Although masks aren't an uncommon accessory in many countries, these protective face-coverings are a relatively new addition to the typical wallet-keys-phone necessities of the everyday for the majority of Americans. As I type this, I do so from behind not just a computer screen, but a disposable mask in a lovely shade of light blue that perfectly matches my favorite Functionize shirt.
As thin as the material is, I do find it highly uncomfortable. It's hot, it's moist, and the inside is covered with transferred make-up and lipstick. (Why am I still wearing lipstick to work when no one can see it? Because I was born wearing lipstick. ::Bane voice:: You merely adopted it!)
Anyway, the combination above is not ideal if you're trying to have clear skin. Enter this amazing, easy, and cheap DIY mask I've been using on and off for years. Recently, I've upped my application dosage to a religious 1-2 times per week and have seen a noticeable improvement, especially around my problem area: the chin!
What is this miracle mask, you ask? You need only two ingredients, one of which you may already have on hand! Apple Cider Vinegar (with "The Mother" - I use the brand Bragg) and bentonite clay (I use the Aztec Secret brand). I purchase both from Amazon, but I know you can find the ACV at most grocery stores.
This all-natural mask is beyond simple. Trust me, if it wasn't, I wouldn't even bother. If you can get over the smell of ACV, you're good to go!
Mix equal parts of the clay powder and ACV into a bowl. I've read you should use a non-metal bowl, but I don't know why. I use glass or plastic.
Once thoroughly mixed, it should look like number 3 in the photo series below:
Not all that appetizing, but once you get this mixture on your face (and, I'll say it again, get over the smell of the AVC), you will be on your way to Relaxation City!
Many people feel a slight "pulsing" sensation after applying this homemade mask. If you are like myself and have sensitive skin, try applying it on your arm or leg first. I personally don't feel any discomfort. It feels more like a kind of tightening to me, which I honestly love. Rewind the clock! Return me to youth, Oh Great DIY Mask!
Leave on until it dries, then rinse with warm water! This is that step that requires the most work because you don't want to trade clogged pores for clogged drains. Put a thin dish towel over the drain while you rinse to catch any debris; the mask gets flaky when it dries.
Bentonite clay gets its name from Fort Benton, Wyoming, where it can be found in large amounts. It's a type of volcanic ash that works by absorbing oils/dirt/bacteria on the skin, which is why this mask is especially great for treating acne caused by sebum.
According to Medical News Today, Bentonite clay contains natural minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, which may provide additional benefits.
It's already found in a variety of skincare products, but did you know some people even ingest it? The brand I use is for topical use only, so don't mix with your afternoon tea, please!
Another thing people ingest? Apple. Cider. Vinegar. YUCK! The reason why I put up with the god-awful odor of ACV in my skincare is simple: acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid.
OK, so that doesn't sound simple, but it totally is! ACV helps balance the pH of your skin. It works similar to a toner in that it unclogs your pores! This is the reason you always use ACV with "The Mother."
From Wikipedia: "Mother of vinegar is a substance composed of a form of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, which turns alcohol into acetic acid with the help of oxygen from the air. It is added to wine, cider, or other alcoholic liquids to produce vinegar."
I can't even begin to imagine what it's like to wear a more durable mask at work all day long. Or a face shield. Or how frustrating it must be to wear glasses and have them fog up every time you exhale. A million other inconveniences and uncomfortable issues that I'm totally unaware of probably exist, too, because I only have to keep my mask on when patients are in the office. I get many opportunities for relief. If you're reading this and you spend most of your day (or night!) wearing a mask, thank you. Thank you so much, and I am so sorry. Sure, I realize it isn't the worst thing in the world by a long shot, but it is annoying.
This blog post is for everyone, sure, but I wrote it especially for you. I hope you can find time to make this DIY mask, and that it brings you some relaxation after what I can only imagine is a long day. Whether you work in healthcare, you deliver groceries/food, work in a restaurant that's opened back up, are a hair stylist, tattoo artist,- whatever it is you do that has you in a mask all day long!
Happy masking, everybody!
Mary Kathleen is Functionize’s Social Media/Marketing Manager and in-house Wordsmith. She lives in Atlanta with husband Brian and their three furry children Cotton (pup), Burlap (pup), and Knuckles (kitty). She is the owner of Velvet & Vine Boutique.