Before heading out to holiday parties, prime your skin so that it looks its best. The treatment masks and scrubs discussed below not only prepare you for the night out, they will also soothe and awaken your skin the morning after. Prepare these DIY formulas to use before you shower, otherwise some of the bits and pieces can get stuck in your hair and other unfortunate places!
Spiced Exfoliating Mask/ScrubYou will need: 1 T. raw manuka honey--known for its moistening and infection fighting properties; also effective at healing blemishes and fading scars. 1 T. raw, creamy almond butter--rich in natural Vitamin E oil that heals and protects the skin; the ground nuts create the perfect texture for removing dead skin cells and smoothing skin. (If the texture of nuts is too rough, replace with rice flour or oatmeal flour.) ¼ tsp. cinnamon--a delicious scent that eases inflammation. ¼ tsp. nutmeg--detoxifies the skin and reduces acne scars, aromatic. A squeeze or two of lemon or lime--lemon is astringent, helps reduce hyperpigmentation, and detoxifies. Both lemon and lime add vitamin C, a beneficial antioxidant dose. Lemon also smoothes the surface of the skin and helps reduce the appearance of dark spots. There may be a slight stinging or tingling sensation that is normal when using citrus on the skin. (For sensitive skin, use a calming tea like chamomile instead.) What to do: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Use enough lemon/lime juice to emulsify the scrub and give it a bit of slip on the skin, making spreading easier. Make sure to massage gently into the skin using a rotating motion. Massaging honey releases bonus oxygenating properties. Leave on for 10-15 minutes. It's not necessary to leave on for too long, as much of the exfoliation happens while applying and removing. Rinse off with warm water and a washcloth. Results? Skin will be smooth and silky with a radiant glow. Pores will look diminished. Spots may lighten over time and use.
Hydrating & Exfoliating Yogurt MaskNeed a dose of hydration before or after the big night? Try this mask. You will need: 1 T. plain full fat Greek or regular yogurt--the naturally occurring lactic acid exfoliates and removes dead skin; it can help protect against microbes and clear blemishes; mild bleaching powers can smooth out discoloration; active cultures in the thicker yogurts add greater benefits to the skin. 1 T. raw organic manuka honey--practically a staple in DIY masks (please see more above). ½ avocado--rich in vitamin A which helps purge dead skin cells and healing Vitamin E to treat scars; glutamine amino acid cleanses skin and protects it against harsh environmental factors; the vitamin-rich oil and pulp lubricate the skin, preventing wrinkles. 1 T. chia seeds--adds precious nutrients like omega 3 & 6 oils; high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, with 30% more cell-protecting antioxidants than blueberries; Alpha Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant, helps minimize fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores, while encouraging healthy cellular function. What to do: Mash all ingredients together in a bowl by hand or using an immersion blender which creates a whipped mask (highly recommended). Allow the mask to sit in the mixing bowl for a few minutes so that the chia seeds turn gelatinous in the mixture (if you want more of a scrub, use immediately instead, while the seeds are harder). Massage onto face. There is enough to massage onto decollete or you can keep for use the next day. This will last a few days in the fridge, but best used fresh. Results? Softened, hydrated skin that feels firmer, smoother, and lifted.
Vegan Chocolate Lover's Skin Conditioning MaskFor anyone seeking smooth, toned skin, this is the mask for you! Plus it is suitable for vegans. You will need: ¼ banana--great dose of vitamins A, B, C and E along with minerals like potassium, zinc, iron and manganese helpful in maintaining the integrity and elasticity of the skin. Highly nourishing, softening, and soothing. 1 T. raw organic cacao powder--high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to slow aging and increase blood flow, which promotes cellular healing and help repair damage to your skin tissue. 1 tsp. turmeric--brightens and cleanses skin while easing inflammation. 1 dash vitamin C crystals/1 vitamin C powder capsule (optional)--supports healthy collagen production and may repair UV damage like discoloration and fine lines. What to do: Mash all the ingredients together in a bowl with a fork. Massage this delicious chocolate scented mask onto your skin. A slight tingling from the vitamin C is normal, but remove if it feels too strong. Relax for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with a warm washcloth. Results? Skin looks tighter and brighter with a warm glow.
For Your Body: Instant Wake Up ScrubThe scent of ground coffee beans in this scrub alone will perk you up! Use to exfoliate your body and add a dose of hydrating oils to your skin before going out, or to awaken the senses the next day. You will need: ½ C. organic, ground coffee beans (preferably fair-trade certified)--the caffeine combats free-radicals, shrinks blood vessels, aids in breaking up fat deposits, and is pH neutral for skin, according to Kristen Arnett of The Green Beauty Team in a post on the website. 2 T. avocado oil + 2 T. almond oil--avocado's heavier hydration balances with lighter almond oil for a leftover sheen that leaves skin soft, soothed, and moistened, alleviating and preventing dry patches. Optional: Any essential oils that make you happy like frankincense, citrus scents like orange, lemon, or grapefruit, or cinnamon. What to do: Combine coffee with oils in a bowl to take into the shower. Enjoy rubbing over moistened skin with gentle circular motion. Take time over areas that need extra attention like varicose veins (without rubbing too harshly) and cellulite. Leave on the skin before rinsing off for extra benefits--usually while shampooing and conditioning hair. Rinse off with a soft washcloth to remove all remaining coffee. Results? Skin and senses will feel revved up, plus the layer of oils will prevent water from drying out the skin and continue hydrating long after the shower is over.
Instant Hair Pre-Wash
If you want to give your hair a deep conditioning treatment to give it luster and healthy body, try this one ingredient in your hair before washing. You will need: Raw organic (preferably fair trade) coconut oil--reduces protein loss for both damaged and undamaged hair; inhibits the penetration of water into each strand preventing damage and breakage due to its hydrophobic property (repels water). What to do: Scoop out a palmful of coconut oil and warm in your hands to melt slightly. Spread through your hair, starting at the scalp and rubbing towards the ends. Spend a bit of time massaging the oil into the roots. Leave on for a half hour or overnight to achieve deeper conditioning. Results? Hair will look smooth and shiny, while being conditioned and feeling soft. This mask prevents frizzy hair in humid weather. Take time to enjoy the festive occasions and remember to drink responsibly. Alcohol consumption can dry the skin and clog the liver, so keep your skin and body health in mind. Drink plenty of fluids like water and tea to restore balance so that toxins flush out and skin looks plumped and hydrated.
Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!
Sarita Coren is a freelance writer and blogger at Peace on the Skin & Peace Within, www.ediblefacial.com. She is committed to spreading the world about green beauty, holistic wellness, and living from the heart. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.