Fantastic Homemade Facial Masks

by Irene Helen Zundel

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The skin is your body's largest organ, and an extremely sensitive one at that! It is affected both by outer influences (such as cold, heat, and ultraviolet radiation) and internal ones (such as stress).

On the average, the skin produces millions of new cells every day, and regenerates itself completely every 30 to 40 days. After the age of 35, however, the skin's natural rejuvenating process slows considerably. At this time, the skin can benefit from a facial mask.

There are generally two types of facial masks. Relaxing masks moisturize the skin and refresh the complexion, while stimulating masks promote blood flow and smooth and firm the skin.

Here are some general tips and easy recipes for homemade facials:

  • Cleanse your face before applying a mask, using a toner. (Witch hazel is an effective and inexpensive choice).

  • Use soft water or distilled water when possible when making a mask. Hard water high in minerals, may irritate the skin or provoke an allergic reaction. If you must use tap water, boil it first.

  • Apply the mask by beginning at the chin area and moving up to the cheeks and forehead. Apply the nose next, moving outward toward the cheeks. Be sure to leave space around the mouth, eyes, and eyebrows. Finally, spread the mask on your throat, moving from bottom to top.

  • Three great natural ingredients for facial masks are strawberries, honey, and whole wheat flour.

  • Strawberries are used in stimulating masks. They gently refresh and exfoliate the skin, remove impurities, and reduce redness and swelling.

  • Honey has antibacterial properties, so it is great for disinfecting and healing minor blemishes. It is also gentle on sensitive skin.

  • Whole wheat flour is great for sloughing off dead skin. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental toxins. It is reputed to slow the aging process of the skin and to give it a fresh, new appearance.

Strawberry Mask

4 to 5 very ripe, medium size strawberries
2 teaspoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon honey

Rinse the strawberries in lukewarm water, and dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. In a small bowl, mash the fruit with a fork. Add the cream and honey, mixing well. Leave on for 20 minutes

People with sensitive or sunburned skin might find the strawberries irritating. Test on a small patch of skin first to assess your skin's reaction.

Whole Wheat Flour Mask

1 quart water
peels from one or two oranges
4 teaspoons dried or 8 teaspoons fresh rose petals
6 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons of rose water
2 teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons of whole wheat flour

Boil the water and remove from heat. Add the orange peels and rose petals. Cover the pan and allow them to steep until the water is lukewarm or cool. In a separate pan, heat the milk, floral water, and honey. Remove from heat. Add the flour and whisk everything together into a thick paste.

Apply the warm paste to the face and neck. Leave on 15-20 minutes. Wash the mask off carefully with the rose-orange water. Pat dry, and add a moisturizer.

Here are four super easy masks for every skin type:

  • For normal to dry skin, mix together 2 to 3 teaspoons of bran, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 egg yolk.

  • For oily skin, mix together 1 egg yolk and a few drops of lemon juice.

  • For dry skin, mix together 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of honey and a few drops of strong chamomile tea (cooled).

  • For dehydrated skin, squeeze juice from half a cucumber and mix with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Ms. Zundel is a freelance writer, homeschooling parent, and publisher of a monthly educational newsletter.

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