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DIY Masks - Tried and Tested
Red Wine Facial
When I saw Dr. Oz mention Red Wine Facials on his show recently, my interest was piqued. Granted, he was discussing beauty treatments for women over 40 (and I have a ways to go before I hit 40), but I liked the idea of using red wine, as it contains resveratrol. The polyphenol is a known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and a suspected anti-ager. The recipe also calls for yogurt and honey; the former contains lactic acid that softens and tightens skin, zinc that may rid you of redness, and antibacterial assets that cleanse. Honey has been used for centuries to treat burns and other wounds, as well as for its overall anti-inflammatory effect.
After mixing the ingredients together, my mother (who I recruited in order to get the perspective of a woman in her 40s) and I applied the mask to our faces and let it sit for about 15 minutes. While I wasn’t blown away, I did notice that my skin felt softer and less dry, which impressed me – I have sapped, thirsty skin, so moisturizing is no easy feat. My mother absolutely loved the mask – she calls it “refreshing” and was pleased by the fact that a combination of so few ingredients could be so beneficial.
Dr Oz’s Red Wine Facial Ingredients:
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
4 – 5 tablespoons red wine
Place 1 cup of yogurt in a bowl. Add honey and red wine. Whisk it together and apply liberally to face. Let all ingredients soak in and then rinse with warm water.
A friend of mine mentioned that she had some success in clearing her minor acne problem with a mask she made from crushed aspirin. I know that the pill form of aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, but I had no idea that it is also used topically for the same purpose. Actually, salicylic acid, which is a type of beta hydroxy acid, is chemically similar to aspirin and is commonly used in cosmetics.
Though I couldn’t find a whole lot of studies conducted on topically applied aspirin, I did come across one 2001 study that discusses the effects of applying aspirin to localized neurodermatitis (a skin condition characterized by chronically itchy skin and the scarring, scaling and rough texture that results). Researchers found that aspirin may effectively treat the disease, which sounds like good news for anyone who has even moderately itchy, scaly skin.
My friend vouches for the aspirin mask, as do many others on message boards and other sites. A few words of caution, though: always use plain, uncoated aspirin when making the mask and be sure to wear sunscreen if you go outside after applying it (salicylic acid makes you more sensitive to sunlight). If you are allergic to aspirin, pregnant or breastfeeding, you should probably steer clear of this particular DIY formula. Also note that there are plenty of variations of the aspirin mask; my friend used the recipe below, but she found that adding a little green tea (a strong antioxidant and sun block) and some essential oils made it even better.
Aspirin Mask Ingredients:
Uncoated aspirin pills
*Green tea and essential oils optional
1. Take 3 - 4 uncoated aspirin pills and place on a small plate.
2. Sprinkle several drops of water on them, just enough to make them start to dissolve. They should dissolve right before your eyes. Use your fingers to help break down the aspirin more. It should be grainy & slightly wet.
3. Squirt about 2 drops of honey on the water & aspirin. Use your fingers to mix them all together into a grainy paste.
4. Apply the mixture all over your face, avoiding the eye area.
5. Leave on for 10 - 15 minutes.
6. Add some warm water to your face with your hands & scrub gently for a few minutes.
7. Finally, rinse off completely & use your favorite toner & moisturizer.
Ta-da! You should be left with smooth, soft skin that glows!
Kitty Litter Mask
Okay, I know it sounds pretty disgusting. But when I heard that the beautiful, 56 year old Christie Brinkley (who doesn’t look a day over 40) uses what is usually reserved as an outlet for cat excrement as an exfoliator, I had to try it out. Remember, it’s just the litter that’s supposed to be used, not what is often associated with it – so it’s really not as repellent as it sounds.
While there are several types of cat litter, it is important to use 100% natural (no additives), unscented bentonite clay litter. Bentonite (which I most recently discovered can be used efficiently in toothpaste) absorbs oil and softens skin, and may absorb toxins and impurities, as well. It is a form of volcanic ash that salons and spas have been touting for some time now, and charge top dollar for.
The only reason I tried this particular DIY formula is because I couldn’t find any friends or family members who were willing to get past the supposed kitty litter “ick” factor. The thing is, this particular mask really isn’t for me; while it felt refreshing after I washed it off, it was also extremely drying. Still, I could imagine it being great for those with oily skin. I should also note that various websites suggested adding aloe vera to the formula below.
Kitty Litter Mask Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of 100% natural (no additives), unscented bentonite clay kitty litter
Mix in a couple tablespoons of the cat litter with water and drops of oil (we find the oil helps make the experience somehow less kitty litter-ish). Apply mask to face. Wash off after 15 minutes.