Spa in the Kitchen: Facials

CATEGORIES: Sara, Spa and Body

This post is part of a week long spa feature. Other posts include:
Sugar Scrubs
Hair Treatments
Super Smoothie

My cute friend Emily introduced me to homemade facial treatments at one of our annual
Girls Weekends a few years ago. I wasn’t sure about slathering the colorful goo on my face, but once I saw the wonders they did for my skin I was quickly a believer! There’s a reason that the beauty treatments you see in stores and spas get most of their main ingredients from nature. That’s where the good stuff is!

I will have you know that I experimented with a LOT of stuff this week and some of it was down right nasty. Other things looked and smelled yummy but didn’t do squat for my skin or hair or whatever it was I was treating. So I want you to know that everything I post this week is stuff I actually use and love. Hopefully you’ll find something you love too. Let’s get on with it!

. . . . . . .

Before you start any facial, make sure you start off with clean, make-up free skin. To really sooth, start off with a steam. Steam hydrates, warms the skin, and opens pores. Plus it feels really really good.

Instructions: Bring a pot of water to a simmer. I put lemon slices and mint leaves in mine. Lavender is also awesome, especially with lemon. When water comes to a simmer, remove from heat. Let it cool off for just a minute and then with a towel over the back of your head to trap in steam, lean your face over the pot. NOT TOO CLOSE. Just had to make that noticeable to avoid necessary lawsuits 🙂 Don’t scorch your face, okay? Just get close enough that you feel the warm steam all over. I stay there until I can’t feel the steam any more- do it for as long is comfortable and then pat your face dry. (Buy some lemons and some mint and when you’re done with your face steam, make some of this!)

For me, next comes exfoliation. I can’t tell you how much I love a good scrub. It sloughs off dead skin cells leaving your skin soft and smooth.

This one stars oatmeal, which is one of the most popular and most effective natural products for your skin. Not only are they ultra moisturizing, but they contain saponins which help gently clear dirt and grime out of your pores (see ya blackheads!). Oatmeal is also soothing, and great for sensitive skin.

Oatmeal Exfoliator:
2t oats
1t baking soda
warm water

Place oats and baking soda in a small bowl and add small amounts of water just until it comes together in a spreadable paste. About 1 1/2 t should do it. Use your fingers to rub it on to your face in circular motions. Massage for 1-2 minutes and then rinse off with warm water and pat face dry.

. . . . . . .

I loved this mask, it was so super soothing. I combined 3 of the very best natural sources for skin treatments. Plain yogurt contains lactic acid which helps reduce the size of your pores. Yogurt also moisturizes and reduces oiliness. Honey brightens, tightens, and smooths. It’s well known for fighting both acne and wrinkles too! And of course Cucumber soothes and softens skin.

Honey Yogurt Mask
1/2 T honey
1 T plain yogurt
1 t cucumber pulp

Warm the honey in the microwave for just a few seconds. Just to make it easier to stir. Add yogurt and combine. Use a microplane or a fine-holed cheese grater to make the cucumber pulp. Add it to the honey-yogurt mix. Chill if you want a cool mask, or just use as is. Apply to your face, pop a couple of cuc slices on your eyes and chill out for about for 3-5 minutes (or longer if desired). Rinse with water and pat face dry. Moisturize after.

. . . . . . .

I think of all the face treatments, this was my favorite. It smells so yummy and it’s bright pink. How fun is that? Strawberries contain vitamin C, antioxidants, and alpha-hydroxy-acid. The cornstarch dries on the skin soothing irritation and leaving it super soft. This is a great one for oily skin.

Tightening Strawberry-Lemon Mask

1/4 C roughly chopped strawberries
3 T corn starch
1/2 t lemon juice

Use a mini food processor or a fork to mash the strawberries into a pulp. Stir in lemon juice and corn starch. If the mixture is too runny to stay on your face, add more corn starch. Smooth onto skin and let sit for about 20 minutes or until dry. Rinse off with water (and a wash cloth helps) and pat skin dry. Moisturize after.

. . . . . . .

If there is a super-food of natural beauty treatments, it’s the avocado. It’s been used for years by just about every culture for heath and wellness purposes. Skincare is no exception. It’s one of the best natural moisturizers there is. It’s also filled with monounsaturated fats, Vitamin B and E, and has way more potassium than a banana. Avocado is especially soothing on sunburned skin.

Moisturizing Avocado Treatment:
1/2 mashed Avocado.
Apply plain avocado to the skin, or use one or more of these add-ins:

Honey– brightens, tightens, and fights wrinkles and acne
Oats– moisturizes and mildly exfoliates
Yogurtrefines pores and sooths irritation
Egg white– great for oily skin
lemon juice– great for oily skin
Egg Yolk– great for dry skin
Olive Oil– extra softening and moisturizing

Let sit on skin for a few minutes and rinse off with luke warm water. Pat skin dry.

. . . . . . .

I really hope you all try some of these out. They really work! I spent all day pampering myself in preparation for this post- and it feels great.

If you have any great facial tips, please leave them in the comments.




  1. I love at home “kitchen” ingredients facials. thanks for the new ideas. BTW, sugar is a great exfoliant on it’s own, I love to use it after I wash my face about once a week.

  2. These sound wonderful! I am adding a couple of items to my grocery list for this week – looks like I have a day of pampering coming up!

  3. what awesome recipes! i actually drink lemon mint /ginger water all day long. recently, i gave up my numerous diet soft drinks in favor of a more healthy alternative and i feel much better. no tummy aches! i never thought to steam my face with it, though. usually i use a pre-bottled stam from dr. hauschka. thanks!

  4. I had no idea you could do so much with some of these everyday things! Can’t wait to try them out – my skin is in a crisis right now ever since having my baby!

  5. if you process the oatmeal in the food processor for a couple minutes it produces a much better texture for the oatmeal scrub! Also, if you are pregnant and have melasma, don’t try adding lemon to your facials or it will bring out the melasma color and increase its’ size(by experience).

  6. Boy, right now I can’t decide if I’m hungry, or if I want to make my face more beautiful. Thanks for these “recipes”!

  7. These all look like so much fun…I have some oats sitting out right now, is it soo early in the morning for a facial?!?

  8. I’ve used avocado before, and oatmeal, but never the yogurt…and I just bought some yesterday. Perfect!

    Another fun thing to do is take half of a grapefruit (it can even be after you’ve eaten the good stuff out of it) and sprinkle sugar over it. Then rub it in gentle circles over your face. It turns into a citrus scrub!

  9. Here is my question: What does this stuff store? Like if you make too much can you refrigerate it and use it a few days later?

    I particularly like the sounds of the strawberry moisturizer!

  10. what great ideas for a home spa party with friends. THank you for sharing your recipes. Can’t wait to try them out at home.

  11. Here are my suggestions for add-ins to the avacado:

    😀 Haha Apply to your face then scrape off with tortilla chips! JK.

    In all seriousness, these look super fun. I’m gonna have to give that strawberry mask a try!

    BTW, my word verification today is “Osers” and it makes me miss Owen 🙂

  12. I can’t wait to try the oatmeal one. I always need more help with exfoliation! Recently I used one with ground oatmeal and honey to help my pregnancy acne. It didn’t take it all away at once, but the redness went down, and over the next couple days it went away completely. So far, so good!

  13. Oh my gosh I love these! I’m going on a girl’s weekend soon and you can bet we’ll be making these and having some clean face fun! Thanks!

  14. I love that I can do these facials in my own home–without making an appointment, without hiring a babysitter, without going to buy extravagant ingredients. Thanks for the practical pampering ideas!!!

  15. I have had a honey/avocado body scrub at the Grand Wailea Spa Luna on Maui, never thought of doing it at home…great $ saving tip!

  16. I just got my first facial for mothers day and it was heavenly!! These home remedies would be a lot cheaper and tastier!! 🙂

  17. I love you Sara!
    I saw this post right before I took a shower, and I did the oatmeal scrub and the strawberry mask, and my skin looks AMAZING! I keep looking at myself in the mirror 🙂
    Also I was telling my husband how awesome it was, and he’s going to do it too, lol. So thank you from both of us!!

  18. I think I see a spouse spa night coming up. The only other thing that would make this relaxing would be for someone to mix and rub it on for me. Are you willing to come and do that for me?

  19. I have also heard squeezing the juice of half of a lemon mixed with an egg white and using as a toner to tighten the pores. Thanks for a great post!

  20. I wonder why you’re skin has been glowing lately, you’ve been holding out on me girl! Thanks for sharing, I think I’ll have to do this with my little girlies, they’ll be in heaven!

  21. I'm printing this page! I only wish it was posted last Tuesday – I was childless & husbandless all day on Saturday. That won't happen again for a few weeks but I know what I'm doing with my first free Saturday!!!! Wahooo!!!

  22. These look great! I can’t wait to try them! We have a spa night planned with my Young Women, they are going to go gaga over these!

  23. These are such a great idea! It’s a perfect plan for a girls night out when we want to save on money and stay in.

    BTW, I tell EVERYONE I know about your site 🙂

  24. This looks so fun. I’m having a few of my old YW over in a few weeks, and we may just have to try a few of these!

  25. WONDERFUL!!! I just did the steam and exfoliate.. now im sitting here with 10 minutes to go with the wonderfully smelling strawberry mask! Cant wait to see the final results! I had all these ingrediants at the house, so no trip to the store… yay!!!! Thank you so much!

  26. Thanks for doing the dirty work and sharing the best with us all! I’m excited to try these treatments. Oh, and I LOVE your fabulous camera/design skills too!

  27. Oh, my gosh! My skin is freaking out lately, and some of these look perfect! I love masks, but store-bought ones are so harsh! I can’t wait to try a couple of these.

  28. Sometimes I wonder what I’m really putting on my skin when I buy a skin product. I love that I would KNOW exactly what I am using! Thanks!

  29. Thanks for all of these fun ideas! My daughters would LOVE to make some of these this summer! I see fun spa days in our future!

  30. love your recipes.. i have tried most of them and i can agree with u that they r all great, easy to prepare, and cheap!

    i have another one for you which is a great homemade indian recipe. my grandma told me about it when i was a kid and ive been doing it since.

    a cup of besan (gram flour/chick pea flour)
    4 tsps of lemon juice
    a pinch of turmeric

    just mix together and spread on ur face. wait 20 min and wash off with warm water, scrubbing it off. a wash cloth will work great too.

    the turmeric is a great antiseptic, for acne especially. the combination with lemon juice brighten your skin as lemon is a lightening agent. and besan- the flour, takes all the dirt and grime out of your face and makes it smooth and glow!!

    also…my grandma had the most hairless legs since she used besan and water to take a bath instead of using chemical soaps… i wish i had done it but didnt have the patience…

  31. The Young Women leaders did this for the girls. It was a facial night! The youth loved it and now I want to try it on myself!

  32. I was wondering about how well these store. I wanted to make them as gifts. And also about how often you should use them. Weekly? Daily? Thanks for sharing.

  33. ok, so i have to say it i Love, LoVe, LOVE your website! its amazing!! the only reason im leaving this comment at the end of this page and none other is because i have spent about 3 hrs looking at your entire blog!!! and this is the last page i am looking at tonight…i cant believe what two women can come up with! you gals ROCK!! thx so much for making things that i can copy…so i can Rock too!!! =)

  34. I’ve heard that black tea bags can help baggy, tired eyes. Something about the lactic acid…I think you want to let them steep for 5 minutes in hot water first, to release the acid, and then allow to cool and apply to eyelids. Sorry, that’s all I know, but thanks for the great ideas! I love this site!

  35. Wow! I just came across your blog when I was searching for a mango pico de gallo recipe and I have now been browsing the entire site for well over two hours. I am super impressed! I think I’ll host a girls’ spa night soon and try all of these hair and facial treatments. Do you have any good at-home ideas for manicures and pedicures?

  36. I have a group of Young Women who wanted to do a spa night. I was trying to figure out how to make it fun and cheap…and somewhat educational. This is going to be so fun and AWESOME to teach them how to make some fun and easy things and then do our spa night! I was kinda worried about this activity…thanks for saving me!

  37. One other thing you can use is eggs. I don’t remember which is which (I believe the yolk is for oily skin). If you put them on and then wait for them to dry, it helps pull out all the black heads. I did it as a teen and it worked great.

  38. I just tried the oatmeal mask but added a little honey to it as well and then put it on, the only thing was it didn’t stay on well hence the reason why I added honey but I laid in the bath and put my head back to keep it from falling. I also gently rubbed it into my skin and let it sit. My skin feels amazing and so soft. I hope it helps with my acne as well. I have it pretty bad especially since I’m pregnant now :). THANKS! I will be trying more soon.

  39. Hi Sara – I tried this back in Sept. in preparation for my brother’s wedding and loved it. I am having family over this weekend for our “girls” 1st Annual Beauty Extravaganza and am featuring this home facial treatment. I love your site – thanks!

  40. Wow, all of these sound magnificent!! I will definitely be trying!!! Thank you so much for these great treatments. I can’t wait to try!! 🙂

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