Live Like a Heroine

Kitchen Beauty: Customizing Masks with The Glow

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As a skincare minimalist, I use very little products on a daily basis. So masks are a once-a-week treat for me which I really celebrate, where I can go all out and experiment with different ingredients to suit my skin’s needs. #MaskingMonth

The base of my masks is usually our Cleansing Clay, which is made up of fine pink clay, hibiscus powder, aloe vera, papaya, and apple extracts as well as white willow bark. That alone has enough ingredients to slough away dead skin cells, promote cell turnover, and refine the complexion. But then comes the fun part: customizing.

As my skin tends to be dry and sensitive, my go-to recipe is to mix the clay with full-fat organic yogurt and a spoonful of honey (manuka if I’m feeling fancy!). If my skin isn’t feeling particularly sensitive and looks a little lackluster, I add a little splash of lemon juice or even puréed fruits like apple, strawberry to the mix. Fruit and honey add alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) to your mask, while yogurt delivers lactic acid and probiotics, so these are ingredients you’re probably familiar with from your regular skincare products, only here they’re available in very gentle doses and completely unpreserved and natural. Obviously, using whole ingredients delivers more than just isolated actives, they offer vitamins, antioxidants, polyphenols, and a lot of other valuable nutrients at the same time.

Here’s a little inspiration for your DIY mask, feel free to make it up as you go along and trust your instincts. You’ll find most of the ingredients in your pantry.
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BASE
Use clay to give the mask some body and of course for its cleansing properties. Kaolin, ghassoul, red, pink, or green clay will all work well. But beware, clay can dry skin out if you’re prone to that. A good alternative is fine ground oatmeal. It’s a great ingredient for sensitive and very dry skin and has a calming, soothing effect. Alternatively, you can just drop the base and go straight to the moisture and actives part. 
MOISTURE
Stir into your base until the mask has the desired texture:
 
Hydrosols – Instead of water, use a hydrosol, it contains the plant’s healing or nourishing properties. Rose, neroli, chamomile, lavender, and immortelle are all great for sensitive skin. Witch hazel, peppermint or sage are perfect for inflamed, acne-prone skin.
 
Plant milk – Using oat or almond milk are great ingredients to add to your mask as they’re soothing and anti-inflammatory and more moisturizing than plain water.
 
Aloe Vera – as juice, gel (be sure to check the ingredients for preservatives and sugar!) or even better: get yourself an aloe plant and harvest the leaves fresh. A sunny spot by the window and a little water now and then are all your plant needs. Then cut off the leaves and extract the gel like a filet. You can find tutorials on youtube. Aloe Vera is one of the oldest known medicinal plants and has great moisturizing, calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients around.
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ACTIVES
Now add a few actives according to your skin’s needs:
 
Fruit – use fruit that is in season, bonus points for produce that grows in your regions. You’ll be reaping the full benefits of it when it’s ripe and hasn’t been transported around the world. Great fruits for masking are apples (think malic acid!), strawberries for their Vitamin C content and gentle acidity, papaya (scrap the fruit close to the peel to get to the amazing enzyme papain, which helps dissolve dead skin cells). Generally, every fruit that doesn’t stain (hello, blueberries!) and isn’t too acidic will be fine. Obviously, you can also add vegetables, cucumber and avocado are the most common choice. Cucumber is high moisturizing and calming, whereas avocado is highly nourishing and offers great fatty acids.
 
Herbs – Rosemary, Thyme, Peppermint, Chamomile are great choices for their anti-inflammatory properties. You can pick them fresh from your window sill and grind them up before you add them to your mask. Parsley is especially good for acne-prone skin. If you’re using dry herbs, it’s best to make an infusion, i.e. a strong tea of the herbs and add the cooled-down liquid to stir up your mask. I find that adding spices like Curcuma (turmeric) and cinnamon isn’t such a good idea, as it’s easy to overdose. Turmeric will stain your skin and cinnamon is too stimulating.
 
Matcha powder – one of the strongest sources of antioxidants, but don’t use too much, as it’s quite activating. A pinch is fine.
 
Cocoa – a great source of polyphenols and antioxidants and packed full of minerals like magnesium, copper, and zinc. Again, it’s slightly staining, so don’t use too much
 
Honey and agave syrup – brightening, calming and makes your skin look plump and moisturized. Honey especially has mildly exfoliating enzymes and is known for it’s healing properties.
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Start mixing and share your skincare recipes on Instagram @muse_and_heroine.
All Credits Ph: The Glow.