How To Look Like A Chicken (or The Turmeric Experience)

If any of you thought that natural ingredients aren’t as potent as chemicals, check this. They just don’t always work for the purpose you intend.

One of the spices we use most in our kitchen is turmeric after soy sauce and chili. We might even put turmeric in more dishes than salt and pepper. It’s just such a simple way of enhancing almost any flavor and you can hardly ever put too much of it.
Turmeric is also traditionally used in skin care in many asian cultures. In ayurvedic medicine, it’s used both as an anti-aging ingredient and agains acne and to soften the skin. It’s also supposed improve your tan and give the skin color a golden tone.

Previously, I have successfully made a simple turmeric face mask from Lisen Sundgren’s fantastic book Lisens indiska spa. This mask consists only of two ingredients: milk and turmeric. Simply take a couple of tablespoons of milk and add a pinch of turmeric, apply it to your face with a cotton ball and let sit on for 30 minutes. This was a great treat that left my face feeling amazingly soft and refreshed. I also tweaked the recipe a bit and used some thick turkish yogurth to make the mask more … masklike. For this I used:
2 tbs yogurt
1 tsp turmeric

But then came the day when I wanted to be real experimental. In general, I like experimental, and I encourage everyone to be experimental in skin care and in the kitchen as well as in life. But sometimes it can go wrong.
For this new face mask, I looked in my kitchen cabinets and in my bathroom and found a bunch of ingredients that are all great for the skin and that I figured couldn’t go wrong. Turmeric, nutmeg, honey and castor oil. That’s simple enough, huh? I combined these ingredients without measuring (because, well, I rarely do) and ended up with a solid mixture that seemed nice enough. Lasse and I both covered our faces in it, and left it on for almost all of the new The Planet of the Apes-movie. It felt really nice.

Then, it was time to wash it off. So I went in to the bathroom and washed my face with hot water for a couple of minutes. Look up, and I look like this:
Turmeric face mask yellow face

I kid you not. This is the “After” picture. The picture that should be all like oh-look-at-my-soft-pretty-acne-free-face turned out to be an oh-look-I-turned-into-one-of-the-Simpsons-picture.
As if this wasn’t enough, Lasse was wearing a white shirt at the time. (he shouldn’t have done that). We did try some eHow how to remove turmeric stains, which did lighten the stains but not remove them completely, and the shirt had to be thrown out.

In the end, we did manage to get rid of the yellow from our faces. Actually, what I found best was to take some more castor oil on a cotton pad and swipe it over my face. Which is really ironic, since my guess is it was the castor oil that made the turmeric stick to our faces. But oil dissolves oil, so I guess it makes sanes. Still, the next day I was told that my eyebrows are yellow.

So what are the lessons learned?

  1. If you’re making a turmeric face mask, stick to milk or yogurt
  2. if you’re making a turmeric face mask (with milk or yogurt), don’t wear clothes that you are too fond off
  3. If you want to dress up as a chicken, mix some turmeric with castor oil and honey
  4. Experimenting is fun, but if you can, do it when you don’t have to go out the day after. Or the day after that.

Now I want to hear all about your homemade beauty or kitchen failures! Share, share!

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  1. knicnax

    Just the word turmeric made me gasp!! I knew of a recipe that lets you bring back discolored patches of skin by using turmeric!

    Thanks for the heads up though! Made my day! Made me even more careful in trying to experiment!

  2. Brooke White

    turmeric is not very colorfast. so if you have a turmeric stain, literally all you have to do to wash it out is : TO SPREAD IT OUT IN DIRECT SUNLIGHT for a week or two. everything is going to be utterly unturmeric I promise (of course not the thing to do with your awesome simpson facepaint ;) but for a TSHIRT? Easy peasy

    1. hilda

      Really? That’s so cool! I still have a turmeric stain on a tshirt. I’ve run it through the washing machine a couple of times and it’s faded, but is still clearly visible. So maybe I should try some sunshine then :) Thanks so much for the tip!

  3. Pingback: Naturally Spooky – Make Your Own Natural Halloween Makeup | Hildablue

  4. Lola

    Lol… What can I say? I am passing through this yellow experience right now… Even took a picture to show you, but I “chickened” out, because I look awful…
    Lesson learned…

  5. tash

    Hey there

    You did it wrong. Don’t try every recipe you read, especially on skin. I’m indian, have you heard of gram flour? You use that with turmeric together with MILK and only milk. The milk will prevent staining 99%. Maybe it’s different coz our skin tones are different, but I strongly suggest this mix. Or just turmeric and milk. Take a hot shower afterwards and use a mild toner. It works everytime :)

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