There’s a lot of hype around DIY beauty. With the onslaught of social media, influencers, YouTubers and everyone in between, everyone is trying to tell you how to avoid a trip to the drugstore by trying beauty tricks with things you’ve already got at home. And it’s totally understandable why people are obsessed with DIY—store bought products can be expensive and you want to know exactly what you’re putting on your skin.
The problem is that some of (okay, a lot of) the information out there is just downright wrong and can even be dangerous. There is some good advice out there, but when it comes to your delicate facial skin, you need to be extra careful about information you find online.
So, how can you tell which beauty hacks are safe and which ones can damage your skin? We’re here to help you sort it all out.
Here are six beauty hacks that have the stamp of approval from Dr. Sandra Lee (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) herself!
1. Use a tea bag compress for pimples and under eye puffiness.
You might think a used tea bag belongs in the trash, but it’s actually a skincare superhero in disguise. A tea bag will help bring a pimple to the surface and reduce the inflammation that causes that annoying redness. “This trick works because the astringent nature of the tannins and caffeine in tea can help constrict blood vessels and capillaries under the eyes. It helps to minimize fluid retention and puffiness in the area,” says Dr. Lee.
How to use tea bags on your skin properly: Hold a wet, warm (never hot!) tea bag on the pimple for a few minutes. To avoid dripping on your clothes, place a paper towel around the outside of the bag. You should notice a difference right away!
For under-eye puffiness, use a black tea bag. Simply lay down and place wet warm or cool tea bags on your eyes. After three or four minutes, you’ll look like you had a full night of beauty rest.
Bonus advice: Keep a bag of tea bags in your freezer for beauty emergencies! In a pinch, cucumber slices are just as good for cooling and hydrating your eye area — simply slice ’em up and lay the circles on your eyes for 5 to 15 minutes.
2. Wash your face with raw honey.
Raw honey is a pretty sweet cleanser. (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!) While so many face washes can actually dry out your skin, honey will leave your face feeling soft and nourished. It’s excellent at removing dirt and oil, and since honey is an antibacterial, it even treats acne!
How to use honey as a facial cleanser: Wet your skin, then apply a thin layer of honey the way you would a face mask. Feel free to get sticky and massage the honey you’re your skin for a minute or two. Wait another minute, then rinse off!
It’s best to use raw honey. This is because processed honey goes through a heated pasteurization process, which damages the honey and, sadly, makes it less effective on your skin. Some honeys will even have added ingredients, so check the label for added ingredients that could lead to bad reactions or even breakouts. In other words, don’t reach for that cheap honey bear at the grocery store and splurge instead on the raw, organic jar — it’ll be worth it!
Bonus advice: Honey works on any skin type, so don’t be afraid to try this one out! But honey will not remove your makeup, so use a gentle makeup remover before you cleanse with honey.
3. Try a yogurt facial.
The probiotics in yogurt aren’t just good for your gut, they’re also good for your skin. You may feel as silly as this little girl smearing yogurt on your face, but this one is true. Yogurt’s bacteria help balance the good and bad bacteria on your face, calming the immune response and preventing inflammation. Yogurt also contains lactic acid, a powerful alpha hydroxy acid, which removes dead skin cells.
How to use yogurt as a face mask: Apply a thin layer of plain whole milk or Greek yogurt and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Plain is the operative word here — yogurts with added sugar will do your skin no favors.
Bonus advice: Yogurt is gentle enough that you can give yourself a soothing facial with it up to 3 times a week!
4. Use ice cubes to calm pimples & under-eye bags.
Similar to tea bags, ice cubes have many uses for your skin. We love placing them on inflamed, painful pimples to help calm the irritation, and Dr. Lee loves them as an at-home under-eye treatment. “Using ice cubes is a great trick for under eye bags that are more visible in the morning,” she recommends. “Generally speaking, dark under-eye circles are due to fluid retention, so sleeping more elevated can help to minimize this. If you’re prepping for an important event, getting up earlier can help because the longer you are upright, the more that gravity can help to diminish the swelling.”
How to use ice to zap a zit: If you have a breakout, wrap an ice cube in a washcloth or paper towel and place it on the affected area. The cold helps to constrict the skin, which reduces redness and inflammation.
Bonus advice: Remember never to hold an ice cube straight from the freezer directly onto your face. Let it melt a little, don’t hold it in one spot, and wrap it in a thin cloth.
5. Get rid of redness with an oatmeal mask.
You’ve probably heard of oatmeal baths as a treatment for eczema and poison ivy, and for good reason: The vitamins and minerals in oatmeal are incredibly soothing for the skin, plus it contains saponins — chemicals with natural cleansing properties. And that’s exactly why an oatmeal mask makes a great treatment for facial redness and serves as an effective cleanser.
How to treat yourself to an oatmeal facial: Simply prepare the oatmeal as you would for breakfast, then allow it to cool slightly. While it’s still warm (but not too hot) gently apply a generous coat to your skin. Leave it on for about 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. If you’re sensitive to gluten (or just extra cautious about what you put on your skin) use only certified organic and/or certified gluten-free oats.
Bonus advice: Redness that’s caused by sensitivity, acne, or rosacea can be treated with oatmeal. And remember that fabulous raw honey we raved about? Mix some in with your oatmeal for added hydration!
6. Using hemorrhoid and/or hydrocortisone creams on pimples.
Yes, you read that right. Dr. Lee recommends this practical hack for breakouts “because both hemorrhoid and hydrocortisone creams have ingredients that constrict superficial blood vessels, therefore helping to decrease redness.”
How to properly apply hydrocortisone and hemorrhoid cream to your face: Before bed but after you’ve washed your face, squeeze a very small amount of the cream (just about pea sized) and place it on your finger. Gently dab the cream onto your pimple.
Bonus advice: Don’t have hemorrhoid or hydrocortisone cream? Dr. Lee says you can also use Afrin: “Afrin nasal spray has oxymetazoline, which can also constrict small blood vessels to temporarily make a pimple look less red.”