Should These Foods Go On Your Face Or In Your Mouth?

I tested eight weird food face masks to see whether or not they make more sense on your skin or in your mouth.

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Most facemasks contain at least one or two ingredients you can eat.

Sometimes, though, the latest "magic" mask seems a little too much like food and not enough like something that can really help your skin.

To help distinguish between what should go on your face and what really just belongs in your mouth, I tested eight food-containing face masks frequently recommended by (alleged) beauty experts.


Pieces of lettuce dipped in olive oil and lemon juice supposedly "[restore] the skins natural pH level, balancing your complexion."

The challenge is getting the oily lettuce pieces to stick to your face (admittedly nice, flat leaves of romaine would have worked better, but I didn't have any) rather than running off the sides and into your hair. Since the only thing that's really touching you is the oil, I guess this "mask" might have moisturizing properties, but it seems mostly like an excuse to use up browning salad greens.

Verdict: mouth.


It's been suggested that mustard, in addition to being good on corn dogs, "can also accentuate the beauty of your skin, particularly your face."

French's Yellow Mustard on the face feels tightening, it's true, but only because mustard starts to get crusty if it sits too long. The pictures I took of myself with mustard on my face are too crazy too use (I look jaundiced and sad). After I rinsed it off I felt no change in the "beauty" of my skin. But I did want a hot dog.

Verdict: mouth.


To continue along with the hotdog ingredient theme, I moved onto ketchup. This condiment has been said to minimize sunburn pain, exfoliate, clear acne, and minimize wrinkles.

Ketchup is probably my favorite food, to be honest, but on the face it smells horrible. It is pleasantly cooling (if it comes from the fridge). When I washed it off, I don't notice anything different. Except for little bits of ketchup that surfaced on my skin over the next hour or two.

Verdict: mouth.

Cocoa Powder


Cocoa powder mixed with water to form a paste is said to "improve your complexion."

This, at least, feels like something that makes sense on your face. It goes on easiest of all the foods tested here, and dries into a smooth, chocolate-y mask. It feels tightening without being irritating, and rinses off easily. I have no idea what it did for my complexion, but the ease of application and removal compared to everything else here makes me feel like putting it on your face can't hurt. Besides, it was rather soothing.

Verdict: face!


A mashed, ripe banana smeared on your face is supposed to "rid your face of wrinkles and make your skin look young and healthy."

Or it might make your skin look like someone threw up on it. After rinsing it off, my skin feels ... gooey and banana-smelling, which makes sense. YOUNG and banana-y, maybe.

Verdict: mouth; but face if it's too ripe to eat because why not.


Honey apparently clears one's skin of acne.

This seems best applied with a spatula, which also comes in handy when your face starts to itch and you know you cannot scratch it with your fingers. While it is on my face I only think of how I will get it off. I still smell mustard. Is it in my hair? (...yes!) Anyway, I can't say for SURE that honey does anything for your skin, but it sort of feels appropriate there, I think just because of honey's soothing connotations. It's calming. But mostly: sticky.

Verdict: face!



Well, it doesn't get grosser than this surprisingly common facemask idea: mayonnaise is supposed to "exfoliate dry, dead skin cells while deeply moisturizing at the same time." I put this one off until last, because the idea is just disgusting.

Mayo smells awful when it's on your face. It made me gag more than once. But there was a moment when I walked past my hallway mirror and saw mayo on my face and thought, "I look really good. I don't look a day over 24." (I'm 26.) It just sort of dries into a nice pearly sheen. Still, my face looks rosy after washing it off, so, success? If you're into looking pearly (yes!) and rosy (yes!) and smelling like mayo (...), anyway.

Verdict: face!


After eight successive facemasks, what I wonder most of all is how much of the way your face looks after a mask — the rosiness and the "glow" — can be attributed simply to having just scrubbed off something weird? It just feels good to throw water on yourself and to have whatever it was off your face. I doubt any one facemask does much more than the other (or more, for that matter, than leaving your face naked and foodless), but it's nice to sit with gloop on your face for ten minutes and pretend that afterward, everything will be perfect.

Anyway, at the end I Googled "wine face mask," and it can be done, but another way to get a nice glow is to put it directly into your mouth.