If you’re even slightly into skincare at all, you’ve probably heard of the mystical, magical powers of turmeric for brightening skin, fading dark spots, calming inflammation, killing acne, and, like, helping you find true love. And although a simple little spice that hangs out in your kitchen cupboard may not seem like a miracle in a bottle, it kind of is, especially if you’re a DIY fanatic who can’t exactly afford insanely expensive skincare. Enter: turmeric face masks.
“Turmeric has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine for its healing properties,” says Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor at Yale. “It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that’s shown to be helpful in treating pimples, brightening hyperpigmentation and acne scars, and fighting the free radicals that can cause fine lines and skin damage.” See? MVP ingredient.
But to get its restorative powers, you don’t just want to stick your face in a vat of powder (which will inevitably leave your face stained bright yellow). You want to mix your turmeric with some calming, hydrating, and skin-healing ingredients, like those in these turmeric face mask recipes, below. Whichever one you choose—and trust, I’ve tried them all—get ready for some surprisingly clear, bright skin after a few weeks of use.
This DIY Turmeric Face Mask for Acne
2 tablespoons turmeric powder
1 tablespoon rice flour or chickpea flour
2 tablespoons yogurt or milk (for oily skin) OR olive, coconut, or almond oil (for dry skin)
1 tablespoon honey
Honey is straight-up magical: “It has natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, but it’s also a humectant—meaning it draws moisture into your skin—so it won’t dry it out while it’s helping fight and calm your zits,” says Dr. Gohara. Although this recipe calls for either oils or yogurt, depending on your skin type, I’d stick with the dairy if you’re dealing with acne. Keep the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes, rinse with your regular face cleanser, then follow with moisturizer.
This Calming DIY Turmeric Face Mask
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 tablespoon of almond oil
3 tablespoons milk
As a very important reminder, turmeric can (and most likely will) stain your face if you don’t have some sort of fatty barrier in your DIY. Here, the tablespoon of almond oil is what’ll keep you stain-free, and bonus, will also help soften and calm irritated skin (thanks to its high dose of vitamin E). Mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy—not too runny—apply to your face, then rinse after 15 minutes.
This Calming DIY Turmeric Face Mask for Sensitive Skin
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon aloe vera gel
1 teaspoon rose water
All hail the mighty aloe vera gel! This turmeric face mask is pretty much a dream for sensitive skin, since it’s part aloe vera gel (which helps calm redness and irritation) and part rose water (which is a natural anti-inflammatory). The mixture will be pretty runny, so don’t expect a drying mask here. Just gently apply it to your skin, let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off. If you’re worried about staining, apply it over your favorite face oil, or add a few drops of oil to the mixture before applying it.