DIY Natural Skin Care Masks

DIY Natural Skin Care Masks

WITH GAYATRI PRADHAN, CHEMIST & FOUNDER OF POETHIQUE

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There’s no denying it. Covid-19 has upended lives everywhere, some more than others. Personally, I am grateful for my family’s good health and relative comfort, and try to keep that perspective in mind, when I get stressed about juggling work, home-schooling, and IT-troubleshooting Zoom calls for the kids, while yet another issue calls for my immediate attention. For the luckier ones amongst us, the pandemic has mostly disrupted our daily rituals and routines.

Amongst those disrupted routines are self-care routines. To bring back a little self-care, and make it fun, we partnered with Kulfi Beauty, a new make-up brand for diverse skin tones, and did a little care sesh on DIY skin care masks with ingredients from the kitchen.

Participants used ingredients they could (relatively) easily find in their pantries to make three masks, each with a different skin benefit – one for radiance, one for oily/acneic skin, and one for dry/sensitive skin. As we mixed and stirred, we discussed why the ingredients worked as well as they did, as well as answered questions about other ingredients.

Below we summarise what we shared. Please note that these recipes and thoughts are shared based on what we know about the ingredients, and are not intended to be any sort of medical advice.

As we started out, I shared one of my favourite maxims for skincare. So much of skincare is personal. There is a lot of variability in our habits, what we eat and drink, the season, how we are feeling, or where we are in our hormonal cycle.

This variability can manifest in skin issues. Sometimes, skin feels dry, at other times, it can feel slick as an oil field. A huge part of skincare is viewing it holistically. Am I stressed? Am I drinking enough water? Has my diet changed? Has my environment changed? Tap into your whole self and see what needs to be adjusted.

The diy face masks I shared during the session are easily accessible tools that you can use to solve common skincare issues you may face. For example, if you have a special occasion coming up, or your skin is feeling particularly dull, go for the radiance mask. If it’s winter and your skin is feeling extra dry, go for hydration. If you see a breakout about to emerge or know when your skin tends to get hormonally impacted around your cycle, try the mask for managing oily skin.

Before we dive into the masks, a few things to remember:

1. Start with a clean face. Before applying the masks, wash your face & remove any makeup so that the mask goes on clean skin.

2. Pat the masks on, don’t rub! Rubbing causes mechanical exfoliation, which can be harmful.  it’s easy to overdo the rubbing, and you could damage your skin through micro-tears which can become breeding grounds for bacteria.

3. Leave on for 15 minutes and wash off with water, or wipe gently with a warm washcloth.

4. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

5. Wear sunscreen always! But especially after an exfoliating mask, you have to be extra careful about using sunscreen as the new skin needs to be protected from UV rays from the sun.

6. Because these are freshly made masks, use them immediately or pop them in the fridge and use within 1-2 days. These masks don’t contain preservatives, which is what skincare companies use to increase longevity to their products. You don’t want the masks to get moldy.

Finally, I hope you enjoy these masks, and find a moment of self-care. Put the mask on, close your eyes and relax…

Radiance mask 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup papaya chunks (pineapple could work as well)

Preparation:

  1. Mash the papaya chunks into a paste. You can use a mortar and pestle, but I prefer the consistency a blender gives you. Bonus tip: if you make a little extra paste, save it from a fruity, tropical cocktail!
    papaya in a mortar and pestle
  2. Use a spoon to mix the papaya paste with the yogurt to get a nice, well-mixed blend. It’s that simple.
    diy mask for radiant skin
  3. Apply to the face, avoiding lips and eye area.
    diy radiant skin face mask application

You can use this mask once every 2-3 weeks. The skin’s cycle renews every 25-28 days. Using this mask too often risks overstimulating skin and making it dry or irritable.

How it works:

Dead skin layers start to build over time, making your skin dull with uneven texture. This mask provides chemical exfoliation which I personally find preferable to mechanical exfoliation with scrubs. It’s easy to over-scrub with mechanical exfoliants like beads, pits, etc. and cause microscopic tears on the skin, which can become breeding grounds for bacteria.

Yogurt contains an alpha-hydroxy acid called lactic acid, which dissolves the bond between dead cells in your skin. Papaya has an enzyme, papain, which adds to the action of exfoliation. As the acids dissolve the bonds that hold dead skin, when you wash off the mask, the dead skin cells are washed off as well, revealing brighter, newer, softer skin.

After applying the mask, this is what my skin looks like!

radiance diy skincare face mask

DIY hydrating face mask

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp almond powder
  • Warm water

Preparation:

  1. Grind the dry oatmeal into a powder. I use my spice grinder to get a fine grind. Mortar pestles work as well.
    ground oatmeal
  2. Add the honey & almond powder.
    almond powder and honey diy skin care mask
  3. Mix with warm water till you get a thick porridge consistency.
  4. Apply to the face, avoiding lips and eye area.

You can use this diy face mask for glowing skin regularly, as there is nothing in it that will irritate your skin. It works great for all skin types. And remember to pat, not rub this mask to avoid the mechanical exfoliation action we’ve talked about previously.

How it works:

Oats have large sugar molecules which form a protective film on your skin, holding in hydration, and attracting moisture from the atmosphere. They’ve also got molecules called beta glucans, which are amazing at disrupting the inflammatory process. These two actions help calm any redness you may have on your skin, as well as lock in moisture to get it hydrated.

Almond powder is amazing as it has omega fatty acids that nourish and hydrate sensitive dry skin. It also has Vit E which has healing and soothing properties.

Honey is a fabulous antibacterial agent and humectant (meaning it attracts moisture).

Face mask for oily skin/acne

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp matcha or green tea powder
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or besan (chickpea) flour or volcanic green clay or multani mitti
  • Weak/diluted black tea. Bonus tip: if you are using tea bags to make tea, after you are done making the tea, put the tea bags in the fridge for 15-20 minutes. When they’re cool, put it on closed eyelids to depuff them.

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients
    matcha and turmeric diy mask for acne
  2. Add the cooled, diluted black tea until you get a thick porridge consistency.
    diy skin care mask for oily skin
  3. Apply to the face, avoiding lips and eye area.

This homemade face mask for acne and oily skin is recommended at most once a week if you feel your skin is really oily; less often for occasional breakouts depending on when they are triggered. Using this mask too often might stain the skin as turmeric leaves a stain.

How it works:

Oftentimes, we find that breakouts happen because our skin is not balanced. One cause could be using harsh cleansers or over-cleansing the skin, which strips skin dry of natural oils. To compensate, the skin starts overproducing oils, making it oily. Another cause could be stress with hormones kicking up the oil production.

Oily skin leads to breakouts because the excess oil traps dirt and thus, creates clogged pores.

Oily skin needs to be kept hydrated, even if it sounds counterintuitive. Once skin gets hydration, it rebalances naturally to a healthier state.

Oat flour helps in this mask as it brings the hydration through sugar molecules, as discussed in the second mask on hydration. Create a clay mask using volcanic green clay or multani mitti, which you can find on Amazon or in specialty beauty stores. These are good to remove excess sebum.

Matcha and turmeric are both antioxidants and help in free radical scavenging that protects the skin. You can always use powdered green tea instead of matcha, matcha just has a higher concentration of antioxidants. Black tea acts as an astringent and absorbs excess oil and starts to assist the skin in reaching a healthy balance.

Bonus! Hand & body scrub. While we didn’t have the time to cover this live in our session thanks to the great questions and conversations we were having, I did promise to share a simple hand & body scrub to keep skin feeling soft and smooth!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil.

How to make:

  • Add all ingredients together.
  • Mix together until well combined.
  • Use it as a gentle scrub on damp skin. Let it stay on for 2-5 minutes for an extra boost. Rinse off.

You can use this scrub daily though I’d keep an eye on whether those grounds are clogging the shower drains! And again, go easy on how hard you scrub, especially if you’re doing it daily.

How it works:

The sugar and coffee grounds slough off dead skin. I’m ok with mechanical exfoliation on body skin as it’s a bit thicker than your facial skin. Still, don’t scrub too hard!

The caffeine gives your skin a little boost by constructing surface capillaries – it feels a little firmer and smoother.

The oils are wonderful hydrators, nourishing skin and keeping it soft.

The sugar acts as a humectant, attracting moisture to the skin.

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