Mud masks derived from Dead Sea minerals are touted by the cosmetics industry for their cleansing benefits. (Photo: Kalcutta/Shutterstock)

6 ways to achieve that post-spa skin glow – without leaving home

Get a little muddy. Your face will thank you.

At-home, natural skin treatments boast countless benefits beyond making your blackheads disappear – they’re also fun, easy and less expensive than a visit to the spa.

Raid your refrigerator and set up a “buffet” of edible homemade mud masks for your slumber-partying preteen daughter and her friends; lock yourself in your master bathroom for an evening of pampering, and be sure to take a selfie; or, if DIY’s not your MO, buy a bottle of spa-grade Dead Sea mud salts at one of several Etsy shops online.

Here are six super substances that can be part of your routine for achieving that post-facial glow, minus the beauty-parlor price tag.

1. Honey, do.

honey mask Honey is known to have multiple skin benefits. (Photo: bokan/Shutterstock)

This sticky staple has many uses beyond sweetening your tea. It's also known as a useful ingredient in a liquid face mask for those with dry skin. It can be applied by itself or used in a combo: Mix 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply to your face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water. Gently pat your face dry.

If acne-busting is more your bag, Organic Facts suggests a natural (and edible!) combo that involves one medium-sized apple (preferably organic), four to five tablespoons of honey (also preferably organic) and lukewarm water.

To prepare, scoop out the seeds of the apple and run the rest through a mixer to make a fine pulp. Then, add three to four tablespoons of honey into the pulp. The amount of honey will depend on the size of the apple and how many masks you intend to make with it. The quantity of honey should be sufficient to mix well with the pulp. Mix well into a uniform paste, and apply. Wait for 10-15 minutes and let the mask dry a bit. Wash with the lukewarm water. 

2. Berry relaxing.

yogurt A yogurt-berry smoothie can help give you a radiant face. (Photo: Natasha Breen/Shutterstock)

"Berries fight free radicals to keep your face radiant," Jasmina Aganovic, founder of skin care line Stages of Beauty, told Whole Living. Next time you visit the pick-your-own farm with the fam, set aside a little extra for your homemade mask recipe.

In a blender, combine 2 tablespoons plain yogurt and 2 tablespoons honey, and pulse until fully combined. Next, add 1/4 cup mixed berries, pureeing until smooth, then add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Using your hands, apply mixture to a clean, dry face. Let mask sit 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse face thoroughly with warm water and pat dry.

3. Vinegar for all.

Is there anything vinegar can't do? It'll clean your house, it's great on salad, it's a perfectly suitable (though slightly less aromatic) hair shampoo ... and, according to Reader's Digest, it can also tone your skin. This blogger says she saw remarkable improvement in her skin after using apple cider vinegar on her face for two weeks, morning and night.

"I have noticed my skin tone has evened out significantly, my skin is softer and I have less dry and itchy red patches, plus less oiliness in my trouble spots," said the blogger, known on her site only as "Beth." "I no longer can see the tiny pores on my nose that seemed to always be there. I have also definitely noticed less everyday "regular" breakouts and a significant decrease in the amount and severity of my hormonal breakouts each month."

Here's one tried-and-true method: After washing your face, mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 2 cups water as a finishing rinse to cleanse and tighten your skin. You can also create a homemade facial mask by mixing 1/4 cup cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Gently apply the solution to your face and let it dry. Then rinse.

4. Discover the Dead Sea.

dead sea mud It's common for tourists to slather on Dead Sea mud while visiting. (Itamar Grinberg/Flickr)

The Dead Sea, a salt- and mineral-rich body of water between Israel and Jordan, attracts millions of tourists every year, and many come for the purifying and cleansing properties found in its mud (though the jury's still out on whether claims of this "magic mud's" powers have any basis in science). It's common for tourists visiting this mystical locale to immediately slather on the mud as soon as they arrive on its shores.

Ayelet Skinner, an esthetician at Face, a medical spa in Southfield, Mich., says she had the chance to try Sea of Spa’s Dead Sea mud mask after a client brought it back from Israel (Sea of Spa products are not currently sold in the U.S.). She now recommends the mud as a “great addition to a body menu for spa owners” that is “detoxifying, purifying, exfoliating and softening.” For the home-spun spa experience, Ahava also makes a good purifying mask for oily skin as well as a mud exfoliator for deep cleansing recommended once or twice per week.

5. Stop and smell the flowers.

dried lavender Lavender adds a relaxing aroma to any beauty regimen. (Photo: Mona Makela/Shutterstock)

The Gardenista blog wants you to do a little dirty work before getting your skin clean. It's not as simple as buying these five ingredients and mixing them together; some elbow grease is necessary to get this mask to just the right consistency. 

You'll need 2 cups Bentonite clay, available at bulk herb stores; 1 cup oats; 1/4 cup almonds; 1/8 cup dried lavender; and 1/3 cup dried rose petals.

Here's where the fun starts – use a mortar and pestle or an electric coffee or nut grinder to grind the oatmeal and almonds, but don't go superfine with your grinding. Leave the grains just a little bit coarse to ensure extra exfoliating.

After grinding, mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, combine with wet clay, apply to your face and breathe in. The rest is gravy.

Gardenista's flower-based recipe can be altered to suit individual tastes. Use it as a daily cleanser or an occasional pampering session.

6. Mask those scars.

acne Acne can be a stressful, embarrassing problem that leaves lasting scars. (Photo: Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock)

What's the only thing worse than acne? Acne scars. Those discolorations and marks don't ever seem to go away. But eHow contributor Kelly Sundstrom says it doesn't have to be that way. She found three facial masks that reduce the appearance of acne scars while improving skin's overall complexion.

One of those recipes uses tea tree oil, which she says works just as well as benzoyl peroxide but is much gentler: Add 5-6 drops of tea tree oil (in its undiluted form) to 1/4 cup of green clay mask (found at most health food stores). If the green clay is in powder form, add enough water to form a loose clay slip. Apply the mask to your face, focusing on covering the scarred areas with the clay. Let the mask dry completely, then rinse it off well with warm water.


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6 ways to achieve that post-spa skin glow – without leaving home
Get a little down and dirty with these homemade mud masks. Your face will thank you.