Forget about spending hundreds of dollars on miracles in a bottle. Instead, use what you have in your kitchen to make therapeutic treatments customized to your skin type and problem areas. “The skin assimilates ingredients better when they are organic and plant and food based,” says Joanna Vargas of Joanna Vargas Skin Care salon in New York City. To maximize the benefit of pure, totally natural ingredients, simply identify your skin type, look in your fridge, and let the healing begin!

Normal & dry skin

When sebaceous glands don't produce enough sebum, an oily substance that protects skin against harsh elements, skin can appear dull and scaly, especially in cold weather. Plus, dry skin is more prone to premature wrinkles and lines, adds Jyl Steinback, a cookbook author and beauty expert in Scottsdale, Arizona, who develops food-based cosmetic recipes. First, hydrate skin from the inside by drinking plenty of water. Then buff away flaky cells with an exfoliating mask, and replenish moisture with a thick, potassium- and fatty-acid-rich blend.

Exfoliating mask

¼ cup almonds, finely chopped

1 tablespoon rolled oats

4 tablespoons soy milk

1 tablespoon mashed avocado

In a bowl, blend ingredients until pasty. If the mixture is too dry, add another tablespoon of soy milk. Spread a thin, even layer over face, rubbing gently in a circular motion, avoiding eyes. Leave on for 20 minutes, and remove with a warm, wet washcloth. Skin should feel fresh and rejuvenated — not abraded.

How often>> Once or twice a week.

Moisturizing mask

½ large ripe banana

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

In a bowl, mash the banana with the oil; blend till smooth. Apply mixture to clean, dry face, avoiding eyes. Leave on for 20 minutes; rinse and pat dry.

How often>> Once a day.

Normal- and dry-skin product pick>> Alba Deep Sea Facial Mask. Contains chamomile and aloe vera to draw out the impurities that build up in your skin's pores.

Oily skin

Oily skin can be caused by hormonal imbalances, heredity, and the environment in which you live. Left alone, the excess oil can mix with dirt and bacteria to create more serious problems, such as acne. Steinback's solution: egg whites. Proteins in the whites absorb oil and improve skin's firmness. If you're vegan or allergic to eggs, substitute with cucumber purée. Just wash and purée a whole unpeeled cuke; spread evenly over your face. Astringent cucumber is a natural cleanser that helps remove excess oil and leaves skin feeling toned.

Lightweight protein mask

2 egg whites

In a bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Apply generously to clean, dry skin, concentrating on the oiliest parts of your face, typically the forehead, nose, and chin. Do not rub in. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, and rinse. How often>> Once or twice a week.

Oily-skin product pick>> MyChelle Cranberry Mud Mask. Made with antibacterial totarol — an extract from New Zealand's totara tree — to reduce acne, and natural bentonite clay to absorb excess oil.

Aging skin

To slow the signs of aging, first give your skin proper attention by using a daily toner. Apple cider vinegar's acidic and antiseptic properties help generate new cells by promoting circulation in the small capillaries that feed your skin. Alpha-hydroxy acids also help reduce scaliness and dissolve unwanted deposits on the skin's surface. After toning, apply a fruit-based mask rich in vitamin C, which helps produce collagen to prevent wrinkles and maintain elasticity.

Gentle daily toner

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup water

In a large bowl, dilute vinegar in water. (For sensitive skin, use one part vinegar to four parts water.) Apply to face with a cotton ball, avoiding eyes. How often>> Daily.

Fruit mask

3 prunes

2 cucumber slices

Pit prunes and mash in a bowl until smooth. Spread over clean, dry skin, avoiding the eyes. Once prune mask is applied, place fresh, cold cucumber slices over your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles. Leave mask on for 20 minutes; rinse clean. How often>> Once or twice a week.

Aging-skin product pick>> Aubrey Organics Green Tea & Green Clay Rejuvenating Mask. Exfoliates with clay and fruit acids and invigorates with antioxidants.


To prime your face before an at-home treatment, give yourself a simple steam to open and cleanse your pores, allowing them to easily absorb nutrients. Position your face several inches above a pot of boiled water, and drape a towel over your head to help capture and direct the vapor. Steam your face for a few minutes and pat dry.