It’s Sunday morning: you’re scrolling through Instagram and see that everyone is participating in self-care Sunday. You’re not usually one to conform but, after the week you’ve had, a little inspiration never hurt anybody. What’s a better way to pay yourself some serious love and attention than a facial? I’ll wait.
Lying on the couch in your fluffy robe or soaking in the tub wearing a face painted with skin lovin’ ingredients is the closest thing you can get to a luxury spa. And an organic face mask truly does make for a killer addition to your beauty regimen. There’s nothing quite like washing your face post-mask and revealing radiant skin.
Any skin type can take advantage of the stimulating and detoxifying experience- and not just on Sundays! In this article, I’m going to take you through my favorite past-times and my favorite future times: at-home face masks…but not just any masks: organic, all-natural face masks. First, we’re going to explore the dangers of conventional facemasks and then I’ll share some of my favorite easy homemade face mask recipes. But right now, the bad news first:
Problems with Conventional Face Masks
Common “bad guys” found in commercial brand face masks (and really all other self-care products for that matter) are parabens, phthalates, sulfates, mineral oils, PEG compounds, petrochemicals, TEA/DEA, ethoxylated ingredients, and synthetic colors and fragrances. Avoid these problematic chemicals that studies suggest are associated with increased risk in illness by opting for USDA organic face mask or an easy homemade face mask.
Fragrance smells good- sure. But it doesn’t feel good to your lungs or any other organ. And it definitely doesn’t feel good for your skin. Over 3,000 chemicals are allowed to hide behind the ingredient fragrance. The worst part is that there is no law that says companies need to disclose these ingredients because the recipe is considered a “trade secret”. Insane, right?
Well, how about the fact that nearly all of these chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, irritants, allergens, neurotoxic chemicals, and/or respiratory irritants– and have also been associated with weight gain, fatigue, and risk of disease.
We all love a sweet smell though. Maybe you want a little relaxation or maybe you’re craving some invigoration. Either way, with an organic face mask- you can get it. Organic and natural face masks are going to be formulated with magical essential oils. These oils don’t only offer incredible aromatherapy but they also have potent healing properties that will boost your skin sesh.
Parabens are those nasty chemicals used in self-care products as a form of preservation. News flash- we don’t need to preserve, especially if we’re making a homemade face mask. It’s as easy as crafting the mask and painting it on. Here’s the deal with parabens: parabens have been linked to an increased risk for breast cancer. Because parabens easily penetrate the skin and travel to the blood we need to be concerned. Just the mere fact that parabens are found in breast tissue is a cause for boycotting products containing parabens.
Parabens are also endocrine disruptors, which also supports researching showing links to breast cancer. Endocrine disruptors mimic estrogen, meaning they through hormones all out of whack. The most worrisome is that the population most vulnerable to parabens are pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and fetuses. The good news is that we can make DIY face masks or opt for a natural face mask free from parabens.
PEG compounds are also common chemical ingredients lurking in your conventional face masks. Oddly enough, PEG was used in nerve gas during World War 1 and is now widely used in cosmetics! How interesting!
PEG compounds are carcinogenic and contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, iron, and arsenic. They also have penetration enhancing properties which means your body is getting a problematic high dose of all other toxins found in your self-care products.
Like parabens, phthalates are also considered endocrine disruptors and have been linked to organ toxicity, cancer, reproductive toxicity, birth defects, neurotoxicity, and neurological disorders. Phthalates also bioaccumulate in the body making them hard to flush out. Not only do phthalates show extensive linkage to potential health problems with the body, but they are also dangerous to the environment.
Organic Face Mask DIY
Making an easy homemade face mask at home is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. It’s a time for you to get creative and get conscious. Crafting an at-home face mask is kind of like plating a beautiful healthy meal: you thought about the meal, you put love into cooking it, you mindfully plated it, and as you ate– you knew you were giving yourself some serious nourishment.
The same thing goes for an organic face mask DIY: you mindfully choose ingredients based on your goal, you put love into creating it, you gently painted it on, you relax and bathe in the fact you know you’re doing your skin some good and viola– you and your skin are nourished! You feel good. Oh, and the two are also similar because most of the time face masks incorporate edible ingredients. Food for your face is totally a thing.
One of my favorite things about face masks is that you can switch up the ingredients and target a specific desire. Acne? Aging? Dry Skin? Dull Skin? Pick your poison. Any skin type can benefit from a simple weekly face mask. A good face mask for all skin types will remove dead skin, unclog pores, kill bad bacteria and tamp down redness.
Before we get started with the recipes, it’s important to make sure you have completed the necessary steps before applying the mask. Here’s what to do:
Face Mask Musts: at-home steam
For maximum results, we want to apply one facial mask per week. For your mask to work at peak performance you must cleanse, exfoliate and steam first. Cleansing removes surface level dirt and makeup while exfoliating sweeps away dead skin cells. Steaming will then open your pores so that the mask can get down there and do its job.
I review how to set up a facial steam here. I don’t have any fancy equipment, so if you have water, a stove, and a pot then you can create a steam for yourself at home. You can also do it by simply taking a shower and allowing the steam to open your pores that way. It’s really that simple. Thankfully, you don’t have to have spa quality equipment to have stunning skin!
DIY Face Mask Recipes
Avocado Honey Mask
Avocados are packed with essential fatty acids and vitamin E which are two ingredients our skin craves. The nutrition in this creamy superfood makes for supple, youthful, glowing skin. If you’re looking for soft, smooth, and hydrated skin than you’ve found the key. Avocado also has a cool, calming effect that can be harnessed to calm red, angry looking skin. This mask is a 2-in-1. Use to nourish your skin AND your hair. Watch out luscious locks!
Who can benefit: All skin types
- ½ flesh of 1 avocado
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. can coconut milk
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
Apply the mixture to your face and neck and leave it for 10 minutes. Gently rinse (I use a cleanser to wipe away any excess oil) and follow with your moisturizer.
For a deeply hydrating hair treatment apply any leftover mask to your hair from root to tip. Cover your hair with a shower cap to keep the mask from drying out and to generate a little bit of heat so that it can work its magic. Leave the mask in your hair for 25 to 30 minutes and rinse.
Coconut Honey Mask
I would like to take a moment to thank the bees for all their hard work—especially our locals. Raw and local honey (the very best kind) is home to tons of antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help slow down the aging process and plump up your skin. Not only that, but raw honey is antibacterial and antifungal, making it a front-line fighter of bad bacteria that causes acne and breakouts. Honey is also a humectant meaning it locks in moisture for ultra-hydrating results– this was a bee appreciation blurb. You’ve gotta have a homemade face mask with honey and this truly is the DIY face mask for glowing skin.
Who can benefit: All skin types but it’s especially helpful for dry/aging skin – a serious DIY facemask for glowing skin
This mask is inspired by the amazing Annmarie Gianni of Annmarie Gianni Skincare. She carries an incredible line of products and I was able to try her coconut honey mask in one her sample kits. I was hooked and inspired to whip up my own concoction in the kitchen.
The ingredients are simple, but it’s easily one of my favorite masks for locking in hydration. Make sure to wash off with a cleanser after using this one because coconut oil can clog pores for some skin types.
- 1 tsp unrefined extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 tsp raw, local honey
- Bonus option: add 2 drops of lavender essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a small bowl to form a paste. Apply to the skin with your fingers, gently massaging the mask into your skin and leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes (the coconut oil can start to melt, so have a towel handy to avoid making a mess). Wash away with warm water and apply a light moisturizer.
Bentonite Clay Mask
Bentonite clay is the MVP when it comes to drawing out toxins and impurities from the skin, in fact, it’s been referred to as a “healing clay” in various cultures for centuries. While you can take bentonite clay internally to flush out toxins, topical application works just the same.
Since bentonite clay comes from the earth’s volcanic ash, using bentonite clay is harnessing the beautifying powers of mother nature. The minerals in bentonite clay work hard to absorb dirt and toxins and purge any impurities deep within your skin. As it dries, say goodbye to all the gunk that this healing clay is drawing out.
The only thing to remember about bentonite clay is that you must use a non-metal (try wooden or glass) bowl and spoon to mix your mask. Since bentonite clay is charged with free radical fighting properties, we don’t want to mess with the energy by using metal or stainless steel. This will make it less effective and we don’t have time for that.
Who can benefit: This is a killer homemade face mask for acne. Oily, acne prone or blemish-prone skin types can benefit. It can also be used as a “super-detox” for regular skin. If you tend to have more dry skin then follow up with a hydrating oil and a big glass of water.
- 1 tsp bentonite clay
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Bonus: add 2 drops of lemon essential oil
Mix the ingredients in a bowl to combine. Make sure that the measuring spoon, mixing spoon and mixing bowl are non-metal.
Apply the mask to your face, making sure to avoid the area around your eyes. The skin there is delicate and while this mask is extremely effective at drawing out toxins from the skin, it also draws out moisture too.
Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Follow up with a hydration mask/moisturizer of choice and a glass of water.
Purifying Green Tea Mask
Green tea is the ruler of the antioxidant world. Seriously, green tea is full of tons of free radical fighting antioxidants that work hard to slow signs of early aging. You can harness that time-machine power by making a green tea mask. Green tea leaves are also abundant in Vitamins E and C which work to hydrate and energize skin making you almost instantly more youthful and gorgeous.
Matcha green tea is dried and then powdered green tea leaves and since powder makes for easy mixing, we’re going to look for matcha green tea when making this mask. Bonus: matcha makes for a killer morning latte.
Who can benefit: Anyone who wants to fight the signs of aging or anyone with blemish prone and oily skin- an ideal DIY face mask for blackheads.
- 1 tsp matcha green tea
- 2 tsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tsp honey
- Bonus: 1 drop lavender essential oil
Mix together the green tea, aloe and honey. Option to mix in the essential oil and apply to the skin. Rinse after 10 minutes with warm water.
Coffee Face Mask
Caffeine in its natural form (so no, not a Coke) from cocoa or coffee beans makes for a perfect brightening ingredient. If you have a dull or tired complexion, caffeine will work to regenerate circulation. It’s also effective for people who struggle with dark circles.
Dark circles are sometimes a result of blood pooling under the eyes making the appearance around the eyes look darker. With a little bit of caffeine from a coffee or chocolate mask, your under eye area can get the perfect circulation boost and awaken a dull complexion.
If you are using coffee you’ll get a bonus exfoliation! To take full advantage, gently rub in circular motions after application
Who can benefit: those with tired, dull looking skin and/or aging skin- the best homemade face mask for dull skin
- 1 tsp. ground coffee
- 1 tsp. Cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. Jojoba oil
- 1 tsp. raw honey
Mix the coffee and cocoa powder to combine. In another small bowl, mix the honey and lemon juice (if you’re using raw honey you may want to gently melt it on the stove top first or if it’s soft enough, you can mix with a fork). Add the coconut milk to the honey and lemon juice and stir to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir. Apply liberally to the skin and allow it to dry. It should take about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, while gently exfoliating by massaging the skin in small circles.
Recipe by Sarah Howard of Beauty Banter
The Best Natural Face Masks to Buy
If you aren’t into DIY recipes, because let’s be real- we have to take the easy route sometimes- then check out these all natural and organic face masks below. These natural face masks contain essential fatty acids, vitamins, essential oils, fruit enzymes, and clays that will renew your skin.
Perfect for: mature skin, sensitive skin, dull complexion, fine lines, wrinkles, dehydrated skin
And here is where my DIY face mask inspiration came from! Wildflower honey and coconut oil are incredible hydrating ingredients- add some vanilla extract in there and boom- was this formulated for my face or to eat it? Your face will experience gentle exfoliation, ultra hydration, and extreme soothing. Your skin will glow and that’s a fact.
Perfect for: acne-prone skin, mature skin, wrinkles, dehydrated & dull skin
If you know me, you know I love May Lindstrom. This organic mask is crafted with raw cacao powder, red sea salt, and activated bamboo charcoal. That just sounds luxurious. When you add water it mixes into a heavenly mousse which then works to unclog pores, absorb excess oil, increase blood flow and tighten skin. And you can feel it working- the gentle warm embraces your skin lovingly and you know you’re getting ultimate nourishment. With essential oils, vitamin c, clays, salts, and turmeric- you can’t find much better.
Perfect for: aging skin, dull complexion, UV damaged skin, wrinkles, fine lines, clogged pores
Vitamin C does a lot of things right but it’s probably most famous for its insane ability to transform your skin. Hydration? You got it. Discoloration? Gone. Glowing Complexion? Next question. You can not beat a vitamin C powerhouse. Especially one that is also full of seaweed and vegan probiotics. You’ll smooth wrinkles, brighten skin, and tamp down inflammation with this natural face mask. You’re bound to love it.
- Kresser, C. (2015). Are your skincare products toxic? Makeup and cosmetics. Retrieved from: https://chriskresser.com/are-your-skincare-products-toxic-makeup-and-cosmetics/