Despite writing about DIY skincare and other beauty topics for a living, I haven’t made my own face mask at home since I was a kid. One of the biggest reasons is that I always feel like I never have time to mix a mask on my own — I’d rather just try out one of the many formulas I get sent in the mail from a brand to test.
The other reason — which I’m reluctant to admit! — is that I’ve always felt natural ingredients wouldn’t be enough to transform my skin in any way. It seems almost silly: how could a few tablespoons of yogurt smeared across my face actually do something? Yet, as I’ve learned more about skin and ingredients throughout the years, I’ve come to realize that even one simple, straight-from-nature ingredient can do a lot more for your skin than you realize. Case in point: yogurt is loaded with lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid and a naturally gentle exfoliant.
Now that we all have ample amount of time to spend indoors, it’s the perfect time to get crafty when it comes to our skincare routines. Here, to take “natural skincare” to a whole other level, we’ve turned to the experts for ways to use ingredients you already have in your kitchen to concoct powerful DIY face masks. Keep reading to discover their recipes below. We promise — even if you’re typically not a whiz with a whisk, you’ll be able to whip up these simple skin DIYs.
The Benefits: An apple a day keeps the dullness away! “The exfoliating malic acid in apples is one of the most gentle alpha hydroxy acids, and will help remove dead, dry skin cells that leave your complexion dull,” says Jana Blankenship, founder of Captain Blankenship® and author of Wild Beauty. Apples are also loaded with antioxidants, which provide powerful defense from free radicals.
The DIY Face Mask to Try: Combine one tablespoon of raw honey, one tablespoon of whole milk or soy/coconut yogurt, a quarter of an apple (mashed with a fork or blended in a food processor), and one-eighth of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg into a small bowl. Wet your face with warm water, then lightly pat it with a towel — your skin should be moist, but not sopping wet. Apply your mask to your face and leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes. Afterwards, rinse with lukewarm water.
Benefits: “Yogurt contains lactic acid, which helps with exfoliation,” says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist, founder of Joanna Vargas® Salons and Skin Care, and author of Glow from Within. “It’s also an anti-inflammatory and helps to calm redness.” Vargas’ mask below is a creamy, soothing concoction that helps moisturize, so your skin can feel buttery soft — ideal for those times when your skin is very dry.
The DIY Face Mask to Try: Mix half a cup of plain yogurt, half of a mashed avocado, and one quarter of a cup of honey into a bowl. Apply the mixture to a clean, dry face. Leave it on for about ten minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
The Benefits: Green tea is packed full of polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant and skin-soothing properties. “It’s perfect for treating sun-damaged skin in warmer months,” explains Blankenship. “My cooling, clarifying toner (recipe below) uses antioxidant-rich green tea, astringent witch hazel, and an invigorating mix of peppermint and tea tree essential oils to help soothe skin and prevent spots.” Even if you’re not getting sun exposure, you can still benefit from green tea’s antioxidant properties — free radicals are also emitted by blue light, which is produced by all of our tech devices!
The DIY Toner to Try: After brewing and cooling some green tea, combine one quarter of a cup of it with one quarter of a cup of witch hazel, five drops of peppermint essential oil, and three drops of tea tree essential oil in a measuring cup and stir well. It’s optional, but you can also add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, which offers antibacterial properties and helps balance skin’s pH. Once thoroughly mixed, pour your concoction into a spray bottle, and mist it on your face, patting it in with your fingers or a cotton ball. You can also use this as a refreshing body mist. This recipe will keep for up to three months at room temperature, or six months if kept in the fridge.
The Benefits: Yes, green tea and matcha are derived from the same plant, but matcha is far more potent than standard green tea for a few reasons: it’s packed with a higher concentration of caffeine, boasts more amino acids, and is said to have 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, making it perfect for an anti-aging mask. “For the skin, matcha is brightening, great for circulation and oxygenation of the skin cells, and has chlorophyll, ideal for the lymphatic system,” says Vargas. “This light mask increases circulation, giving your skin a smooth, pillowy softness.”
The DIY Face Mask to Try: In a small bowl, stir together one and a half teaspoons of water with one tablespoon of matcha powder. Once combined, add one and a half teaspoons of honey and one tablespoon of olive oil into the mixture and stir to combine. Apply the mixture onto your face, leave on for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
The Benefits: While glycolic acid is derived from sugar, you won’t get chemical exfoliation benefits from using these granules topically — but you will get physical exfoliation. “Cane sugar is a natural exfoliant that can smooth and brighten skin's appearance or keep lips soft,” says Blankenship.
The DIY Lip Scrub to Try: Combine one tablespoon of organic cane sugar, half a tablespoon of organic coconut oil, and half a teaspoon of organic cacao powder (optional) in a bowl and mix into a paste with a spoon. Simply rub it onto your lips and rinse it off. Your lips will be super soft and hydrated post-massage, and you definitely won’t mind the sweet taste, either. If you’ve got any leftovers, you can scrub your hands, feet, and body for overall exfoliation, or just save the excess for next time.
The Benefits: Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, with one study showing cocoa containing more antioxidants than black tea, green tea, and red wine. The mask below uses cocoa and spices to gently exfoliate the skin and can be used year-round. “It smells like spicy cocoa, and soothes and clarifies skin without drying it out,” says Blankenship. “Using antioxidant-rich raw cocoa powder and a potent blend of invigorating spices, this mask will leave your skin and senses feeling revived.”
The DIY to Try: Mix a tablespoon of ground oats, a tablespoon of raw cocoa powder, one teaspoon of ground turmeric, a quarter of a teaspoon of ground nutmeg, a quarter of a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and a quarter of a teaspoon of ground ginger together in a small bowl. You can now pour the mixture into a jar and seal it with a lid — this mixture will keep fresh for up to a year (no need for refrigeration). To use as a face mask, combine half of a teaspoon of your chocolatey mix with an eighth of a teaspoon of water in a small dish. Mix it into a paste, adding more water if needed to achieve your preferred consistency. Apply the mix to a moist face and neck with your fingers or a brush. Leave it on for five to 10 minutes, then rinse it off with lukewarm water. To use as an exfoliant, apply a quarter-size amount to a wet face with fingers, massage gently into the skin, and rinse with lukewarm water.