Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beauty Hack: The Aspirin Mask

Have you heard about the Aspirin Mask?

A while back I introduced you to the internet beauty underground.   A lot of people out there (in here?) are really into using very simple ingredients, and opting out of buying skincare products.  The beauty hack that people rave about the most is The Aspirin Mask.

Take anywhere from a few, to twenty, plain, un-coated aspirin, crush and dissolve them with a bit of liquid, and apply to the face.  Rinse after a few minutes.  Fans rave that this trick exfoliates, cures acne, smooths lines, fades marks, and always produces the much sought after glow.  On MakeupAlley, the aspirin mask is the highest rated facial treatment. The only mask reviewed more often is the vintage classic, Queen Helene's Mint Julep.

There are lots of variations.  Some people use a few drops of plain water to dissolve the pills, other prefer aloe gel, honey, or a cleanser like Cetaphil.  Some recipes include a drop or two of antiseptic tea tree oil.  Look for the cheapest bottle of aspirin on the shelf; generic brands are often the only ones left that offer un-coated tablets.

Of course I've tried it.  Like most experiments around here, the results were rather painful and inconclusive.  Rarely can I just try one thing and stop.  My skin was smooth and bright after the mask, but I followed up with a few irresistible French serums and such.  I'm an unreliable subject.

As you may know, aspirin is basically acetylsalicylic acid.  White willow bark, a source of this acid,  has been used since ancient times in herbal medicine as an an affective analgesic and anti-inflammatory.  I haven't found a reference to it's use in skin care in any of my old books, but I certainly don't rule it out.  The closely related salicylic acid is now widely used in lotions and toners to chemically exfoliate.  So it makes sense that applying aspirin directly to the face would have an effect.

Another related beauty hack is homemade "TendSkin."  Surely you know of this vital fluid if you've ever been waxed.  It feels like the devil licking you with his fiery, evil tongue, but it eliminates irritation and ingrown hairs.  It is not cheap, so people make their own by dissolving a bunch of aspirin in a bottle of rubbing alcohol or witch hazel.  I tried this as well, but couldn't get it to be not grainy.  

More beauty hacks soon...  and I am going to need your help with a little experiment.