We all have those days when our skin refuses to 'behave' and no matter how hard you try, the glow remains elusive. The skin is susceptible to so many external factors like the sun, diet and stress so it takes extra effort to feel and have that silky, clear face everyone notices and talks about.
The skin needs relief, time to regenerate and maybe even slow down the effects of ageing. Here is a solution: turn your home into a spa and pamper yourself with an egg mask, to keep your skin looking at its best.
Yes – an egg mask. The thought of slapping egg on your face may seem unsavoury, but the results are definitely worth it.
A 2006 study conducted by doctors from Agrocampus Rennes Science and Technology of Milk and Eggs Research Unit found as many as 69 different major proteins in chicken egg whites.
"The protein in egg is good for firming up your skin. Whether you have oily, dry, or sensitive skin, there's an egg mask for you. I'm not a great fan of raw eggs, but my outlook changed when I put it on my face!" reveals beauty columnist Naomi Mruttu, adding that egg is great for deep cleansing.
Mruttu is a firm believer that one does not need to break the bank on cosmetics to look good.
"Nearly everything you need for your beauty routine is readily available in your kitchen," she adds.
In the name of rediscovering the power of natural ingredients, I set out to try egg on my face. I applied two egg masks weekly, over a period of three months. Not only is it kinder to the wallet, it has also been an eye-opener to the simplicity of natural skin care.
This does not mean that you have to go full-out au naturelle, there may be some cosmetic products that you simply cannot do without. Dermatologists recommend the face mask as a good compliment to an existing skincare regimen.
The skin tends to get fatigued and loses its elasticity with time. I was advised to try egg white for its skin tightening and toning properties. Dermatologists have suggested that the protein found in egg whites could help tighten the skin to reduce wrinkles.
Some home remedies also use egg whites to fight acne. Mruttu notes that a mask can be made with egg white alone, or mixed with other powerful ingredients to provide more nourishing benefits to your skin.
Here are two simple egg white face masks, made with ingredients from your kitchen or nearby:
1. Lemon and honey egg white face mask
Natural skincare enthusiasts have hailed this recipe's ability to fight acne. It is simple and inexpensive to make as it contains egg whites honey and lemon; not to mention its benefits.
"Honey adds moisture to the skin without adding oil and has antibacterial properties which benefit oily skin," says Mruttu.
Lemon is a powerful astringent that fights off acne-causing bacteria. It also tones and lightens the skin.
• 1 egg white
• 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon of honey
1. In a clean bowl, whisk together the egg white and lemon juice until the mixture becomes frothy. Add honey and stir well.
2. Wash your face with clean water, preferably warm, to open up your pores. Using clean hands, apply the mixture onto your face in a gentle circular motion. Avoid the mouth and eye area.
3. Sit back and relax as you wait for the mixture to settle and dry on your face.
4. Keep the mask on for 10-15 minutes. When the mixture has completely dried, gently scrub it off using warm water, tackling all areas of your face in a circular motion. Pat dry with a towel and feel the difference.
This mask is effective in getting rid of excess face oils. Mruttu recommends applying an egg white mask once a week for sustained results.
"For dry skin, use an egg yolk face mask instead."
2. Orange and turmeric egg white mask (Skin lightening)
Exposure to the sun can also take a huge toll on the skin. Without proper protection, our skin can lose its natural complexion.
It contains turmeric, a root herb that has skin-lightening properties that help even out the discolorations and dark spots caused by acne. Orange juice also has skin toning qualities.
• 1 teaspoon orange juice
• 1 egg white
• 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1. Using a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg white and orange juice until it becomes frothy.
2. Add in turmeric powder and mix thoroughly into a fine paste
3. Using clean hands; apply the mixture to your washed, dry face and massage in circular motions, allowing it to sink deep into your skin. Keep it on for 15 minutes as you lie down.
4. Gently scrub off the dried mask from your face and apply moisturizer, a few drops of coconut or olive oil would be perfect.
After cracking open an egg and separating it, there is no need to waste the egg yolk, it can also be whisked into a nourishing face mask.
Egg yolk is made up of mostly water and fats, making it best for locking moisture into the skin, leaving your face soft and supple. The nutrients in egg yolks will hydrate, nourish, and moisturize the dull, the dry and the flaky.
"Egg yolks, with their fat, cholesterol, and retinols, are also great for helping to reduce the appearance of acne scars, making this ideal for post-pimple skin, too," says Beauty expert Alexis Wolfer in her book, The Recipe for Radiance: Discover Beauty's Best Kept Secrets in Your Kitchen (2014).
The yolk also contains protein vitamin A, B2, B3 and Zinc which all play a role in regenerating, protecting and hydrating the skin.
According to beauty experts, good combinations for egg yolk masks are; carrot and milk for normal skin; avocado and yogurt for dry skin; honey and almond for oily skin.
Here is an egg yolk mask recipe that uses an unusual, but easily sourced addition:
3. Kunazi leaf powder, lemon and egg yolk face mask
The kunazi tree, also known as Indian Jujube, is popularly known on the Kenyan coast for its wild fruit. The leaves of the kunazi can be used topically in different ways. In this recipe, the leaves have been dried and ground to a fine powder.
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon of kunazi leaf powder
According to Barwaqo Omar, the leaf of the kunazi powder has been used for centuries by pastoralist Somali communities as a moisturiser and for sun-protection.
"I learned about the benefits of kunazi leaf from my mother who learned it from hers. It is a real treat for the skin," says Omar, who is due to launch a product line of cosmetics.
1. Add the ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk until frothy.
2. Using clean fingers, apply the mixture to your washed, dry face in circular motions.
3. Let the mask sit for 15 minutes as you relax, trying not to move your face during this time.
4. Rinse off the mask with warm water and pat dry with a towel.
After my first application of this mask, my face was supple and positively glowing for days. An array of other ingredients can form an egg-based face mask, the trick is to keep it simple and refrain from adding more than two ingredients.
The skin is the layer that you present to the world and protects you from the elements. Yet is fragile and needs tender loving care.
Although using egg masks has worked for my own skin; it does not mean that it works for all skin types or skin conditions.
Before taking the leap, Mruttu recommends consulting professional advice from a dermatologist or beautician.