Before I start telling you about how you can use a turmeric face mask let me tell you a little bit about how I first got introduced to it. Turmeric, also known as Haldi, has been used for centuries in India both as a food and as a medicine. When I was a child, spice powders were not freely available like they are in packets today. You had to make your own spice powder using whole spices.
So every May red chillies, turmeric stems, coriander seeds were dried in the sun and taken in bags to the mill to be ground. You had to keep your bag with the whole spices in a queue. Imagine a queue but with cloth bags in various colours. If you lived really far from the mill you could request the mill owner to grind yours first using the excuse that if you missed the 8:30PM bus you’d be stranded in the market!
I still remember walking the hot, dusty markets of Mapusa in Goa. The hot summer afternoon sun bearing down on us with all its might. The strong smell of spices tickling my nose, while we waited for the spices to be ground. The skin below my nose would even start tingling as the smell was so strong. Time would be passed bargaining with the people selling their wares or getting a potato chop and tea.
Get the prettiest skin!
Fast forward about 20 years and while Mapusa market is active as ever, grinding your own spices is now a thing of the past. Walk into any grocery store or supermarket and packaged spices are freely available. Now at the risk of sounding old fashioned and also a bit old, I’m going to say that the food tasted so much better with those fresh organic spices. I mean you chose the best spices for your spice powders.
In this time I also moved out of Goa and to another city. I saw the women in my new home city apply a turmeric face mask every day. It was a common sight to see women with their faces stained yellow from the turmeric. Trust me when I tell you that they had the clearest, smoothest skin, though. No pigmentation, no lines, no marks and a perfectly even skin tone. Not surprising as turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and antioxidant properties. It has antibacterial properties too, which makes it a great spice to fight acne with.
However, due to the fact that going around with a yellow stained face did not appeal to me too much, I did not think much about using it in my skincare. Also, I had been told by too many dermatologists that home remedies do more harm than good. No surprise there!!!
Recently a friend gave me some organic turmeric powder which she had got from a farm. I decided to keep this solely for the purpose of making turmeric tea to be used when anyone has the flu or a really bad cold. I put it into a jar and kept it. However, it was different from the commercially available turmeric I normally buy for cooking. It had a beautiful bright orange hue which was very different from the normal yellow colour of the turmeric available at my grocery store.
When I was making my normal honey face mask, I saw the turmeric sitting on my spice shelf. Tempted I put about 1/4 teaspoon into the face mask. Fully expecting a yellow stained face, I let the mask stay on for an hour. However, after washing my face all I noticed was a slight glow to my skin. Glow is good. I like a glow!! It’s what I aim for. The better news was that the acne healed so much better and the scars faded within 2-3 days. Even an old scar that had been around for 3-4 months faded very quickly.
A quick, little research told me that turmeric contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium. All these play their own individual role in maintaining the health of your skin. They also help heal acne and reduce the appearance of scars.
So how do we get the benefits of turmeric without getting a yellow face? The trick is to use the turmeric with a thick medium like honey which gives you the full benefit of the turmeric but the thickness of the base prevents the turmeric from clumping on your skin and staining it.
Below are 3 turmeric face masks you can try out. Make sure your face is free of makeup or sunscreen. If your face is already clean just splash some water on it and pat dry. We do this as damp skin absorbs whatever you apply on it much better. Apply the mask immediately after. These masks are better used in the evening so that your skin can use the time you sleep to further repair itself. While using the mask make sure your hair is out of the way. Either use a scarf or a hair band to keep your hair away from your face.
Look out for organic turmeric. Please do not use the turmeric that is commercially available for your turmeric face mask. Organic turmeric will have a more of an orange hue than a yellow one. It will also stain much less.
Honey and Turmeric Mask
So this mask contains the same ingredients as the honey mask. So you take 1 teaspoon of organic honey, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder. In addition, add a pinch of the turmeric to start with. Start with a small amount of turmeric and see how your skin looks after using this mask. Depending on how yellow your face looks after, you can increase the amount of turmeric in the mask to about 1/2 a teaspoon. However, the honey does not let the turmeric stain your face much.
2. Avocado and Turmeric Mask
Mash 1/4 of an avocado and mix it with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Apply this on your face and let it sit for anywhere from half an hour to an hour.
3. Yoghurt, Honey and Turmeric Mask
Mix 1 teaspoon of honey, half a teaspoon of yoghurt and 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Apply this on your face and let it stay on for about 1/2 an hour.
Note : The longer you keep these masks on the more benefits you will get. Washing your face 5 minutes after applying a mask like normally suggested does nothing for your skin. I understand these masks are a bit inconvenient to use but on the bright side, they provide a lot of benefits to your skin. If you cannot use them every day let them stay on for at least an hour and use them just 3 times a week.
Use a wide brush to apply the mask if you are scared the turmeric will stain your hands. In the event, it does stain your fingers just use lemon juice and a soft brush to get the stain out. If you feel your face is too yellow use a gentle sugar scrub to get the color out.
WARNING : Turmeric STAINS fabric and furniture!! So make sure you wear old clothes you don’t mind getting soiled while using this mask. Make sure you don’t go near any white or light colored furniture.