If you have normal to dry skin and keep it cleansed and toned regularly, you need only occasionally use face masks for deeper cleansing and conditioning. If your skin is particularly oily you could use a face mask about once a week to tone the skin, particularly after steaming the face. When you have chosen and made your recipe, spread the mask mixture evenly over clean skin, avoiding the delicate areas around the eyes and lips. Lie down and relax, leaving it on for about ten minutes or until it sets. Rinse off thoroughly with tepid water and apply toners or fresheners to enhance the tonic effect. Herbal infusions to suit your skin type can be mixed with fuller’s earth to make “mud” packs.
- An oatmeal face mask
- This recipe combines two ingredients-oat-meal and almonds-traditionally regarded as deep-cleansing agents that are highly beneficial to the complexion. You can use prepared almond meal or you can make it by grinding almonds to a fine powder in a blender or food processor. For a smoother-textured mask, substitute the special colloidal oatmeal sold at the drugstore. Refrigerate the leftover infusion and use it as a face wash.
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- 1 1/2 tablespoons regular oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon almond meal
Pour the boiling water over the rosemary, steep for 15 minutes, and strain. In a separate bowl, crumble the dried oatmeal with your fingers; then mix in the almond meal. Add just enough of the rosemary infusion to make a thick paste. To use the mask, first wash your face and steam it or apply a warm, wet washcloth for a few minutes. Gently spread the paste on your face, avoiding the eyes and lips. Leave the mask on for 15 to 30 minutes, letting it dry completely. Wash it off with a soft cloth soaked in lukewarm water.
An astringent mask. For oily skin, substitute an astringent, tannin-rich herb such as agrimony, lady’s-mantle, raspberry leaf, or yarrow for the rosemary.
A stimulating mask. Instead of rosemary, use peppermint, elderberry flower, eucalyptus leaf, or some other herb that has an invigorating effect on the skin.
A smoothing mask. To help soften rough, dry skin, heat 1 or 2 teaspoons flaxseed, kelp, or another mucilage-rich herb in water until it thickens. Then add it to the oatmeal-almond mixture instead of the rosemary infusion. Dampen the dry mixture with a little water first. Aloe vera gel can also be substituted.
A richer mask. For dry skin, substitute an egg yolk mixed with 1/4 cup honey for the rosemary infusion. If the mask is too thick to apply easily, add a little milk or yogurt.
- Papaya skin treatment
- The enzyme in papaya (a fruit that resembles a melon) helps remove dried flaky skin. Do not leave the papaya on your face too long, since it also tends to dry the skin.
- 1 wedge of papaya fruit
Cut a wedge from a ripe fruit and save the rest to eat. Scrape off the seeds. Scoop out the fruit pulp and mash it. Smooth the pulp over your face. After a couple of minutes, wipe it off with a washcloth. Splash your face with cool water.
MASKS FOR OILY SKIN
- Egg white and lemon face mask
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Beat the egg white stiff, and add a few drops of lemon juice and the honey.
- Brewer’s yeast and witch hazel face mask
- 4 oz (120 g) brewer’s yeast
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) witch hazel
- 2-3 drops peppermint oil
Mix together into a paste and apply.
- Strawberry face mask
- 4 oz (120 g) mashed fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) powdered milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
Mix together and apply. Rinse off with a little lemon juice or cider vinegar in warm water.
MASKS FOR DRY SKIN
- Brewers yeast and comfrey face mask
- 3 teaspoons (15 ml) ml strong comfrey leaf infusion
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast
- 1 teaspoon natural yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon avocado or olive oil
Blend together the honey and yeast. Then add the yogurt and comfrey, stirring until it makes a paste. Pat your face with the oil then apply the paste.
- Egg yolk and olive oil face mask
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Beat the two ingredients together, and apply.
LCO Herbal Reference Guide