How to Make a Turmeric Face Mask

Easy step-by-step instructions for a homemade turmeric beauty treatment.

Hairbrush and turmeric face mask ingredients on a checkered cloth

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Overview
  • Working Time: 3 - 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 - 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 face masks
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $20

Recent discoveries about the skin benefits of "golden spice" have catapulted turmeric face masks to the forefront of the trending natural beauty scene. The multipurpose ingredient has been prized for its healing properties for the past 4,000 years because it contains the chemical compound curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. When applied topically, turmeric may also help clear up acne and other dermatologic conditions.

The problem with binging on the beauty industry's turmeric-spiked toiletries and cosmetics, though, is that one can never be sure about the sustainability of fellow ingredients. Also worth considering is the barrage of plastic: According to Zero Waste Week, the global cosmetics industry alone produces more than 120 billion units of packaging every year. So, the greenest way to reap the skin benefits of these treasured terracotta-colored rhizomes, it seems, is to whip up your own turmeric face mask at home. 

This basic recipe uses only clean, eco-friendly kitchen staples: turmeric powder, honey (a therapeutic skincare agent), pH-regulating apple cider vinegar, moisturizing coconut milk or yogurt (which bears the added benefit of probiotics), and an optional dash of lemon juice. 

What You'll Need

Equipment/Tools

  • Bowl or jar
  • Spatula or other mixing utensil
  • Towel

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon pure, organic turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened coconut milk or plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons raw, organic, locally sourced honey
  • 1 drop of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove Makeup and Impurities

    Thoroughly wash your face with your regular cleanser to remove makeup and impurities. Masks, in general, create a sealed layer from which sweat, grease, and bacteria can't escape, so it's important to always start with a clean face.

  2. Prepare Your Ingredients

    Measure out a teaspoon each of turmeric, apple cider vinegar, and coconut milk (or yogurt). Then, add two tablespoons of honey and mix together in a bowl or jar until it forms a thick paste that will easily stick to your skin without dripping.

    Add a drop of lemon juice to brighten your complexion, but only if your skin errs on the oily side. The acidity of lemon juice can cause irritation on dry skin types.

    Preventing Stains

    Turmeric is notorious for staining—that goes for dishes, utensils, towels, and—yes—even your face. The milk and honey help to counteract turmeric's dyeing effect, but you'll want to avoid getting the mixture on your clothes and use a container you don't mind discoloring just in case.

    The longer your turmeric concoction sits in the container, the likelier it is to leave a prominent stain, so wash it out with soap as quickly as possible to prevent long-term yellowing. 

  3. Apply to Skin

    As with any new skincare product, you should test the turmeric mixture on a small patch of skin—like, say, on your hand—to make sure it doesn't cause an allergic reaction or, in this case, result in a lingering yellow tint.

    If it passes the patch test, apply a thin layer to your face and neck with a spatula, avoiding the eye area, and leave it on for about 15 minutes (less for sensitive skin). Any longer could increase the risk of staining.

    Make sure to wash off as much of the mask as possible before patting your face dry with a towel.

  4. Store Leftovers in the Fridge

    You can keep your turmeric honey face mask in a closed container in the fridge for up to five days. When chilled, it may also help depuff and revive tired skin. 

Variations

Milk or yogurt and honey play an important role in the basic turmeric face mask recipe: They help create a desirable sticky consistency and also act as a barrier so that the turmeric can penetrate skin enough to improve it but not enough to turn it yellow. To make a vegan version, you can use half a banana, mashed, in place of the honey. 

Another honey-free turmeric face mask recipe comprises two tablespoons of chickpea flour, half a teaspoon of unsweetened coconut milk, one teaspoon of cucumber juice, and half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix the ingredients together and apply the paste to your face and neck, again leaving it on for about 15 minutes.

View Article Sources
  1. Hewlings, Susan J. and Kalman, Douglas S. "Curcumin: A Review of its Effects on Human Health." Foods. vol. 6, no. 10, 2017, pp. 92., doi:10.3390/foods6100092

  2. Prasad, Sahdeo and Aggarwal, Bharat B. "Turmeric, the Golden Spice." Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd Edition. 2011.

  3. Panahi, Yunes, et al. "Evidence of Curcumin and Curcumin Analogue Effects in Skin Diseases: A Narrative Review." Journal of Cellular Physiology, vol. 234, no. 2, 2018, pp. 1165-1178., doi:10.1002/jcp.27096

  4. "Zero Waste Home Guide." Zero Waste Week.

  5. McLoone, Pauline, et al. "Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin." Central Asian Journal of Global Health, vol. 5, no. 1, 2016., doi:10.5195/cajgh.2016.241