Skin Brightening Turmeric Face Mask

Turmeric powder
Photodisc for Getty

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice used in many Indian, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern curry dishes, but what many Western people don't know is that when combined with yogurt, milk or olive oil, it's also a brilliant face mask and has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Indian women use turmeric as a skin brightener and it is common practice for Indian brides (and, apparently, their grooms) to smear a turmeric paste made of the powder and sunflower oil on their skin to brighten their complexions for the wedding.

Actress Thandie Newton (who is a light-skinned black woman) reportedly adds turmeric powder to her tinted moisturizer to give her the perfect glow.

Turmeric powder may be used to brighten skin tone, but it's main ingredient—curcumin—works to suppress excess melanin production caused by sunlight. This is another reason darker-skin women love it. But women of all skin types can benefit from the anti-aging properties. Curcuminoids are great for treating chronic inflammation, skin irritations, and sun damage—all of which can cause premature aging.

But fair warning: as great as turmeric is for the skin, the natural yellow food coloring can stain fair skin. The same properties that make yellow and dark skin glow can make pink-skinned women look sallow. However, the stain does fade away after a few hours.

This recipe gets rave reviews from users.


  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder.
  • 2 tablespoons flour or cornstarch (to thicken the paste)
  • A few drops of runny honey
  • For oily skin: 1/4 cup plain yogurt & few drops of lemon juice
  • For dry skin: 2 tbsp coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or olive oil (more if you desire)


  1. Mix the flour and turmeric together. Once combined, stir in the honey.
  2. If you have oily skin: Add lemon juice and stir. Slowly mix in the yogurt until a creamy paste is formed. Use more or less yogurt to your liking.
  1. If you have dry skin: Add the oil slowly and stir until a paste is formed. Add more for more creaminess.
  2. Apply mask to face and neck.
  3. Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Using a warm, wet washcloth that you don't mind staining (turmeric will stain), rinse off the mask.

Where to Buy Turmeric Face Masks

If you aren't into making your own face mask, you can buy turmeric skin serums and face creams.
These get great ratings: