The sun is shining, the humidity is rising, and your face is having a bad case of the seasonal sorrows. Before you head to the store or spa for a solution, consider this: if it’s good enough to eat, it’s more than good enough to put on your skin. We asked Janice Cox, natural beauty expert and author of EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends, for her four favorite summer flaw-fixing mask recipes.
If you have: Dry, damaged, dull skin
Try: Blueberry Antioxidant Face Mask
Why it works: “Blueberries are packed with powerful antioxidants that target free radicals, which can wreak havoc on skin cells,” explains Cox. They also hold ellagic acid, a powerful polyphenol that can actually reduce inflammation and skin thickening caused by previous sun damage, and ingredients that can protect skin from future wrinkles caused by UVB rays. Meanwhile, yogurt provides lactic acid for gentle exfoliation and smoothing, and lemon helps brighten the skin.
8 to 10 blueberries
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mash blueberries together with the yogurt and lemon juice. After cleansing, spread the entire mixture on your face, neck, and chest, avoiding the area around your eyes. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water and pat skin dry.
If you have: Blackheads and clogged pores
Try: Espresso Face Mask
Why it works: “The milk and coffee contain naturally occurring acids that help rid your skin of surface debris and dead skin cells, and the cocoa powder helps condition and soothe your complexion,” says Cox. Added bonus: Caffeine instantly firms skin.
¼ cup finely ground coffee, preferably espresso roast
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup whole milk
Stir all of the ingredients together until you have a smooth paste. Spread the entire mixture over your face and neck, avoiding your eye area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water.
If you have: Redness and sensitive skin
Try: Soothing Facial Mask
Why it works: “Whole milk yogurt is full of natural fats and proteins that cool and calm irritated skin,” says Cox, making this a great mask for soothing post-beach skin or sunburns. As a natural humectant, honey provides extra moisture and nourishment.
¼ cup plain whole yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons honey
Stir yogurt and honey together until smooth. Spread the mixture over your face, neck, or any other irritated or sunburned area. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water.
If you have: Acne or breakouts
Try: Fresh Strawberry Mask
Why it works: “Strawberries contain salicylic acid, which is a key ingredient in many over-the-counter acne medications,” says Cox. They gently exfoliate skin while the honey kills bacteria that may be causing the inflammation. Additionally, egg white instantly tightens pores and creates a matte finish.
½ cup fresh strawberries
2 teaspoons honey
1 egg white
Put all of the ingredients in a blender on high speed until smooth. Spoon the mixture into a clean container with a tight-fitting lid and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Spread over your face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders (or anywhere else you may have breakouts). Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water.
Which natural face mask do you swear by?
About the Author:Karina Giglio is a lifestyle, beauty and health writer whose work has appeared in numerous national publications including Women’s Health, Washingtonian, Ladies Home Journal, OK!, Allure, Fitness, Marie Claire, Bride’s and The New York Post. She was a regular contributor to makeup.com, and her articles and blog posts can be found on prevention.com, dailyglow.com, yahoo.com and huffingtonpost.com. Karina has worked onstaff at Cosmopolitan and YM, as well as being part of the original Sephora.com launch team