Would you love to get an exotic facial but just can’t afford the luxury? Why not try a beauty secret that French and Greek women have been doing for centuries? In Mediterranean countries, including Greece and France, women have been using homemade beauty products since ancient times. Even today, do-it-yourself beauty products are quite popular in the Mediterranean and other European countries. And why wouldn’t they be? They cost less than store-bought beauty items and are made with all-natural ingredients that help your skin stay soft and young looking.
In the book, French Women for All Seasons, the author Mireille Guiliano explains that when she was growing up in France, her mother would often use a homemade facial mask. She had two specific ones for summer – a strawberry version (mashing strawberries together with honey and vaseline) and a cucumber version, where sliced cucumbers would be mixed with yogurt and applied to the face and eyes. Both masks add important nutrients and moisture to the face, keeping it healthy and glowing.
I’ve also read that Greek women frequently use pantry items, including yogurt, honey, bananas, and avocados to create nourishing facial masks. Hmm, maybe this is why they all look like Greek goddesses?
I’ve only had one facial in my entire life, and it wasn’t even a full facial (extractions just don’t sound fun). It was a quickie facial where the esthetician had me steam my face over a hot bowl of scented water. Then she applied some beautiful smelling paste to my face and let me lay there to relax. After she wiped off the mask thoroughly, she gave me a light massage then applied face cream. It was wonderful and just what I needed to relieve the stress of the day – without the scary extractions.
Aside from the extractions, the main reason why I have only tried even a mini facial once is that they are crazy expensive. So, after reading about how the Mediterraneans make their own facials, I thought I’d give it a try.
And, I just so happened to have all of the ingredients for a perfect Mediterranean-inspired facial mask in my pantry. How clever and convenient!
I took steel-cut oats…
And mixed them with plain Greek yogurt (I’m sure you could use regular yogurt but Greek yogurt is so much thicker – and besides, it’s Greek!). I didn’t use it all so I’m saving the rest of the yogurt for tomorrow’s snack!
I added a little honey from my fancy schmancy stay at the Ritz….
All of the ingredients made a nice thick paste that was good enough to eat, in a weird sort of way. I promptly put the mask all over my face, except for my eyes.
My husband was quick to point out that I had chunks of “stuff” all over my face. Nice, honey.
I then used a couple cucumber slices for my eyes, to add to my whole at-home facial experience.
After 15 minutes of pasty bliss, I rinsed off my mask with warm water, and proceeded to wash my face again with my regular soap (Clinique). My face felt a little tight at first, but oddly refreshed and a little smoother than it felt before. I added some facial cream and called it a night.
This morning, I honestly can’t tell if my face is softer from the mask or if I just had a much more restful night’s sleep. Maybe it’s a little of both.
But, if you’re looking for an easy, do-it-yourself facial mask to try, here’s one to start with…
Bistro Chic Mediterranean Facial Mask
2 tbs plain Greek yogurt (any brand will do)
1-2 tbs oatmeal (for exfoliating purposes)
1/2 tsp honey
2 cucumber slices
Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl and apply the mixture all over your face, avoiding the eye area. Place cucumber slices over the eyes, lay back, and relax for 15 minutes. The max will quickly dry on your face. Rinse with warm water thoroughly and continue with your nightly face-cleaning ritual.
So the next time your face needs a little lift, look no further than your pantry. You may just find the makings of a Greek goddess inside – and I don’t mean the salad dressing!