Maybe it was a night of drinking. Maybe it was too much refined sugar, salt, or carbs — only to follow it up with a 2am bedtime.
Cue puffiness, bloat, and angry, inflamed skin the next morning. The kind of irritation that even the best face mist can’t quell. And the kind of carbohydrate-induced water retention that takes a day or two to resolve, sending your cheekbones on an extended vacation.
I know the struggle. I’ve been there.
For those mornings, this is the recipe I wish I’d had years ago.
Of course the solution is to take care of ourselves, but we can’t be perfect all the time. Sometimes we can’t help tossing and turning all night or overindulging on special occasions. And for those (like me) who react to a long list of foods, sometimes the culprit isn’t easy to pin down.
I searched high and low for a solution to those mornings when I woke up feeling exhausted and a little puffy.
I tried caffeine serums, caffeine masks, and coffee-infused moisturizers. I rubbed fresh coffee grounds on my face (which, by the way, is not a good idea — they’re way too abrasive). I exercised and jumped on a rebounder to “push” the fluid out. I tried it all.
While all of these things helped slightly, nothing gave me more relief than the combination I whipped up on a whim one day. It’s so simple, and works so well, that I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out earlier. As a seasoned DIY-er, I really should’ve known better.
20 minutes of this mask will take you from puffiness level 10 to dare I say, normal. It’s that good. And as an added bonus, it’ll wake you up while it whittles you down — you’ll feel it, and fast.
Warning: this mask is potent. It contains a lot of caffeine, which will cross the skin barrier. I’m not a doctor and cannot comment on the safety of this mask for everyone, so please use your judgment. Don’t use this mask if you’re pregnant or have an intolerance to caffeine. Also, please don’t use it on an empty stomach. Caffeine is a potent metabolic stimulator. Without enough blood glucose, this metabolic stimulation can cause hypoglycaemia and elevated stress hormones. As a final warning, do not drink coffee while wearing this mask unless you want to go into orbit.
The star ingredients
Instant Organic Coffee: This is what makes this mask work. Unlike fresh coffee grounds, instant coffee dissolves quickly and completely, releasing all of its goodness into the mask. Caffeine is a strong diuretic when taken internally, and it’s also effective topically. It’s very good at flushing water beneath the skin. As an added bonus, coffee packs a ton of antioxidants.
I’m sure any instant coffee would do the trick, but I think it’s important minimize exposure to pesticides whenever possible. I’d been drinking Mount Hagen’s organic instant coffee whenever I didn’t have access to my Chemex, so it only made sense to use it on my face.
Organic Grass-Fed Yogurt: Admittedly, grass-fed might be overkill for your face (I’m sure plain yogurt will do) but it’s one of my kitchen staples. Yogurt is very soothing and cooling to the skin — and you’ve likely heard all about its beneficial probiotics, so I won’t go into details about those. As it turns out, the live cultures in yogurt have external benefits too. Our skin’s microflora is inevitably disrupted with each cleanser, toner, and moisturizer we apply, but yogurt can help reinoculate the skin with good bacteria.
Matcha Powder: Aside from being a great thickener, matcha is packed with antioxidants which help protect the skin against oxidative stress. It doesn’t contain quite as much caffeine as coffee, but for this mask, every little bit helps.
Honey: Honey has well-documented antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It’s also a humectant, so it will draw water from the air, prolonging the time the mask stays moist on your face.
I’m not going to lie to you — thanks to matcha’s unique scent, the mask is going to smell like a swamp. This is where essential oils can come in handy to a) mask the smell of swamp, and b) add even more therapeutic properties. I recommend the following:
Coffee essential oil: Because this mask is all about the coffee, and its strong scent helps mask the smell of matcha. It would also add even more antioxidant power.
Blue tansy (Moroccan chamomile) essential oil: This soothing, anti-inflammatory oil is a miracle worker for skin issues of all kinds. It’s anti-histamine effects means it can help soothe even the worst irritation. It also imparts a floral scent that is clean and bright without being cloying.
Rose essential oil: Reduces redness, calms the skin, and adds a soothing and uplifting scent. It’s also said to have a toning effect on the blood vessels. Rose is also particularly useful for those with sensitive skin, broken capillaries, or rosacea.
Now that I’ve sufficiently blabbered on about how great this mask is, it’s time for you to see for yourself.
De-bloat a puffy face quickly with this natural, DIY face mask made with organic instant coffee & matcha powder. Flushes stubborn water retention in minutes.
Place your coffee grounds in a small bowl. (It's always more fun to use a pretty one.)
Pour a splash of freshly boiled water over your instant coffee and mix with a spoon. Use only as much water as you need to completely dissolve the grains -- too much water will make the mask runny.
Add your yogurt to your coffee and mix until creamy.
Drizzle your honey into your mixture. The mask will immediately become runny, but we will fix this in the next step.
Add your matcha and mix well, keeping an eye on the texture. Don't be afraid to add more if the mask is too thin. You want it to stay in place on your face, not end up on your sheets, couch, etc.
If you can handle the swampy smell, more power to you -- but if you'd like a more pleasant, spa-like experience, add your essential oils or a splash of vanilla extract. If your choice of fragrance thins the texture of your mask, add a bit more matcha.
How to Use Your DIY Caffeine Mask
Apply your mask to freshly cleansed skin. (It wouldn’t hurt to steam your face beforehand to ensure maximum absorption.) It’s a good idea to use a clean mask brush instead of your fingers to keep the mixture as sterile as possible. Cover your entire face in the mixture, but avoid applying it too close to your eyes. Don’t forget to take it underneath your jawline to de-bloat this area too.
Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes or until dry. The mask will crack as it dries, so you can spritz yourself periodically with a face mist if you wish to keep it on longer. Once it gets too dry, you should wash it off before it starts to flake and make a mess. (Side note: you should also wash it off if the caffeine begins to make you feel shaky or unwell.)
Washing the mask off in the shower will make things a lot easier (it’s messy, especially if you’ve applied it underneath your chin). A wet cotton pad and a few drops of facial oil will gently remove the inevitable matcha-green stain from your skin. Once you’re finished, expect a glowing complexion and the contours of your face to be restored to their former glory, pre-whatever happened last night.
Store this mask in the fridge in a non-plastic container (I use a small mason jar). It works just fine when made fresh, but it’s especially soothing when it’s cold! When it comes to its shelf life, use your judgment, your nose, and the best before date of your yogurt as a starting point. I only keep batches of this mask in the fridge for about a week to be on the safe side.
To prolong its life longer than a week, I recommend a gentle, safe preservative like Leucidal Liquid SF, which I’ve been using in my homemade toners and face mists with no problems or irritation whatsoever.
There you have it. This is by far one of the most helpful DIY recipes in my arsenal. It’s not necessary for every day, but it comes in handy before an event or if you’d like a little extra boost. And if a puffy face is not an issue for you, you can still reap the antioxidant benefits of this mask by making it with decaf instant coffee.
If you end up trying the mask, we’d love to hear about your experience. And if you have any DIY secrets that have been helpful to you, we’d love to hear about those, too!