Even over spring break, Jessica and Veronica were hard at work bringing you firsthand accounts of the effectiveness of facemasks. They tried a DIY facemask every day for a week. Did it bring any mental clarity, or did it bring clarity to their skin? You’re about to find out. Jessica did the traditional versions of the face masks while Veronica did the vegan versions. Let them tell you if throwing on a facemask really solves all your problems.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel
On Monday night, I was eager to slather on some skin-replenishing-something. I was settling into spring break and getting over the trauma of the first half of spring semester. My skin reveals my stress, so I needed something to take care of my acne. When I saw the cinnamon mask online I was excited because cinnamon is my favorite spice. So, I chose this mask as my first one–to my chagrin. My skin immediately started to sting and turn red. “Oh no, here’s to a whole week of this,” I thought while staring into a mirror trying not to wash it off. I only left it on for ten minutes when the instructions for every mask called for 10 to 15 minutes. My skin was red for 15 minutes after I removed the remnants of the mask. However, my skin was incredibly tight, smooth and I could see my zits drying out. I followed my regular skin routine after the mask, which consists of washing my face with African black soap, using a rose water witch hazel toner, and moisturizing. Although, I did skip the toner that night because I felt my skin had been dried out enough by the mask.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil
This mask was one of the messiest. Many of the masks we DIY-ed called for honey, which is a great binding ingredient and it helps the mask stick tightly to your face. But, without the honey the masks were very liquid-y and did not stay on my face properly. I replaced the honey with olive oil because it doesn’t clog your pores and it moisturizes your skin, but it’s not sticky enough to make the concoction into a facemask. After leaving the mask on for 15 minutes, I felt it didn’t really do anything. The lemon really dried out any trouble areas of acne and the olive oil made my skin feel soft, but nothing totally transformative. I followed the facemask with my normal skin routine, including toner this time.
Ingredients: 1 medium banana, 2 tablespoons of olive oil
I love bananas, so I was pumped for this one. It was messy but hilarious to have to mash up a banana to paint on my face. It smelt great. I felt like a kid pretending to be a monkey. In the end, it did actually turn out to be more monkey business than a facemask. The bananas and oil just slid right off my face. This was the second mask to not stick, so I tried another mask after washing it off.
I did a baking soda mask, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and it was the best mask I did the entire week. It was thick, it stuck to my face and it targeted my acne while softening my entire face. The baking soda was exfoliating, but I didn’t rub it in too much because of horror stories I’d heard involving baking soda and sensitive skin. But, this mask was nothing compared to the cinnamon mask. I had only left the banana mask on for about five minutes before it had fallen off my face, but I left the baking soda mask on for 15 minutes and followed up with soap and moisturizer. I will definitely be doing the baking soda mask again.
Green Tea Mask
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon (tea bag) of green tea/matcha, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 3 teaspoons of sugar, one tablespoon of olive oil
Again, there was a binding problem with this mask, but it stayed on better than the banana mask. The sugar was a nice exfoliator when I washed the mask off after 10 minutes. Another great smelling mask that I was sad to take off. My face was left really soft, but sort of dry. No other noticeable differences were apparent, so I finished off with soap and a heavy layer of moisturizer.
Ingredients: 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of olive oil
The last day! I was sad, but probably more so because I realized spring break was coming to an end. What made me sadder was this ended up being another mask that just slid right off my face. The initial warmth from the oatmeal was nice on my pores, but it didn’t last 10 minutes. When I rinsed my face, it was shinier and softer, and I could only imagine what 15 minutes would leave my face looking like. So, to make up for the incomplete face mask I put on a Lush facemask and threw in the towel.
At the end of the week I felt a difference in my skin because I never pampered it so much in such a short time. It was softer, shinier and a lot of my acne had dissipated. I think the only ingredient that I was missing was the honey. Honey not only wipes the bacteria from your skin but it also takes care of the redness and swelling of your acne. More importantly, it keeps the facemask on your face. Wherever you stand on the honey issue keep that in mind. Otherwise, the process of doing a facemask every day was nice. The production of creating my own and having to remember to do one every day was actually more stressful than relaxing. If I could do a store-bought mask whenever I felt like it I think the experience would be much more enjoyable and effective. So, from now on I’ll be doing more pre-made face masks, but I won’t be pressed to do one every day.
Ingredients: 3 large strawberries, 1 tablespoon of plain whole milk yogurt, 1 teaspoon of raw honey
When I woke up on Monday, I was already looking forward to getting ready for bed, which is when I planned to do the first face mask of the week. I had started off my spring break by driving up to Savannah, Georgia, with my best friend, and after a couple days of exploring and sleeping in a you-get-what-you-pay-for hotel room, my skin was upset. I had at least another six hours of driving ahead of me, and I just wanted to relax and enjoy a face mask – the first ever DIY face mask I’d be using.
I was pretty disappointed. I didn’t end up doing the cinnamon mask that Veronica made for her first day because the mask came with a note saying that it may cause burning on sensitive skin. Since my skin is pretty sensitive, I wasn’t going to risk it, and I opted for a strawberry mask that sounded more soothing. Unfortunately, the mask turned out watery, more so than I was expecting. It was hard and messy to apply. There were pieces of strawberries sliding down my face and drops of the thin red mixture dripping off my chin. I had to apply layer after layer, hoping that it would stay on my face for the full 15 minutes required. After several minutes, it finally started to resemble the firmness of a face mask. When the dripping stopped, it felt more like a mask, albeit a thin one. Oddly enough, however, the mask made my nose runny, and those 15 minutes involved a lot of sniffling.
When I finally washed off the mask and swept my hands over my face, my skin felt as smooth as it would’ve been if I had used a cheap bar of soap (much like the one they had in that Savannah hotel). I will admit that my skin felt more moisturized, and there was reduced redness. I skipped my face lotion that night since it’s meant to moisturize my usually dry skin and just used an acne gel prescribed by a dermatologist.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil
If there’s one thing I learned from this experience, it’s that watery face masks are the bane of my existence. If there’s a second thing I learned from this experience, it’s that you should check for any scratches before coating lemon juice all over your face. I forgot that I had accidentally scratched myself on the forehead. Some lessons are learned the hard way.
That being said, this DIY face mask had a bit of trouble staying on my face when I started applying it. It was a mess and left me hunched over the sink to make sure it didn’t make a mess all over the bathroom counter. Honestly, I’d have to agree with Veronica on this one; it didn’t do much. My skin was softer afterwards, but it always feels softer after washing my face anyway.
Ingredients: 1 medium banana, 1/4 cup of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey
This one was my personal favorite for the week. Spoiler alert though: I was just as disappointed with the following face masks as I was with the previous two, so “favorite” doesn’t say much.
The banana mask smelled lovely, which was a huge plus considering I had to sit with it under my nose for 15 minutes. While it still wasn’t the consistency of a store-bought face mask, it stuck to my face better than most of the masks during this experiment.
There’s another reason this mask was my favorite: It required the least amount of work. I’m generally a busy person, even during spring break, so I appreciated a mask that could be made in less than five minutes without any waiting periods.
Green Tea Mask
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of green tea,1 tablespoon of raw honey, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 3 teaspoons of sugar
I’m not a fan of tea in general, so I didn’t really enjoy the smell of this face mask. All I could smell was the green tea mixed in. On the bright side, the sugar was a great touch! I love exfoliating because it makes my skin feel so clean, especially after a long day of exposing skin to the elements.
This is actually the mask that stuck to my face the most, and after three days of having all of them slide right off, I was pretty grateful. Throw in the exfoliation, and there are worse masks in the world.
Ingredients: 1/3 cup of oatmeal, 2 tablespoons of yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 small egg white
By the time I got to this mask, I was ready to end the week. While there were worse masks to end this experience on – including the lemon mask that kindly reminded me of a cut I forgot about – I still wasn’t satisfied.
The warmth of the mask felt soothing, and it was a nice change of pace from the other cold masks. Even so, it was an odd texture and didn’t transform my skin completely. My skin felt softer, and it looked more refreshed and bright, but my normal face washes do the same thing.
Overall, this week wasn’t really a success for me. I’m involved with so many things, and I’m always working on something, whether we’re supposed to be on break or not. It was a hassle remembering to do these face masks, and half the time, I would remember late at night and have to stay awake to make and apply them. Then, of course, having to put in so much effort to make face masks that aren’t even as effective as my store-bought face washes was a waste of time. I had to make a special trip to the grocery store just to buy some of the necessary ingredients.
The face masks seemed to make some minute changes. Sometimes, my skin would feel softer or look brighter, but it didn’t seem like a significant improvement over the facial routine I already use. I can see the relaxation appeal of a face mask, but I would rather buy one than take the time and effort to make one.