About the Book

Title: Make Your Own Beauty Masks: 38 Simple, All-Natural Recipes for Healthy Skin
Published: 2019

Cover Story: Hello, Gorgeous!

Super cute and completely my aesthetic, as evident by my matching accessories in the photos below. Emma Trithart’s adorable artwork decorates literally every page inside as well — and there’s a diverse range of races and gender expressions for illustrations of people using the masks. Beauty masks are for everybody!

The Deal:

Are you obsessed with skin care? Do you like cheap and easy life hacks? (This old post suggests yes and yes.) This kit contains a book of 38 beauty mask recipes, which can be used with or without the 10 included sheet masks.

The recipes are categorized into these helpful skincare properties.

  • Healing
  • Plumping
  • Hydrating
  • Smoothing
  • Brightening
  • Acne-Fighting
  • Pore-Shrinking
  • Oil-Eliminating
  • Breakout-Busting
  • Redness-Reducing

Test Subject: 

Early 30’s woman with combination/oily skin and no known skin sensitivities/allergies. Avid sheet mask user.*  Main areas of concern are hydrating and healing, I guess? (Figuring that out was a soul-searching quandary.)

*Just ask any FYA HQer whom I’ve travelled with and surprised by suddenly emerging from the bathroom in one.

It literally me

Methodology: 

Looking through the recipes, I quickly realized that my options were limited by not owning a blender, which is required for 26 of them, WHOOPS. But since I didn’t feel like MacGyvering it with a hand blender or a mixer, the blender recipes were eliminated right away.

Following the book’s claim of being able to use “wholesome ingredients you can find in your fridge or pantry”, I further narrowed the recipes down by what I have on hand. (Also, I am lazy.) However, the book vastly overestimates how well stocked my kitchen is (i.e., not at all), but I did manage to find nearly everything else at my parents’. So you really can find all the ingredients in someone’s fridge or pantry! (Just obviously not mine.)

I also wanted to try masks with and without the sheets — although I almost can’t bear to use them, they are so stinking CUTE. Lastly, I wanted to make sure that each beauty mask property would be covered at least once. (There was, of course, a spreadsheet involved in this decision-making process.)

As for actually using the masks, I tried to stick to the recipes as close as possible FOR SCIENCE. (Although I also wasn’t super precise with measuring, FOR LAZINESS of using regular spoons instead of washing measuring spoons in between each ingredient.) And since it’s not really possible to evaluate their effectiveness without continued and isolated usage, I focused more on the experience aspect. 

Experiment #1: Under the Sea

Ingredients: nori seaweed, green tea

Properties: healing, smoothing, brightening, redness-reducing

Observations: 

I actually had way less seaweed than the recipe calls for, but I made it work with only one sheet. What didn’t work quite as well was how much I just wanted to eat the mask, which might be a common concern for these recipes. 

One glaring issue with this mask, though, was how precariously close it looked like blackface. Since I have no aspirations to become the Prime Minister of Canada, I’m not posting a photo of myself in this mask (the pic I did take looks FULL OF REGRET), which is why there’s one of me right after I took off the seaweed instead.

Repeatability: 

Nope. Even though this was the only recipe that I actually had all the ingredients for, I wasn’t a fan of slapping seaweed onto my face, both for the strong scent and the clean-up of the residual flakes. And also the unintentional blackface. 

Experiment #2: You’re Too Sweet!

Ingredients: brown sugar, coconut oil

Properties: hydrating, brightening

Observations:

Holy shizz, this smelled SO GOOD. It seriously tested my resolve not to eat the masks, and I don’t even like coconut. However, the coconut oil was dripping into my eyes and down my chin. It’s a good thing I was already wearing a robe but I couldn’t leave the bathroom while it was on. 

Repeatability:

Yes, but only as an exfoliant. Too messy as a mask, and the brown sugar was too abrasive for my delicate baby skin. But I’d try it again as a lip scrub, since it’s pretty much the same as what I currently use but at a fraction of the cost.

Experiment #3: You Had Me at Jell-O

Ingredients: milk, gelatin, honey

Properties: healing, pore-shrinking, oil-eliminating, breakout-busting

Observations: 

WELL, this made a mess in the microwave, so definitely don’t heat it up at full power or for the full time all at once. The instructions did not say to peel the mask, but I couldn’t help myself; it reminded me of peeling dried liquid glue off your skin, which I did as a kid all the time.

Repeatability: 

Yes, once I figure out the proper microwave setting and if I avoid getting the mask on my hairline or eyebrows, since I was a little paranoid about ripping those out. 

Experiment #4: Extra-Grande Mocha Latte

Ingredients: coffee grounds, cocoa powder, Greek yogurt, honey

Properties: plumping, smoothing, oil-eliminating, breakout-busting,

Observations:

Given the ingredients, it’s no surprise that this smelled AMAZING, especially since I was very generous in my measurements and I used Cafe du Monde coffee (which is used in a lot of Vietnamese coffees). The Greek yogurt also felt so nice and soothing to slather on. This one was my stand-out favourite.

There are two methods for using the sheets; this one just involves putting it on after the mask has been applied. I’ve never used a sheet mask in this way, but it was handy in putting my glasses back on without getting them dirty.

Repeatability:

Yes, especially since there’s so much of it left over. 

Experiment #5: Honey, I Shrunk My Pores

Ingredients: plain kefir, honey

Properties: healing, hydrating, acne-fighting, pore-shrinking

Observations:

This mixture was very runny, and it was hard to get the honey to dissolve well into the kefir. It was good for soaking the sheet in (the other method of application), but the actual mask was dripping everywhere.

Repeatability:

Nope. Just too messy.

Further Questions: 

  • How often should the masks be used? Frequency isn’t specified anywhere, and I assume since there are no harsh ingredients in these, it’d be safe to use as often as you want. (I did five in five nights.) But skincare products do usually state the recommended usage.

  • Can the sheets be purchased separately as refills? Even though the masks can be used without them, I’m sure there would be interest in this if it was available.

Conclusions: 

  • Smizing while wearing a face mask is hard. Where was this Top Model challenge?!

  • The recipes tended to have lots of leftovers after one mask, although I also didn’t use them on my neck as much as I should have (but some would have been a drippy mess if I tried anyway).

  • Related to the drippiness, some of the masks would have probably been better for applying onto someone who was lying down. So recruit a helper and get truly pampered!

  • Contrary to the recommendation, I skipped doing test swatches of each mixture at my own peril. Combined with a recent temperature drop and hormonal changes, this probably wasn’t a great time to be introducing new stuff to my skincare routine. My skin’s currently in worse shape than it was at the start, but there are way too many variables at work to figure out the exact cause.

  • Personally, I won’t be ditching my store-bought sheet masks. But I’d be open to trying out more of these recipes, although I’ll probably use them on my hands or feet instead since my face might be too sensitive for some of these ingredients.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my free review copy from Odd Dot. I received neither money nor gelato for writing this review (dammit!). Make Your Own Beauty Masks is available now.

Mandy (she/her) lives in Edmonton, AB. When she’s not raiding the library for YA books, she enjoys eating ice cream (esp. in cold weather), learning fancy pole dance tricks, and stanning BTS. Mandy has been writing for FYA since 2012, and she’s been overseeing all things FYA Book Club since 2013.