The best DIY face mask isn’t a mask at all. It’s a pack.
A face pack is different than a face mask. A pack is meant to stay moist on your skin, whereas a mask will dry up. A pack will hydrate. A mask will dehydrate your skin.
The new holy grail for skin care is to focus on optimized water levels, as this will improve the health of all skin types and conditions. Essentially, a DIY face mask is so yesterday, and a DIY face pack is the new, smarter upgrade.
When it comes to DIY masks, I have two big bubbles to pop:
1. Clay will dehydrate your skin. Sadly, dried clay masks will sabotage all of your skin detox efforts. Avoid them at all costs.
We used to think that drying clay masks would detox our skin and shrink pores, but we now know that this is simply not true. Dehydration is the culprit of congestion and enlarged pores — the exact opposite. Only hydrated, soft, permeable skin can detoxify itself by regaining its native ability to successfully deliver oil to its surface the way nature intended for proper barrier function. Stabilizing water levels and restoring this barrier function will also stabilize oil production. Balanced oil production has everything to do with returning our skin to its genetic setting for health.
2. The vast majority of essential oils will also dehydrate your skin. Grievously, popular essential oils like lavender, tea tree, and all of the citrusy essential oils are wrecking the balance of your skin’s oil production. These are astringent essential oils, and they’re often a main ingredient in a DIY mask. But like all clay ingredients, they’re much too drying.
And yes, this excludes most store-bought facial masks — they’re even worse than a DIY mask with dehydrating ingredients. The masks you find in the store often contain alcohol, preservatives, and a full chemical storm. This is the very reason you should make your own DIY pack at home.
Note: Sometimes it’s a good idea to give your skin a gentle exfoliation before using a DIY pack so your skin has a better chance of getting hydrated. However, too much exfoliation is counterproductive to hydration efforts. (We’ll fully cover the sensitive topic of skin exfoliation in another post.)
Whether it contains clay or essential oils, any DIY mask that dries out your skin is not a good idea. A DIY pack that stays purposely moist for the duration you wear it is the best thing to help your skin attain optimal water levels.
Hydrated skin leads to balanced oil production. Beyond that, it has other important benefits, too. Hydrated skin means:
- Fewer fine lines
- Less congestion
- Overall less sun sensitivity that leads to accelerated collagen loss (deep wrinkles) hyperpigmentation, and possible sun precursor lesions
The main idea of a skin pack is to purposely make something gooey that stays gooey the entire time. Then, keep on your skin for 20 to 60 minutes.
The simplest DIY pack is a paste made from yogurt and honey. Ideally, use the best yogurt you can source, like a raw, organic, plain, highly cultured yogurt. The enzymes and lactic acid give this pack its power beyond only hydration. But most anyone can find an organic, plain, cultured yogurt at most health food stores.
Another excellent DIY pack combo is aloe vera gel, honey, and chia powder. An optional add-in is rose essential oil. This is one of the rare but still commonly available essential oils that is not astringent. This particular pack is best applied and misted occasionally with plain spring water or pure rose water to keep it moist. Do this for 20 to 60 minutes, and you will most certainly hydrate, soothe, and reset your skin. (Don’t mist the first pack, as this will kill the active enzymes and diminish the lactic acid that gives a bit of gentle exfoliation.)
If you don’t want to make your own skin pack, try Skin Harmonic’s Revive product. This is the best alternative to a DIY mask. It’s an active enzyme in a creamy base that perfectly exfoliates and hydrates like crazy. Revive helps you attain the most hydrated, plump, clear skin possible.