Beauty Chemistry: Homemade Face Masks

Gentle Moisturizing Banana Avocado Mask
Anti-Inflammatory Honey Spice Mask
Exfoliating Yogurt Lemon Mask

What if I told you that you could make great face masks in the privacy of your kitchenette? What if I told you it was really, really easy? What if I told you it could cost...$FREE.99?!

If any of the above excites you, then you've come to the right article! I'm a big fan of low investment at-home masks, so none of these take more than a minute or two for prep, and the most complicated one has three ingredients. I'd be surprised if you even have to go to the grocery store. So put on some Enya, grab a mixing bowl and spoon/fork/whatever, and get ready to spaaahhhhhh:

Recipe 1: Gentle Moisturizing Banana Avocado Mask
I've never taken a trip to Banana Island (since it sounds like the sort of place they don't sell Cheetos) but I do like to mash 'em up with an avocado before I head out on Friday nights—they're both super hydrating without the high acid content that makes a lot of other fruit masks possible irritants.

Here's my "process," if you can even call it that: take a medium-sized banana and half an avocado, put them in a bowl, squish them together with a fork, mix 'til you have a good, even blend, then smooth on your face and relax for around 20 minutes. The only tricky parts are A) not scaring loved ones, and B) not dripping a bunch on the carpet.

Recipe 2: Anti-Inflammatory Honey Spice Mask
Honey is great. It's antimicrobial, it's a humectant, and it's delicious. Therefore, a honey mask is clearly superior to most (if not all) other homemade masks. And of all the honey-based masks, my very favorite involves adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg to act as anti-inflammatories and also make the entire concoction smell like a hot toddy...or maybe some other, unboozy thing? I dunno. Generally, if something reeks of heated cocktail, I'm on board. I just have to assume that you, dear reader, are similarly dispositioned.

Anyway, what you do is take about a quarter cup of honey (extra points if you use raw Manuka honey, which can even be classified as a medical-grade antimicrobial agent) and half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Then give everything a good stir, scoop the mix out, pat it on your face, and wait about 15 minutes. Then wash with warm (not hot) water so the honey dissolves and you're done! Skin officially de-bacteria'd, softened up, and hopefully less red, too.

Recipe 3: Exfoliating Yogurt Lemon Mask
Yogurt has lactic acid and hydrating lipids, and lemon has citric acid. Put 'em together and you have a gentle exfoliator that moisturizes, too. Just get a cup of full fat, unsweetened yogurt, squeeze in a lemon slice, and apply a nice, thick layer. Depending on how much exfoliation you want (and how long you can stand to lie around with yogurt on your face), you can leave it on for 5–15 minutes.

—Lacey Gattis

Photos by Lacey Gattis.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Meredith

    Please, I implore you, don't put lemon on your face. :-(

    • ITGLacey

      Hey! I wouldn't suggest people put lemon directly on their face; totally agreed. But I promise a small squeeze into a much larger proportion of yogurt isn't going to wreck your mug!

      • Teckie

        I put lemon juice on my face once. I can't remember why; just in the name of beauty curiosity and experimentation I guess - but I didn't die. So there's that.

        • Colleen

          Well, that logic also extends to other things, such as using sunbeds... and meth... Just because you did it once and it wasn't so bad, doesn't make it good.

          • Teckie

            Lemons = Meth? I'm going to use lemons on my face for the next week in protest of some of these melodramatic rants.

      • Addison Cain

        I think you're definitely right here, but everyone should be extra careful in the sun after using lemon (or any citrus juice) on their skin. I once got a weird sun blister from a tequila shot/ lime juice/ beach incident. Good times!

        • Teresa

          That's the thing -- it's not about the acid, it's more that it increases photo sensitivity. Some people are more prone to it than others.

    • Sara

      But why?

  • whistleslippers


  • Teresa

    Everything but the lemon juice, please. If you're going to use fruit, strawberry's a better option.

    • Addison Cain

      I love a good strawberry/honey mask!

  • Andreea A.-

    Lemon is so irritating for the skin!

  • lisa

    why shouldnt i put lemon directly on my face?

  • thebloginista

    I am obsessed with manuka honey on my face. I usually mix it with turmeric -gives my skin a nice glow!

  • Aubrey Green

    I love the honey, nutmeg and cinnamon - I do this all the time. I also use nutmug twice a week to exfoliate. I just add it to my regular face wash.

    There's this woman I know, who puts lemon on her face everyday and she looks really young for her age and has beautiful skin..?

  • Trendy Tailor

    I loved this post, specially the yogurt masks, I will try it sure!


  • F

    Me and my friends and family (Asian) put lemon directly on our skin all the time. I don't think our skins are that sensitive. Dilute it if yours is. But we've been doing this for years and it has never backfired. Just wear sunscreen regularly and never use a concentration your skin can't tolerate.

  • Prince & Sullivan

    Great post!!!



  • ITGLacey

    Poor lemons! Just trying to get funky in a gentle yogurt face mask & being assailed at every turn.

    To get serious for a sec though, I completely appreciate you guys' concerns, & I don't want anyone to injure themselves. But while rubbing an entire lemon on your face might be too acidic for a lot of people, this recipe isn't. Yogurt with a spritz of lemon is extremely mild.

    With acids, percentages & ratios are the most important factors. Any acid—AHAs, BHAs, salicylic, lactic, & glycolic—can all super gentle or skin peeling depending on how much you use & how strong your formulation is.

    • Evelyn Brockmann

      As an avid fan I tried this controversial this morning and this is what I now feel like and will feel like for the whole day.
      Hooray for Lemons sprinkled into Yogurt!

    • Emma Hager

      Where'd you get that masterful gif?

  • Sarah

    This is practically what's in a Lush fresh face mask! But half the cost! You can't really go wrong with avocado and banana. They're also great for the hair :)


  • Sara

    Great post!

  • courtney conway

    Natural skin care is like my life

  • Emma Hager

    Lacey, this is awesome! I am all about the home face mask. Most of my skincare is honestly just stuff that doubles as a snack. Eat some, apply to face, eat some, apply to face.

  • Takara A

    I use a similar mask minus the lemon juice on my hair before, I will give it a go on my face.


Wedderspoon 100% Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+