It’s the weekend. You finally have some time to sit down and relax with your face covered in some sort of magic goo, wearing your comfy clothes and fuzzy slippers, ready to binge watch your favorite show…but you open the jar of leftover facial mask you were saving for this moment only to find it has dried into a hard, cracked ball of crud, or worse, it looks all slimy and smells funny. Or maybe you just never had the extra cash to buy that fancy jar of facial mask but you feel your face is crying for some attention. Now what? Homemade facials!
You’ve Got What It Takes
Chances are you already have all the items you need in your own kitchen to save the day. I’ve learned a few things about the popular (and not so popular) ingredients you may find when searching for homemade facials recipes. I did a lot of researching, watching videos, and some of my own testing. This is what I’ve discovered….
First of all, what I found is that people will put anything on their face. Some of the stuff I saw was interesting, some questionable, others simply unsafe. For example, lemon juice, egg whites, oatmeal, yogurt, coffee, honey, avocado, cocoa powder, cinnamon, turmeric, mayonnaise, vinegar, toothpaste, and (would you believe) charcoal and glue mixed together. Glue? Really?
And second, I learned that there are several benefits to using homemade facials – you know what you are getting, the ingredients are readily available, some will definitely improve your skin, and the price is right!
Below are most of the popular ingredients you may want to use to mix up your own batch. So let’s get started…
Lemon juice is very popular. Some people like it for its acidic and antibacterial properties to remove dead skin cells, excess oils, and especially for skin lightening.
Some people swear by it to help with acne. One dermatologist said it is safe, however, you should not to use it if your skin is irritated, that means sunburn, break outs, or other inflammations. Why? Lemon juice is highly acidic and it can irritate your skin, so if you choose to try it, please be careful.
And you should probably not use it if you have dry skin because it would probably be too harsh. Another word of caution—if left on the skin too long, it can cause chemical burns. And lemons contain a chemical called psoralen which makes your skin hypersensitive to sunlight; it can take a long time (up to 24 hours) to wear off, so you need to stay out of the sun or risk blistering your skin. I think the key to using lemon juice is to use it sparingly, diluted in another liquid, and you should always try it on a patch of skin before applying it all over your face.
Another popular ingredient worth considering (but also being cautious about) is egg whites. Yes, they are known to offer a temporary skin tightening effect and to tighten or close large pores; however, the resources I checked are conflicting. One article says egg whites are great for acne because as they dry they lift dirt out of your pores, yet another says not to use them if you have acne because it can clog your pores. If you ingest raw egg whites by accident when applying them to your face, you risk the chance of getting salmonella. With all of that being said, and after watching multiple You Tube videos showing you how to use egg white masks, I decided to give it a try, specifically the method using a tissue over top the egg whites.
This method is supposed to remove blackheads and whiteheads, and is not as harsh as the charcoal and glue combo (I still can’t get over that one). My verdict? I was pleasantly surprised! I definitely removed a fair amount of whiteheads, and once I washed off the residue, my face was much smoother. I followed a couple of other ladies’ suggestions that I believe helped my experience go so well.
I got everything ready first – washed my face and patted it dry, put my hair up and put on a headband to get it off of my face, whipped up the egg whites from one egg till they were frothy, set aside a clean blush/make up brush, cut up sections of toilet paper, and heated up some water in a bowl (or you can use a hot towel) for use in opening up your pores. Once you’ve steamed your face, use your make up brush to apply the egg whites all over your face making sure you stay away from your hairline and eyebrows.
Apply sections of the toilet paper on to your face so they stick, then reapply egg whites on top of the paper to completely soak them through and set them in place. I used single ply toilet paper, but ended up putting more on top so I had a double the thickness. I recommend doing this for a better grip when it is time to take the mask off, then relax for about an hour (or more) until everything is completely dry. Starting at your chin and jaw line, gradually and slowly work the dried paper up and away from your face until all of it is removed. Then wash your face and apply moisturizer. Ah, doesn’t that feel better? On to the next ingredient…
Oatmeal is known to be helpful when dealing with dry, itchy, inflamed skin, but colloidal oatmeal is the key. What is it? Colloidal simply means suspended particles, so when oatmeal is ground into a fine powder, it can be suspended in liquid and can bind to your skin…that’s when the true magic happens. Research articles on PubMed state that the starches from oatmeal hold water and provide protection; the phenols found in oatmeal offer anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities; and the saponins provide the cleansing activity.
All of these properties together give you clean, moisturized, and protected skin. That’s why colloidal oatmeal is included in so many products. You can make your own by simply grinding small amounts of oatmeal in a coffee grinder or food processor until you have a fine powder. Easy!
Honey has been used for centuries by many cultures in a variety of ways. Not only does it taste sweet, it can offer some pretty sweet benefits for your skin. Scientific evidence has shown that honey offers antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Study after study proves it is so beneficial in healing that Manuka honey is now used as a topical treatment for wound care by health care professionals.
As a nurse, I have used bandages infused with honey when doing dressing changes on some of my patients, so I know how effective it can be.
One study showed that a specific type called Kanuka honey (not the same as Manuka) has been used to treat Rosacea with good results, and the studies continue. What can you expect from using it as part of your homemade facials? The antibacterial activity is said to fight acne, the antioxidants can help with aging skin, and the anti-inflammatory properties soothe irritated skin. It also holds in moisture, some even say it makes your skin glow. I’d be satisfied with a clean, happy face and honey seems to be the ticket!
Yogurt is another popular ingredient in facials, but not the sweet stuff. You’ll need to use plain, preferably Greek yogurt, and luckily I always have some on hand. Research articles for yogurt state that it has been proven to increase the moisture content of skin, though it has not been proven to increase elasticity, it does maintain it. Yogurt contains lactic acid and probiotics. Lactic acid helps to remove dead skin cells by exfoliation. Probiotics are being studied for their benefits in fighting acne, it is thought they interfere with the body’s inflammatory process when encountering bad bacteria, which means less break outs.
Depending on whom you ask, some people will say avocado can heal acne, remove dead skin cells, reduce fine wrinkles, and moisturize your face. Avocados are packed with antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus and they contain vitamins A, B, K, and E. One of the reasons they taste so rich is that they are fully of healthy fats (which explains the moisturizing effects). Avocado oil has been shown to be anti-inflammatory, to help in the production of elastin fibers needed for wound healing, and is scientifically shown to be a good source for healing dry, chapped, or damaged skin. Whether you mash it up or choose to pour avocado oil from the bottle, it is a great natural source for skin care.
Studies have been done on cocoa consumption to measure the effectiveness on skin diseases such as acne, wound healing, and skin cancer. Cocoa contains antioxidants which can prevent premature aging of the skin. As for applying cocoa to the skin, I was unable to find research proving the benefits. One dermatologist believes a facial mask including cocoa will have the same benefits as consuming it. I’m a huge fan of chocolate, I might consider this one as a facial, but it would probably not be my first choice. Hey, that’s just my opinion!
Can’t live without it!! Research states there are many health benefits to drinking of a cup of joe.
Coffee consumption has been attributed to helping those with heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and aid age-related disease, even to the point of reducing the mortality rate. Truthfully, they haven’t figured out why coffee is so special, just that it is. A couple of articles I read on facial masks that include coffee grounds say it plumps up the skin, increases circulation, reduces puffiness, and the grounds aid in exfoliation. I might give this one a try, a cup of coffee for me while rubbing some on my face – win, win!!
This spice has quite a stellar reputation. It is heralded as a major multi-tasking ninja. PubMed research states that when ingested, cinnamon has antioxidant, anti-cholesterol, anti-diabetes, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, and it is known to act as a repellent. New studies continue to show promising results for use in treating diseases involving heart conditions, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s (and it’s great in smoothies!). Those who have tried using it on their face will tell you cinnamon’s antibacterial qualities will help with acne. Some cinnamon can be a little tingly or even irritating to the skin, please consider the patch test if you want to try it.
Turmeric has scientifically been shown to improve skin health by both consuming and by applying to the skin.
Many claims include clearing acne due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities, some even say it helps with wrinkles and reduces scarring. I take a supplement that combines both turmeric and pepper to help with joint pain, and definitely notice the difference on those days I skip a dose.
Turmeric is known to stain anything it touches with its bright orange color, so don’t spill it!
I read a humorous article on one brave (stupid?) sole who decided to take a bath in mayo to see if it would have any earth-shattering benefits to smooth skin. She actually used it all over her body, including her face. Her final recommendation? NOPE, not a good idea. I do not recommend a full body bath in the stuff, but some people swear by mayo’s ability to smooth your skin due to the combination of ingredients – protein from the eggs, moisturizer from the oil, and vinegar (see below). Some people say it stings, shouldn’t be used if you have break outs, should be washed off with plain water, some say soap….I say, save it for your sandwich! But it’s still up to you.
All you have to do is an internet search for Apple Cider Vinegar and you will be inundated with stories of its miracle-producing qualities. As for using it on your face, it has been said to help with treating pimples, acne, and wrinkles due to its ability to kill bacteria and remove dead skin cells, though I was not able to find scientific proof. One thing is for certain, if you use vinegar of any kind on your face, do NOT use it straight out of the bottle, it is way too acidic and can damage your skin, be sure to dilute it (at least 1:4) and do not leave it on your skin for more than a few minutes, rinse it off so you don’t risk a chemical burn.
Putting It All Together
So there you have it. A nice, long list of potential homemade facial ingredients you can throw together in a pinch. Hey, wait…what about recipes?! Bottom line, you need about 2+ tablespoons of whatever combination you want to put together. Do you want to remove blackheads and whiteheads? Try the egg white mask. I’m tempted to try colloidal oatmeal, honey, and yogurt. Is your skin oily? Maybe add a little lemon juice. Do you want to exfoliate for smoother skin? Add some coffee grounds. There are many options for helping with acne—make a paste using 1+ tablespoons of turmeric, then add some yogurt, a teaspoon of honey, maybe a little vinegar or lemon juice, thicken with some oatmeal. You can do this! Let me know how it goes by leaving a comment below.