By Marisa Belger
From Completely You
When I gave birth to my son four years ago, he not only kick-started my days as a genuine adult, but he launched me into a new skin care category. After a lifetime of coasting by with blissfully normal skin -- not too parched, not too greasy, rarely a pimple, nary a wrinkle -- I was now officially dry.
This was not your average epidermal dehydration. My skin was arid -- a desert landscape. I searched desperately for the balm that would soothe my thirsty face, quickly discovering that the usual lotions and creams would not cut it.
I looked for potions primarily composed of oil -- the greasier, the better. My skin hungrily sucked up avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil. I'd wake up, agitated and anxious, from dreams in which I'd been caught raiding the refrigerator butter compartment, swiping sticks across my forehead and under-eye area, leaving buttery fingerprints all over the kitchen.
After a few years of this, I discovered the facial mask. I was elated to add this step to my moisturizing regimen. Hydrating masks, applied diligently once or twice a week, played a key role in taming the dryness that threatened to take me over.
Buying these masks was easy . . . and expensive. My skin care budget was already embarrassingly high (soft and supple skin doesn't come cheap), so I recently decided to take matters into my own hands . . . and into my own pantry.
I started with oatmeal. Skin care aficionados know that oats are supremely moisturizing and incredibly gentle. Oats do much more than fill hungry bellies. Empowered by DIY pride, I set about making my own oatmeal and honey mask. I experimented with an oatmeal mask for three weeks, applying a mask each week.
The result? Softer, smoother skin that's no longer insatiably thirsty. And it's practically free!
Here's how to do it:
Start with rolled oats. The quick or instant kind can't stand up to manipulation.
Quickly blast oats in a food processor or blender to get oat flour that can be easily combined with other ingredients.
Add a couple of tablespoons of honey to 1/2 cup of oat flour. Honey, a natural antioxidant, is supremely sticky and supremely soothing. Stir in some water to thin. You can also add lemon, which brightens the skin. (Try this recipe.)
Use enough liquid. Your mask should be able to be spread easily around the nooks and crannies of your face.
Leave your mask on for 15 minutes, and then gently remove it with warm water. Pat dry and follow with your favorite moisturizer.
Tweak your recipe for summer. For a more cooling mask, substitute 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt for the honey. Yogurt has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Regular topical use can help you achieve that coveted natural glow.
Just be sure to warn the UPS deliveryman before opening the door mid-mask.
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