Monday, March 18, 2013

Homemade Papaya Brightening Facial Mask

Homemade Papaya Brightening Facial Mask // Bubby and Bean
This guest post was written by Julie Longyear of Blissoma by Irie Star.  Thank you to Julie for sharing this amazing facial mask recipe with Bubby and Bean's readers while I'm in transit to Arizona today!

If dull and uninspiring has become not only the cast of the late winter skies but also the tone of your face, then it's time to take action. While there's still a few weeks yet until the flush of spring will start to overtake most of us, that makes it the perfect time to brighten and energize your skin. With the right routine you'll be fresh and ready when the first days of scarf free weather arrive.  Luckily, due to the global nature of our food chain that makes tropical fruits available at practically any time of year, Mother Nature can deliver some handy skin treats right to where you live (even if that happens to be the frozen tundra).

A little tinkering in my studio on a chilly afternoon has brought you this colorful Papaya based, powerful face-fixing mask recipe. I daresay it's a ray of sunshine all by itself.

The focus of this blend is exfoliation combined with brightening, lightening, and antioxidant herbs. I've thrown in a few soothing ingredients to make it nourishing and gentle enough for a wider range of skin types. But make no mistake - this mask is quite active! For an at-home DIY mask this one really delivers.

First let's talk ingredients.

PAPAYA - Our big hero ingredient for this recipe is Papaya. The delicious and mild Papaya is packed with enzymes that break down proteins. When applied to your skin they exfoliate with absolutely no scrubbing required. Just let them sit a minute and a layer of skin cells will promptly be removed. I adore enzyme based exfoliation as there is less chance of abrasions and actual skin injury compared to the scrubbing method. Folks tend to be a little too rough on their face a lot of the time when using an abrasive method.  Enzymes take that aspect out of the equation.

Papaya is also quite high in Vitamin C and if you’ve been studying up on your skincare trivia you know that Vitamin C is one of the biggest players in lightening skin, is an exfoliator due to its acidity, and generates new collagen for anti-aging effects. It is also terrifically unstable over time in products, so a fresh mask like this is a fantastic way to get fresh, active Vitamin C on your face and giving you benefits.

AVOCADO - For a mild, moisturizing base I added Avocado. It mashes nicely, is rich and moisturizing for the skin, and parses out the Papaya so it isn't quite so super tingly on the face.

LEMON JUICE – Lemon is another Vitamin C source and is often used for exfoliation due to its high acid content, as well as skin bleaching.  Just a small amount is needed, and mixed with the other ingredients, you'll avoid irritation from the acid and still get the benefits.

TURMERIC – This zingy yellow root has been getting a lot of attention lately as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Lucky for us, it provides many of the same benefits on your skin as it does when you eat it.  It has natural antibacterial properties too, making this mask great for folks who have acne issues. Wound healing abilities make it fabulous for psoriasis and eczema.

LICORICE ROOT – Licorice contains Glabridin, a compound that suppresses pigment production in the skin and is also anti-inflammatory.  Licorice is known as a soothing herb for skin, making it a great companion to the exfoliation of the Vitamin C and enzymes. As they exfoliate and bleach, the licorice calms and helps prevent further pigment production. This is a real winning combination for people with dark acne marks, sun related discoloration, or other pigment problems.

OAT FLOUR – Oats are one of the most common and well recognized soothing agents for skin. They thicken this recipe a bit and contribute to calming skin.

TAMANU OIL – Not enough can be said about how wonderful this oil is. It got a recent feature on some TV programs, which has skyrocketed its notoriety - but it had been a big favorite of mine for years before it came to fame.   It comes from a Polynesian tree and is dark green, thick, and nutty smelling. It may not charm you with its aroma, but the way it works can't be beat. It has a whole bucketload of benefits like skin healing, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. For scarring, stretch marks, abrasions, rashes, and general irritations this is your big winner.

Now that you know the players it's time to get mixing.

The recipe calls for oat flour and powdered licorice root.  If you have only whole oats you can use your coffee grinder to turn them into flour.  Licorice root is a little tougher to grind at home, but if you let the machine go long enough you can get it reasonably fine if all you can obtain is the cut and sifted root. When buying from scratch, just get the powdered root to start with.  And if you're having trouble finding any of the ingredients locally, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, or From Nature With Love.


  • 1 TBSP Papaya
  • 1 TBSP Avocado
  • 1 tsp Oat Flour
  • 1/8 tsp Turmeric Root Powder
  • ½ tsp Licorice Root Powder
  • 1 Lemon Wedge, squeezed
  • 1 tsp Tamanu Oil


Add all ingredients to a bowl and mash with a fork until creamy and smooth. Wash your face first and then apply the mask to your face so your skin is covered. Leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove with a wash cloth and warm water. Use a washcloth you don’t mind staining, as the turmeric will turn your cloth a little yellow.

This mask will tingle a little as it works. That is normal but if at any time you feel uncomfortable or any real pain remove it promptly. Some people may simply be too sensitive for how active this mask is with the combination of acids and enzymes. It is basically a mild peel.

Your skin may be a little pink and sensitive for the first 12 hours or so after using the mask – you have just exfoliated it very well. After you wash the mask off you should use the heaviest and most calming moisturizer you have on hand. An oil serum like Blissoma’s Restore Deep Healing Oil Serum would be a perfect skin calming treat after this mask, or our Pure Sensitive Skin Soothing Complex or for oily skin types a fresh dollop of aloe gel would be perfect. Do not use another peel type product soon after this mask – it would be too much all at once. Instead give your skin at least a day or two to recuperate and baby it with lots of nourishment during that time.

If you have some troublesome dark areas you want to lighten you could use this mask up to twice a week to work on them intensively. The recipe will make enough for 2 applications. The best way to save the leftovers would be to freeze it, however you’ll still lose some of the Vitamin C activity in this process. Consider sharing with a friend or just start fresh the next time for optimum results.

You'll also have plenty of avocado, papaya, and lemon left over which would make a very tasty snack. They're great for your insides too, so eat up!

Want to see where this recipe and others are made? My workshop for Blissoma is where I spend my time experimenting with herbs and devising the best possible combinations. We recently taped a studio tour that you can check out below to get a glimpse of where and how we work.


Many thanks again to Julie for sharing her natural skincare expertise!  Make sure you pay a visit to her shop, Blissoma by Irie Star.  She makes some really incredible skincare products that I have been using on a daily basis for a couple of years now.  You can also find Julie on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog xo, melissa

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  1. I'm afraid I'd want to eat this rather than really use it. But I guess if I get it near my mouth it won't be a chemical that I accidentally ingest. I need to do something for my face, because the winter wind just killed it. I might try this out! Thanks for sharing!!

    Ergo - Blog

  2. I agree, I think I would have a hard time keeping myself from eating this. The papaya looks so good!

  3. This looks great! I'm definitely going to try this. After the chemical changes my body has gone through after 3 pregnancies, my skin tends to not like the abrasiveness of traditional exfoliators.

    Thanks for sharing Julie!

  4. wow that looks so good, so i'm sure it's super beneficial for a face mask! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Hi Ladies! I so enjoyed making this and I think you'll really like it. Thank you for taking the time to check it out. I hope you love the results - I did. Enzymes are totally where it's at for a really even exfoliation result.

  6. This looks awesome! I'd love to give it a try.

  7. Julie, I cannot wait to try this recipe! I've been using my turmeric, antioxidant honey blend, and milk mask every other night and combined with Blissoma's "Amend" and "Smooth" serum applied right afterwards, my skin is so soft and radiant when I wake up in the morning! I'll try anything you recommend...I think the world of you and your talent and dedication are inspiring! xox

  8. Thank you again Julie for sharing this recipe! I can't wait to try it when I get home.

  9. this sounds awesome, can't wait to try it!

  10. Eeeeep this looks sooooo amazing!! Totally trying it!!! :-D

  11. This was great, Julie, thank you!! If you want to see how much fun my Mom & I had with this, check it out:

    1. Thanks for sharing the pic Amanda! So glad you guys had fun with it!

  12. They are for acne & acne scar and wrinkle? I curious it would be work for coconut oil instead Tamanu Oil I don't sure I can find this. Coconut oil is easy hope to hear from you, thank u

  13. Hi Claudia, Julie (who guest wrote this post) should be able to answer your questions. Shoot her an email at julie.irie @ :)


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