I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Like most teens, I had bad skin for part of high school, and it sucked. Like, Angela Chase getting dumped by Jordan Catalano sucked.
But every time I put on one of my mom’s weirdly colored mud masks, I felt this moment of hope, like maybe this would be the thing that would finally fix my face. And during those awesome 10 minutes that my acne was covered up by this opaque muck, I felt like, OK, maybe it’s not so bad.
Unfortch for me, the masks were never a miracle cure (that would take a few more years) but damn if I didn’t always feel better about everything during that little ritual. Legs up on the couch, watching bad TV with my sisters, waiting for this mint julep thingy to dry on my face, definitely and forever rocking a high, tight side pony. That is literally what my adult dreams are made of. Remember when your biggest stress was which sibling got to control the remote?! Nostalgia emoticon.
Luckily, masks still make me feel suuuuper duper chill, and the whole process of making them myself and being forced to take, like, 20 minutes to just “do me” is something that makes being a grown-up feel kind of OK. And of course, I still do it lounging hard, sweats on, laptop open, ponytail high.
I know DIY can sometimes sound intimidating or seem like too much effort, but these masks are meant to be very casual and totally low-maintenance. I promise, I’m as lazy as they come.
I’ve got three different mask recipes below, but the beauty of these is that you can layer them together. Whatever you want, you know? Live free, die free, as I always say. (I don’t know that I’ve ever said that.)
HONEY & YOGURT
It’s so easy, it’s shocking. I’m not big on exact measurements (worst at following recipes--don’t tell me what to do!), so I suggest a “plop” of yogurt and a “drop” of honey. Other people might tell you to use say, a quarter-sized dollop of yogurt and a dime-sized bit of honey, but what does that even mean? I don’t know EXACTLY how big a quarter is. And do you mean the circumference? What about depth? Eye-roll emoji.
Now mix those two things up in a bowl and slather it on your face. Done.
This is the foundational beauty mask. Yogurt is nature’s magical exfoliator: the lactic acid eats up all those lame dead skin cells just sitting around doing nothing; and honey is a natural antiseptic and has antibacterial properties, which is good news for people with acne-prone skin. Plus, this combo doesn’t dry out your skin like some commercial masks can so you can use it more often if that’s your bag.
This is your pre-going-out mask, or your “I had a bad day, Calgon take me away” mask. I use Greek yogurt cause it’s thick and whatever honey I happen to have in the house, though using raw honey will really improve your mask game. I dunno, honey is weirdly expensive.
HONEY & STRAWBERRY
Where the honey and yogurt mixture is a good upkeep mask, the strawberry version adds a bit more kick to your skincare routine.
This is for those bumpy nights when hormones or stress or public transit or anything really--hello, LIFE?--is wreaking havoc on your face. It’s as simple as the first recipe, only this time, you mash up strawberries (I use one or two). Make sure they’re real mashed, and then mix in some honey (about a teaspoon).
Put on face. Boom. A zit-fighting remedy that harnesses the antioxidant power of strawberries but doesn’t require a science degree.
HONEY & OATMEAL & YOGURT (AND LAVENDER IF YOU’RE FEELING FANCY)
Spent too much time in the sun? Wish your mom would come over and make you a grilled cheese sandwich? For the days that sweatpants aren’t quite comfort enough, this mask is like a sedative for your skin.
You just take the basic yogurt and honey mask above and add ground oatmeal. If you want to take this relaxation simulation to the next-next level, add some lavender to the mix.
You’ll need dried lavender buds, which you’ll grind (coffee or spice grinder) along with the oatmeal. You can do this up once and store the dry mixture to add to your yogurt and honey on future occasions.
Don’t panic, you can get dried lavender buds at most natural food stores; you don’t have to harvest your own or join a cult or anything.
Seriously, make one of these, wear your best sweats, and just chill for once. Like Ferris Bueller so famously said, “Life moves pretty fast, so slop some stuff on your face and relax!”