homemade face masks: for glowing skin

by Linda Robison

Homemade face masks offer a budget-friendly solution for glowing skin! From cocoa powder to mashed papaya, these DIY enzyme-rich masks are intriguingly different and surprisingly powerful!

A woman wearing an enzyme-rich homemade face mask.

Why am I so excited to share these face mask recipes? Because they can transform your complexion in just 5 minutes and their cheap! Who doesn't like that combo?

Enzyme based face masks are a natural, and effective anti-aging face care treatment. Plus, they're much gentler and less expensive than chemical peels.

Even if you're a fan of chemical peels (like I am), homemade enzyme face masks offer a gentle alternative for anti-aging skincare and provide benefits that chemical peels cannot.

In this post, I'll cover everything you need to know about these exfoliants including recipes, benefits, how-to, and potential side effects.

And don't miss the papaya mash cleanser below! My favorite!

So, keep scrolling for more...

enzymes for skincare

Different types of fruit are used for a homemade enzyme face mask.

Enzymes are natural exfoliators found in fruits (like pineapple, papaya, and strawberries). These powerful proteins gently remove dead skin cells, revealing fresh, glowing skin underneath.

Unlike granulated scrubs (which I love too), enzyme peels and masks are kinder to your skin, making them great for all skin types.

According to board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep, Dr. Zalka, enzymes work similarly to alpha hydroxy acids but are gentler on some skin types. They make your skin look smoother and can help with pigmentation and breakouts. 

benefits of homemade enzyme masks

Board-certified New York City dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman tells Cosmopolitan magazine, that face masks are beneficial for targeting and controlling specific skincare needs, such as hydration.

While they're not a standalone solution, they do enhance your skincare routine by providing targeted benefits.

Why should you try enzyme masks? Here are some awesome benefits:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: They remove dead skin cells without causing irritation.
  • Brightening: Enzymes help even out your skin tone and reduce dark spots.
  • Anti-Aging: Regular use can boost collagen, making fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable.
  • Hydration: Many enzyme masks have hydrating ingredients that leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.

DIY Face Masks recipes

Mashed up pineapple with honey for pineapple enzyme face mask peel.

Here are some recipes you can try at home. These basic recipes have worked for me, but feel free to tweak them to suit your complexion and sensitivity.


Pineapple Peel

Pineapple's bromelain enzyme is a powerhouse for fighting inflammation and promoting skin renewal.

Pineapple Enzyme Peel:
- 1/4 cup fresh pineapple, pureed
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon honey

Mix well, apply to face, and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.


Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Pumpkin isn't just for fall lattes - it's a skincare superstar! Rich in alpha-hydroxy acids and enzymes, pumpkin helps smooth and brighten skin.

DIY Pumpkin Enzyme Treatment:

  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix ingredients, apply to clean skin, and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

The benefits of this pumpkin enzyme treatment are numerous. It gently exfoliates, boosts collagen production, and leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft.


Mashed papaya sorbet is used for facial cleansing.

Ahhh, papaya! You'll find several different types of face masks using papaya sorbet because it's so versatile and milder than pineapple. Papaya is less acidic and less likely to cause irritation, making it suitable for a wider range of skin types and uses. 

I especially love the papaya face cleanser. Check it out below; it's great for enlarged pores too!

Papaya and Coconut Oil Cleanser (my favorite)

Coconut oil is excellent at dissolving makeup, including waterproof mascara, while papaya provides gentle exfoliation and skin-nourishing benefits. Here’s how you can use them together:

- 1/2 cup mashed papaya
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Mix the mashed papaya and coconut oil together until you have a smooth, uniform paste.

Apply the mixture to your face, focusing on areas with makeup and gently massage using circular motions for a few minutes. Rinse well and moisturize.

Note: You can substitute pumpkin puree instead of papaya.

Papaya Paradise

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that's excellent for breaking down dead skin cells and unclogging pores.

Papaya Enzyme Mask Recipe:
- 1/4 cup mashed ripe papaya
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine ingredients, apply to face, and relax for 15 minutes before rinsing.

Papaya & Pineapple Tropical Face Treat ***

Why choose one when you can have both? This powerful dynamic duo combines the best of both fruits for maximum glow.

Papaya-Pineapple Enzyme Blend:
- 2 tablespoons mashed papaya
- 2 tablespoons pureed pineapple
- 1 teaspoon yogurt

Blend ingredients, apply to face, and rinse after 10 minutes.

***Those with sensitive skin should use this combo cautiously. Or add honey and reduce leave-on time.


Berry Blissful Blues

Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and gentle enzymes that help revitalize your skin. You can substitute strawberries here too.

P.S. I find frozen strawberries are much cheaper.

Blueberry Enzyme Treatment:
- 1/4 cup mashed blueberries
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix ingredients, apply to face, and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing.


Peachy Keen Clean

Peaches contain natural enzymes that gently exfoliate, perfect for sensitive skin.

Peachy Enzyme Mask:

- 1/4 cup mashed ripe peach
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey

Combine ingredients, apply to face, and rinse after 15 minutes.

cocoa powder

Cocoa Comfort for Sensitive Skin

While cocoa isn't high in enzymes, it's rich in antioxidants. Pairing it with enzyme-rich honey creates a gentle, nourishing treatment.

Cocoa-Honey Enzyme Blend:
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon mashed papaya or other fruit mentioned here

Mix ingredients, apply to face, and rinse after 10 minutes.

mask tips

A woman applying a homemade papaya face mask.

For best results, follow these tips:

  • Always patch test new ingredients
  • Apply to clean, dry skin
  • Use gentle, circular motions when applying
  • Don't leave treatments on longer than recommended
  • Follow up with a moisturizer
  • Wrap a towel around your shoulders to protect against stains

Storage: Due to loss of potency and possible bacterial growth, use enzyme face masks immediately. Do not store.

Ingredient Recommendations

Fresh ingredients are always the best as they offer the highest enzyme content and benefits. If fresh isn't available, frozen versions (fully thawed) are the next best alternative.

Canned fruits are not recommended due to enzyme loss and potential additives during processing.

For cocoa, raw or unsweetened cocoa powder is preferable, while sweetened cocoa mixes should be avoided due to added sugars and other ingredients.

Potential side effects

While enzyme treatments are generally gentle, some people may experience irritation. If you notice redness, itching, or burning, rinse off immediately.

Those with extremely sensitive skin or active skin conditions should consult a dermatologist before trying new treatments.

What skin types are enzyme masks good for?

Enzyme masks are generally good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. But it's always best to do a patch test first.

Can I use enzyme masks if I have acne?

Yes, enzyme masks can help acne-prone skin by exfoliating and unclogging pores. But avoid using them on active breakouts. And, if in doubt, check with your provider first.

How long should I leave a homemade enzyme mask on?

10-15 minutes is the usual time frame for most people. However, start with less time and see how your skin reacts. 

Are enzyme masks safe to use during pregnancy?

Most homemade masks made from natural ingredients are safe during pregnancy, but it's always best to check with your healthcare provider.

Can I store leftover enzyme mask mixture?

I only make enough for one treatment. If the mask sits too long it loses potency.  If you must store it, keep it in the fridge and use it within a day.

What should I do if I get irritation?

If you get redness, itching, or burning, rinse off the mask right away and apply a soothing moisturizer. Check with a dermatologist if irritation continues.

Final takeaway

Enzyme-based homemade face masks offer a natural, gentle, and inexpensive way to get glowing skin.

By adding these DIY treatments to your skincare routine, you can enjoy the benefits of exfoliation, brightening, and anti-aging without harsh chemicals. It's a nice break from store-bought chemical laden products.

Remember, consistency is key, so make these masks a regular part of your beauty routine.

Note: Since I use lactic acid and glycolic chemical peels often (about once a month), I try to add these homemade masks to my routine about 4 times a year. Once for each new season. However, it's important to find what works best for you.

Here's to your glowing skin journey!


  1. Marieclair.com
  2. Byrdie.com
  3. Healthline.com