It’s the first thing we show the world every day. It;s the first thing we see in the mirror every morning and it’s gonna be with us through our entire lives…it’s your face. Every face is beautiful. We all have a story in every freckle, line, scar, dimple and blemish. Our faces have so much to say and hold so many laughs and cries and everything in between. As a massage therapist i get to touch faces all the time. There’s something really special about cradling a face in my hands. It almost feels like I’m holding part of your soul. Nowadays, we are all so critical about our Instagram pix or our selfies…it’s all just too much really. I wish we could all really enjoy our imperfections and embrace our own perfection all at the same time. Skin care is something my sweet Granny lived and breathed by. She had the most glorious skin I’ve ever seen. She never to my knowledge had a facial unless she did it in her own bathroom, her favorite face cream for years was Oil of Olay (the one in the glass bottle that smelled so good) and she never stepped into her clothes that she wasn’t head to toe covered in a good body cream. One of the craziest things I saw her do, which I now do myself, was to rub a cut lemon that she was using in a recipe over the backs of her hands. “For the age spots” she said. She’d also grease her muffin and bread tins with olive oil and then rub it into her hands, arms and even her face before washing them. I know…it sounds nuts but now that I know a little more about our skin, those lemons are a nice gentle fruit acid peel and that olive oil is very rich in antioxidants.
I guess I’m a sucker for any homemade beauty treatment but don’t get me wrong, I do also really love a professional spa facial. I try to schedule one every 4-6 weeks and my esthetician is fabulous. There’s no substitute for professional, results driven, targeted skin care…but I want to treat my skin in between visits to my girl. I’ve got a thing for facial masks and there are jars and jars of them in my bathroom. In the studio, I like to use Farmhouse Fresh brand masks. They are wonderful, natural and so adorably packaged in little baby mason jars. I encourage you to take a look at their website to see the full line up of goodies. It must be the girly herbalist in me that can’t help but want to stir up my own masks, scrubs and exfoliants from time to time. This article is all about the face and shares some of my most favorite DIY recipes. Let’s get started!
Gentle Micro-Polishing Refining Grains
This is what I like to call my at home microdermabrasion treatment. It’s about as easy as it gets and makes a great stand alone treatment or a pre-treatment before the Whipped Cream Yogurt Mask or Honey Mask that follows. You only need two ingredients for this little magic buff but a drop of essential oil makes it really wonderful. You’ll need 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of rose water. You can also add one drop of neroli or lavender essential oil for the lovely fragrance and skin soothing properties if you like. Mix with your clean fingers and massage very gently over clean, damp skin. Use no pressure at all. Let the baking soda grains do the work. Wet your fingers with a little more rose water if needed so that they can literally float over the surface of the skin. Do this ever so gently for about 2 minutes (avoid the eye area completely). Using cotton pads or a soft washcloth rinse all the baking soda away to reveal a smooth soft fresh glow. Now you can apply your serums, creams or sunscreen…or scroll down for more recipes. I do not recommend using this polish on the same day as the next exfoliating mask. Two exfoliating treatments in one day is just too much for our sensitive skin. Leave that one-two punch to the professionals.
Island Pineapple Papaya “Peel”
I used to cringe when I heard the term “chemical peel” but now I actually really love these treatments. I think my esthetician would say I’m a little wimpy because her “baby peel” is my favorite. It’s gentle and no down time. Hey, I can’t be doing manicures, massages and makeup with dead skin falling off my face. My clients would freak out! In between my visits to her I like to do a gentle peel from time to time and it makes my skin look dewy fresh. Because the fruit enzymes in this mask are best for normal, oily and mature skin I would definitely do a patch test on my inner elbow or behind my ear if you tend to be sensitive. Of course if you have any discomfort at all rinse it off right away and abandon ship on this one. Fruit enzymes work by gently breaking down the “glue” that holds our skin cells together. This allows them to be whisked away for a fresh faced glow. The bromelian enzyme in pineapple and papain enzyme in papaya not only breakdown this protein “glue” but they help to speed up the rate our cells turn over. Healthy young skin (under 30) renews itself about once a month but gradually as we age this slows down and can give us a dull, lackluster appearance. This is where a little fruit “peel” comes in. The recipe is super simple: take two chunks of fresh pineapple and two chunks of fresh papaya and smoosh in a mortar and pestle until a nice paste is formed. You can also use the back of a spoon. Just get it as smooth as possible. Now take your fingers and smooth this fruity paste all over your face. Avoid the eye area completely. Grab a hand towel so it catches any drips and go lie on the couch with your feet propped up and eyes closed for ten to fifteen minutes. If you have dogs like me, keep them out for a while. They won’t be able to resist a lick of your yummy mask. This mask will feel tingly but should not burn. If so, rinse in cool water right away. When the time has come to rinse, use a soft washcloth and cool water to remove the fruit pulp. Your skin will feel smooth, tightened and more youthful. You can apply your serums and creams and they will glide over your freshly exfoliated skin. What to do with the extra fruit? Salad, skewers or smoothies sounds good to me.
Honey Bee Mask
In my opinion, there is no better skin care ingredient than honey. Those bees make magic and it’s brimming with skin soothing and healing properties. Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it binds moisture to the skin. Raw honey is also antibacterial making it great to heal blemishes. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, helps repair damaged skin, soften and heal scars, promotes collagen building and in this application is a natural exfoliant and circulation boost. Bringing freshly oxygenated blood up to the surface of the skin is very healing and rejuvenating in itself. This mask relies on the sticky properties of honey to create a technique called reverse tapotement. Estheticians use the fingertips to gently drum over the facial muscles to increase circulation and relax tension. The reverse of this technique involves pressing the fingertips into the skin and quickly lifting off. Kinda like you were touching something hot…over and over and over. The circulation is stimulated and the fresh, oxygen rich blood is suctioned right up under the surface of the skin where all the nutrients can be used. You’ve probably guessed by now that I LOVE lavender so when I have it, I add one drop to the honey for this mask. All you need is a freshly washed and dry face. No water for this one or the honey will liquify. You need one tablespoon of raw honey. I don’t recommend the grainy Manuka honey for this application, although it is glorious for healing the skin (and the digestive system, for that matter). Your not looking to scrub your skin with this one. The reverse tapotement will also lift up the dead skin cells and you’ll wipe them away with your rinse. Here’s how to begin: spread a layer of honey lightly over your entire face (avoid the eye area) and down the front of your neck if you like. As it warms to your body temp it will glide more easily. Once you’re all covered, begin with the press-lift technique. You’ll start with very fast movements at first until it gets really sticky, then you can use more specific, targeted movements. Really get into any lines or wrinkles to lift away the skin build up and increase blood flow. Continue to do this for about 2-3 minutes. You will notice a tingly feeling which is blood flow! Now, lie back on the couch with your head resting on a towel for ten minutes to let the honey work it’s magic. Rinse with a warm soft cloth and moisturize. You are the Queen Bee!
Whipped Cream and Yogurt Mask
This last mask is pure luxury. Imagine fluffy whipped cream clouds smoothed all over your face. It’s amazing and really great for the skin. The lactic acid in the yogurt and cream acts as a gentle exfoliant, removing dead skin cell build up. The cream also contains natural milk fats which are rich emollients to hydrate and plump the skin. Yogurt contains probiotics which help destroy bacteria that can cause irritation and pimples. Yogurt also contains zinc which helps reduce inflammation and fight redness. This is a super hydrating and skin softening mask safe for most skin types, but as with all these recipes, I recommend a patch test. Here’s what you’re gonna need: 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped nice and thick. You may not use it all on your face but you need enough in your bowl to whip. Just spoon the rest over berries for a treat. Then add one tablespoon of full fat plain Greek yogurt and one teaspoon of honey. Blend together and smooth over a freshly cleansed face. Allow this mask to sit for 20 minutes while you relax. If a little bit happens to get on your mouth, that’s a bonus! Once the mask has had time to thoroughly smooth and hydrate your skin, rinse with a warm cloth and apply your serums or creams. You’re gonna love the way your face feels!
These masks are a great way to indulge yourself in some simple yet effective skin care. they are super easy and really fun for a girls night in. Take a look through all the Spaaahhhhh Day recipes and plan your perfect menu of “ME TIME”.