How to Make a Face Mask

Bowl with curd and cucumber.
You can make your own face masks from common household food items like cucumbers. See more getting beautiful skin pictures.
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Many people would consider a relaxing day at the spa to be a treat. Unfortunately, your wallet might not feel the same way. Salon treatments can cost hundreds of dollars, and that high cost can deter many from getting them.

If your beauty budget is low, your skin shouldn't have to suffer. Instead, consider skipping a pricey salon facial treatment, and make your own face mask out of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.


From honey, avocadoes and oatmeal to tea, milk and eggs, common household food items can be transformed into a soothing face mask in just a few minutes. No matter what your skin type is, homemade face masks can benefit you and keep your budget intact. You may also prefer to use all-natural ingredients in your regular skincare routine.

Homemade skin treatments aren't a new idea. Thousands of years before commercial products were available, ancient Egyptians made powders, ointments and lotions by combining plant extracts with natural oils [source: Slapak]. In China, a combination of ground orange seeds and honey was used to help keep skin clear [source: National Honey Board]. And in the 2nd century, ancient Romans combined animal fats with starches to make facial creams [source: Fountain]. Now you can try this ancient idea on your own -- with a modern twist.

Even if cash is tight, a homemade face mask can leave you feeling pampered and relaxed right in the comfort of your own home. Want to take a break in the company of friends? Throw a homemade face mask party at your house.

Read on to find out which kind of face mask is the best choice for your skin type.


Types of Face Masks

When deciding what kind of face mask to use, consider your skin type. Natural ingredients in homemade masks can help alleviate certain skin problems.

For dry skin, try a mask that includes honey. This natural ingredient is a humectant, meaning that it will help skin retain moisture. This makes it a popular ingredient in moisturizing beauty products, especially because it's also easy on people with sensitive skin [source: National Honey Board].


To beat oily skin, try eggs -- but only the egg white, which is believed to firm up the skin by tightening pores. Egg yolks can be used in face masks but are better suited to dry skin [source: WebMD]. For a different approach, apply liquid milk of magnesia to the face and rinse off once it has dried. This longtime folk remedy is also thought to help clear up acne.

Those seeking an anti-aging remedy can turn to face masks that include olive oil or tea. Certain teas contain antioxidants, and when used on the skin they can help combat the sun's harmful effects, which eventually result in wrinkles [source: Mukhtar].

To exfoliate, use a face mask with oatmeal, sugar or cooled coffee grounds for extra scrubbing power. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells that can dull your skin's appearance. The result is skin that is fresh, smooth and relaxed.

On the other hand, if you want to soothe irritated or sunburned skin, try a mask that includes cooling cucumbers or milk. Apricot juice is another suggested option.

If you're looking for recipes that are suitable for each type of skin, read on.


Face Mask Recipes

Unlike a trip to a salon or the purchase of a face mask product, homemade masks are cheap since you likely have most of the necessary items in your refrigerator or pantry. Just gather the ingredients, mix and relax!

One popular option is a milk and honey face mask, which is used to combat dry skin. The honey content will help your skin retain moisture, while the milk should soothe irritated skin. Stir 4 tablespoons of powdered milk together with 2 tablespoons of warm water and 2 tablespoons of honey. Then carefully apply the mix to your face, being sure to keep it out of your eyes or mouth. Lay a warm, damp washcloth across your face for about 10 minutes. Use the washcloth to wipe the mixture off your face, then pat it dry [source: Woman's Day].


To combat oily skin while firming your pores, you might want to try this pore-tightening egg mask. Whip the whites of two eggs into a light foam. Spread a thin layer of the foam to your face. Allow the foam to become firm, then simply rinse the mask away [source: Lustig].

Green tea has long been thought of as an anti-aging tool. Making a face mask with the tea might help prevent or reduce the look of wrinkles. Dissolve a single teaspoon of green tea powder into a half teaspoon of water so you're left with a thin, smooth paste. Spread the paste across your face, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes and then rinse away [source: VivaWoman].

We all know exfoliation is key, so try this tomato facial to do just that. Puree one ripe tomato with a teaspoon each of lemon juice and instant oatmeal. Spread the mixture across your face, allowing it to set for about 20 minutes. Then rinse away to reveal fresh skin [source: Myers].

Are you a novice to using face masks? Keep reading for tips on how to best apply a face mask.


How to Apply a Face Mask

Most face masks, whether homemade or bought, seem straightforward: Simply smooth the mask onto your face, then rinse off after a period of time. But properly applying the mask can make a big difference.

Gently rub the face mask into your skin. The massaging motions will help increase blood flow, improving your skin's appearance [source: Goins]. To get the most of your massage, apply light pressure to your jaw line with your fingertips. Slowly move upward until you reach your forehead, then start again.


Other benefits of massage include a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, which can in turn lower blood pressure and boost your immune system, although this is more likely to occur if the massage covers more than your face [source: Ehrenfeld].

After the massage, let the mask set for about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the specific recipe instructions. Set a timer. When the appropriate time period has passed, rinse the mask off with warm water using a washcloth.

Don't be afraid to add other spa-like experiences to your home beauty regimen. In addition to facial massage, set the tone for your face mask by changing your surroundings. Dim the lights, gather a few candles and play some soft music. Relaxing in the tub for a warm soak while your mask is doing its magic can help you unwind by providing a stress-busting experience without the hefty price tag.

Ready to prepare your time of pampering and relaxation? To learn more, visit the links on the next page.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Ehrenfeld, Temma. "Five Surprising Benefits of Massage." Newsweek. Sept. 4, 2008. (Accessed 7/17/09).
  • Fountain, Henry. "Ancient Beauty Secrets." The New York Times. Nov. 9, 2004. (Accessed 7/17/09).
  • Goins, Liesa. "Make Yourself Beautiful On a Budget." WebMD. (Accessed 7/17/09)
  • Lustig, Andrea Pomerantz. "Best in Beauty." Glamour. April 2009. (Accessed 7/17/09)
  • Mukhtar, Hasan, Santosh Katiyar and Rarjesh Agarwal. "Green Tea and Skin -- Anticarcinogenic Effects." Journal of Investigative Dermatology. Vol. 102, 3-7. 1994.
  • Myers, Susanne. "Exfoliating Tomato Facial Mask." KinderInfo. (Accessed 7/17/09)
  • National Honey Board. "Beauty and Honey." (Accessed 7/17/09).
  • Slapak, Nahum. "How Ancients Improved On Their Natural Good Looks." The New York Times. Jan. 1, 1990. (Accessed 7/17/09)
  • VivaWoman. "DIY Beauty: Matcha Green Tea Facial Mask." 6/24/09. (Accessed 7/17/09)
  • Web MD. "Natural Skin Care Treatments." June 5, 2003. (Accessed 8/18/2009)
  • Woman's Day. "No Appointment Necessary." Dec. 23, 2008. (Accessed 7/17/09)