On the last day of 2012 I ran a sizzling workshop in the EcoLiving Tent at the Peats Ridge Arts & Music Festival in the Glenworth Valley, NSW, Australia. Yes, it was mighty warm and sweaty in the tent but the participants who showed up on that last morning of 2012 seemed to enjoy themselves!! Here’s a few photos from the day.
Over 100 people turned up to the session to learn about making your own natural skincare. I was elated that so many came along and I had a ball taking about one of my favourite topics.
I promised to post a recipe, so here’s one that can be made with simple ingredients – an exfoliating face mask… It’s gentle enough to be used daily as an exfoliant, and once a week as a gentle extracting mask. This recipe is for the basic dry mix which you can then add all sorts of extra ingredients for a different effect. I will give some suggestions below.
Types of face masks
Firstly a little on face masks. There’s two basic type of face masks. One type that is extracting and often dries or partially dries on the skin, such as those that include clay; and the other that is more a nourishing, absorbing type mask, such as an aloe vera mask or a fresh fruit mask that nourishes, exfoliates with natural acids (e.g. strawberries) and/or hydrates (e.g. avocado). The mask recipe below is in the first class, the ‘setting’ and extracting type mask. It is good enough to eat (and can be eaten!). It should be noted that these types of masks should not be allowed to completely dry, unless you have extremely oily skin. Allowing the mask to dry completely will extract the skins natural oils, which is not desirable. Allow the mask to partially dry and then use a damp face cloth to remove the mask, by pressing it to the face, not drawing it across the face which may irritate the skin.
Basic dry face scrub mix
- 1/2 cup clay – use any clay available, even natural clays if they are relatively pur will work. Green clay is the most absorbent of the clays, with white clay being the gentlest of the clays. I have chosen an Australian pink clay for this recipe. I sourced it through a distributor based in Sydney, but there are many places that sell clay. It should be relatively inexpensive to buy.
- 1/2 cup oats – just basic rolled oats. Organic are best, and if you can buy organic oat meal, that cuts out one step. If you just have rolled oats, thats fine, but we need to grind them up. You can use either a mortar & pestle or a coffee grinder. I’ve used both.
- 2 tbs Macadamia nuts (optional) – these add another gentle exfoliating element and also a nourishing element. Macadamia oils are rich on natural oils. A particular type of macadamia nut originates in Northern NSW - Macadamia tetrafolia. The actual edible nuts are indistinguishable from the other variety, but the leaf has four (tetra) leaves (folia) that originate from the stem in a whorl. What a miracle of nature that this nut is endemic (originates) in this part of Australia.
The fun bit:
- measure out the ingredients (and this is not an exact science, so no precision needed).
- grind the macadamia nuts either using a mortar and pestle (as this young lass is), or a coffee grinder (far quicker if electricity is available)
- mix all togeteher in a bowl, and voila this is the basic ‘dry’ mix.
This can be kept in a sealed container in a dry cupboard for up to a few months. I often keep a small jar of it in the shower, and replenish this when it is finished. It is better to do this than keep the entire quantity in the bathroom as it may become wet and decrease its shelf life. Remember, it is water that can then create an environment for mould or bacteria to breed. The dry mask can also be used as a gentle exfoliant.
To use as a daily exfoliant, take a teaspoon of dry mask mix into the palm of your hand, add a few drops of water from the shower or bath to make a paste, apply to damp skin in circular motion. This fine exfoliant will remove dead skin cells. Rinse. Pat the skin dry and apply a serum followed by a moisturiser (or aloe vera gel followed by rosehip or jojoba oil work fine too).
To use as a cleansing or nourishing mask, take ten minutes out at least once a week and apply the mask to damp skin. Avoid the gentle eye area as this is too gentle to use a mask on. You could apply cotton wool buds soaked in rose water or a thin slice of cucumber over each eye lid. Allow the mask to partially dry on the skin. I often have a bath, and use my homemade bath salts (see previous post). This is such a lush way to give yourself some inexpensive DIY self pampering. The mask will gently draw out excess oils and dirt from the surface of the skin. Use a dampened face cloth to remove the mask by pressing it on the face. Do not drag across the skin as this may scratch the skin surface.
Options – the extra playful bit
These sumptuous masks add nourishing qualities to the basic mask mix. Honey is a natural antiseptic, heals blemishes , nourishes and tones skin. You may feel it zinging on the skin, working its honey magic. The lactic acid in yoghurt gently exfoliates the skin while the clay draws out toxins and dirt that clog pores and smoothes complexions. Fresh mint gives a cool, refreshing aroma that will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for your night ahead. Strawberries contain alpha hydroxyl acid (salicic acid, which is also found in aspirin and aloe), helps remove dead skin cells, excess oiliness and evens skin tone.
- 1 tbs basic dry mix
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp yoghurt(optional)/ or 1 tsp floral (or filtered) water – enough to make a paste
Summer herb mask
- 1 tbs basic dry mix
- 1 tbs fresh mint leaves finely chopped
- 1 tbs yoghurt
- 2 tbs fresh strawberries crushed up (your hands work best!)
- 4 tbs floral water (a cooled herb tea works well too or filtered water)
- 2 tbs basic dry mix
<img class="aligncenter size-thumbnail wp-image-150" alt="Strawberries; used in face mask, natural alpha hydroxy acids, great for a gentle; face exfoliator” src=”http://natureglow.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/img_0711.jpg?w=150″ width=”150″ height=”112″ />
Let me know if you try one of these recipes or have another variation to share…
natureglow.com.au Angela Standley ©