Find salvation for dehydrated, lackluster winter skin with a rich, restorative, make-at-home facial mask that calls for just two ingredients.
Keeping your skin healthy and happy during the winter season is no easy task. Indoor heat from any source — forced hot air, radiators, wood stoves, fireplaces, or space heaters — plus exposure to outdoor cold and wind can literally suck the life out of your skin, leaving it both dehydrated (moisture-starved) and dry (lacking natural oil). Skin in winter, especially the skin on your face, is often chapped, itchy, peeling, irritated, and lackluster, and fine lines, wrinkles, and shadows under the eyes may be more visible — conditions that are neither comfortable nor pretty!
So, how to remedy the situation? First, look at your lifestyle. Smoking, too much sun exposure, insufficient water intake, poor diet, and excessive caffeine and alcohol consumption can further contribute to dry, dehydrated, prematurely aged skin. If you’re guilty of any of these and you desire more vibrant complexion then it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. To benefit hydration (moisture) and lipid (oil) status and overall skin appearance, stop smoking, wear a natural sunscreen and limit time in direct sun, drink more water, eat a healthy diet of real foods and include ample good-for-you fats, and reduce or eliminate consumption of caffeine and alcohol (both are considered diuretics).
Second, look to two natural ingredients that are widely available, inexpensive, and excellent for restoring winter-dry facial skin to its beautiful, comfortable, healthy state: avocados and buttermilk.
Ripe avocados are rich in nutritive and conditioning components such as vitamins A, B1, B2, and E, amino acids, lecithin, hydrating moisture, and essential fatty acids, all of which are helpful in managing dreary, winter-weary skin. When applied as a mask, mashed avocado pulp quenches the skin’s thirst for both oil and water, leaving behind a soft, velvety complexion.
Buttermilk (preferably organic) can be used cosmetically as a mild, nonabrasive exfoliant. It contains natural lactic acid, which helps dissolve the glue that binds surface dead skin cells together and allows them to slough off easily, leaving behind soft, evenly toned, brighter skin. I use it primarily in masks as a mixing agent. Don’t want to use cow-sourced buttermilk? Effective substitutes include goat yogurt or vegan yogurts made from soy, coconut, or almond milk.
This is one of my favorite quick, easy, skin-pampering recipes and it incorporates both avocado and buttermilk. Give it a try, won’t you? I guarantee, with regular use, your skin will glow with renewed radiance!
Lusciously Creamy Avocado and Buttermilk Mask
This incredibly nourishing and moisturizing mask leaves skin feeling velvety soft. The buttermilk gives it a slight bleaching effect that can help even out blotchy skin if used at least twice per week. This mask is especially beneficial for those with rough, chapped, or environmentally damaged skin. The mixture can also serve as a hair-conditioning treatment that is useful for normal, dry, frizzy, or chemically damaged hair. For use on hair, make a larger batch; apply to your hair, cover your head with plastic wrap or a shower cap, and leave on for 30 minutes, then rinse and lightly shampoo. Mix this recipe as needed; do not store.
Skin types recommended for: normal to very dry; mature
Yield: 1 treatment
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1⁄4 very ripe small avocado
- About 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- To make: Scoop out the avocado pulp and mash it, using a mortar and pestle or a small bowl and fork, and blend with just enough buttermilk to form a creamy paste.
- To apply: This mask can be a bit runny, so safeguard your hair and clothes prior to application. Using your fingers, apply the paste to your face, neck, and chest (if desired). Lie down with a towel wrapped around your hair and another under your neck. If possible, apply this mask in the early morning and lie in the early sun to allow the avocado oils to warm and penetrate your skin. Relax for 20 to 30 minutes, then rinse off with warm water.
Use as desired. Follow with moisturizer if necessary.