From The Straits Times    |


Growing up with skin problems was certainly no walk in the park but a simple Google search of “how to treat acne” was what landed me in the wonderful world of DIY facials. From wrinkles to scars, there is something out there for everyone. Personally, a lot of the recipes I found online didn’t quite live up to the hype – sure, some were plain genius, but others just left my skin with a bad after-taste.

With that in mind (and the stupid haze of course), I decided to compile a list of a my favourite home made masks.

1. Green tea with honey (Acne-prone and Oily skin)
In my first post, I shared a very simple green tea mask. Green tea has great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it an ideal ingredient for acne-prone skin. Honey is also a natural antibacterial and anti-oxident that works to calm the skin. The combination of these two ingredients makes a powerpack mask. It sounds crazy to apply tea leaves and honey on your face, but trust me – it’s worth it!

1. 1 green tea bag
2. 1 tbs honey

1. Remove tea leaves and place in a clean dry bowl
2. Add honey and mix well
3. Massage lightly and spread over clean, dry face and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes
4. Wash thoroughly with warm water

2. Orange (Anti-ageing and Brightening)

Rich in vitamin C and other minerals, oranges are a staple in the market of luxury beauty items. Why? The antioxidant properties of vitamin C make it an ideal combatant of free radical damage. Fighting wrinkles and stimulating collagen, this mask will help you battle the nasty effects of the haze in the comfort of your own home.

1. Half an orange
2. 1 tsp distilled water
3. Mask sheet

1. Squeeze the orange and scoop out 2 tbs of juice (without pulp) into clean bowl
2. Stir in distilled water
3. Immerse mask sheet into the bowl
4. Leave on for 5 – 10 minutes, and wash off with cold water after

For a more power-packed formula, you can try replacing orange juice with a L asorbic acid powder – you can find this at your regular pharmacy. A natural form of vitamin C, the L ascorbic acid is a powerful collagen stimulator, and is a handy option if you’re not a fan of the orange fruit.

3. Rice (Whitening)

A staple of Asian food, rice is also a great whitening agent. Most people I talk to cringe at the idea of applying rice water on their faces. This stems from the misconception that rice water is dirty, and therefore should be thrown away. If you follow this train of thought, this recipe will still work for you! Instead of using rice water straight from washed rice, I opt to boil (or cook) my rice first, and use that water instead. Not only does this ensure that your mask is free of unwanted germs, the water will also contain all the nutrients from the boiled rice (as opposed to simply washing the rice). You can even have some porridge if you’re hungry after.

1. Half a cup of rice (you can opt for any variety, but I prefer brown rice)
2. 1 cup water
3. Mask sheet

1. Wash the rice two to three times, making sure to drain between every wash
2. Combine rice and 1 cup water in a pot and boil for 15 minutes (or until rice is soft)
3. Remove a cup of rice water and set aside
4. Immerse mask sheet into the cup, and place cup in freezer for 10 minutes
5. Leave mask on face for 15 – 20 minutes

4. Chocolate (Anti-ageing and hydrating)
If you ask Siri about the meaning of life, you might get the reply, “All evidence to date points to chocolate”. The delicious cocoa has been proven to prevent a range of diseases from heart attacks to depression. Apart from health benefits, cocoa works superbly well as an anti-ageing mask as it helps to clear out wrinkles and toxins. A lot of chocolate recipes opt for melted chocolate as the consistency is perfect for application. But if melting chocolate is too much of a hassle (or for some reason you do not have a microwave, like me) cocoa powder works just as well. For this recipe, I opt for the cocoa version as melting chocolate requires greater attention – no water, heatproof bowl, constant stirring – and the fact that I do not have a microwave.

I like to combine my cocoa with honey and olive oil, as this helps to create a paste-like consistency that sits well on the skin. Including honey and olive oil also means you get the antibacterial and hydrating benefits of these ingredients! Your skin will be left smelling delicious.

1. 2 tbs cocoa powder
2. 1 tbs honey
3. 1/2 tbs olive oil

1. In a clean bowl, combine all ingredients together and mix well
2. Spread generously on clean and dry face, leave on for 15 minutes
3. Wash with warm water, and use a cleanser if necessary

Tip: If the mixture is runny, increase the amount of cocoa powder. If the mixture is too thick, add a few drops of olive oil.

These four masks work very well with my sensitive skin, and I will recommend that you experiment with the ingredients and quantity until you find something that is perfect for you. As I want to keep ingredients to the minimum, I prefer to use a mask sheet. These can be found at your local beauty store and won’t cost much. If you’re not fond of them, you can simply add milk powder or honey to the mix, and apply away!