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It never fails. Just when you thought you’d seen the last of the face invaders, they’re back and larger than life! Suddenly, you feel like an alien, and the only thing you want to do move…to another planet. But wait! Instead of waging war on you skin by blasting blemishes wit supersonic zit creams and harsh scrubbing, take the kinder, gentler approach, just like the women from the past who made good use of everyday items like fruits, vegetables, nuts and cereals for enhancing their beauty. Grandma’s recipes obviously work, because even the most exotic spas of Europe are veering towards herbal and natural therapies.

The best part? You can whip these up in seconds using things that are sitting in the refrigerator or on the kitchen shelf. Masks, facials, packs and cleansers made of homegrown stuff all work in gentle, natural ways to soothe, stimulate, relax, tone or clear the skin. Though you may go according to different or problem skin types, a tutti-frutti approach may be better: everyone’s skin is a combination of oily and dry elements. You might want to use a mask for oily skin on the nose, forehead and chin and mask for dry skin everywhere else.

You can even take a Chinese restaurant approach, and combine, say honey with egg in the same skin category. However, you can cook up your mask, apply it to a cleansed skin and let it do the good work for fifteen or twenty minutes while you relax. Feet up on the pillows or resting on the slant board will double the benefits of any helper you put on the skin. Remember, skin is an all-over affair. Don’t stop with just nourishing your face – spread the good work to hands, to the throats and shoulders. After twenty minutes, splash away the facial with cool or lukewarm water.

What is your skin type? Get a headstart on the road to a dear complexion by understanding the basics:

  • Oily sin usually has a shiny surface, visible pores and is prone to breakouts.
  • Dry skin often feels taut, slightly rough and tends to chap and flake.
  • Combination skin is oily at the T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin) and drier on the cheeks.
  • Sensitive skin is thin, delicate and easily irritated. It has a red and blotchy

Natural Masks

  • Break two large bananas, toss into a blender along with half of the peel and one tablespoon of raw honey. Blend to liquefy, pat on, let dry for 20 minutes.
  • Mix equal proportions of honey, fresh cream, or oats and almond paste. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes.
  • Peel and pit an avocado, liquefy in the blender with one tablespoon of raw honey. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.

Oily Skin Masks

  • Wash and core two crisp apples, but do not peel, liquefy the whole thing into the blender. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Splash on with cool water
  • Wash a big, ripe tomato and liquefy the whole thing in the blender. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes, splash off with cool water.

Two nourishing masks for all skin types:

  • Blend two egg yolks, two tablespoons of honey, three drops of almond oil. Pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.
  • Grind half a cup of yellow mustard seeds, adding 2 litres of water in it. Also grind in a few rose petals. Apply on skin. Let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse well.

One Clarifying facial mask, good for all skins (to be used occassionally):

This does with gentle natural enzymes what skin-slouching creams, peelers and exfoliating lotions do with chemical – it removes dead, dry skin cells on the surface to expose fresh clear skin.

  • Peel a ripe banana and puree in the blender. Pat on the fruit, let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.

Two cleansing and bleaching masks (for faded, end of summer tans as well as winter-drab or season-change sallow skin)

  • Add the juice of two lemons to one cup of buttermilk. blend, pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Splash off with cool water.
  • Liquefy one whole lemon (washed, not peeled) and half an orange (washed, not peeled) in the blender, add one cup of plain yogurt. blend, pat on, let dry for 20 minutes. Rnse off with cool water

Here are a few more any-time masks

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