Next weekend is all about chocolate, flowers, and dinner dates. If you’re a single guy or gal maybe you’ll be grabbing a group of pals and heading out together. Making this weekend a great time to stay home and do a bit of pampering. Today I have the perfect winter facial mask idea for a relaxing, all-natural, at-home spa session. You’re likely to find the ingredients for this mask right in your pantry, or if not, easily found at the grocery store.
While I solved my dry hair dilemma with coconut oil and other yummy hair treats, (check out this post for my tips) I hadn’t been able to find anything to smooth the little dry flakes from my face. I love using avocado and oatmeal (and even pumpkin) in face masks and these are common ingredients in DIY skincare, but I was looking for something different. I pored over dozens of ideas for at-home dry skin treats, and became intrigued with the numerous beauty benefits of using fennel topically for skin. Here are some of them:
- Helps skin retain moisture
- Reduces Wrinkles
- Helps clear acne
- De-puffs and tones
I grabbed my bottle of Spice Island fennel seeds from my shelf of spices and peered at it. Almost full. Fennel seeds aren’t an ingredient I use very often in the kitchen, apparently. Fresh fennel bulbs, stems, and fronds haven’t been too prolific in my diet lately either. I occasionally buy fresh fennel for salads and for juicing, but it’s been a while. This most certainly needs to change! In addition to making your skin pretty from the outside, it is also a lovely food to eat to make you glow from the inside out. Fennel has many, many uses and health benefits. In fact, if something is ailing you, there’s a good chance that all you need is a good dose of fennel, in one form or another.
Fennel is an aromatic vegetable, with a unique licorice-y flavor and a crisp, fibrous texture similar to celery. It is crunchy and flavorful in salads, soups, and juices. Every part of the plant can be eaten: bulb (root), stalk or stem, fronds (leaves), and seeds. Fennel is high in vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. It is great for supporting the immune system, reducing high blood pressure, and preventing damage to blood vessels. Fennel is an excellent anti-inflammatory food, great for your liver and for detoxifying the body. It contains a unique set of phytonutrients, including flavonoids rutin, quercitin, and kaempferol glucosides, giving it amazing antioxidant activity (not only good for overall health but great for keeping our skin looking young and wrinkle free). Some studies have found fennel to exhibit incredible anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. Fennel has many uses. Here are just a few:
- Great for digestion and prevention of diarrhea
- Soothes sore throat and nasal congestion
- Antiseptic and diuretic, good for flushing out toxins
- Good for breastfeeding moms, as it is said to improve milk production
- May help improve hormone balance, and reduce pms symptoms
- Potassium content promotes circulation of oxygen to brain cells, supporting healthy cognitive functioning and memory
- Fennel seed oil has been used to effectively treat colic in infants
Is there anything fennel can’t do? I’m calling this weekend the weekend for us to get some fennel in our lives. Just think, while you’re beautifying your face with a nice Oatmeal Fennel Mask, you could also be sipping on some tea made with fennel seeds and chomping on a nice detox salad made with some crunchy fresh fennel! Ok, maybe that’s overkill, but definitely try out the mask this weekend! It is refreshing, rejuvenating, and has made my face soooo smooth. I have made it for myself about 4 times in the last 2 weeks, and I tell you, there are no more dry flakes! My skin hasn’t been this soft all winter, I dare say. Also, I notice my pores looking a whole lot tighter, and my skin seems clearer. Give it a try and see for yourself!
Oatmeal and Fennel Balancing Mask
2 Tbsp oatmeal, ground into a course flour
1 Tbsp of whole fennel seeds
1/2 tsp olive oil or jojoba oil
2 tsp raw honey, optional
1 tsp ground flax seeds, optional
1. Grind your oatmeal in a spice grinder or blender. I usually blend a little extra while I’m at it. Maybe 1/3 cup at a time.
2. Grind your fennel seeds in a spice grinder, if you have one. If not, don’t worry about this step, as including some of the ground fennel seeds is optional.
3. Add ground fennel seeds to a tea cup and add a couple tablespoons of boiling water (I eyeball it) cover tea cup and steep for about 10 minutes.
4. Strain the liquid into another cup. Save the ground seeds.
5. Now, measure out about 1 tablespoon of the cooled “tea” into a small bowl. Add about 1 teaspoon of the ground fennel seeds from the strainer (optional), 1 tablespoon of ground oatmeal, a teaspoon of ground flaxseed (or more oatmeal if you don’t have any), 1/2 teaspoon of olive or jojoba oil, and optional honey. Mix into a wet paste. Add a bit more oatmeal if it’s too runny.
6. Spread a thick layer onto clean skin and relax for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the mask get too dry. I usually wrap a towel around my shoulders to catch any drips. (Or to hide from surprise visitors!)
7. Set a metal strainer in the sink to catch oatmeal bits and pieces. Rinse with warm water, massaging the mask to get some exfoliating action. You might need to use a wash cloth to get it all off. Finish with a cool water rinse. Pat slightly dry and massage in your favorite facial oil (I like aragan or jojoba). Wow! Admire your glowing skin 🙂