2 DIY Summer Face Mask Recipes, Inspired By Traditional Chinese Medicine
For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners have treated various skin concerns using herbs. In the summertime, cooling herbs can be complexion saviors and help keep skin hydrated after sun exposure. Here are two soothing TCM herbal mask recipes to whip up this season using ingredients you might already have in your fridge.
Watermelon rind and raw honey face mask
You can eat your watermelon rinds or save them to use in this cooling recipe, inspired by watermelon frost—a popular TCM herb that's made by crystallizing watermelon rind with salt that has been used for thousands of years for its heat-clearing and anti-inflammatory properties. It turns out that watermelon has a natural diuretic effect1 and has traditionally been used topically to treat sore throat, swollen gums, canker sores, and bad breath. This mask combines watermelon with the skin-clearing and nourishing benefits of honey, which also has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties that heals the skin after oxidative stress from the UV rays2.
Bonus: There are plenty of ways to enjoy the "leftover" watermelon flesh while relaxing with your mask on for 30 minutes.
- 1 watermelon rind (about 1 inch by 4 inches)
- A splash of raw honey
- Dry sheet mask (optional)
- Add watermelon rind to blender and blend until liquid.
- Mix the rind juice with equal parts of raw honey.
- Depending on the type of honey used, it might be viscous enough to be applied directly to the skin. If not, dip a dry facial sheet into the mixture and use it as a sheet mask.
Chrysanthemum flowers, cucumber, and aloe vera face mask
The cooling effects of cucumber and calming touch of aloe vera are well-known by this point. However, the nutrient-packed benefits of chrysanthemum flowers are less mainstream. This prized Chinese herb has a slightly bitter taste and is often brewed in Asia as a cooling tea in the summer. It can be easily found in many online herbal stores.
Chrysanthemum has many health benefits, and the little flower is a nutrient powerhouse. It contains a variety of amino acids; vitamin A, Bs, C, and K; and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. The high contents of vitamins and flavonoids can help reduce wrinkles and aid cellular repair after sun exposure. Its anti-inflammatory properties also calm skin irritation, speed up skin healing time, and reduce swelling and puffiness. In fact, it has historically been used to treat skin conditions such as cystic acne and eczema in Chinese medicine3. It's the star ingredient in this mask combination that can help cool the face, hydrate parched skin, and promote cell repair and regeneration.
- 20 flower heads from dried chrysanthemum flowers
- A 3-inch slice of cucumber (peeled)
- A 3-inch slice of aloe vera (peeled)
- Goji berries (optional)
- Dry sheet mask
- Take a handful of dried chrysanthemum flowers and cover with water (no more than 16 ounces, as we want a concentrated tea). Boil in a pot for 5 to 10 minutes until the floral aroma is released.
- While waiting for the tea to cool down, dice up your cucumber and aloe.
- Put both cucumber and aloe vera in a blender and blend until a gel solution forms. Then pour into a glass bowl.
- Add an equal portion of chrysanthemum flower tea to the solution. You might need to use a cheesecloth to press out the tea from the chrysanthemum.
- Mix the solution well.
- Immerse a dry facial sheet in the solution for 5 minutes.
- While waiting for the mask to be ready, feel free to add goji berries to the leftover chrysanthemum tea and dilute with water. Now, you're ready to relax with a cooling DIY sheet mask while sipping an anti-inflammatory tea.
Cooling down this summer can be a fun DIY project when you combine kitchen staples with accessible TCM herbs.
Snow Xia L.Ac. is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Hima Acupuncture, a boutique practice in Flatiron, NYC and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She holds a Masters in Acupuncture from New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Growing up in a family of TCM practitioners, Snow learned from a young age that mind-body wellbeing is the key to radiant beauty. This knowledge has helped her navigate a modeling career spanning two decades; working with esteemed brands like Oscar de la Renta, Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel. After college, she also had a brief career in investment management, where she eventually suffered burnout living a high-stress, high-intensity lifestyle.
With the help of acupuncture and herbs, she was able to recover from her ailments and regain balance. Her own healing journey has guided her back to her ancestral roots. It inspired her to dedicate herself to study the ancient science of acupuncture, and to help others restore their health.
Since establishing her practice, Snow has successfully helped hundreds of clients reclaim their health. She has been recognized as one of the top acupuncturists in New York City for four consecutive years. It is her passion to help busy New Yorkers take control of their own health while living ambitious lives.