Where I come from, DIY masks are more common than expensive potions in a tube. And some times, more effective as well. Commonly known as totkas, these DIY masks and scrubs often use ingredients from your kitchen. The fanciest items are Aloe vera, tea tree oil and activated charcoal – other than that, most masks can be made from residents of your condiments’ shelf.

Before I got married, I used to have a weekly face or hair mask session. Actually, one of my sisters would make it and all of us, including Mother India, would apply it. It was one of our weekend rituals. Over time, the frequency of these masks decreased, until they were replaced by Korean sheet masks and French creams. But now I want to reinstate that ritual, and have a weekly DIY mask sessions. And would love for you to join in as well. From the comfort of your home and pyjamas.

To get started, and share the goodness of beauty potions from the east with my readers in the west, I have compiled some of the tried, test and loved beauty totkas, from my grandma and mama’s kitchen. Also, adding those that I have found through bloggers and makeup artists, and can swear by.

Warning: Always do a patch test before applying any mask or cream, to make sure it doesn’t cause allergic reactions.

Problem: Dull, loose skin

OPTION 1

What you need:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1tsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1tsp raw honey

Method: Whisk egg whites in a bowl, then add lemon, followed by honey. Mix until everything is combined, and then apply on your face and neck. Leave it for 25 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.

OPTION 2

What you need:

  • Oatmeal
  • Milk
  • 1tsp cinnamon powder

Method: Cook oatmeal in milk ((measurements vary according to uses) and let cool. Add cinnamon powder to it and mix. Apply to cleansed skin and wait for 15 minutes. Exfoliate the skin, and remove the mask using water.

OPTION 3

What you need:

  • 1tbsp orange peel powder (grind a few peels in the food processor)
  • 1 tbsp yogurt

Method: Mix the ingredients till you get a thick granulated paste. Apply to your cleansed skin and leave for 15 minutes. Massage and exfoliate as you rinse off.

Problem: Whiteheads

What you need:

  • 1tsp green tea 
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1tsp raw honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 5tsp sugar

Method: Add green tea to hot water, then strain and let it cool. In a glass bowl, add one teaspoon of green tea, apple cider vinegar, honey, egg white and lemon juice. Then, add three tablespoons of water, sugar and make the paste. Massage in circular motions on the face for a few minutes and then leave on for half an hour. Rinse with water.

Problem: Blackheads

What you need:

  • 1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1tbsp milk

Method: Mix ingredients in a bowl and apply to clean/oil cleansed skin with a makeup brush. Exfoliate and massage your skin in upward motions for 10 minutes. Rinse the mask with lukewarm water and moisturise after.

Problem: Large, open pores

What you need:

  • 1 cup water 
  • 1tsp pink salt 
  • 1tsp aloe vera 
  • 1tsp rose water 
  • 1tsp lemon juice 

Method: Add all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Keep it in the fridge for two days, and then use it as a toner in your daily skincare routine.

Problem: Pigmentation

What you need:

  • 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2tbsp onion juice
  • 1tsp honey (optional)

Method: Mix all the ingredients and then apply it on clean skin with a cotton pad. Wait for 30 minutes and then rinse off. Do this three times a week.

Problem: Wrinkles

What do you need:

  • 1 Sapodilla (chiku) peel
  •  2tsp glycerin
  • 1tsp nutmeg

Method: Grind all the ingredients until you get a paste consistency. Apply it onto clean skin, leave for 15 minutes, and then wash off gently.

Problem: Acne

What you need:

  • 1tbsp baking soda
  • 3-4 drops tea tree oil

Method: Mix baking soda and oil, until you have paste like consistency. Apply that on your spots and gently exfoliate (remember to not overdo it and hurt your skin). Wait 5-7 minutes or until its dry and wash off.

Problem: Dull Skin

OPTION 1

What you need:

  • 1tbsp cocoa powder (heapful)
  • 1tbsp milk or yogurt
  • 1tsp honey (if you want to treat acne)

Method: Mix all ingredients and apply on cleansed and dry skin with a clean brush or spatula. Wait for it to dry and then wash whilst gently exfoliating.

OPTION 2

What you need:

  • 3 strawberries
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey

Method: Mash strawberries and add yogurt and honey. Mix and apply on your face. Leave for 15-20 mins and then rinse while gently massaging the face so the seeds can exfoliate.

OPTION 3

What you need:

  • 3 tbsp pomegranate
  • 2 tbsp lemon or orange juice

Method: blitz pomegranate and lemon juice in a blender (the seeds will make the mask thicker) and apply on your face. Leave on for 15 minutes and then rinse off whilst massaging your face gently.

Problem: Hairfall

OPTION 1

What you need:

  • 2tsp ground coffee
  • 1tbsp coconut oil

Method: Mix coffee and oil until paste like texture. Increase the quantity in the same ratio if you need more. Apply to scalp, and wash it off with a mild shampoo.

OPTION 2

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 10 cloves of garlic

Method: Blend garlic and onion until they are finely chopped. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and onion. Keep the heat low and do not take your eyes off to avoid burnt garlic/onion. When the mixture turns brown, turn off the heat and let it cool down and strain. Massage the oil into the scalp, leave it on for about 30 minutes and wash.

Problem: Dry, brittle hair

What you need:

  • 3tbsp avocado oil (can be substituted with olive oil)
  • 3tbsp almond oil
  • 2tbsp castor oil
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3tbsp full fat mayonnaise

Method: Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Detangle your hair and then apply the mixture from root to tip. Leave it on for at least one, and up to three hours. Wash with a mild shampoo.

Problem: Dandruff and build up

What you need:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4tbsp coconut oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 1tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method: Mix all the ingredients, part your hair properly and give the scalp a good scrub. Wash once with a mild shampoo.

Problem: Short, weak eyelashes

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp castor oil
  • 1 tbsp aloe vera gel

Method: Mix the ingredients well so it’s not lumpy but still thick. With a clean spoolie, apply the mixture to your lashes just like you would mascara, wiggling at the base so the roots are covered. Be careful as to not get the mixture into your eyes and avoid vigorous motions as that can cause breakage. Apply twice daily for 15 minutes or every night before bedtime and rinse with lukewarm water in the morning.

Problem: Chapped Lips

What you need:

  • 1 strawberry
  • 1.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder

Method: In a small container, mash strawberry and mix well with sugar, olive oil, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon powder. Apply on your lips and rub in circular motions (don’t be too vigorous because that could give you wrinkles and cause the skin to tear). After 10 minutes, wash off with lukewarm water and apply lip balm.

Wonder Face Mask

What you need:

  • 2-3 cubes of papaya
  • 1 egg white

Method: Mix papaya with egg white, and then apply it on your clean and dry skin. Leave it for 15 mins, and wash off whilst gently massaging it into your face.

Ubtan

What you need:

  • 2tbsp whole wheat flour or gram flour
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tsp lime juice
  • 1tbsp full cream yogurt
  • 1tsp rose water

Method: Mix all ingredients in a bowl till you get a thick paste and apply on your face with clean fingers or makeup brush. Wait for it to dry and then gently rub off the skin. The excess can be removed with lukewarm water and a damp cloth.