How to Use Turmeric for Skin: Face Masks, Body Creams, Oils, and More

Turmeric powder and fresh turmeric in wood bowls on wooden table

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Turmeric has been used for centuries as a food ingredient and in beauty applications thanks to its many attributes. For starters, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be calming to the skin. It also contains vitamins A, E, and C, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are nourishing and supportive to the skin.

You will get the highest potency of these nutrients by buying fresh turmeric and finely grating it or buying a pre-made turmeric oil. You can also use turmeric powder, which has less curcumin—the active ingredient—than fresh or preserved options, but is ideal for making masks and scrubs.

Before You Use Turmeric on Your Skin

Turmeric can stain the skin, which for some people may result in a warm, flattering glow.

Allergies to turmeric aren't common, but if you've never used it before, it's worth doing a patch test—this will also give you a good idea of how much it will stain your skin.

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Anti-Aging Turmeric Face Mask

Natural face mask with turmeric powder, honey, and yogurt. Natural cosmetics on a white background
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A simple turmeric face mask includes just three ingredients, all of which work in different ways to soften and brighten skin.

Combine 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (or a vegan Greek-style thick yogurt), a teaspoon of raw, organic honey, and a tablespoon of turmeric (powder or finely grated fresh root) together in a small bowl and mix well.

Apply the goopy paste to a clean face, then relax for 15-20 minutes while it does it works its magic.

Gently wash off the mask using your fingers or a damp washcloth (be careful, as turmeric can stain white or light-colored linens). Use warm water as you don't want to make your skin red with too-hot water. Tone and moisturize as usual.

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Turmeric Body Cream

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This brightly colored body cream relies on turmeric oil, not powder or grated turmeric as the other recipes here do. Look for an organic turmeric oil that's meant for topical purposes. It will say it's "for skin" on the label.

To make this cream, you'll need a blender and access to a stove or microwave.


  • 5 tablespoons filtered water
  • 4 tablespoons shea butter
  • 3 tablespoons organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax pellets
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric oil
  • 7-8 drops of clove essential oil


First, you'll need to liquify your coconut oil and shea butter, which will be solid at room temperature (unless your room is very warm). You can microwave them or, in the same heatproof bowl or small pot, create a double boiler by putting the smaller bowl or pot into a larger pot half-filled with water on a low-medium stovetop.

  1. Heat shea butter and coconut oil until they are liquid. Add turmeric oil and clove essential oil to the mix.
  2. Add oil mixture to the blender.
  3. Melt the beeswax in the double boiler or in the microwave. Quickly, add warm beeswax to the oil mix and start blender.
  4. Add a tablespoon of water at a time and blend for 5-7 minutes so ingredients are fully mixed.
  5. Mixture should still be fairly liquid with a creamy consistency when you pour it into your storage container. Leave it to cool to a buttery softness.
  6. Use as needed for skin hydration. You can use it on lips as a balm and smooth between palms and apply to hair to control frizzies.
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Cooling, Calming Turmeric and Aloe Body Mask

Drink aloe vera and turmeric
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Turmeric is revered for its anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it an ideal accompaniment to aloe vera for irritated skin common after a sunburn.

Mix a tablespoon of turmeric powder or freshly grated turmeric into 2 tablespoons of aloe vera, and spread on the affected area. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then rinse off under cool water.

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Salty Turmeric Body Scrub

Close-Up Of Spices On Cutting Board

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This is a great scrub that's both exfoliating and moisturizing and incorporates the power of turmeric.


  • 1 cup all-purpose table salt or sea salt
  • 1/3 cup of sweet almond or grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh finely grated turmeric or turmeric powder
  • 7-8 drops of your preferred essential oil


  1. Add the salt to a pint-sized mason jar or another container with a wide-enough mouth you can reach into (and has a lid). Note that you can use either table salt or sea salt, but should avoid flakey varieties like Maldon.
  2. Add 1/3 cup of sweet almond or grapeseed oil and 2 tablespoons of fresh finely grated turmeric or turmeric powder.
  3. Mix the turmeric and oil into the salt gently, but thoroughly.
  4. This amount of oil should be enough to saturate the salt, but you can make it exactly as you want it by adding salt to make it less oily, or adding a bit more oil if you want it to be more moisturizing.
  5. Once you have it the way you like, add 7-8 drops of your favorite essential oils to the mix. Add tea tree oil if you want extra bacteria-fighting power in your scrub, or peppermint for a stimulating, minty fresh scrub.

Be sure to keep your salt scrub covered—if water from your shower gets in there it will dilute the salt and render it less scrubby. It will also be more prone to growing mold if moisture gets into the mix.

Use the scrub within a few weeks or keep it in the fridge for optimal preservation over longer time periods.

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Turmeric Muscle Rub

Tumeric powder
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Create a warming, relaxing muscle rub with essential oils mixed into your favorite carrier oil. If you like this recipe, you can double or triple the amounts and it will keep well for a few months on the shelf in normal home temperatures. Just be sure to shake well before using.


  • 7 drops organic turmeric essential oil 
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops orange essential oil
  • 4 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 3 tablespoons sweet almond, avocado, or grapeseed oil


  1. Combine all ingredients into whatever bottle or container you will use for storage. Shake well to combine.
  2. Pour a quarter-sized amount of the oil and rub between your hands to warm it up.
  3. Massage onto shoulders, knees, calves, or wherever you need relaxation.