With all these powders and schmears and drips, the counter above may look like a scene out of some hotly anticipated Breaking Bad reunion. Instead, it’s the makings of your own beauty lab. Google tells us that interest in at-home beauty treatments has exploded in recent years, but today’s kitchen adventurer has little interest in whipping up cosmetics and masks from scratch. In fact, while searches for DIY are up 38 percent, those for homemade and recipe are down.
This isn’t to say that household food items like Greek yogurt won’t play a role in her concoctions, but in this iteration, it’s a supporting one. The real stars: proven actives handpicked for her specific needs—and pre-prepped for her. Our testers slathered, squeezed, and mixed their way through dozens of new kits to share the ones truly worthy of an investment. Mad-scientist time? Maybe this is a little something like Walter White after all.
THE GIST: These four powder-to-clay masks ($2.49 each, target.com) contain targeted powder formulas—detoxifying charcoal, moisturizing coconut, calming cucumber, and acne-fighting tomato and salicylic acid—that can be combined at home with water, yogurt, honey, etc. Each comes with a tiny paper mixing bowl and spatula.
TESTER SAYS: “I tried the detoxifying mask to help balance my skin’s oiliness. I also wanted brightening, so I added orange juice—there are suggestions on the package. I emptied the powder into the bowl, poured the OJ to the water line, and mixed using the spatula. I removed it after 10 minutes, and my skin felt clean and fresh; the glow was noticeable even in my dark bathroom mirror.”
THE GIST: This simple system allows you to create hair concoctions that are free of parabens, phthalates, paraffin, mineral oil, and other petrochemicals. You choose the three products to combine. First, a base, which is either a scalp oil-balancing bentonite clay ($9.99, ulta.com) or soothing rhassoul clay ($9.99, ulta.com) for a hair mask, or a rich cleanser ($8.99, ulta.com) for a shampoo. Next, you pick an emollient, such as smoothing shea butter ($3.99, ulta.com), hydrating grapeseed oil ($9.99, ulta.com), or strengthening avocado oil ($9.99, ulta.com). Finally, add a fragrant oil, such as rose, green tea, or lemongrass ($3.99 each, ulta.com).
TESTER SAYS: “It took about three minutes to make a shampoo using the cleanser base with shea butter and the rose oil, which had the faint scent of an English garden—fresh but not overpowering. My only complaint: The shampoo worked so well—fantastic lather, easy to rinse out—and smelled so lovely, I wish they also offered a conditioner!”
Related: This Is How Kim Kardashian Gets Gorgeous, Healthy Hair—Even After Dying It Platinum
THE GIST: This palette ($60, findingferdinand.com) has prefilled, semi-matte lip colors that you can blend to create any combo you want (just plop chosen hues into the two mixing pans), and it also comes with a code redeemable for a full-size lipstick you create online. For that, you can mix only four color bases, as opposed to the 22 in the palette. But you can choose the finish you crave—sheer or opaque, matte or shiny.
TESTER SAYS: “I have been wanting to experiment with brown lip tones but feared they’d make my pale skin look corpse-like. So I used the dipper end of the brush to dig out a touch of Cranberry—a pinky red—put it in one of the mixing pans, and then added two scoops of Barely-There, a brownish nude. The result? A super-flattering neutral with some warmth. Plus, it felt really fun to play makeup artist!”
Source: DIY Beauty Kits You’ll Love