Let's be honest: finding time for self-care rituals can be hard. Even in this blur of days and nights spent entirely at home, the obstacles to quiet relaxation are everywhere, especially if you have young children. I see you mama, cleaning up after a rotating sequence of crafting, snacking and science experiments, trying to focus on work in between and keep that fragile new vegetable garden alive. I'm right there with you.
Whipping up a little DIY skin care or giving yourself a pedicure just doesn't seem to make the weekly stay-at-home schedule. So let’s just say it took me more time than I expected to make and test these recipes (with a few little helpers at my side), and the process was definitely not Instagram-pretty. But as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I think it’s a perfect time to share this post in hopes that it inspires moms to enjoy what many of them need most: a little precious time alone…and a facial.
I had a few goals in mind when creating these recipes: they can be made with readily available ingredients and they address common skin concerns while supporting overall skin health. DIY doesn’t have to mean ineffective and while I certainly won’t promise the same results as a professional facial, these recipes will help give your skin--and your senses--a boost.
- Before you apply a mask, either do a facial steam (ask about our herbal facial steam packets) if you have the time or simply apply a warm, wet towel to your face to help open up your pores. And always apply after cleansing and removing makeup.
- You don’t need fancy equipment, you can use what have in your kitchen, just make sure it’s clean!
- These recipes make enough for 1-2 applications so you can share them with family members or if you’re doing this solo, you can always apply the extra to your neck and chest or even your upper back. I recommend using the masks fresh and not storing any for longer than 12 hours in the fridge.
Chocolate Mousse Mask
- ½ avocado (you can go ahead and use that extra one in the fridge as long as it hasn’t oxidized and browned too much)
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder
- Almond milk (or filtered water) as needed
Mash the avocado, then add the cacao powder and combine well. Add liquid (plant milk or water) until you get a soft mousse-like texture. Apply with your fingers and gently massage into the skin to give yourself an oil cleanse. You may leave this on for 5-10 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Apply toner and moisturize afterward.
Avocado is rich in vitamin E and nourishing fatty acids and cacao contains beneficial polyphenols (including caffeine). This mask is good for deep oil cleansing and for giving a gentle firming effect to the skin.
Who should use it:
This mask is recommended for everyone, though excessive oil cleansing may actually dry the skin by removing too many natural oils, so moderation is always wise.
Probiotic Enzyme Mask
- 1 tsp of yogurt with active live cultures (I like to use a local goat milk yogurt)
- 1 tsp of ripe papaya puree
- ½ tsp of raw honey
Mix all the ingredients together and apply over the face and neck. Allow the mask to sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Follow with your cleanser, toner and moisturizer.
The probiotics and lactic acid in yogurt make it a stellar choice for balancing the skin microbiome, gently removing dead skin cells and encouraging ceramide production. Papaya contains papain, a proteolytic enzyme that acts as a chemical exfoliant and can help brighten the complexion. Raw honey also contains beneficial enzymes and is a natural humectant, drawing moisture to the skin.
Who should use it:
This mask is particularly good for dry, dull skin. I do recommend some caution with using papaya since it can be an allergen. If you are allergic to papaya or latex, do not use it in this recipe. I suggest using ripe fruit since greener fruit contains more papain and could be more likely to cause a reaction. If you have very sensitive/reactive skin, you can leave out the papaya.
Kombucha Clay Mask
- 1/8 tsp of powdered matcha tea*
- 1 tsp green clay (or bentonite clay)
- Kombucha tea (unflavored) as needed
Mix the matcha powder and green clay together in a small bowl. Add kombucha slowly until a thin paste is formed. You can apply this mask with a brush or with your fingers. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes but keep the mask hydrated using a spritzer of water or toner so that it doesn’t harden on the skin. Rinse with warm water, follow with cleanser, toner and moisturizer.
*If you don’t have powdered matcha, you can use freshly brewed green tea (unflavored) and increase the amount of clay to balance the increased liquid ratio.
Green tea is a well-studied skin care ingredient with multiple benefits, in particular for regulating sebum production and as a topical hydrophilic antioxidant. By the way, you can get these benefits from drinking it too! In this mask, we combine fresh tea with fermented tea in the form of kombucha which contains probiotics, enzymes and B vitamins. The clay in this mask can help to unclog pores and remove build-up.
Who should use it:
This mask is great for breakout-prone skin and I’d recommend using it around ovulation if you are experiencing cyclical acne. Your pores begin to shrink right after ovulation and oil production increases in the following luteal phase, so extracting debris and excess sebum before this shift may help to prevent acne later in your cycle. This mask is also just a great antioxidant boost for all skin.
Ayurvedic Brightening Mask
- 1 tbsp chickpea flour (you can make your own by grinding dried chickpeas into a fine powder in a food processor)
- 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
- 1-2 tsp coconut water (or filtered water)
- 1/2 tsp cold-pressed oil or melted ghee*
*Ghee is clarified butter and is high in oleic and palmitic fatty acids. It also contains cholesterol which is a component of our skin’s lipid layer. Look for ghee made from grassfed, pastured butter. If you don’t have ghee or prefer a vegan option, you can use safflower, coconut or olive oil.
Mix chickpea flour and turmeric. Then add water to form a thin paste and lastly, add the melted ghee or oil and mix well. Apply with fingers or a brush and allow to sit on the skin for up to 10 minutes. Gently massage--really, gently--the face while rinsing with warm water for some physical exfoliation.
This mask contains ingredients with a long history of Ayurvedic traditional use. Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour or besan) is a good source of minerals and proteins that also provides soft exfoliation. Turmeric is of course a well-known anti-inflammatory which has also been studied for reducing skin hyperpigmentation. Ghee has been traditionally used to moisturize and fortify the skin barrier.
Who should use it:
I like this mask for perking up lackluster skin and also for anyone prone to hyperpigmentation. Remember that turmeric does stain and may leave behind a temporary yellow tinge on the skin, but it will come off with soap and water. If you are breakout-prone, you might want to avoid the ghee or coconut oil and use safflower or another seed oil instead. And always be careful with physical exfoliants on your facial skin--don’t scrub too hard or you could cause irritation and/or micro tears in the skin.
Upcycled Coffee + Coconut Scrub
(from Trash is for Tossers blog)
- 1 cup dried, used coffee grounds
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup coconut oil
- Essential oils of your choice (peppermint, cardamom or orange are lovely options)
Mix together all the ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use on damp skin in the shower or bath to exfoliate and moisturize. I love this on my legs and feet, or to soften my hands.
Soothing Foot Soak
- 2 tbsp epsom salts (magnesium sulfate)
- ¾ cup sea salt
- ½ tsp cold-pressed oil (safflower, almond, olive) mixed with:
- 12 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops sweet basil essential oil
- 8 drops juniper essential oil
- 10 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
If you don’t have these essential oils on hand, others that I would suggest include: orange, lime, tea tree, rosemary or peppermint.
Use 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture in a bowl or tub of very warm water and allow your feet to soak. Ahhhhh.
I’ve decided to include two of my favorite drinks for overall wellness and for boosting skin health. They also make the perfect opportunity for a peaceful pause and a simple, comforting ritual.
- 1 cup almond, coconut or cashew (my favorite) milk
- 1/2 knob of fresh turmeric root (adjust to taste)
- ½ knob of fresh ginger root (adjust to taste)
- 1-2 turns of fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 tsp ghee or coconut oil
- Honey to taste
Combine plant milk and coconut oil or ghee in a pan over low heat. Using a microplane zester, add the turmeric and ginger, then the black pepper. Allow to come to a very gentle simmer, then remove from heat and strain into a mug. Add honey to taste.
I like to drink this in the evening before bed, though you can also enjoy in the morning instead of a coffee. Turmeric and ginger both provide anti-inflammatory benefits, which the fat and the piperine in the black pepper help to activate. Golden milk is inspired by a traditional drink in India and turmeric tea is also popular in parts of Japan.
Hibiscus + Nettle Tea
- 2 tbsp dried nettle
- 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
- 3-4 tsp honey (optional)
- 8 cups filtered water
Add nettle and hibiscus to a pot of just-boiled water (2 cups approx.) and allow to steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain into a glass and then add honey and stir. Allow to cool and then add water to dilute. Serve with ice if desired and keep in the fridge. Note: This can also be enjoyed hot in smaller portions. For a single cup, I’d use about 1 tsp of nettle and ½ tsp of hibiscus.
Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers are used to make agua de jamaica throughout Mexico and are a great source of vitamin C. Best known for its immune boosting properties, vitamin C is also an important vitamin for vibrant skin as it critical to collagen synthesis. Stinging nettle (urtica dioica) is a beloved herb all over the world, often used to support women’s health. It is rich in iron, calcium and magnesium and vitamin K and is used as a uterine tonic and mild diuretic.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and find the right moment to incorporate them into your daily routine. And if you're not a mother but are celebrating yours, please share! If you aren't able to see each other in person right now, how about setting up a little virtual mom-daughter spa time?
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to find me--by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Instagram or Facebook.