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close-up of woman with facial mask applied to cheek
Join me each week as I explore the naturally aromatic side of DIY. Helpful recipes for your "scentual" pleasure: from essential oils, herbs, and other botanicals to soap-making, body care products and other useful blends.

Last week, you learned how to pamper yourself, some friends or your mom with a home pedicure. Recipes for foot soak, foot scrub and foot butter helped to set the stage for a day of feet-lovin' fun. Use those newly neat feet to gather supplies for the best home facial you can give -- just in time for Mother's Day.

After the break, I'll share recipes for making your own facial cleanser, face scrub, facial mask and face oil, ideas for packaging them as gifts, and tips for choosing oils and essential oils based on your skin type.

Making and using a facial mask(click thumbnails to view gallery)

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Everything shows on your face: your lack of sleep, your crummy diet, and your clogged pores from wearing your old makeup to bed. You know you do it. You can help rejuvenate your tired face, and if you package up these products in pretty containers, you can give the gift of beautiful skin.

Facial Cleanser
True or false: To clean that grime off your face, you need something harsh and soapy. False! A gentle cleanser is best, so try something soapless:
  • 2 TB barley flour
  • 1 tsp. yucca root powder (optional)
  • 2 TB honey
  • 2 TB - 1/4 c. aloe vera gel
  • 10-15 drops essential oils
Mix barley flour and honey well, then slowly drizzle in the aloe vera gel and whisk until you get the desired consistency. Add the essential oils and mix. I like my cleanser to not be too runny, but not so thick that it doesn't come out of a disc-top bottle easily. To use, gently rub cleanser into face and rinse with warm water.

Facial Scrub
Now that your face is clean, let's exfoliate. Getting the dead skin off your face helps the fresh new skin glow, keeps pores from clogging, and keeps healthy skin cells renewing.
  • 1 TB oatmeal
  • 1 TB cornmeal
  • 1 TB flax seeds
  • 1 TB adzuki beans
  • 8-10 drops essential oils
Grind all dry ingredients in a spice grinder until they make a fine powder, then add essential oils. You can package the scrub as a powder; a window tin works well for this. To use, mix with water or hydrosol until you get a thin paste. You can even add a little oil (about 1/4 tsp.) to soften your skin. Using a circular motion, gently scrub mixture into face for about 2 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Facial Mask
What is your goal with a facial mask? Mine is to condition, cleanse, and tone the pores while adding hydration and nourishment to the skin. Francesca has some ideas about an apple face mask she has tried, but here is my favorite face mask you can make with ingredients you probably have around the house, with the exception of the clay.
  • 2 TB oat flour or finely ground oatmeal
  • 2 TB Dead Sea clay
  • 1 tsp. ground roses, calendula or chamomile
  • 8 drops essential oils
Mix all ingredients and store dry. When you are ready to use, mix with a little water or hydrosol to form a thin paste. You can add some oil or face cream to this mask if you have normal to dry skin (about 1/2 - 1 tsp.) or you can mix with honey or yogurt for extra softness. Apply to your face, avoiding eye area, and leave on for 5-15 minutes. If your skin is dry, opt for a shorter amount of time, but oily faces can let the mask dry nearly all the way before removing. For more detailed instructions and pictures on how to mix your mask, visit the gallery.

Face Oil
You'll want to finish off your perfect face with just a bit of face oil to retain the moisture and healthy glow you've just achieved. Rumor has it that the stunning and ageless Sophia Loren has always only used olive oil on her face. Surely you've got that in your cabinet, but here are some ideas based on skin types:
  • Dry skin -- macadamia nut oil, apricot kernel oil
  • Oily skin -- hazelnut oil, grapeseed oil
  • All skin types -- rice bran oil, almond oil, olive oil
Add 10 drops essential oils to 1 TB of carrier oil. Apply 2 or more drops to a damp face. Store in a colored glass bottle to protect the oil from light.

Which essential oils should you add to your products? There are some that are perfect for all skin types, but you may want to customize using this handy list.
  • All skin types -- lavender, geranium, carrot
  • Dry skin -- sandalwood, rose, rosewood, neroli
  • Oily skin -- petitgrain, ylang ylang, cypress

Your facial is complete and you are relaxed and have a healthy face to show for it. Next week, look for home spa recipes to pamper your entire body, including your overworked hands.

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