Purchase a honey and milk facial mask at your local makeup counter for a pretty penny, or make your own for a fraction of the cost and all the benefits. Honey is a natural dermatological aid and has been used for hundreds of years for therapeutic applications. Natural, wild honey has anti-microbial properties that treat wounds and various rashes and skin conditions, including dandruff, diaper rash and psoriasis, notes a paper in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Honey also moisturizes, conditions the hair and repels wrinkles because it’s a natural humectant — meaning it draws moisture from the air into your skin.

Combine these powerful qualities with the moisturizing and cleansing qualities of milk, and you have a winning mask. Milk’s high protein and fat content naturally plumps the skin. The fat-soluble enzyme lipase present in milk helps cleanse out unwanted oils and exfoliate dead skin, leaving you looking fresher and your skin tone more even. Milk is gentle, especially compared to chemical cleansers, and works well on sensitive skin.

Mixing up a homemade mask is as simple as walking into your kitchen. Many retail versions only contain a fraction of the honey and milk that your do-it-yourself version does.

Step 1: Select Ingredients

Choose a high-quality honey. If you’re applying the mask to acne or a healing scar, look for a medical-grade honey such as Manuka. Otherwise, seek out a locally grown wild honey. Choose whole milk or dehydrated whole milk powder — both will contain the optimal amount of fat for moisturizing and plumping.

Tips

Local farmers markets are good places to find wild, local honey.

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

For a single-use mask, blend together approximately 1 teaspoon of the honey with 1 teaspoon of whole, liquid milk. Alternatively, take about 1/4 cup of powdered milk and add just enough water to make a thin paste. Stir in a teaspoon or two of honey with a whisk or fork until it reaches a thick consistency.

Step 3: Apply to Your Skin

Use a cotton ball or cotton makeup applicator to apply the mixture to your face. The honey and liquid milk mixture will not adhere as well as the paste, but will go on more like a toner. Allow your face to sit with the application of either mask for 20 to 30 minutes. For a relaxing, spa-like experience, lie down with a warm towel over your eyes and relax as the mask does its magic.

Tips

If you prefer liquid milk but want a thicker mask, add a teaspoon of mashed avocado to the mask. The fat from the avocado will further plump and nourish your skin.

Step 4: Rinse

Rinse the mask residue from your face with warm water. Dry thoroughly.

Instead of whole milk, use whole milk yogurt mixed with honey as a facial mask. This combination yields a thicker mask that stays put more easily, and has extra lactic acid, which helps with exfoliation and reducing the appearance of wrinkles.