Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pamper Yourself! Episode 1: DIY Face Masks

Ladies!  You ever watch those movies or reality shows where a group of girlfriends talk trash and gossip with one another while getting there nails or hair done?  Or how about the couple that goes on a romantic getaway to the spa?  They sip champagne with strawberries before getting massages side by side on the beach to the sounds of the ocean waves and the view of the sun setting into the ocean in a whirlpool of colors.  Ever wished you were rich enough to experience these luxuries?  As luxurious as it sounds to be pampered by 5 star salons and spend $120 a week for perfect skin facials, for most of us this is far from realistic.

BUT, this doesn't mean we can't still pamper ourselves!  We can still have the smooth legs and glowing skin, minus the flight to Bermuda.  Still have glossy nails and silky hair without the credit card debt.  Still have girls night gossip without the salon environment, but in the comfort of home instead.  CLEAN YOUR APARTMENT! Search your closet or take a quick trip to Walmart, then  GATHER THE GIRLS!

Today's post is going to focus on skincare, but I will follow up with more at home routines and spa treatments that I myself use on a regular basis and have found spa worthy.    I am one for experiments, and I know what works.  I spent two years working in a spa with A-grade products and free treatments at least twice a month. Don't get me wrong, thee are definitely some issues worth seeing a professional esthetician or dermatologist for.  But, if you are past puberty and not recovering from a major break-up and ten pints of hagen daaz, these do it yourself at home tricks just might be the secret to your most flawless skin ever.

1) Anytime you perform your own facial at home, no matter if you create your own mask or use a store bought product, the first step is always to start with clean skin.  Therefore, wipe off any make-up, including eye wear so that it does not drip during the process.  Cleanse your skin with your regular face wash/scrub or personally I usually just use an all natural bar soap or African black soap. Exfoliate away any dead skin.  The scrubs exfoliate in themselves but if you are using a cram wash or soap you can use a washcloth a rub in circular motions.  Rinse. Pat Dry.

2) The second step is opening the pores.  Now at the spas they have a professional steamer and if your a normal person this is typically out of the budget.  You can create the same concept at home using your stove top and pot of water.  USE CAUTION during this step!  Fill a pot about halfway with warm water, and place on the stove over med-high heat.  Make sure to keep your eyes closed during this step, or cover with an eye mask or cloth to protect them from the heat.    Once the water begins to create a steam, hold your face directly over the pot, close enough to feel the warmth but at a safe enough distance away from accidentally touching the pot.  Let your face steam about 5-10 minutes, occasionally rotating side to side.  This opens the pores to better remove impurities and let the masks ingredients reach deeper into the skin.

3)  Extractions: removing pimples and blackheads. This step is optional.  If you are not  comfortable removing these yourself or if your skin is very acne prone, leave it to a professional.   Do not use your fingers.  Take 2 swabs of toilet paper or paper towel, sprinkle with alcohol, and gently press against the pimple.  Do not try to squeeze deep bumps, only those showing a black or white head. If it does not easily pop do not force it, leave it alone.

4)  The mask.  You can buy these from any beauty shop pre-made for different purposes, aging, redness, acne, etc. or you can make your own from natural ingredients within your own home.  Theses are my 3 favorite DIY masks.

---TIGHTENING/MOISTURIZING : 1/2 banana (the riper the better) 1 TSP honey, 1 TSP olive oil.  Mash banana and mix in honey and olive oil until you have a smooth consistency.   Apply to face and neck, and allow to dry.  Leave 12-18 minutes based on comfort level.  Rinse.  This mask not only hydrates the skin but contains fats and antioxidants to repair damages skin cells and improve elasticity.

---FOR GLOWING SKIN: 1 egg white, fresh citrus juice ( squeeze 1/2 grapefruit or 1 lemon or 1 lime) 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 tsp honey.  Beat egg white.  blend in honey and citrus juice.  Add oatmeal and stir until you have a nice consistency.  Apply to face and neck and let dry 10-15 minutes. Rinse.  Citrus juices naturally brighten the skin while the protein from the egg white aid in fading scars and reducing redness and hyper pigmentation,  Oatmeal exfoliates and moisturizes while the honey adds extra moisture as the citrus can be very drying.

---ACNE: Now for this you can use baking soda or powdered clay.  I like Aztec clay mask but baking soda works just as well.  Mix with equal parts apple cidr vineger.  Apply to face and neck and let sit 10-15 minutes.  Baking soda/ clay dries up excess acne causing oils while fighting bacteria while the apple cider vineger balances ph levels

5)After rinsing off the mask always give your skin a final rinse with cold water, to assist in closing the pores.  Pat dry.  If needed apply an oil free moisturizer.

TIPS:  ALWAYS wash your face before bed.  Let your skin breathe as much as possible and limit makeup wear. When you do wear makeup make sure your foundation and skin products are oil free. Do not wear makeup to the gym, and make sure you shower or wash your face as soon as possible after sweating to avoid clogging pores.  Limit intake of sugars, fried,  and fast foods.  Drink as much water as possible.  Green tea and citrus is also great for healthy skin.  Always apply sunscreen in the summer/strong sun.  Use one of these masks, or your own on a weekly basis.  Good luck! :)