Confession time: I had a DIY period in my skincare journey. My mom used to do a lot of DIY masks. But she had a good excuse: it was Soviet Union and skincare products were not available. Her favorites included fresh sour cream mask (it probably delivered a tiny-tiny amount of lactic acid, while the acidity helped maintain the healthy skin surface pH - so better than nothing), fresh yeast mask (smelled yucky, but probably delivers some beta-glucans for moisturization - again, better than nothing). There were less safe ones, too, like a fresh strawberry mask (don’t do it, nothing is better!).
So I wasn’t alien to the idea of DIY skincare (I did even partake in the pampering activities with my mom, mostly for the fun of it). When I was in my early 20th, DIY powder clay masks were a thing in Ukraine. At least in the underground skincare circles I hang out it. The process worked like this. First, you buy a sachet of dry clay. You had a choice of different colors of clay, all claimed to be natural (not sure if it’s true) and having different impressive benefits for the skin (definitely not true). Then you mix a bit of the powder with warm water, and “spice it up” with stuff that should have been eaten. Like yogourt or egg yolk (yuck, I know). Or, even worse, with essential oils. Tea tree was my favorite. I am sorry, skin.
The good thing about DIY skincare is that it is tedious, so there is no way you can do it regularly. The fact that I was engaging in this activity no more frequently than once per month probably helped to control the damage. At least for some time. The masks obviously didn’t work to improve clarity and hydration of my skin, but I didn’t experience a reaction. My skin was still full of youthful resilience.
This first DYI period came to an end with me getting too busy on the career front. Unfortunately, a few years later, I’ve decided to reintroduce the DIY rituals into my Sunday pampering routine as a way to release stress (and of course, as a sure way to get a glowing skin despite constant air travel and lack of sleep). I bought tea tree oil, mixed it with a powder clay I brought from Ukraine (I was living in Germany at that time), and oh boy, things didn't go well from there. I’ve got the worst. skin. irritation. in. my. life. The worst part though is: I didn’t think it could be the damn tea tree oil. It’s natural, right? How on Earth can it be harmful? (facepalm).
Gradually I started to suspect the DIY wasn’t that great any more. The next stop in my quest for glowing skin included splashing quite a significant amount of money on a kitchen cabinet/ garden inspired skincare brand (they do ridiculously expensive but beautiful in texture masks with suspended rose petals, honey creams and peony toners). My skin was breaking out, feeling dry and generally very unhappy. My senses were delighted though. Yeah, I know, I should have spent the money on hipster lattes, room candles, and art galleries. Wisdom comes with age, what can I say.
My skincare DIY story has a happy end: I stopped doing it for good. Did you have a DIY skincare period?