I am one of those skincare makers who love to spoil others, but find it hard to spoil themselves. I don’t have a wellness regime or dedicated self-care rituals. What I have is limited time, so I take moments for myself when I can.
This morning is one of those gloriously rare times. My husband and the kids are outside, occupied, not needing anything from me. Normally, I’d just have a hot shower and wash my hair uninterrupted, but my skin is craving some attention above and beyond exfoliating with a scratchy towel.
As I watch the kids jumping on the trampoline from the kitchen window I plan my quick, simple face mask using what’s available right in front of me: oats, cacao powder, raw honey, cinnamon and the leftover coffee grounds from my morning cuppa — perfect!
I love using food from my kitchen on my skin. I can scrub, soak, mask and moisturise with the things on my bench. It doesn’t get more Zero Waste or low impact or inventive than that!
I blitz the dry ingredients (see recipe below) to a fine powder in the blender and pop it into a small bowl. Add the honey and the coffee grounds. Mix it up with a spoon, adding a little water to get a good mask-like consistency: easy to smooth on and not too runny.
That was so quick — I actually have time to steam my face first!
I love a steam facial, it’s so comforting in winter. I grab a pot from the stove and fill it halfway with boiling water. I add some cloves and citrus peel and place my face over the steam with a towel over my head. I breathe in the fragrant steam for a few minutes. This softens my face and opens the pores, readying my face for the mask. I always like a slightly damp face for slathering a mask on, so I don’t dry it completely. I apply the mask with my fingertips covering my entire face, except for my eyes, and find a quiet place to sit for 5-10 minutes.
I have dry, sensitive and mature skin. The oats allow natural and gentle cleansing due to the presence of saponins. They provide gentle exfoliation for removing dead skin, calming my sensitivities without stripping natural oils from my face. Cacao powder has high levels of antioxidants that protect and repair the skin from damage and premature ageing. And as a potent anti-inflammatory, it soothes redness and blemishes, improving the skin’s complexion. Raw honey helps balance bacteria, which makes it a great product to use for breakouts and calming dry scaly skin. Honey speeds up the skin cells’ healing processes and leaves skin soft and supple. Using it by itself as a mask is also one of my favourite quick treats! Coffee grounds brighten and reduce inflammation and slough away dead skin cells. They have a calming affect on skin and anti-ageing properties. Lastly, cinnamon, I add it for the smell, but it also soothes and softens dry skin and is a wonderful light exfoliant. Used in India in skincare home remedies for centuries, cinnamon helps stop the break down of collagen in the skin and kills bacteria that causes acne and breakouts. It’s more than just a lovely smell!
I brace myself for the mess I’m about to make removing the mask. Why are bathrooms always so white?! I add a splash of water to my face and gently scrub is circular motions, being mindful of the soft skin near my eyes. Once I’ve scrubbed my face and neck I pop a face washer in the still warm pot I steamed my face with and use that to wipe the mask off. The warm water is comforting and really helps remove the chocolatey, oaty mess!
Now for the not so comforting bit; once the mask is fully removed I splash very cold water to close up those pores and pat dry my face. I return to the kitchen for some moisturiser. My face loves extra virgin olive oil. It’s thick and absorbs well and doesn’t clog pores and has wonderful antioxidant properties with lots of good vitamins and minerals. A teaspoon or two is all I need for my face and neck. I let it soak in for a few minutes and pat away any residue left on my skin. If you’re prone to breakouts sunflower, sesame or canola oil work well as a light alternative.
I wipe down the bathroom. It’s not quite as bad as I expected, but it still needs a once over. The kids are running up the stairs and needing a snack. I should have left the mask on to scare them or let them have a taste!
Kirsty Mootz is a mindful maker of products that have a low impact on the planet. Her handmade, small-batch organic skincare range and beeswax wraps can be bought on Etsy Parva: Little Things. She also teaches workshops and private classes in and around Sydney, Australia. A full schedule of her classes can be found on her Instagram bio @parva.little.things
Tbsp cacao powder
Pinch of cinnamon/ginger/cloves/cardamon
Blitz in the bullet or blender until combined and pop into a vessel
Tbsp raw honey
Leftover coffee grounds (optional, probably need to drink coffee for this one)
Add a little water to vessel and combine to a mask-like consistency
Apply with fingers to damp face
Sit and relax for 5-10 minutes
Remove as normal and moisturise as usual
Enjoy soft, supple skin!
Add a few whole spices and citrus peels, flowers or herbs to a pot of half full boiling water. Pop a towel over head and stick face over steam for 5 minutes. It can get very hot under there, so take a break when you feel the heat!
All images & text copyright Kirsty Mootz