Slow Beauty At Home

2020 has, amongst many other things, been a year of great change in the beauty industry and perhaps you’ve found your daily beauty rituals changing as well. For some, it’s possible you’ve enjoyed a ‘less is more’ approach to your beauty regime, wearing less makeup and even discovering a newfound passion for sweatpants and pajama bottoms! For others, an extra ‘flourish’ has likely become the norm for your at-home rituals, with lockdown offering the chance to try out new products and expand your beauty horizons. 

For others still (and I number myself amongst them!) our extended time indoors has provided the chance for us to create our own beauty products, harvested from our garden and kitchen cupboards.  

Enjoying what’s in our backyard as a base for beauty care is a practice as old as beauty itself, rooted in rituals that are up to 5,000 years old, and which have stood the test of time. 

For easy-to-create, home-spa inspiration, there’s no better place to draw inspiration than from the ancient beauty rituals of India and the Far East, where homemade facemasks, hair oiling, and aromatic foot soaks, have always been part of daily life. These ancient beauty rituals are an integral part of self-care routines, designed not only to enhance beauty, but also to promote good health and emotional wellbeing.


Today, these age-old recipes and practices can be adapted to include what we find in our kitchen cupboards and gardens. 

Let’s take a look at homemade facemasks and how to make them! 

To begin, it’s worth noting a rule we should always apply when making our mask - fresh is best! 

With no commercial preservatives in play, homemade masks won’t last long after first use. Natural ingredients exposed to air and bacteria can quickly go off and irritate the skin. Therefore, it always helps to work with fresh ingredients and use within an hour of mixing. Note too, if you have sensitive skin, you should always begin by patch-testing – even natural, fresh ingredients can cause reactions in some!

To make your facemask, you’ll need a clean mixing bowl and spoon, and a wide hair-band, as these masks can get messy! Get creative with ingredients close at hand, mixing a personalised combination of finely ground powders (think herbs, tea, and freshly ground nuts or seeds), mixed in with your choice of a quality oil, purified water, plant milks, honey and possibly yogurt (feel free to use any combo of these ingredients – it’s your facemask, so you can do what you like!).  

However, if you’d like a little guidance as you step into the magical realm of homemade beauty, then I can recommend the following masks, which all carry specific benefits:

Indian Turmeric Mask – A common, go-to recipe in India, this is a wonderful, anti-inflammatory mask that can also help with dull skin, acne and pigmentation. Simply mix a teaspoon of turmeric, a pinch of white sandalwood powder, a squirt of lemon, a teaspoon of honey and a little bit of rose water together. If you don’t have rose water you can replace this with purified water and if you don’t have any sandalwood powder at hand, then you can leave it out or replace it with a pinch of finely ground green tea leaves. Green tea is high in antioxidants so it can help protect our skin (and our overall health) from sun damage and pollution, making it a great inclusion in any mask.

For this mask, and any mask using honey, I suggest you use Manuka honey, which is not only naturally antibacterial (high grade Manuka honey is used commonly in hospitals for severe skin inflictions), but also great for acne treatment and prevention. As it’s full of antioxidants, it can also help slow down aging and it gives the complexion a quick boost, with its moisturizing and soothing benefits helping the skin to glow. 

One final word of advice however for the ever-popular Turmeric mask – be careful! The intensely yellow turmeric powder can be a little staining, so don’t leave it on too long: ten to fifteen minutes will suffice.

Coffee and Cocoa Mask – Commercially sold coffee mask brands are a serious thing these days, but they can also be easily whipped up at home. I like to create a mask combining freshly used coffee granules with a teaspoon of cocoa powder, oat milk and honey. Caffeine can help tighten the skin, reduce redness, and calms irritation and inflammation. In addition, it can be absorbed through the pores, meaning the finely ground coffee and raw chocolate might also give you a sweet little perk up!

Another fabulous home-made mask can be made using half an avocado, which (besides being a delicious addition to our salad) can help hydrate and soothe the skin, thanks to the presence of Vitamins A, D, and E. Mixed with finely ground oats and olive oil, an avocado mask also has hypoallergenic properties, meaning those with sensitive skin or allergies can often enjoy its benefits, as can those who have suffered sunburn.

Finally, Spirulina powder is one of my personal favourites as a mask base, as it has detoxifying, toning, calming, and softening properties. One teaspoon of powder mixes well with a small amount of Manuka honey as a skin-softening mask. You can also mix in a generous dollop of active yogurt if you like, chock full of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics. Yogurt also contains lactic acid, an alphahydroxy acid, which can help to dissolve dead skin cells.

One interesting observation you may find from wearing a homemade mask, especially a coffee or turmeric based one, is that you taste the coffee or turmeric in your mouth after application, even without the mask passing your lips! This is a wonderful way to experience the fact that what we put on our skin can enter our bloodstream, and serves as a reminder that we should always try to avoid synthetic skincare ingredients that are toxic to our health.

In this time of lockdown and extended stays at home, home beauty rituals are one way we can truly nurture ourselves, body and soul. Get creative beauties!