Face Mask Fancies
It's funny when you think about how early beauty culture starts. My nieces, ages 8 and 10, slept over a few weeks ago. They know I have buckets of beauty products and always want to play. I can't indulge their bubble bath dreams due to their sensitive skin. And their mother won't be too thrilled if I paint their faces Jean Benet Ramsey style. So what's a cool aunt to do?
This time, the girls had an idea: they wanted to do face masks. And they were very specific. The mask should be green, and they wanted to have cucumber slices on their eyes. Where do they get these ideas? I know the image, like the one above, is fairly iconic of a day at the spa, but I didn't realize that kids who are otherwise preoccupied with gymnastics and softball would already have picked up on such an icon of beauty culture.
So of course I had to indulge. We bought a cucumber at the store. But I kind of forgot about the mask part (and frankly thought they'd be more into watching the Lion King Part 2 to remember the request). Well, they remembered. And I scrambled to deliver.
First - no green mask in any of my beauty buckets. Oil-absorbing, anti-aging, and painful peel-off vareities, yes. But all ran the risk abusing their already perfectly smooth and even complexions. So I had a brainstorm. Let's make a mask! Kitchen ingredients must be innocuous, and I dug into my memory for my own childhood mask recipes.
As I rifled through fridge and pantry, I scouted possible ingredients. I combined yogurt, coconut milk (left over from an exotic cooking experiment), honey, and oatmeal (the instant kind was all I had). The girls were skeptical, especially because it wasn't the requisite mint green shade. Would that I'd had avocado or at least green food coloring! They consented to try the masks on their faces, which I had to apply as they laid down, lest the chunks of oatmeal fall off. They giggled at how cold it was (fridge fresh!). It was fun, but not quite as restful and luxurious as they'd hoped!
What I later discovered was that the ingredients I sourced ARE actually good for skin!
- YOGURT: The lactic acid in yogurt softens and soothes the skin. Think about how Cleopatra famously bathed in milk to keep her skin smooth! Nobody knows more about yogurt than the Greeks, and Greek brand Korres has a yogurt mask that uses the power of active yogurt and watercress extract to instantly hydrate and comfort oily skin that feels dehydrated.
- HONEY: Honey cleanses and moisturizes skin. Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains water. So honey is a natural fit for a variety of moisturizing products including cleansers, creams, shampoos and conditioners. Because honey is also an anti-irritant, it is suitable for sensitive skin and baby care products. (Thanks to Pioneer Thinking for the info!)
- COCONUT MILK: Coconut milk is both nourishing and smoothening for the skin. Woman Junction recommends the following hydration mask: Mix half a cup of canned coconut milk, warmed in the microwave until runny - about 30 seconds on high - mixed with 2 tbsp of honey. Massage into the skin, rinse off after about 10 mins.
- OATMEAL: Oatmeal is already known to calm skin, ease itching and exfoliate. According to Aveeno, who offers many oatmeal-based beauty products, oats have a rich history going back to the ancient Greeks and Romans who used oat baths to heal skin ailments.
Based on this info, I'm thrilled to discover that not only did I help the girls play "spa day", but I also whipped up something that is good for them, inside and out!