Over the years of my acne-healing journey, I have tried a lot of things. First, I started with high-end skincare in hopes that the big price tag will heal my skin like a miracle. Then I went through a little obsession with the Sephora skincare selection, where all the pretty bottles instantly give you hopes for clear skin. I have also tried a lot of over the counter products and got quite creative with my homemade masks.
But surprisingly, after some time, my overcrowded shelves got much emptier. I believe my overconsumption of beauty products at some point turned me into a skincare minimalist. I have found the fundamental ingredients that are simple, affordable and effective. Today I am going to share with you my favourite DIY masks using these ingredients to help to keep your skin clean and healthy.
BASIC CLAY MASK
If you have oily skin that quickly gets congested – a stash of clay powder at home is a must! Honestly, pure clay powder is so underrated when it comes to skincare, as we are always looking for the more expensive and mainstream options first.
There are a lot of different types of clay, and some of their health benefits can vary, but they all do the same thing – soothe and heal the skin by removing excessive oil. The colour of the clay depends on which part of the world it has been harvested and usually comes in pink, white, green, blue and black. I am a big fan of Russian clay, as I find it very effective but not overdrying for the skin.
Another useful and accessible alternative for Russian clay is Aztec Indian Healing Clay which is bentonite clay that comes from Death Valley in California. I find this clay is quite drying for my skin, so I wouldn’t use it, as often as I use my Russian clay.
The preparation is straightforward. Just take the powder clay and add water. Make sure not to put too much water, as you don’t want it to be runny. You need to make it a cream-like consistency, and usually, you won’t need a lot of water for that. Mix well and apply straight away on the oily zone of your face. If your skin naturally is quite dry, you can try to add Jojoba oil into your mixture. Myself, I like to use the oil after the mask to keep my skin nice and moist.
Don’t use a metal utensil or bowl when mixing your mask, as it can react to clay, reducing some of its health properties.
Clay masks can be drying for even oily skin type if they are not used properly. Doesn’t matter for how long you have your clay mask on, it’s important not to let it dry on your skin. I like to put my clay mask on right before I take a bath. Thanks to the wet air, the clay doesn’t get to dry on my skin thoroughly. Other times, I use a face mist. I spray it on my face every 2-3 mins to make sure that clay stays nice and soft.
Bentonite clay is made mostly of montmorillonite derived from volcanic ash. One of the dominant minerals in the clay determines its name, calcium bentonite or sodium bentonite. The clay works by performing an ion exchange by attracting the positive charge toxins, bacteria, chemicals, and leaving behind minerals.
Bentonite clay is very alkaline, and when it mixed with just water, it can go very lumpy and hard to apply. That’s why its best to add apple cider vinegar in it. ACV contains many anti-inflammatory properties and is very acidic. When it mixed with alkaline bentonite clay, it creates a perfectly smooth deep-cleansing mask.
In a small glass or wooden bowl with a spatula mix together 1 tsp of clay, 1/2 tsp of ACV. Add water if required. Don’t forget to shake up your organic ACV to make sure to get the mother in the mixture also. Apply to the skin straight away and follow the same instructions mentioned before.
P.S I don’t recommend using this particular mask while you are having a hot bath, as the fumes from the ACV can get in your eyes and ruin the whole experience. Also, if you naturally have sensitive skin, I recommend that you go for a Russian clay instead.
ALGAE BRIGHTENING FACE MASK
For this mask, you can use most of the green superfood powders that you can find at the health store. My favourite choices are spirulina and chlorella, which belong to the algae family.
Chlorella powder is packed with phytonutrients that help to repair your skin cells and improve its appearance. Spirulina is packed with vital ingredients for glowing skin: vitamins A, C, E, K, several Bs, zinc, copper, potassium, selenium, calcium and many more. These beautiful ingredients could be used on its own or together. It’s really up to you!
I like to mix algae powders with honey and lemon juice. Both of these ingredients have antibacterial properties and help with blackheads.
You will need 1 tsp raw honey, 1 tsp chlorella, 1 tsp spirulina and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. 1/2 tsp of water is optional.
Mix your powders first, then add honey. Then add lemon juice and if you are not happy with the consistency, add some water. Apply immediately. Leave it on your face for about 15-20 mins and then wash it off.
LIFTING ALGINATE MASK
Alginate is a popular skincare ingredient used in the spa salons. Its formulated with alginic acid salts extracted from brown seaweeds. These salts can absorb water quickly and bind with it, forming a viscous gum. When it’s modified into the mask and applied on the face, it leaves a tightening effect on the skin. Regular use of alginate masks makes the skin smoother, unclog pores, reduce puffiness and improves face contour.
There are a lot of spa brands on the market that sell alginate powders combined with other natural ingredients. I have been using the one from Anskin brand that has a selection of alginate peel-off masks for different skin types. The application can be very tricky, so you will have to practise several times until you master it.
Typically, modelling mask applies on the entire face including neck. If you do this for the very first time, do just the face, including lips. To do this, you need 25 grams of the mask. Put the mask in a bowl. Add some water at room temperature in ration 1:1.5 and mix with a spatula until a smooth texture is formed. The mask should be applied quickly, or it will begin to solidify in the bowl. Cover the whole face leaving thick ages that will allow you to pull the mask off easily in one piece.
Before applying the mask, thoroughly clean your face and use your favourite serum. Alginate mask will allow deeper penetration of active ingredients of your serum by creating a tight layer on your skin.
ACTIVATED CHARCOAL + MATCHA MASK
Activated charcoal has highly absorbent properties and can suck out all the dirt and impurities from your skin. When it used on its own, it can be very drying for the skin, that’s why it performs best when it mixed with matcha green tea.
Matcha has remarkable antioxidant properties and helps to fight free radicals and UV radiation. Comparing to the charcoal, it has a more moisturising effect, that’s why when it mixed, it creates a perfect solution for a tired, congested skin that needs a pick-up.
For the first time, use a 1:1 ratio to get the idea of how your skin reacts to the mask. Depending on your skin type the next time you will know which powder you want to use less/more.
Slowly add water to the powder mix to get the paste-like consistency. Make sure you add it gradually to avoid it become too wet or too chunky.
Apply on your face using a spatula, avoid the eye area. Leave it on for the 15-20 minutes then wash it off. Apply moisturiser. I recommend using Emu oil which has amazing healing properties and helps to reduce acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
If you click on the products mentioned throughout this article, it will take you to the Amazon. I have put together my own idealist for my readers to make it easier to find and purchase all the products mentioned above. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Have a nice skin and happy shopping! XX