By: Jacquelyn Gonzales
While growing up, I always saw my Abuelita put the wackiest things on her face. From raw eggs to coffee, even rosemary and rubbing alcohol, it seemed like she could turn anything into a face mask.
My grandma is 71-years-old, so over those years she found time to perfect and experiment with her skincare routine.
My grandma and college students are alike in a few ways —
1. They don’t have easy access to a car to drive to a store to buy a face mask
2. They don’t have a lot of money to spare. As a result, she is often makes her own beauty products.
After a stress and sweat-filled week, I spent some time with my Abuelita and she could tell my skin was in dire need of a pick me up. In that moment, it felt like she was waiting for me to ask for help because she immediately went to the fridge and pulled out the face mask she swears by.
Ata’s Holy Grail Exfoliant
What you’ll need:
- Baking soda
- Coconut oil
Step one: Wet your face.
Step two: Pour two teaspoons of baking soda in the palm of your hand.
Step three: Mix coconut oil into the baking soda until it forms a paste.
Step four: Apply to your face in small circular motions.
Step five: Rinse and pat your face dry.
Tip: If you have skin that is on the oily side, use less coconut oil when making your paste, and vice versa, if your skin is dry use more. Adjust the ingredients to help fit your particular skin type!
The baking soda is small enough to the point where it isn’t as harsh on your skin as other exfoliants such as a walnut scrub. Whenever I use this, I also put a bit on my lips to scrub away any dead skin.
However, like every exfoliant, it should only be used once a week because it could interfere with the skin’s pH level.
Abuelita’s Go-To Face Mask
What you’ll need:
- A container to keep the mask in
- 1 tablespoon of Honey
- 1 cup of Oatmeal
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon of coffee
- A blender or a small Ziploc bag
Step one: Blend the cup of oatmeal. If you don’t have access to a blender she suggests putting it in a sandwich baggie and crushing it with a spoon.
Step two: Combine the rest of the ingredients in the bowl with the oatmeal and mix well.
Step three: Apply it on your face and leave on until dried
Step four: Rinse and pat dry
These ingredients make about a month’s worth of product. She keeps the mask refrigerated and uses it about once a week as well.
In’s and Out’s of Abuelita’s Products
Just like most of the women in my family, my Abuelita has combination skin meaning it’s oilier in some parts than others. The oiliness and dryness are also influenced by the weather, where its drier in colder months.
As a result, she always finishes this skin routine with a moisturizer.
Recently, she’s been using about a pea-sized amount of face cream that she got from Mexico called Crema de Dia Tepezcohuite Del Indio Papago. It has ingredients like mineral oil, glycerin, and stearic acid, which beauty gurus, like Eleventh Gorgeous and Tatti Westbrook, use during their skincare routine as well.
I asked what she used before she discovered this moisturizer. “I used to go to the swap meet and buy raw African Shea butter. I used it for years and still use it on my hands and body,” she said.
She explained that Shea butter has lots of uses like sun protection, hair conditioner, body moisturizer and helps with calluses.
On a day to day basis, my Abuelita uses raw Black African Soap which she buys at the Tanque Verde Swap Meet in Tucson. The soap is packed with natural vitamins and minerals that help remove makeup, reduce acne scars, even skin tone and reduce texture.
My grandma loves it because it gives her face “a natural glow because it doesn’t strip my face of its natural oils.” Like the raw shea butter, she’s been using it for years.
“It’s brought some youth back to my skin,” she exclaimed.
I have a pack with me in my dorm. I mainly use it on my body to help reduce the appearance of my stretch marks and tend to not use it in the summer when my face is oilier.
The All-In-One Egg Mask
My Abuelita taught me one of my favorite masks when I was 15 and it has only one ingredient, an egg.
Step one: Separate the egg yolk from the egg whites.
Step two: Beat the egg whites until it begins to foam.
Step three: Apply to face and let dry. In the meantime, beat the egg yolk.
Step four: Peel off egg whites and rinse off excess.
Step five: Apply egg yolk and let dry.
Step six: Rinse and pat skin dry.
Step seven: Moisturize.
The reason I’m obsessed with this one because the dried egg whites create a natural peel-off mask that tightens the skin. It can be a bit drying, which is why she suggests applying the yolk; it hydrates and nourishes the skin.
Learning From the Best
Since I grew up watching my Abuelita teach the rest of the women in my family about their skin, I know the importance of having a skin routine.
“You can always tell someone’s age from their neck and hands,” is what my Abuelita always tells me. And I will let you know, my Abuelita’s hand and neck don’t tell me she’s almost 72-years-old.
So whether you try out one of her DIY face masks or test out the African shea butter, I hope you learn one thing from my Abuelita: you don’t always have to spend the most to gain the best results.
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