3 DIY masks by pharmaceutical chemist Gayatri Pradhan

DIY face masks & natural skincare ingredients

By Kulfi Bites Team

Many of us are accustomed to seeing ingredients in our kitchen find a way into our skincare routine. We oil our hair every weekend and make a turmeric face mask when we feel our skin needs a little boost. But we wanted to take it up a few notches. So, we invited Gayatri Pradhan, pharmaceutical chemist & Founder & CEO of Poéthique, a 100% plant based luxury skincare brand, to share her recipes & teach us the science behind these everyday ingredients. Here, we summarize what we learned at the workshop. 

We created 3 skin care masks for 3 different purposes 1. Radiance 2. Hydration, and 3. Managing acne. As a bonus, Gayatri left us with a hand & body scrub recipe to try at home and this advice: “So much of skincare is personal. There is a lot of variability in our habits, what we eat and drink, the season, how we are feeling or where we are in our hormonal cycle.

Think of these masks as easily available tools from your kitchen you can use to solve common skincare issues. 

So, if you have a special occasion or your skin is feeling particularly dull, go for the radiance mask. If it’s winter and your skin is feeling extra dry, go for hydration. If you see a breakout about to emerge, go for the mask that manages acne.”

Before we get to the recipes, here are answers to frequently asked questions about the face masks. 

1. Start with a clean face. Before applying the masks, wash your face & remove any makeup so that the mask goes on clean skin. 

2. Pat the masks on, don’t rub! Rubbing causes mechanical exfoliation, which can be harmful.  it's easy to overdo the scrubbing and you could damage your skin through micro-tears which become breeding grounds for bacteria. 

3. Leave on for 15 minutes, including your face & neck, and wash off with water. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer. 

4. Wear sunscreen! After an exfoliating mask, you have to be extra careful about using sunscreen as the new skin needs to be protected from UV rays from the sun.

5. Because these are freshly made masks, use them immediately or pop them in the fridge and use within 1-2 days. These masks don’t contain preservatives, which is what skincare companies use to increase longevity to their products. You don’t want the masks to get moldy. 

I. RADIANCE MASK

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mashed papaya (pineapple could work as well)

How to make:

  1. Throw the papaya into a blender to get a paste. You could use a mortar and pestle too, but a blender gives you consistency. If you make a little extra, you could always add it to rum, for a DIY cocktail.
  2. Mix with the yogurt to get a nice mixture. It’s that simple. 

How it works: Dead skin layers start to build over time making your skin dull with uneven texture. This mask provides chemical exfoliation which is preferable to mechanical exfoliation with scrubs. Yogurt contains an alpha hydroxy acid called lactic acid, which dissolves the bond between dead cells in your skin. Papaya has an enzyme which adds to the action of exfoliation. You are left with newer younger skin underneath which glows.

How often to use: Use this mask once every couple of weeks. The skin’s cycle renews every 25-28 days. If you use this mask too often, you’ll risk overstimulating your skin and making it dry or irritable. 

Gayatri Pradhan with glowing skin
photo credit: Gayatri Pradhan

II. HYDRATION MASK

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1-2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tbsp almond powder
  • Warm water

How to make:

  1. Grind the dry oatmeal into a powder.
  2. Add the honey & almond powder.
  3. Mix it with warm water till you get a porridge consistency.

How it works: Oats have large sugar molecules which form a protective film on your skin holding in hydration and attracting moisture from the atmosphere. They’ve also got beta-glucans which are amazing at disrupting the inflammatory process. So, they will help calm any redness you may have on your skin. Almond powder is amazing as it has omega fatty acids that nourish and hydrate dry, sensitive skin. It also has Vitamin E which has healing and soothing properties. If you don't have almond powder, sunflower seeds could also work as a Vitamin E source. Honey is a fabulous antibacterial agent and humectant. 

How often to use: You can use this mask regularly as there is nothing in it that will irritate your skin. And remember to pat, not rub this mask. 

III. MASK FOR ACNE

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp matcha or green tea powder
  • 1/2 cup oat flour or besan (chickpea) flour or volcanic green clay or multani mitti
  • Weak/diluted black tea (If you are using tea bags to make tea, after you are done making the tea, throw the tea bags in the fridge for 15-20 minutes till it's cool, and put it on your eyes to de-puff them)

How to make:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the cooled, diluted black tea till you get a porridge consistency.

How it works: Oftentimes, we find that breakouts happen because your skin is not balanced. Sometimes with harsh cleansers or over-cleansing, stress and hormones makes our skin stripped dry of natural oils, so the skin starts overproducing oils to compensate. This leads to breakouts, because oil is trapping dirt. With oily skin, you need to keep it hydrated, even if it sounds counterintuitive. Oat flour helps in this mask as it brings the hydration through sugar molecules. Volcanic green clay, which you could find on Amazon or in specialty beauty stores, or multani mitti, which is widely available in India, is also good to remove excess sebum. Matcha and turmeric are both antioxidants and help reign in free radicals scavenging to protect the skin. You can always use powdered green tea instead of matcha; matcha just has a higher concentration of antioxidants. Black tea acts as an astringent. 

How often to use: You can do the mask at most once a week for severe cases, and less often for occasional breakouts depending on when they are triggered. Using this mask too often might stain the skin as turmeric leaves a stain. 

BONUS! HAND & BODY SCRUB

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coffee grounds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

How to make & use:

  1. Add all ingredients together.
  2. Use as a gentle scrub on damp skin. Let it stay on for 2-5 minutes for an extra boost.
  3. Rinse off for smooth, soft skin.

How it works: The sugar and coffee grounds slough off dead skin. Mechanical exfoliation on your body is ok, as body skin is a bit thicker than your facial skin. Still, don't scrub too hard! The caffeine gives your skin a little boost by constructing surface capillaries - it feels a little firmer and smoother. The oils are wonderful hydrators, nourishing skin and keeping it soft. 

How often to use: Daily is fine, but keep an eye on whether those grounds are clogging your shower drain!


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