Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Eggs-ited for the Weekend

Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about facial masks and blackhead peels. She tried a facial peel involving gelatin that she found on Pinterest (it was supposed to be a homemade blackhead peel). It seemed to work well for her.  Neither of us are quite sure if it is an effective blackhead peel, but at the very least it did peel off some fine facial hair for a super smooth face! (Downside: it was super painful coming off!) Our little conversation got me thinking...

It's been awhile since I've done a mask.

Normally Saturday is Beautiday. (Meaning I lounge around in my pajamas and pamper myself without going anywhere but on a date with my Anatomy & Physiology textbook.) Today, I'm piled high-and-deep in studying for a lab practical tomorrow, stressed to the max, so I consider: let's ring in the weekend early. With no gelatin lying around, I opted to not give my friend's mask a try. Additionally, the painful peel sounds a bit unfriendly to the delicate connective tissues in your face, under your skin. I took to Pinterest myself in search for a homemade facial remedy. Because I am a busy college student, I took the first one that came my way. It was simple, cheap, and I had all of the ingredients at home. (Woot, woot!)

The recipe came from Fastmaza. It is supposed to be a face mask that removes blackheads. Like many young adults I suffer from blackheads, so the mask sounded tantalizing. My face is in desperate need of a mask treatment to begin with; whatever it did to my face, blackhead removal or not, I was game for. Anything was better than nothing! I made a few minor modifications, but over all, it is very similar.

And, not going to lie: I secretly hoped it'd remove some blackheads or at the very least tighten some pours.

Consider this a "mask review."

The necessities:
  • 2 eggs (we had organic ones lying around)
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice (for me it was from a fresh lemon)
  • A small mixing bowl (I simply used a regular kitchen bowl)
  • Additional: some paper towels on hand for any messes and a whisk or fork to mix with.
The necessities listed on Fastmaza's recipe.

Some of my steps differ from theirs, so I'll be clear as to whose-is-whose.

Step 1 (me): Life's about to get very messy. If you have long hair, I suggest pulling it back. At least move it back away from the face. With long hair this can be done easily with a few clips (as I've modeled below). You can also use a hair tie and pull the hair back into a pony tail for further security. (I apparently opted out of this solution. Crazy me!)  Another great idea is a headband.

Step 1, part b (me): Put on a little old something-something.
Grab an article of clothing you don't care too much about and aren't
devastated about getting some egg on. The other
fashionable option is to drape a towel around your shoulders
barber-shop style and pin it shut with a hair clip.
Separate the eggs. Break open two eggs and separate them, keeping only the whites. Beat the whites with a whisk for a few seconds to ensure consistency. Egg whites make a great mask due to their tendency to harden over a short period of time. - See more at:
Separate the eggs. Break open two eggs and separate them, keeping only the whites. Beat the whites with a whisk for a few seconds to ensure consistency. Egg whites make a great mask due to their tendency to harden over a short period of time. - See more at:
Step 2 (their step 1): Messiness is officially your reality.  Eggs must be separated so that you ditch the yolk and harvest the whites. This can be done with a fancy egg separator or the old-fashioned way, by hand and using the separated shell to sift out the whites. (Not having a fancy egg separator to do the dirty work for me, I was forced to do the latter.) Next, beat the egg whites. If you don't have a whisk, tilt the bowl slightly and use a fork.  You kind of have to finagle that way more, by keeping the fork horizontal and using quick, small circular movements of the wrist.
The recipe says to “ensure consistency” which is a bit vague for me. I’m not really sure what consistency this mask is supposed to be, since there was no description or picture. For me, I tried to make sure the whites were well blended and “gooey.” There was also a heavy layer of tiny, tiny bubbles across the top. Here's a picture two pictures:

Up-close shot. You can vaguely see the mixture sticking
to the whisk as I pull away.

Far away shot. It kind of looks like bubbly orange juice.

Step 3 (their step 2): Add in the lemon! Here I want to add a bit more detail than they do the website. This will only apply if you choose a fresh lemon rather than the lemon juice bottle from the produce section. If you are using a fresh lemon: roll it! Before cutting it, press your palm to the peel and roll it several times, with pressure. This makes the juice yield much higher.

If you are like me and didn’t have an awesome lemon squeezer on hand (dishwasher woes), another tip is to squeeze the lemon with the cut side facing your palm. This gets the juice out but reduces the risk of seeds. Though, I do highly recommend investing in a hand-held lemon squeezer if you plan on juicing lemons on frequent. Here is an example from target.

(Using a whole lemon means there is going to be a lot of extra juice left over after your 1 tsp. for the mask. A really easy way to make sure it doesn’t go bad is to pour the juice, with a little bit of water, into an ice cube tray. Little lemon cubes are great to drop into your water in the morning. It’s super healthy for you and very refreshing – just be prepared for tart!)

Fastmaza is great and tells you exactly why lemon juice is great for this mask, or any mask! Make sure to hop on over and read about the magical health properties of lemon juice that make it scientifically awesome for blackhead busting.  If you’re someone with super sensitive skin, be cautious here. Overuse of lemon on the skin could be too harsh and lead to irritation. I have sensitive skin and could feel a warning tingle on my skin. I had no problems with the mask, but I know my skin well enough to know the “don’t use too much of a good thing” sign. This is definitely not a mask to use multiple times a week or with a harsh acne cleanser if your skin is sensitive. Be gentle and listen to your skin.

Step 4 (their step 3): Face washing! The website suggests a mild cleanser, which I concur with. Definitely don’t use anything too harsh. I used a very gentle, Burt’s Bees Sensitive-Skin Facial Cleanser. (Sorry, there's no picture of that one, I'm so low that I've had to put it in another container to use it. Time to go buy more!) It did the job just fine. The point is to get off any topical residue to give the mask a clean slate to work from.

Step 5 (their 4):
Application. There are probably more civilized ways of applying a mask, such as using a special brush, but my hands were messy already…Holding the bowl close to my face to catch any drips, I scoped the mask onto my face. The website is right when it says that it is not thick. It is very, very thin. I used multiple layers of the mixture to give the mask a little bit of “bulk.” Avoid “thin skinned” areas, like under the eyes. Having to rub or peel the mask off there would be harsh on those areas.

They are right! For such a messy mask, it had a short drying time. I was afraid I was going to be dripping all over the place. I had nothing to worry about! Those egg whites hardened on my face like rock

Thank goodness for webcams.

Step 6 (their 5): The waiting game. Let the mask dry until it is no longer wet or tacky and is stiff. They suggest 15-20 minutes, but the actual time will be dependent on a lot of factors (such as the thickness/number of layers applied, humidity, how dry your face was before application). For me it was easier to go by looks and feel. It needs to be hard to the touch. And you won't be able to move your face. At all. It will be cement upon your face.

From here, the website and I differ significantly in our ending. If you want to use it as a peel, follow Fastmaza's instructions' steps 6 and 7.

As I mentioned before, I was less interested in the idea of a facial peel and more interested in a mask. So, I rebelled. (I’d love to hear anyone’s success stories about using this mask as a peel, though! And I’m sure the original source would appreciate a little lovin’ itself.)

Step 7 (me): Rinse the mask off with lukewarm water. I splashed the water onto my face to loosen the mask, then continued to try and wash it away. When it presented stubbornness I turned to a facial cleanser a Liquid Neutrogena facial cleanser. It is fairly gentle on my face, but more aggressive than my Burt’s Bee’s Sensitive Facial Cleanser. It was just the touch to remove the mask.

Love that this lil' guy is fragrance free!

Step 8 (me): Once the mask is off gently pat dry. Don’t wipe dry. That’s not good for the skin or the connective tissue underneath. While I might not have made it into a peel, the mask sure left my face feeling nice and taught.

 Instead of immediately applying a moisturizer, I kept my hair up and applied Vitamin E oil. My skin is normally oily and dry, so I do not use the oil often; however, it is very good for your skin. I have some scaring that it helps fade away and it always leaves my face feeling supple.

I got this Vitamin E oil from Hannaford. It’s not very expensive at all. Pour a little into your palm and apply as gently as possible to your face. It is sticky and oily and does not like to spread. Try the patting technique as much as you can. Pat it all over your face. Pat to “rub it in.” Only actually rub if you absolutely have to.

I left the oil on for a few hours while it absorbed and then put my moisturizer on. Voila! Clean-feeling, happy -face time.

Honesty corner:
If someone has managed to make this into an effective peel, let me know? Because I need a tutorial for this tutorial! Mine was less peel and more second-skin. When my peel dried there was no hope that I could see of even considering peeling it off. (For the heck of it, I tried a small section. It flaked in tiny, tiny pieces. No peel.) Despite discovering it was not an effective peel, it did leave my face feeling very taught and refreshed. So I'd say it makes a fantastic tightening and toning mask. (Edit: a friend just informed me that I may have been supposed to use all the egg whites and that the reason it wouldn't peel, even if I wanted to, was because it was too thin. I did not use all of the egg whites. I had a ton left over, even with my multiple layers. I'll have to try that next time, just to see if it works! You know, for the heck of it.)

If just making this mask for yourself, I'd stick with one egg white. (You might want to cut back on the lemon juice if you do that, in case your skin is sensitive to the concentration. Try halving it and see how that feels, work up next time if you need.) Two eggs was way more than I needed. (Edit: good news, we have a solution to the extra eggs whites! Mom and dad did couple facials! Talk about a date night! There was more giggling than effective masking. Edit's Edit: If you're aiming for a traditional blackhead peel and not just a firming mask, you might want to use all of the two egg whites on your face, to make it thick enough to peel. Special thanks to my friend for making the suggestion. Let me know if that works?) Also, when this site says that the mask hardens it HARDENS. I could not move my face to smile or even speak by the end of it. Seriously. My mom made me laugh at the very end and it hurt. So do not laugh. Do. Not. Laugh.

I cannot stress this one enough: be gentle taking it off if you make a mask like I did and not a peel. Splash your face with warm water. Use a facial cleanser. Avoid rubbing the mask off with a damp cloth or being too aggressive with your skin. Putting this on before jumping in the shower is probably a great way to wash it off. (I have a tendency of doing that. I slap on my "face," let it dry, hop in the shower and wash it away.) I'll have to try that sometime with this mask. 

Also, I have to stress this one again, too: the mask is SUPER MESSY. Don't be afraid to get down and dirty. Let that inner child out!

Next I think I want to give a honey mask a try.  Anyone try any other successful homemade masks? Discuss in the comments! I would love to hear about them.

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