We Tried It
turmeric face mask

This $12 DIY Turmeric Mask Gave Me Picture-Perfect Skin

All the details on the recipe, plus the history of turmeric in beauty and wellness.

By: Jacquelyn Greenfield
Photography: Jacquelyn Greenfield

Despite it being one of the most stressful times of my life, when I was graduating from college my skin looked absolutely fantastic. Granted, I was doing any and everything under the sun that I thought would help me look picture-perfect for when I got my degree. Anything from rice water hair treatments to intense workouts—you name it, I tried it. While some of the at-home remedies that I came across in my research were nothing but clickbait, the one that worked surprisingly well was the DIY face turmeric mask.

After trying a ton of different products to help combat a lifetime of hyperpigmentation and discoloration, I figured I had nothing to lose when it came to trying a turmeric mask. I did a bit of research on the household spice and found that it’s a true multi-purpose ingredient that offers a wide range of benefits, both externally and internally. But don’t take my word for it—I had the chance to talk to Trinity Mouzon Wofford, the co-founder of Golde, about the benefits of mixing turmeric with other superfood ingredients, as well as the best ways to use them.

 

The Advantages of Turmeric

Having been used for centuries in Ayurveda and other traditional Asian medicine practices, turmeric has long been known for its antioxidant protection and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation naturally. It also has antimicrobial benefits, which aid in preventing the growth of bacteria—a big factor to help gain control over acne breakouts.

For as beneficial as the vibrant, orange-yellow spice is in skin care, it’s equally advantageous in other areas of your health as well. “Turmeric is really something that does it all,” explains Mouzon Wofford. “It’s a powerful superfood that can do so much for your skin [and] gut health, as well as muscle recovery for post-workout.” The spice is also an anti-inflammatory when ingested and can offer some relief from arthritis-related pain and stiffness, in addition to the skin-brightening and acne-fighting benefits. Mouzon Wofford stresses that the superfood can still do all of these things when ingested, but if you’re looking to accelerate those results for your skin, topical is the way to go.

 

Mixing Turmeric with Other Superfoods

Turmeric offers an enormous amount of health and wellness benefits. “If you’re ingesting it,” says Mouzon Wofford, “it’s typically recommended that you have it with a bit of black pepper.” Black pepper helps activate the chemical compound curcumin, which is a main component found in turmeric that gives it its anti-inflammatory properties. For Mouzon Wofford, it’s the double amount of benefits from the mix of superfoods that appeals to her. “In [Golde’s] turmeric-and-matcha blend, you get all the benefits of turmeric, but with the matcha, you’re getting this green superfood; you’re getting the energy boost and all the antioxidants, so I think it can be great to mix and match [superfoods] and find opportunities like that.”

When using turmeric topically, the same rules apply. “It’s always great to have a few different superfoods that you’re mixing together,” explains Mouzon Wofford. If you’re like me and believe that if you can’t eat it, then you probably shouldn’t put it on your face, using natural superfoods like turmeric in your skin-care routine is a wise choice. With that being said, Mouzon Wofford really believes that this is a great time for wellness and beauty products to come together in order for them to be as clean and natural as possible. “These superfoods that we’re loving either in our skin-care or in our ingestible wellness routine can work vice versa,” she explains. “At the end of the day, antioxidants are good for you, whether you’re ingesting them or putting them on your face.”

If you’re interested in trying out turmeric yourself, follow along with the recipe I used to achieve even, glowing skin.

 

What You’ll Need

There are a lot of variations of DIY turmeric masks out there. By switching up the ingredients in your mask, you can target a few of your current major skin-care concerns. For me, it was hyperpigmentation and acne, in that order. I wanted to keep the ingredients in my mask as simple and minimal as possible, so I stuck to the basics—turmeric powder, plain yogurt (for probiotics), and honey (for enzymes and soothing); you can also add a splash of lemon juice as well to help brighten.

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Create Your Mask

Step 1: Take a small bowl or reusable container that you don’t typically care too much about (remember turmeric stains!) and add two full tablespoons of plain yogurt to make a single-use mask.

Step 2: Mix in two tablespoons of turmeric powder and one tablespoon or a good squeeze of honey into the bowl with yogurt. Mix all the ingredients together with a spatula. You’ll want to stir until all the turmeric powder is mixed together. I personally like the consistency of a thick, creamy mask.

Step 3: This step is optional if you want another brightening component to your mask. Squeeze a fresh lemon wedge into your mask, but be careful not to add too much as it’ll make the consistency of your mask a tad liquidy. Too much raw lemon juice can also irritate your skin (remember, it’s an acid).

 

How to Apply

Use a small spatula to evenly spread the mixture across your face—or your hands if you’re low on tools. Then let the mask sit for 15 to 20 minutes. The yogurt acts as the base of your mask and will create a claylike effect as it hardens over your face. Once the time is up, it’s best to remove your mask with lukewarm water and a dark colored cloth. Or if you want to avoid staining, you can wash it off in the shower. Just be sure to rinse it all completely down the drain.

Now, if the DIY thing isn’t for you, there are plenty of turmeric-based products out there that are just as effective.

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