This past weekend I ran my first-ever 10km race! It was in Montreal, and it was proper hot last weekend—so hot they cancelled the full marathon out of safety concerns. The 10k race was at 8:45am and it was already somewhere between warm and hot when that started, mostly thanks to the humidity; it was 28°C with the humidex when I checked. Those were ten extremely sweaty kilometres. Anyhow—I was expecting to be sore afterwards, but the thing that really caught me off guard was how my face felt. Hot, yes, but… well, it stung from all the sweat. Apologies if that’s far too much information, but there you have it. I was completely surprised to find my cheekbones were stinging and my eyelids were itchy like I’d just been in the ocean, but minus the ocean. So, upon my return home I thought a soothing face mask was in order—hence this Calming Milk and Honey Face Mask.
I started training for the 10k back in June (well, by “training” I mean “I started doing the Couch to 5k program in June and it actually worked so I thought maybe I’d shoot for 10k”) and I actually did it and dang, I’m proud of myself. I am not a particularly sporty person (is yoga a sport?), so this was definitely a bucket list/personal victory sort of thing. The race was Montreal’s Rock & Roll, and I managed to do it in just over an hour, which I’m totally ok with. My goal was an hour or less, but with the heat humidity factored in I’m going to call those extra two minutes the fault of the weather and throw this one in the “win” column. I’m not sure I’m a fan of running with over seven thousand people all at once, but the camaraderie was nice and I’m definitely fan of getting a free bag of snacks handed to me when I’m done exercising!
Anyhow, on to this face mask. All that salty sweat on my skin made it angry, so when I got home I wanted to treat it to something soothing and gentle. Combine the sweat spa I treated my skin to with two long-ish flights in five days, and I was thinking about treating my skin to something soothing, hydrating, and gently cleansing.
The base of this mask is gentle white kaolin clay with added chamomile and colloidal oats. I find kaolin clay to be the gentlest of the clays I have, so it was an easy choice, and I made it even milder by diluting it with soothing colloidal oats, calming chamomile, and perfect-for-peeved-skin zinc oxide (it’s the active ingredient in diaper cream—that’s how brilliant it is for irritated skin). If you don’t have finely powdered chamomile you’ll definitely want to use your DIY-only coffee grinder to blend these four ingredients together for a super smooth base powder (rough physical exfoliation + irritated skin is not a good combination).
To hydrate the mask I chose a classic blend of milk and honey. I used whole cow’s milk (3.25% milk fat) and a lovely local raw honey, but you can certainly use a different milk (coconut, almond, hemp, etc.) and your favourite raw honey (Manuka would also be lovely!). The fat in the milk helps soften and hydrate skin, and the lactic acid content may help with a touch of chemical exfoliation. Raw honey is naturally antibacterial, rich in enzymes, and is an excellent humectant, helping your skin re-hydrate. This milk + honey combo also tastes delicious on the off-chance a bit of this mask drips into your mouth (I tried it to be sure) 😂
I opted to leave out any essential oils as I found the smell of the chamomile to be lovely on its own, but if you’d like to add a couple drops of something like lavender or chamomile, you certainly can; just add it when you grind all the powders together. The grinder will thoroughly distribute them through the powder base and then you can add the powder to your liquid base without worrying about the essential oils later.
Once you’ve got your powdered base, all you’ve got to do in order to use it is whisk some powder into a bit of milk and honey. You definitely could re-work this mask to include dehydrated milk and honey so all you have to do is add water, but I have a very ample supply of fresh honey and no whole milk powder, so I decided to go the make-the-liquid-fancy route. This also allows you to mix up the liquid portion each time you make a mask—try some different milks, a different honey, or even some maple syrup! Have fun with it 🙂 Now, let’s make a Calming Milk and Honey Face Mask!
Calming Milk and Honey Face Mask
6g | 1 tbsp kaolin clay
3g | 1 tsp zinc oxide
2g | 1 tsp colloidal oatmeal
1g | 2–3 tsp dried chamomile flowers
5g | 1 tsp fresh milk
2g | 1/4 tsp raw honey
Mask mix, as needed
Combine the clay, zinc oxide, colloidal oatmeal, and chamomile in your DIY-only coffee grinder, and blend until you have a soft, fine powder with no noticeable bits of chamomile in it.
To use, combine the fresh milk and honey in a small dish with a whisk, and gradually add mask mix until you have a thick, creamy mixture. This mask mix does swell a bit, so stop adding powder just before the mask is as thick as you’d like—it’ll get there in a minute or two.
Spread the creamy mixture over your skin and let it dry for about ten minutes before wiping it off with a damp washcloth and following up with your favourite face cream.
Because this mask is absolutely loaded with delicious bug food it must be made in single use batches and used immediately. No amount of preservatives will make it safe to store! You can store the dry mix for at least a year in a sealed, airtight jar, though—just add liquid at the time of use.