By Anne Bauso, Allure
It's cold outside, so your skin's probably a bit on the dreary side. And it's the end of the spending-frenzy season, so your bank account is probably also looking a little sad. This moisturizing, customizable DIY sheet mask idea from Sarah Lee, co-founder of K-beauty e-tailer Glow Recipe, is an easy, affordable way to hydrate your skin without blowing (what's left of) your budget. It requires only a clean sheet mask or cotton gauze, a few liquid ingredients (facial oils, glycerin, essences, etc.), and a sense of skin-care adventure. To be your own mix master, hit the health food store (or the good ol' Internet) for supplies, and follow this simple recipe.
- Dry sheet masks (like this 50-count cotton-mask pack from Amazon) or plain gauze with eye and mouth holes cut out (Lee's preference)
- Skin-care oil of your choice, like argan, pomegranate, sunflower, or camellia (antioxidants); jojoba, macadamia, olive, or rice bran (moisturizers); and rose or chamomile (anti-inflammatories)
- Optional: Glycerin
- Optional: An essence
- Note: I place annual bulk-oil orders on vitacost.com, and every few months I lug a cleaned-out beer growler to Brooklyn's The Herb Shoppe, where I fill it with apricot, grapeseed, or avocado oil (generally0.75 an ounce) or, if I'm feeling fancy, jojoba oil (generally2 an ounce).
1. Swirl the oils, glycerin, and/or essence onto a clean plate. It's totally your call what ingredients you want to use here; making your own custom blend is part of the fun. I tried a few shakes of Glow Recipe's Blithe Vital Treatment, Desert Essence 100% Pure Jojoba Oil, Aura Cacia Vegetable Glycerin, and Nature's Alchemy Hemp Seed Oil.
2. Lay dry cotton mask over plate, and let it soak up the mixture.
3. Place sheet over face and relax! (I made it to the 40-minute mark.)
4. Bonus step: There is still a ton of extra liquid when you remove the mask, so you can put the oil-infused sheet all over your face, neck, and chest for good measure. I even smeared the remaining oil mixture in the plate all over my arms and legs.
And that's it! Lee's idea is a cheap way to sheet mask (yep, we're officially using "sheet mask" as a verb now). It's also really, really effective. I liked using antimicrobial jojoba oil as a base, because it has a silky and light texture, absorbs quickly, and is loaded with vitamin C and omegas, making it perfect for my combo skin that's just beginning to display fine lines. Hemp-seed oil contains "the perfectly balanced three-to-one ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 essential fatty acids," says biochemist Paula Simpson. "Fatty acids moisturize the skin's outer layer," says dermatologist Jeannette Graf.
I mentioned that the glycerin is optional, but here's why I included it: "Glycerin works to moisturize by drawing water from the air into the skin's outer layer, preventing moisture loss," explains Simpson. "When combined with occlusive ingredients such as natural oils, this can help build a healthy barrier and lock moisture in." And if you spring for an essence, it could bring the total cost up quite a bit (Blithe Vital Treatment, for example, is $42). To be fair, you only need about 5 drops, so one bottle could yield years' worth of DIY masks. Blithe's essence has "sixteen root extracts, like ginseng, burdock, and Indian lotus," says Lee. "It's all about giving energy and rejuvenation to dull, dehydrated skin." The same could be said for the recipe as a whole.
Try what works for you (and your wallet) and let me know what skin-care combos you discover in the comments, or tweet me @anneolivia414.
Photos: Anne Olivia Bauso