Seaweed facial-mask enthusiasts report that using this common, nourishing supplement on the face will smooth, tone and moisturize your skin. It's a well-known spa treatment -- one that you can create for yourself at home with a minimum of investment and effort. Creating your own spa treatments at home is an exercise in adaptation: Start with the basic seaweed facial mask recipe, then alter it, as needed, to suit your preferences. Store any leftover seaweed face mask in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but always discard after a week of storage or if the look or smell of the product has substantially changed.
Break sheets or pieces of dried seaweed with your hands until they’re small enough to fit into a coffee grinder.
Grind the seaweed into powder; you need about 1 tablespoon of seaweed powder in all.
Dump the seaweed powder into a small bowl, and add 1 tablespoon lukewarm water. Mix with a fork, adding up to another tablespoon of lukewarm water, as needed, to achieve a thick, paste-like consistency.
Add 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel, 1 teaspoon honey -- or both -- to the paste. Stir until well mixed. Add more water, if needed, to achieve the desired texture. You can also skip these ingredients entirely if you so desire, although the aloe helps heal any skin irritation you may have and the honey adds to the moisturizing effect of the mask and acts as a preservative.
Apply the seaweed mask to your face, leave in place for up to 20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. Pat your skin dry. Use this mask up to twice a week as part of your regular beauty routine.
You can substitute an oil of your choice -- jojoba oil and sweet almond oil are two favorites -- for the water in steps 2 and 3 if you so desire. Both jojoba and sweet almond oil are nongreasy, absorb easily and help soften skin. Jojoba oil also has antimicrobial properties, while sweet almond oil's scent may somewhat mask the seaweed's strong odor.
Seaweed is available at health-food stores and may also be found in some ethnic grocery stores; it also is readily available in many mainstream grocery stores.
Lisa Maloney is a travel and outdoors writer based in Anchorage, Alaska. She's written four outdoors and travel guidebooks, including the award-winning "Moon Alaska," and regularly contributes to local and national publications. She also has a background in personal training, with more than 6,000 hours of hands-on experience.