If you browse through the internet, you’re sure to discover many recipes for homemade face masks, many of which are bizarre and often gross concoctions of ingredients like tomato, banana and egg, which you’d never dream of putting on your face, let alone rinse down the sink, clogging up the drains (trust me: been there, done that). I’ve done some experimenting and, with the help of some research, discovered three natural – and hopefully less offensive – ingredients that are like the ‘superfoods for the skin’. I’d recommend combining them and using as a mask once a week for maximum benefits. Also note that all these ingredients are edible; it’s a good rule to abide by – don’t put anything onto your face that you wouldn’t eat, and vice versa.
MEET THE HEALERS:
Active Manuka Honey – AKA Liquid Gold
Active Manuka honey is probably the best form of honey you can buy; it contains all of honey’s benefits in a highly concentrated form. Despite it being quite pricey (I mean – you really do get what you pay for) you only use a little. One of Manuka honey’s best traits is that it’s a natural antimicrobial, basically like an antibacterial gel used on wounds. It’s due to the bioactivity or ‘unique Manuka factor’ (UMF), because of all its nutrients, vitamins, minerals and amino acids which make it a golden and gloopy syrup of healing goodness (…very much like Lucy Pevensie’s cordial in The Chronicles of Narnia, where only a single drop could cure almost any wound or illness). Hospitals frequently use it, as it stimulates the immune system, thus providing the nutrients needed for cells and tissues to repair. Manuka honey’s main benefits for the skin are: hydration, rejuvenation, healing, nourishment and protection. If acne’s an issue for you, Manuka honey’s going to be your best super weapon! One note of caution – always buy a reputable brand of Manuka honey from a supermarket or Health Shop you trust, to ensure you’re buying the real deal (yes, there are fakes out there!)
Raw/ Organic/ Local Honey – AKA Manuka’s Little Cousin
Not to worry if you somehow can’t fathom purchasing the ‘cream of the crop’; if your honey includes any of the above words in the description, it will have similar benefits to Manuka, just a little more diluted. Think of it like comparing double concentrate squash with Asda’s own brand – both do the trick, one’s just a little stronger.
MEET THE HYDRATOR:
Coconut Oil – AKA Solution to All Your Problems
If you’ve never heard of coconut oil, it will change your life FOREVER! Sun burn? Coconut oil. Dry skin? Coconut oil. Run out of mouthwash? Coconut oil. No cleanser? Coconut oil. BFF playing up? Coconut oil (haha!). Ideally buy the jar with the shining words ‘cold-pressed, raw, and organic’ on the label, as this will have the most benefits. It hydrates, smooths and soothes the skin – try saying that 10 times in a row! 100g of coconut oil contains the hydrating properties of 0.1 mg of vitamin E – which is paramount for healthy skin growth, repairing ‘broken’ skin, keeping skin smooth, and one you’ll thank yourself for in later years: premature wrinkle prevention. If in doubt, go get some coconut oil! Bear in mind coconut oil is a solid until it reaches 24°C, hence why it comes in jars.
MEET THE EXFOLIATOR:
Cinnamon – AKA Spice of All Spices
I know it’s used in cooking to make dishes taste DELICIOUS, but topical application claims to rid you of various skin concerns, including pimples and eczema. When mixed with its fellow ‘skin superfoods’ it can de-clog pores, dry out acne scars, and bring oxygen and blood to the skin surface. This mega spice also contains antiseptic properties, which means it can kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin. It is able to improve the quality, texture, tone and complexion of skin. When massaged into the skin, it acts as an exfoliant, which means it scrubs away dead skin cells and brightens skin. Hello healthy skin!
(for one whole face application)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
MAKING THE MASK:
- Melt the coconut oil, I do this in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, for about 20 secs.
- Mix the honey and cinnamon in with the coconut oil, beating until well combined.
- Cleanse your face, removing all dirt. You can use coconut oil to do this, or just your usual cleanser. Pat dry with a clean towel.
- Fill a medium-sized heatproof bowl with a couple of inches of boiling water. Being extremely careful, hover your face about an inch above the surface of the water, to catch all the steam. Wait here for 3-5 mins, this will allow your pores to open and the mask to work to its full effect.
- Apply the mask in an even layer across your skin. It should make enough for one thin layer.
- Massage in for 2 minutes, this will mildly exfoliate your face. Then, leave to sit for 20 mins, resisting the temptation to lick it all off!
- Before rinsing, massage in for a further minute or two. Rinse off with warm water, then splash briefly with cold water to close up your pores. Gently pat dry again with a clean towel.
- Follow up with a moisturiser. You can use more coconut oil, as this will do the trick.
For more tips on how to care for teenage skin, be sure to read my ‘Basic Skincare: Teenage Acne‘ blog post. Remember that skin care is important if you want great skin in the future, so take care of your skin now to reap the benefits later on!