The glory of the avocado is not limited to guacamole. The nutrient dense avocado has been associated with cosmetic beauty since the days of the Aztec, Inca, and Mayan empires.

Avocados contain oil that is used to make certain cosmetics because of its high levels of vitamins and minerals. These include mono- and polyunsaturated fats, known as the “good” fats.

Try this quick and easy recipe for guacamole »

Avocados are also high in lutein, a naturally occurring antioxidant. When eaten, antioxidants are believed to help protect the body from free radicals, which are linked to aging, cancer, cataracts, and other health issues. When applied to the skin, some say antioxidants can also help avoid premature aging. Whether or not this is true, avocado face masks are an easy do-it-yourself way to keep your skin moisturized (provided that you aren’t allergic to the ingredients!).

Learn how to cope with an avocado allergy »

So if you smear a little on your chin while gorging yourself on taco night, it’s actually a good thing. Just wipe it off before people begin to stare.

A Basic Recipe

Susan Perry, an aesthetician and creator of Paradis Botanicals, says cleansing the skin properly prior to the mask ensures getting better results from the ingredients. She also recommends you tie any long hair back away from your face before beginning to avoid getting it in your hair.

  • ½ of a ripe avocado
  • ½ tsp. avocado oil (grapeseed oil can be substituted)
  • 1 tbsp. of plain yogurt 

Use an immersion blender or mix it manually to blend the avocado until smooth. Add the oil and yogurt, and then blend to form a smooth creamy paste. 

Apply the mask to your face with your fingertips or using a fan brush. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Remove most of it with a hot, damp towel, leaving a thin paste behind. Massage the remaining paste into your skin with your fingertips, and then remove it with a warm, damp towel. Follow with a light toner and moisturizer as desired.

“This mask maximizes the benefits of the avocado and does not contain unnecessary or conflicting ingredients,” Perry says.

Mix It Up with Olive Oil or Honey

C.J. Legare, proprietress of Functional Girl, says adding extra virgin olive oil to avocado boosts the effects of the fatty acids in the masque, which are known to be highly moisturizing.

Adding honey to the mask mixture could be used to help treat acne. “Honey is still very moisturizing, but it’s also a natural anti-fungal,” says Legare.

You Could Even Add Banana

Susan Smith Jones, MS, PhD, a holistic health educator and author of over 25 books, shares her favorite recipe: 

  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ ripe avocado mashed (no lumps)
  • ½ tsp. spirulina powder
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. honey 

Mix the ingredients together and spread the mixture on a clean face. Relax and leave on for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water and finish with a cold rinse.

“This recipe will be more than enough to apply on your face, neck, décolleté, back of hands, and any areas of your body that need more loving attention,” Smith Jones says.