exfoliating face mask

How To Make An Herbal Exfoliating Face Mask

Ever since I learned how to make my own herbal exfoliating face masks, I hardly buy them at the store. Not only are my homemade exfoliating face masks more effective than store-bought masks, but they also are much cheaper. Plus, I usually have most of the ingredients in my kitchen — and herbal face masks are super easy to craft!

Here in North America, blueberry season goes from April through September. So to celebrate blueberry season, I decided to share my recipe for a Blueberry Oatmeal Exfoliating Face Mask. This exfoliating face mask will leave your skin soft and glowing. It only has four ingredients and takes just minutes to make!

But before we dive into the recipe, let’s talk more about the ingredients…

exfoliating face mask

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.)

When most people think of blueberries, they think of eating the juicy berries. But blueberries are also great to use topically. They contain mild fruit acids, such as citric acid and malic acid, which gently exfoliate the skin.1,2 Many people use cosmetics made with lab-derived fruit acids, which are super concentrated. But I find them too harsh: I prefer to use whole fruits to exfoliate my skin. When you use whole fruits in an exfoliating face mask, you get all the benefits of exfoliation without the irritation!

In addition to their gentle exfoliating acids, blueberries are rich in a wide range of nutrients, including vitamin C and other antioxidants.3,4 Your skin will feel smooth and soft after using blueberries in your skin care!

I used fresh organic blueberries in this mask, but you can also use defrosted frozen blueberries.

sunburn relief: aloe vera

Aloe (Aloe vera)

Aloe is soothing and hydrating for the skin. You can use aloe for a range of skin issues, like rashes, irritation, and acne. I used organic aloe gel in this recipe, but you could also use aloe juice.

exfoliating face mask

Oatmeal (Avena sativa)

Oatmeal is soothing and mucilaginous. In skin care, herbalists often use (rolled or instant) oats to calm irritated, inflamed skin. You can also use oats as a natural skin cleanser, and they mildly exfoliate the skin, which is perfect for our herbal exfoliating face mask.

soapmaking-lavender

Lavender Hydrosol (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender hydrosol is a product of distillation that hydrates and soothes skin and improves acne. Like the essential oil, lavender hydrosol can balance sebum levels in the skin. So it’s great for dry and oily skin alike. Plus all hydrosols are acidic, so they help rebalance the skin’s pH level.

If you have a still and lavender plants, you can distill your own lavender hydrosol. If not, many herbal and essential oil companies (like Mountain Rose Herbs) offer lavender hydrosol. When searching for lavender hydrosol, keep in mind that it is sometimes called lavender flower water, lavender hydrolat, or lavender distillate. Store lavender hydrosol in a cool, dark place, such as a fridge. When stored properly, lavender hydrosol has a shelf life of a year.

Or you can just make a lavender infusion (a strong medicinal tea) with lavender flower buds. When refrigerated, lavender infusion has a shelf life of a few days.

To learn more about hydrosols, see my hydrosol articles on HerbMentor.

exfoliating face mask

Blueberry Oatmeal Exfoliating Face Mask

What You’ll Need…

  • 3 organic blueberries
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (2.75 grams) of rolled oats
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) aloe vera gel
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) lavender hydrosol
  1. In a small bowl, mash the blueberries.
  2. Grind the rolled oats in a grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Add it to the bowl and mix well.
  3. Measure and add the aloe vera gel and lavender hydrosol. Mix well.
  4. Clean your skin with your favorite cleanser. Apply the exfoliating face mask to damp skin. (You can dampen your skin with water, toner, lavender hydrosol, or aloe.) Leave the mask on for 5 minutes for sensitive skin and 10–15 minutes for most other skin types. If your skin feels tight as the mask is drying, then you can rinse it off early or mist your skin with water.
  5. Rinse well. Follow with a toner and moisturizer. You can use this mask 1–3 times a week.

Yield: This recipe makes enough for 1–2 uses.

This exfoliating face mask is preservative free, so it has a shelf life of 2–3 days when refrigerated. It’s best to use it immediately after making it, but you can refrigerate any excess. You might have to stir it again and add a little more lavender hydrosol or aloe before applying.

You can cater this mask to your needs. If it is too thick for you, add more aloe or lavender hydrosol. If it is too thin, add more rolled oats.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Have you ever made an herbal face mask?

What are your favorite herbs for skin care?

Let me know in the comments below.

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Ehlenfeldt, M.K., Filmore I.M., & Ballington, J.R. (1994). Unique Organic Acid Profile of Rabbiteye vs. Highbush Blueberries. HortScience: a publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 29(4): 321-323. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/29/4/article-p321.xml?rskey=IqPbS0
  2. Wang, Y. Fong, S.K., Singh, A.P., Vorsa, N., & Johnson-Cicalese, J. (2019). Variation of Anthocyanins, Proanthocyanidins, Flavonols, and Organic Acids in Cultivated and Wild Diploid Blueberry Species. HortScience: a publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 54(3): 576-585. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/54/3/article-p576.xml?rskey=7FAhqt
  3. US Highbush Blueberry Council. (2021). Health Benefits: Nutrition Facts. https://blueberry.org/health-benefits/nutrition-facts/
  4. Wang, Y. Fong, S.K., Singh, A.P., Vorsa, N., & Johnson-Cicalese, J. (2019). Variation of Anthocyanins, Proanthocyanidins, Flavonols, and Organic Acids in Cultivated and Wild Diploid Blueberry Species. HortScience: a publication of the American Society for Horticultural Science, 54(3): 576-585. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/54/3/article-p576.xml?rskey=7FAhqt
10 comments
  1. This looks lovely, Li! Good enough to eat :-P

    • Thank you so much, Shannon. I hope you get to try it soon! Have a wonderful day!

  2. Thank you for these recipe’s could eat them too. Good for out and inside.
    I got when i was younger a bath with raw cow milk and lots of bran in it. My skin felt so much better and healed faster ( psoriasis,lupus) even after bites of a spider or fly’s it soothens the skin. Did you tried that?. Thank you for these cards. Loving them. ( now find someone who can print it for me here,in Netherland). Best wishes Rina.

    • You are welcome, Rina. I love oat and milk baths; it definitely softens the skin! I hope you will find someone to print out the cards soon. Have a lovely day!

  3. Great recipe, thank you. I hope to see more from the author on Learning Herbs!

    • Thank you very much, Angie! Have a lovely day! :)

  4. We used to pluck white pine needles and chew the white inner parts for a breath freshener. So in addition to good skin, good smelling breath. It takes two needles and just the tips.

    • Great tip, Julie. I have not used pine needles as a breath freshener, but I will try it! Have a great day!

  5. I plan to purchase ingredients for blueberry oatmeal face mask. Thanks Carol

    • Awesome, Carol. I hope you enjoy the recipe! Have an awesome day!

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