While there are plenty of things to love about winter (scarves and spiked hot chocolate come to mind), the season can wreak havoc on your skin. Colder temps can bring everything from dryness to unexpected sunburn. (Yes, it's a good idea to wear a light facial sunscreen, even when it's cold out.)
Luckily, you can soothe your skin easily (and cheaply!) by making a natural face mask using ingredients from your kitchen. Here are my experiences with five different combinations. Read on for the details.
1. Honey and coconut oil
The best part about this face mask is that it's best applied when warmed up (to liquefy the coconut oil). I used this recipe from Mother's Niche, but I chose to heat up the coconut oil instead of stirring it. The process was simple: drop 1 tablespoon of each ingredient into a microwave-safe bowl, heat for about 10-15 seconds, then combine with a spoon. The mixture smoothed on easily and had a thin texture, which felt greasy but light and smelled amazing (a bonus for something will be directly under your nostrils for a period of time). I left the mask on for 15 minutes. The directions said I could simply rinse it off, but I had to wash my face because it felt like the coconut oil left a bit of residue. My skin did feel softer after removing the mask, and I liked that the ingredients were simple, cheap and natural, and they were items I already had stocked in my pantry.
2. Avocado and olive oil
A fun thing about this face mask combo, which is supposed to be great for dry skin, is that it's not only great for the face, but you can smooth the mixture on your hair to improve shine and manageability as well. I followed a recipe from the Pioneer Settler blog, which called for one avocado and 3 tablespoons of olive oil. It's lucky that this mask iteration does double-duty, because the recipe proportions yielded way more product than I could put on my face. The texture was a bit difficult to keep on my skin for 15 minutes and was a little chunky, but I also used a bit less olive oil than was recommended so the mixture wouldn't slide off. After I chilled it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, it was easier to apply. I felt like there was a slight bit of residue left over from the olive oil, but it was as much as residue the coconut oil and honey combination left, and it made my skin felt extra-soft afterwards.
3. Oatmeal and banana
I used Homegrown and Healthy's two-ingredient recipe for this mask, which called for 1 tablespoon oatmeal of oatmeal, half a banana and a splash (1 teaspoon) of milk. I was hesitant to apply an exfoliating mask after the coffee and milk combo, but luckily, the oatmeal's gentle exfoliation properties didn't irritate my skin. In the recipe's accompanying video, it shows the blogger mashing the banana with what looks like a mortar and pestle. Since I didn't have one of these on hand, I had to smash the banana with my knuckles, which was equally gross and fun. When applying the mask to my face for leave on for 10 minutes, the mixture was quite cold and, again, it was difficult to get it to stick to my face without dripping, especially the oatmeal pieces. However, the mask was soothing and smelled pleasant. I didn't notice much of a difference in my skin's overall feel afterwards, but the ingredients were very gentle on my face — it would feel nice to apply after a hot day.
4. Egg white and cucumber
Not only did this mask smell amazing, but the combination of ingredients made my skin feel firmer and made my oily t-zone less shiny. Since the texture itself is unusual, giving the mix a few seconds in a food processor or blender helps it combine thoroughly. I used a recipe from Byrdie, which required half a cucumber, one egg white, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped mint (I left out the lemon juice because of my skin sensitivity). Though the tightness made my face a bit uncomfortable as it dried — I removed it after about 15 minutes — the mint was refreshing, and the mask was gentle enough to leave my skin feeling energized without being irritated, a win-win!
5. Coffee and milk
This mask contains antioxidants, caffeine, vitamins and lactic acid, making it both calming and invigorating. Plus, the coffee acts as an exfoliant to leave skin glowing. I used a recipe from Boone & Owl, which offered a thorough explanation of application and benefits, calling for 1 tablespoon of coffee grounds and 1.5 tablespoons of 2 percent, whole or raw milk to be left on the skin for 15 to 20 minutes. The mixture was a bit harsh on my sensitive skin, and I experienced some redness when removing it. After applying a light moisturizer, however, my skin calmed down, and I noticed it did have a smoother and brighter appearance. This combo is probably best left to those whose skin isn't so sensitive.
If you don't want to shell out the cash for a fancy facial, do-it-yourself face masks are a great (and fun!) alternative to leave your skin refreshed, moisturized and ready to weather the winter season.