My Story: Homemade Masks and Scrubs

contributed by Zoe

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Making your own facial masks and scrubs is really easy, really fun, and really inexpensive. Many of the ingredients that make up a scrub or facial you probably already have in your kitchen or bathroom, but you may find yourself visiting bulk stores and natural food stores to find new ingredients to experiment with.


Before you decide whether you want to make a scrub or a mask, you need to know the difference between the two. A scrub generally contains scrubby bits to exfoliate away dead skin, but a mask may as well. A mask is left on for about ten minutes and may or may not "harden." A mask contains an ingredient that needs to stay on your skin for several minutes for full benefit. Some of these are yogurt (plain, full fat, unsweetened), honey (astringent), green tea powder, (macha tea contains anti-oxidants that are great for your skin), aspirin (combats acne) banana (moisturizing) and avocado (moisturizing).

Why aspirin? Aspirin (even the generic types) contains a type of salicylic acid, which is great for keeping acne away. Use one aspirin per mask. If you're preparing a large batch of your mask, try to figure about one aspirin per mask. If you use more, it will sting and dry out your skin. Aspirin masks should only be used once a week, and people with very dry skin may want to avoid aspirin masks. You don't need to crush the pills; simply place a drop of water on the pill and it will turn to powder within a few minutes.

An aspirin mask can be as simple as aspirin mixed with honey and/or yogurt and spread on the face for ten minutes. When you wash mask off, you can use the little aspirin bits to scrub your skin. Here's my favorite aspirin mask recipe:

One aspirin
One large tablespoon of plain, full-fat yogurt
One teaspoon green tea powder
One small teaspoon of honey

Whisk the above ingredients together. You can make a large batch, as it will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

If my skin is feeling dry and oily, I use this recipe:

One aspirin
One tablespoon olive oil or almond oil (or any oil, really)
One tablespoon ripe, mashed banana
One teaspoon green tea powder


When making a scrub, avoid using honey alone as a base, as you will find it very hard to spread. Scrubs really just need to, well, scrub.

Choose a base: I typically use olive oil. You can use honey mixed with an oil of your choice; you can also use yogurt or mashed banana, although I prefer those in a mask.

Choose a grit: A trip to your local bulk food store should give you plenty of ideas! You can use coarse, organic sugar or coarse sea or kosher salt. You can also use cornmeal or oats passed through a blender. You can use dry, ground tea leaves or dried flowers (food grade).

When you're done with your mask or scrub, you can use a mild cleanser to wash it away. Follow up with a moisturizer. I just use plain shea butter.

Less than a month after switching from commercial soaps, scrubs, masks and moisturizers, my face has gone from being acne and dry skin prone (around my nose and forehead) to being smooth and small-pored.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

Take the Next Step:

  • Stop forgoing your favorite beauty treatments just because you're on a tight budget. Check out the TDS Guide to Beauty on a Budget and learn the tricks to pampering yourself for pennies.

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