Our beauty team tried three DIY face masks and here's what happened

DIY face masks promise thrifty bespoke skincare, we put three recipes to the test

Three DIY Face masks that Darcy tested for this feature, avocado, coffee and salt
(Image credit: Future/Darcy Brown)

DIY face masks sound like the perfect way to take control of your skincare routine. They're inexpensive, you can tailor recipes to meet your skin's specific needs, and you know exactly where the ingredients have come from. Plus, being directly involved in the making takes the act of self-care to a whole new level. 

'Superfood' has become a major beauty buzzword, with ingredients like avocados, oats, and citrus fruits making their way into our skincare routine. The exciting thing is that most of these ingredients can be found in your pantry, and using them in a DIY face mask could enable you to reap the same results as some of your best skincare products.

As a regular participant in self-care Sunday rituals, I have my pampering routine down to fine art - I lather on my best hair masks and best body moisturizers then allow my best face masks to reset my skin. Sundays also happen to be the day that I meal prep for the week ahead, although until now I've never combined the two. Granted, it may not be everyone's first thought to put kitchen staples on their face, but when executed correctly, feeding your skin with natural ingredients can work wonders. 

How I evaluated the DIY face masks 

Before revealing my favorite DIY face masks from this experiment, it's worth mentioning that my skin is pretty balanced but slightly on the sensitive side. In other words, if my face doesn't like something, it definitely lets me know. I usually rely on a skincare routine for combination skin, as my main concerns are controlling oil on my T-zone, managing the occasional breakout, and keeping my skin hydrated. 

For me, a face mask should feel relaxing and not irritate the skin. Having tried countless skincare products, my standards are high, so I would like to see some transformation, be it a reduction in dry skin or that post-facial glow. I kept each mask on for 20 minutes and tested them based on ease, mess factor, and whether each could actually transform my skin.

1. Avocado Face Mask - The glow booster

My avocado DIY face mask - using avocado, lemon juice and plain yoghurt

My avocado DIY face mask - using avocado, lemon juice and plain yoghurt

(Image credit: Darcy Brown)

Ingredients: ½ avocado, 1tbsp plain yoghurt, ½ lemon squeezed | Ease level: 9 | Skin Transformation: 8

I didn't need much convincing to use avocados in my first DIY face mask as I am yet to find a problem that avocados can't solve. This fruit (yes, fruit!) is fully loaded with healthy fats and ceramides, which is a big thumbs up in skincare. Avo's high vitamin E and nutrient content offer effective nourishment to the skin and it's no surprise that this superfood has made its way into some of the best cleansers on the market.

For this DIY face mask, I mixed avocado with plain yogurt for an extra hydration hit and to lock in moisture. A touch of lemon juice, which acts as a gentle acid exfoliator, made this the perfect blend to leave skin radiant. I don't know about you, but I will try just about anything that promises to give my skin an extra glow, so I was excited to see how this turned out.

The creamy texture of this mask glided seamlessly over my skin and felt really satisfying. The mixture felt really refreshing and created a cooling sensation on my skin, and when I removed the mask my face was beaming without the need to apply dewy makeup.

The verdict: My DIY avocado mask would be perfect for those in need of a moisture boost. The cooling sensation was really lovely, and the scent was subtle but delicious. The formula soothed my skin and offered much-needed hydration, while the all-natural ingredients mean this mask will suit most skin types. But, if your skin is very sensitive, you should remove the lemon juice from the mix. It'll still be a refreshing treat for your face that will leave your skin glowing.

Overall score: 8

2. Oat Face Mask - The skin soother

My oat DIY face mask - using oats, water and honey

My oat DIY face mask - using oats, water and honey

(Image credit: Darcy Brown)

Ingredients: 1 cup oats, 2 cups water, 1 tbsp honey | Ease level: 7 | Skin Transformation: 9

Oats are set to become one of the most popular skincare ingredients, with brands like Aveeno dedicating an entire range to the grain. Their anti-inflammatory properties work wonders in calming stressed and sensitive skin. Plus, feeding your skin prebiotics helps to promote a healthy skin barrier to stand up against environmental aggressors like pollution. 

Out of all my DIY face masks, this took the longest to make. I made a bowl of oatmeal just like I would for breakfast, mixing oats with water and popping them in the microwave. Then I waited 5 minutes for the mixture to cool, before adding a tablespoon of honey for some extra antibacterial benefits. The mask felt slightly sticky, but I didn't mind it as I felt like it was really sinking into my pores and removing impurities.

After I removed the mask with warm water, my skin felt soft. Colder months can make my skin feel tight and dry, particularly on my cheeks and around my nose, as skin-tugging causes red marks in those areas. Once I removed the mask, my redness had completely gone down. It was like giving my face a warm, oaty hug. 

The verdict: This was the most comforting of all the masks I tried. I like how you can apply it when it is slightly warm. For me, this makes it the perfect winter or evening treat. That said, oats also work to soothe sunburn too, so it would also work for seekers of winter sun (or ski bunnies) If your skin is feeling itchy and dry, or you are looking for sensitive skin solutions, this is the DIY face mask for you.  

Overall score: 9

3. Coffee Face Mask - The Complexion Clearer

My coffee DIY face mask - using coffee, turmeric and plain yoghurt

My coffee DIY face mask - using coffee, turmeric and plain yoghurt

(Image credit: Darcy Brown)

Ingredients: 1 tbsp coffee powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp plain yogurt | Ease level: 7 | Skin Transformation: 8

One thing coffee lovers and loathers both will agree on is the incredible power this scent has. Not only does it kickstart your morning, but coffee is also the key to awakening a tired-looking complexion when applied topically on the skin. The caffeine content energizes the skin, and the scrubbing power of the coffee grounds works like your best facial exfoliator and can help to clear away dead skin cells and unclog the pores.

This DIY face mask blends coffee with turmeric. The punchy yellow spice may not be a staple grocery item for everyone, but its high vitamin C content means you will be one step closer to brighter skin. Like in the avocado DIY face masks, blending this awakening duo with plain yogurt will help lock in extra moisture. 

The slightly gritty texture of this face mask made it less of a comforting option than the other two masks I tried. The scent was strong, but I quite liked it. The tightening feeling you get whilst wearing the mask makes this one feel more active, and I noticed a slight redness to my reactive skin when I removed the mask. That said, any flushing soon went down to reveal a radiant complexion and tighter-looking pores. 

The verdict: This mask gave my face that same zing as my morning coffee, making it an ideal option to apply during the day. It also helped me to achieve brighter skin, just as my best vitamin C serums would. The exfoliating and complexion-clearing properties make it an excellent choice if you are about to apply party makeup, as my makeup went on seamlessly after I used this. 

Overall score: 8

Should you try DIY face masks? My final verdict

Whilst testing out the three different DIY face masks, I realized that this process is the ultimate act of self-care. It is free from the bells and whistles that come with branded formulas and encourages you to pay closer attention to the ingredients you are using on your face. This is particularly useful if you are reluctant to try anything new on your skin. From the start, you gain self-awareness of your skin type and specific needs, a positive step to take throughout your skincare routine. 

I didn't think I would enjoy the process as much as I did, but there is something about homemade products that you just can't beat. This facial at home is the perfect me-time moment that will reset your skin just in time for the week ahead. I will be making this a regular activity, and now that I really understand how the ingredients will impact my skin, I can switch up the recipes to feed my face exactly what it's craving.

Darcy Brown
Beauty Assistant

Darcy Brown is a print and digital beauty journalist with her finger on the pulse of the latest trends. She entered the industry as an intern for publications such as Fabulous Magazine and the Sun. Since graduating from university with a first-class BA Hons degree in Philosophy, she has thrown herself into all things beauty. 

When she's not writing for Woman & Home and Weekly titles including Woman and Woman's Own, you can find Darcy working on editorial shoots and social media campaigns with some of the industry's leading experts, including George Hammer, Angelo Seminara, and Lan Nguyen Grealis.