Dermatologist-Approved Beauty Recipes to Help You Recover from the Summer
Whether it’s #selfcareSunday or not, our social media feeds are flooded with a slew of face mask selfies. Though most of the pictures we double-tap on Instagram feature formulas we can find on store shelves, we are seeing more and more selfies popping up with homemade masks. And, with recipes a mere Google search away, it’s easy to stir something up to slather on straight from the kitchen. Which leads us to wonder, which DIY beauty recipes can actually work a world of good for sun-beaten skin?
As you may have suspected, just because it comes from our fridge doesn’t mean it’s meant to go on our faces. Many of the most common ingredients in DIY masks can actually cause irritation and, in some instances, serious damage to our skin. That’s why many dermatologists advise against using them. “I think people have to be really careful about what they’re putting on and know the ingredients before they start liberally putting things on their face,” says Mona Gohara, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. “It’s not just a consequence of the [skin] barrier, it’s actual consequences to the skin that will make it look worse than what you’re trying to fix.”
That said, there are still ways to get a glow with the goodies in your cabinets without sabotaging your skin. To help you find the right recipe for your end-of-summer complexion concerns, Gohara advised us on what ingredients you should skip and what actives are less likely to leave you with a bad reaction.
The Actives You Should Avoid: Acids & Bases
Vitamin C is a trusted beauty ingredient that makes dark spots disappear, but straight lemon or lime juice can cause severe irritation because of their natural acidity. Not to mention the fact that things can get much worse if you step out afterward when it’s sunny out. “Putting [an active] in its purest forms on your face is never a good idea,” Gohara says. “Lemons and limes are actually photosensitizing agents, and if you use them and put them on, they will potentially give you blotchy spots on your face from it.”
On the other side of the pH spectrum, baking soda is often used as an exfoliant as well as an acne spot treatment, but can strip the skin’s moisture barrier and its natural bacteria, which can lead to a bad breakout. “It all comes back to how far you’re pulling the skin from its normal or natural pH,” she says. “The further you pull it away, the more you can destroy the skin barrier and create irritation and inflammation.”
Other ingredients to nix: Spices & The Risk of Salmonella
Turmeric has recently become a big beauty ingredient thanks to its purported anti-inflammatory properties, making it extra-appealing for people with acne-prone skin. Gohara says you’re better off sipping it instead of slathering it on your face since the at-home masks using the ingredient tend to tint the skin. (Does anyone remember the results of Daisy Ridley’s turmeric mask?) “Turmeric is good when you ingest it,” Gohara says. “It has a lot of antioxidants and a lot of studies that show it has anti-carcinogenic properties.”
Cinnamon might be sprinkled on a latte or a plate of French toast, but it shouldn’t go near your skin. As anyone who has played with plumping glosses knows, most are formulated with the spice to stimulate blood flow to help your lips look poutier. It can also make your face feel like it’s on fire; as Gohara put it, “Cinnamon can actually give you burns on the skin because of its pH.”
As for the risk of salmonella, that comes courtesy of the raw eggs that are often incorporated into masks meant to tighten and firm. But Gohara argues that they’re better off in a frying pan rather than your face, saying, “I just don’t want to put raw eggs on my face for some crazy reason.”
The Ingredients That Work Well
That doesn’t mean you have to clear the cupboards to get a gorgeous complexion. Gohara points to a number of beneficial ingredients you can stir up that truly feed your face, including honey, sugar, oatmeal, milk, and yogurt, as they’re all less likely to harm the skin. To help put your best face forward, you’ll find a few face mask recipes ahead with the help of LOLI Beauty that won’t leave you red in the face.
Honey Avocado Mask
If you’re looking for a hydrating, softening, anti-aging solution to your end-of-summer woes, you’re in the right place. As a natural humectant, honey helps hold in hydration while its antibacterial properties and antioxidants make it a must for a flawless face. When combined with avocado, it maximizes moisture and slows down skin aging, making it worth whipping up once a week.
1. Cut 2-3 avocados in half. Discard the pits.
2. Using your hands, pull out the avocado and mash it up. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Add 1/4 cup of honey to your avocado mix.
4. Use a muddler or masher to blend the mixture together.
5. Scoop out of a bowl and into a jar to keep in the fridge where it can stay fresh for three to five days.
Rub onto your face with your hands. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water.
Sugar Lip Scrub
Although sugar is usually used to slough off dead skin, Gohara says it’s best to use sugar scrubs in moderation on other areas of the body, as the microtears it creates can turn into hyperpigmentation on people of color. But she doesn’t have a problem using a pinch to smooth your lips since sugar retains moisture. “It’s a light exfoliant that doesn’t taste bad and is okay to ingest,” she says, but notes that it’s better to use a refined sugar to reduce the risk of mini abrasions that can come with irregular granules of raw sugar. Take your sugar scrub a step further and mix the granules with a little coconut oil (like in this past Brit + Co recipe), and your kisser will feel soft and smooth.
1. In your bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of honey. Mix until you are left with a rich, thick, and smooth consistency.
2. Add two firmly packed tablespoons of brown sugar to your base and mix until it is completely integrated and coated, forming a paste. Adjust the sugar-to-base ratio to achieve your desired scrub consistency.
3. Scoop the lip scrub out of the bowl and into your glass container with a lid.
Before each use, let the scrub sit out and adjust to room temperature to soften up before applying to your pout. To use, apply a generous amount of the scrub to your lips in a circular motion. Let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes and then remove with a warm washcloth.
Matcha Face Mask
Aside from aloe, milk is one of the best home remedies for a bad sunburn. Milk protein does your body good by calming irritated skin while delivering a much-needed dose of hydration and reducing peeling. Its consistency might work better as a toner, but using it in the form of a low-sugar yogurt in this LOLI Beauty recipe not only keeps your mask in place while the matcha and clay help detoxify, but the yogurt’s probiotics also can help keep breakouts at bay.
1. Add the powder ingredients into a small bowl.
2. Stir in the yogurt a little at a time make to make a paste.
If there’s no time to blend, start with LOLI Beauty’s Matcha Coconut Paste Mask and add 1 to 2 teaspoons of coconut yogurt or plain yogurt.
Apply the paste to clean, damp skin. Rest for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash off with warm water.
Oatmeal Face Mask
Sitting in a bathtub of oatmeal to keep us from scratching our chicken pox was likely the first time we were all clued into how amazing the grains are for the skin. It’s also a common ingredient in beauty buys that soothe dry skin, including conditions such as sunburns, insect bites, and even eczema. And when its powers combine with some of the other key ingredients mentioned above in this Loli recipe, they create a concoction to nourish and calm skin.
1. Blend the oats or oatmeal with the slightly warmed milk (for a vegan recipe, use the listed nut milks).
2. Stir until the mixture forms a thick paste.
3. Mix in the rose water and yogurt.
If there’s no time to blend, start with LOLI Beauty’s Purple Corn Grains as a base and add 2 teaspoons yogurt.
Apply to clean, damp skin, including the décolletage or your neck. Rest for 15 to 30 minutes for extra skin-calming benefits. Rinse well with tepid water.
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(Photos via Global Stock, Westend61/Getty)