How To Make A Brightening Turmeric Face Mask + 3 Ways To Spice It Up
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Looking to give your skin some extra love? Perhaps peek into your kitchen. Yes, 100% natural ingredients can be just as nourishing as market masks and treatments, not to mention a fun way to spend the evening. If you're new to the venture that is DIY beauty, there's no shortage of players you can source at home (honey, cucumber, avocado, aloe vera—the skin-friendly grocery list goes on and on).
Let's add one more to the DIY docket: a turmeric face mask.
How to make a turmeric face mask.
Turmeric, while rather buzzy in the last couple of years, is by no means a new addition to DIY; in fact, the spice has been used in ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years1. And as modern science is also fully on board, there's plenty of research touting the spice as quite the impressive anti-inflammatory2. Additionally, turmeric (and its active ingredient, curcumin) has antioxidant properties that can help protect the skin from free-radical damage3.
Needless to say, it makes a lovely face mask for those looking to brighten skin and refine texture and tone. (Plus, it only takes a few ingredients to get started.) Here's exactly what you need:
- Yogurt: "Mixing turmeric with yogurt as a base gives a nice texture to spread on your face as a mask," says Marisa Plescia, research scientist at clean beauty e-tailer NakedPoppy. "Plus, yogurt is full of probiotics that could help balance the skin's microbiome." And it's jam-packed with lactic acid, which can gently buff the skin smooth.
- Turmeric: Of course, we can't have a turmeric face mask without the star ingredient. Just keep in mind that you don't need a ton of spice for it to be effective—a little goes a long way! Plescia recommends ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of turmeric to avoid overpowering the mask and staining the skin (more on that later).
To make a basic mask, simply combine ½ cup of plain yogurt with ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. Apply an even layer to the skin, leave on for 10 to 20 minutes, then remove with warm water. Always remember to seal in the moisture with a cream or oil, so you don't dry your skin out further.
3 turmeric masks for glowing skin.
So you have your basic mask recipe—why not spice it up (pun intended) with a few add-ins? Below, three helpful ways to give your turmeric face mask just a little more oomph:
Add aloe, for skin-soothing.
Aloe's an incredible skin-soother, particularly perfect for relieving the skin after a scorching beach day. Simply mix a 1:1 ratio of fresh aloe and yogurt (plus a teaspoon or so of turmeric) in a bowl until you get a spreadable consistency. Apply the mask to your face and let sit for five to 10 minutes. (Don't let it sit for longer than 20 minutes, as aloe can lose its moisturizing effect and potentially cause irritation when sitting on the skin for too long!) Then rinse your face thoroughly and pat dry.
Add honey, for extra hydration.
Ah, honey: One of the most sought-after DIY ingredients out there. There's a pretty good reason honey remains a beauty fan favorite: It's an all-natural way to hydrate your skin and ease inflammation4. "Adding a bit of honey to your DIY turmeric face mask will increase the mask's ability to hydrate the skin, and it's great for acne and blemishes, as both turmeric and honey are known to provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits," explains Plescia.
Either add a dollop of the golden goop to your yogurt-turmeric concoction, or create a whole new base entirely: Mix 1 tbsp. of raw or Manuka honey, 1 tsp. ground turmeric, and ½ tsp. lemon juice until it forms a paste. Slather on and leave for 10 minutes or until the mask starts to harden, then wash with lukewarm water.
Add apple cider vinegar, for gentle exfoliation.
"If you have uneven skin tone and texture, add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to your turmeric treatment for some extra skin brightening," says Plescia. ACV is naturally chock-full of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which can gently dissolve dead skin cells and leave your skin looking smooth and renewed.
Just be careful if you have chronically dry or sensitive skin: Applying ACV directly on the skin can be irritating for some. That's why Plescia says just a few drops to your turmeric face mask will do the trick; if you feel any irritation start to occur, rinse off the mixture immediately.
Final tips and warnings.
As always with DIY, do a patch test before slathering on; just because you can consume the spice doesn't mean your skin will tolerate it the same way. Sometimes people can have unexpected reactions to the topical treatment, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Finally, we'd be remiss not to discuss turmeric's bright orange hue, which makes for a beautiful mask, sure, but turmeric is also notorious for staining (your clothes and your skin, it turns out). To avoid tinging your face orange, Plescia recommends (again) using just a small amount of the spice. When you mix just a pinch with the yogurt base, the color should fade quite a bit, limiting its staining potential.
Although, that's not to say the DIY mask is totally foolproof: Turmeric does have the ability to stain your skin, but it's only temporary. So don't freak! "Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, is oil-soluble," says Plescia. So a gentle oil cleanser should be able to remove the pigment, even if it does take a couple of times for it to totally clear. Even if you leave the stain alone completely, the sebum in your skin will lift off the pigment eventually.
If you're interested in making turmeric part of your beauty routine, feel free to start with an easy DIY face mask. While simple to whip up, the goop has some pretty impressive skin care benefits. Just a sprinkle of the spice can be deeply nourishing—with a gorgeous golden color, to boot.
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.