After spending the majority of the summer on major house and work projects, I’ve been looking forward to the end of August as a time for more rest and relaxation. More time for being, instead of doing. More time for luxuriating in the moment, being fully present, bearing witness to and truly feeling myself as part of the natural cycle. In America, we live in an extreme go-go, do-do culture. Just do it! Go big or go home! Seize the day! And I wonder why I feel like I have to wind up what seems like a hundred projects before I wind down to some much-needed me time.
Like many people, I can get so focused on everything else that sometimes (well, many times, [cringe], most times) I am the last on my to-do list. One of my favorite rituals when I need just a bit more pampering is using a facial cleansing mask. I might not be able to make it to a spa, but I can definitely make it to the kitchen.
Some people are really good about using masks as part of their regular skin routine. I am not one of them. My routine consists of: 1) wash face with (goat milk or herbal) soap, 2) dab on toner, and 3) apply lotion. That’s it. To me, taking the extra few minutes to concentrate on applying a facial cleansing mask signals that I’m slowing down, enjoying a time-out, taking a bit more care. Paying closer attention to my body means that I’m spending less time in my mental space. Because it isn’t part of my routine, I can’t be on auto-pilot. It’s not just about cleansing pores, it’s about being in the present moment! (Maybe I should be writing marketing copy.)
This cleansing mask recipe (courtesy of Herbmentor.com) is super simple and an absolute treat in the hot, dry summer. I used to make this mask to pamper my face during harsh winter conditions. While it can be quite a shock in the winter when you put it on your face fresh out of the fridge, the mask feels wonderfully cold and refreshing during the summer.
Most people will already have the dried ingredients in their kitchen: oats, dried chamomile, and dried parsley. (I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing you could open up a chamomile tea bag to use in a pinch!)
Like many herbs, these herbs do double-duty. Not only are they nutritious foods, but they are also superb for your skin. Chamomile is soothing, both chamomile and parsley are antibacterial and honey and oatmeal are softening. Here’s a picture of the dry ingredients before grinding them into a powder:
Once in powder form, measure out 1 tablespoon and mix together with 1 tablespoon honey and 1-2 tablespoons very hot water. The dried ingredients base will keep for a very long time. Any unused cleanser (with the honey and water) should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 5 days.
Looking for an easy, inexpensive homemade gift? This facial cleansing mask can be an essential part of a home spa kit, or works just as well by itself. After powdering the dried ingredients, place them in a pretty or fun glass container and add the directions below. Don’t forget to save some for yourself and enjoy a pampered (maybe even philosophical!) moment.
Cleansing Mask Base:
- 4 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 teaspoons dried chamomile
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
Blend to a fine powder using a blender or coffee grinder.
Measure 1 tablespoon of the dried ingredients into a small glass bowl. Add 1 tablespoon honey and 1-2 tablespoons very hot water and mix well. Let stand 5 minutes. If mixture seems too thick, add a small amount of hot water. Apply to face using gently circular motions and leave on for 2-5 minutes. Rinse face with warm water. Store unused cleanser in refrigerator and use within 5 days.