Ahh, the DIY Face Mask…
Of course the original face masks, like all ancient skincare rituals, were naturally DIY, but these days, while many of us may not feel as confident putting together a cleansing balm or a toning serum from scratch, the simplicity of the DIY mask lives on in the modern kitchen.
Our ancestors once used carefully selected herbs, property-rich plants like aloe vera, and roots like wildflowers and turmeric to create masks - or ubtan masks as the Ancient Indians called them. They used what was available, and fortunately for them, what was available was all-natural and extremely beneficial to the body, inside and out - and it should be no different now.
Today we’re offering up a few simple, but powerful, DIY mask recipes that you could probably blend up in your kitchen right this minute! Read on for our favourite masks that you can make in a pinch.
This won’t be a step-by-step process - each of these recipes is far too simple for that - but step one at Woodlot is always, What is your intention?
Setting an intention pre-ritual has always been a part of Woodlot’s DNA, and with skincare especially, it’s important to know, What is my skin needing right now and what’s the best way to meet that need?
While we often find that a good night’s sleep or a few additional glasses of water is the answer, other times call for a deeply nourishing treatment, sourced from nature, and accessible via your pantry.
“I want a weekly mask ritual that will help prevent my skin from aging prematurely.”
Simple DIY Mask: Rice + Whip Cream
What you’ll need: Rice, Whipping Cream, a Coffee Grinder, a blender / mixer / whisk.
At Woodlot, we believe in - and celebrate - the natural aging process and typically banish terms like ‘anti-aging’ from our vocabulary. That said, in our modern lifestyles, our skin experiences daily assaults due to air pollution, environmental toxins, and hidden ingredients in our food and personal products - all of which can lead to premature aging. And while the aging process is a part of life, and one we’re very blessed to experience, we can be pro-aging and still wish to age in due time.
For centuries the beauty benefits of rice have been highly revered in Japan as well as in other Asian countries. Rice is rich in gamma-oryzanol - an antioxidant that boosts collagen production. Collagen keeps our skin from sagging and allows it to appear plump and youthful. For women, their production of collagen begins to decrease as early as age 25. Men have a higher density of collagen to begin with, but their production of it begins to reduce even earlier.
But fear not! Women and men alike can easily ‘whip up’ this easy two-ingredient recipe with the use of a coffee grinder and a blender, hand mixer, or whisk. Using a coffee grinder, grind enough rice to make two tablespoons of rice flour and blend with about one tablespoon of whipped cream. Apply to your face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes - just enough time to enjoy a luxurious cup of coffee - breve style!
“I am looking for a mask that will combat dry skin in the long term.”
Simple DIY Mask: Yogurt + Olive Oil
What you’ll need: Plain Yogurt, Olive Oil, Washcloth (optional)
Certainly our simplest recipe on the menu today, ancient Greek wisdom never fails to amaze us. The Greeks intuitively understood what modern science has proven again and again - that olive oil and yogurt are extremely beneficial, nutritionally, as well as in the form of topical skincare treatments.
Yogurt is a form of lactic acid which makes it an all-natural alternative to an AHA peel - and one that doesn’t cause irritation. Gently removing only the outermost layer of skin, this mask will allow for a weekly exfoliation ritual that doesn’t require scrubbing and risking micro-tears in the skin - which over time can weaken the skin’s barrier and lead to dry flaky patches and redness. Exfoliating the skin weekly allows for dead skin to be cleared away and this means your skin can better absorb all the other products you apply on a daily basis - leading to better hydration and oh-so-glowy skin.
Meanwhile, olive oil works to help the skin retain moisture, which is needed more than ever after (and during) exfoliation. Oils moisturize by locking moisture in. The use of olive oil will take care of the ‘during’ part of this ritual, but be sure to follow up with a quality facial oil post-ritual for additional protection. Of course, we recommend our Nourishing Facial Oil. A blend of olive oil, rosehip oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, apricot oil, and shea butter will nourish, heal, and soothe your skin post-exfoliation like no other.
For this recipe, simply add a tablespoon of olive oil to four tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt and apply to your face and neck. Leave this mask on for about 10 minutes. Add 1-2 drops of Recharge Essential Oil to include peppermint’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing properties. Add first to the olive oil, and then blend together with the yogurt. We always recommend a patch test be done on the wrist first before applying an essential oil to the skin.
“I want a mask that can reduce acne and give me a brighter complexion.”
Simple DIY Mask: Turmeric + Honey
What you’ll need: Turmeric, Raw Honey, Washcloth (use with caution!), baking soda, yogurt (optional), lemon juice (optional)
Traditionally used as a pre-wedding brightening treatment, turmeric is still highly popular today for its nothing-short-of-miraculous abilities to reduce inflammation, calm skin conditions like acne and rosacea, and rejuvenate the complexion.
While this recipe is as simple as the others, you do need to take caution with using turmeric, as the compound curcumin, which gives turmeric its vibrant pigment, is known to stain counters, sinks, fabrics - and even your skin!
Skin-staining is more common for those with lighter skin tones, but the staining of counters and sinks especially can be an annoyance to all. While most find that a baking-soda-and-water paste can get a turmeric stain out of most materials - including your skin - it’s best to designate a washcloth and hand towel to this ritual that you don’t mind dying yellow. Wearing an old t-shirt might be a good idea as well.
We also recommend looking up the material of your counters, sink, or tub and ensuring that baking soda will lift the stain from whichever surfaces it might come into contact with. Have your baking soda solution ready so it’s ready to be used on your sink as soon as you’ve washed your mask away. The sooner you treat a stain, the better!
You’ll also want to use only a small amount of turmeric in comparison to the other ingredients in your recipe. With this powerful superfood, a little goes a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly among raw honey (our recommendation for battling acne) and/or yogurt and lemon juice to increase brightening effects. Avoid using turmeric on the skin daily, as it can dry the skin out if used too frequently. Keep this ritual to only 1-2 times per week and if you’re concerned with skin-staining, schedule for when you’re not going to be rushed to get somewhere.
There’s no exact recipe for this mask, other than use enough honey to cover the face, and blend in only a modest amount of turmeric, as mentioned. For the baking soda solution, mix one part baking soda with one part water to form a paste, apply to affected areas, and let sit for a minimum of 15 minutes. This same solution is also known to help with skin staining if any has occurred.
While turmeric comes with some additional details you need to be in-the-know about, there’s a reason this vibrant yellow spice has stood the test of time and remains a key ingredient in both our dietary and skincare rituals - it works!
Add in 2-3 drops of Flora Essential Oil to also benefit from lavender’s antibacterial properties. Once again, we always recommend a patch test on the wrist be done first when applying a new essential oil to the skin.
“I don’t want to do it myself…”
Simple DIY-optional Mask: Green Tea + Clay
What you’ll need: Woodlot’s Rejuvenating Green Tea Mask, water, honey (optional), yogurt (optional)
Not in a DIY mood? We hear you. There’s always Woodlot’s Rejuvenating Green Tea Mask which works beautifully with just water added or can be blended with additional ingredients (our favorites are raw honey or full fat yogurt) if you’re in a kinda-sorta DIY mood…
Our signature mask includes BC Glacial Clay which deeply penetrates the skin and draws out impurities, making it a great choice for acne-prone skin or skin that is regularly exposed to makeup or air pollution. Also included is seaweed powder, a rich source of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and which also attracts moisture to the skin. Add honey to your blend if you’re looking to increase the moisturizing properties of this mask. Grapefruit oil encourages lymphatic drainage which leads to healthier looking skin as well as aids microcirculation which is something else we see decreases with age - and lastly, green tea helps heal and protect against UV exposure! So basically, this mask is pure magic...
Aside from Green Tea, perhaps, this dry blend includes a few potent ingredients that may not be in your pantry but blends nicely with many that likely are! We love that this mask is customizable and allows for you to select additional ingredients based on your skin’s changing needs. Menstruating women, especially, will notice their skin needs different things at different times of the month, and all of us might notice that our skin changes with the season or in tandem with things like dietary adjustments and stress levels.
So whether you dare to DIY, or choose to lean on Woodlot’s expertise, a weekly to biweekly masking ritual can benefit body, mind, and soul. As is believed in Japan, the time in which you take to care for your skin - the preparation of the products, the careful and mindful application of the products to your skin, and in the case of a mask ritual, the time spent relaxing as you let the mask work its magic - are just as if not more important than the products themselves. Go slow, breathe deep, and enjoy. Ahhh.
All images by Sheena Zilinski (@sheenazilinski)