Unmasking DIY Face Masks
  • June 4, 2016
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    I’m terrible with routine skin care. From putting sunscreen on to taking the extra three minutes at night to make toner a part of my face washing habits, I am just the worst. And I know how badly my skin needs some love.  But because I can’t justify the cost of an expensive skin care routine when I know I’m not going to stick with it diligently, my ears perked up when I heard about a DIY face mask event at Fresh Thyme, hosted by Sarah Baker, certified plant-based nutrition & health coach and holistic business consultant. The tips she gave us were totally affordable and so much more simple than I had expected.

    Sarah had so much knowledge about the skin’s properties and what was the right balance of each of these ingredients. She gave a couple recipes and few more tips on what to look for when creating our own masks at home. I’m excited to try out her suggestions, but I am not the kind of expert that she is. If you’re super interested in DIY skin care, I encourage you to educate yourself on what the best ingredients and proportions are for your skin.

    The basics

    You don’t need to purchase much to have a fully stocked mask-ready pantry, but do get yourself a clay base like this one. The clay in and of itself helps to brighten and tighten skin, and you can mix it with whatever other ingredients you want for your other specific skin needs.

    Selecting your mask

    When building your own face mask, take a look at your skin and decide  what does it need?

    If your skin is more dry, mix your clay mask with sesame or coconut oil. Sarah explained she likes sesame oil best because it matches the chemistry of skin better than other oils, soaks in more, and doesn’t leave a film afterwards. However, coconut oil will also soothe the skin.

    If you’re experiencing breakouts or are prone to acne, mix the clay with apple cider vinegar and honey instead of oils and water as they are natural antibiotics for the skin. Honey especially can help with inflammation. For spot treatment of pimples, break up an aspirin and use it on the spot. It calms redness and dries it out.

    To detoxify and brighten your skin, simply using Aztec clay (see link above) will help to pull out impurities. Adding lemon juice will also add brightening and clarifying properties to a mask. I’ve never thought of clarifying my skin after a night of drinking, but our skin can soak up toxins much like our livers do. Side note: essential oils used in a steamer are also great sources for detoxification (and help with hangovers). Sarah recommends a blend of rosemary, sage, and thyme to detox and brings blood flow to skin.

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    Aztec Clay Mask Recipe:

    • 1 tbsp clay
    • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp honey

    During our tutorial, we used matcha tea powder as the base for another mask. Matcha has chlorophyll in it which helps cleanse heavy metals from the skin. Adding a natural aloe product to the mask mixture also helps after sunburn to soothe and brighten the skin.

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    Matcha Face Mask Recipe:

    • 3 tsp- Matcha Tea Powder
    • 1 tsp Coconut oil or 1 tsp aloe vera gel
    • 1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
    • (For extra dry skin – add 1 tsp sesame oil)

    The full DIY routine

    The full at-home facial experience can be a mixture of steaming the face with essential oils (the blend of oils dependent on what you need, i.e. more focus and clarity, more relaxation, or hangover aid) and a DIY mask.

    You can pick and choose whatever aspects of the process below you have time for in your busy schedule. Happy clarifying!

    1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
    2. Steam your face to open your pours (either with just water or with an oil blend) You can also pour hot water over a towel and cover your face with it if you don’t have a steamer
    3. Now that the skin is primed for a mask, use whichever kind of blend your skin needs and leave it on long enough to dry
    4. Gently remove the mask and finish with a lightweight moisturizer

    About Maggie Umberger

    Maggie moved to Chicago in 2014 from North Carolina, a proud Tar Heel at heart. She began her career in advertising but was equally passionate about her fitness endeavors, and ended up spending as much time instructing yoga and other types of fitness as much as in her advertising job. Now she works full-time with aSweatLife to continue to grow our community of amazing fellow fitness junkies in Chicago. And when she’s not running around with Jeana making #Sweatworking happen or instructing corporate and private yoga classes, you can find her leading bootcamp classes at ENRGi Fitness and vinyasa classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga and Yoga Six.