Written by Shilo Urban
Warm summer weather is in full gear, which means cooling off takes a little more creativity. Your skin usually helps you keep cool by sweating out toxins and evaporating water from its surface, so why don't you return the favor and pamper your body's peel with a cooling homemade facial mask?
All the following face treatments are 100 percent natural, although you should use caution around your eye area unless you want a cornea full of yogurt. For best results, apply to clean, dry skin after a warm shower and let each mask sit for 15-30 minutes. You can also spread the facial mask over your neck and décolletage as well, and for a real cooling treat, spread out a big beach towel and apply to your entire body.
Cucumber cools, soothes and hydrates the skin, and this mask couldn't be easier. Wash and slice a chilled cucumber into thin circles, then apply to the entire surface area of your face, even on top of your closed eyes. Relax and let the coolness soak into your skin. Flickr photo by mallydally
This cooling mask also makes a delicious breakfast. Mash one banana thoroughly and mix with 2 teaspoons of plain full-fat yogurt and 1 teaspoon of honey (you might have to microwave the honey a few seconds so that it will blend). Mix well, apply to the face and let dry completely before rinsing off.
Milk baths are a popular skin soothing treatment, and this milk mask concentrates the effects for your face. Mix 1/4 cup of powdered organic milk with enough filtered water to make a thick paste. Apply to your face and let dry completely before rinsing off to reveal smooth skin that's like butter.
The "good fats" found in avocados are also beneficial when applied topically. Halve an avocado and chill the half you will use (eat the remaining half with your lunch). Cover the surface area with plastic wrap to prevent browning if you prefer. When nice and chilled, mash and mix with 2 teaspoons of honey. Apply to the face and relax for at least 30 minutes. Flickr photo by dullhunk
Oats have long been used to soothe skin conditions. Start by grinding 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a food processor until it has a powdery consistency. Add 1 teaspoon honey and 2 teaspoons of full-fat organic milk, stirring until the mixture is thick (if it's too thick, add a bit more milk). Let sit for 10 minutes and then apply to the face for about half an hour.
Peaches contain enzymes that loosen up pores. Peel and pit one ripe peach and cut into small pieces. Add one egg white and whip thoroughly. Apply to face for 15 minutes and follow with a cool rinse. Flickr photo by wlcutler
If you goof and get too much sun, don't beat yourself up. Resolve to always reapply the SPF, then make the following mask to ease your pain. Blend 1 small peeled cucumber with 1/4 cup aloe gel and 200 milligrams of aspirin (please note that aspirin was originally derived naturally from the bark of the Willow tree and has been used as a pain killer since 400 BCE). Once thickened into a paste, refrigerate for 15 minutes and then apply the cooling mask to the sunburned area. Leave on for 30 minutes and follow with a cool rinse.
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Image: Suus Wansink
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