cup mashed apple. Leave the mixture on your face for 10 minutes, and then wipe it off with a coarse, wet washcloth. The lemon juice and apple mop up excess oil, and egg whites firm skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Got sensitive skin? Mix 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal with 1 whole egg and 1 teaspoon almond oil. Rinse off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes. Almond oil is calming and anti-inflammatory.
Another great natural mask ingredient for all skin types is tomato flesh. To gently cleanse, refresh, soften and brighten your complexion, mash up a small, extremely ripe tomato or several cherry or grape tomatoes. Smooth the paste on your face and rinse off with warm water after five minutes. If your skin is extremely sensitive, use yellow tomatoes, which are less acidic than red tomatoes are.
- Reader's Digest: Homemade Facial Masks: 9 Recipes That Work
- Woman's Day: 8 Do-It-Yourself Home Face Masks
- "Bargain Beauty Secrets: Tips and Tricks for Looking Great and Feeling Fabulous"; Diane Irons: 2002, pages 43,67 and 133
- "Natural Beauty: Pamper Yourself with Salon Secrets at Home"; Laura DuPriest: 2002, pages 82 and 85
- "Natural Beauty from the Garden"; Janice Cox: 1999, pages 97, 100 and 103
- Natural-Homeremedies-For-Life.com: Avocado Mask
- TheBeautyBean.com: Watermelon Facial Mask Recipes: 5 DIY Facials For Every Skin Type