DIY Beauty: onion mask for a bad breakout

onion mask

Would you put onions on your face? I’m not sure I would but if have a bad breakout, you might want to try what Jess of Yours Essentially did because onions have sulphur content that can help to combat acne.

Recipe and usage method
What she did was to blend a quarter of a big white onion, a small bunch of parsley (which is good to prevent blackheads and clogged pores), added some distilled water and honey to the blend and left it overnight in the fridge. Before applying the mix to her face, she added white kaolin clay so that it is easier for application. The mask is to be left on the face for about 20 mins, before massaging gently to exfoliate the skin and then rinsed off.

According to Jess, the mask was a little messy but she used it twice a week and her breakout was under control after 2 weeks of usage. “My breakout was under control; the pimples were no longer red and inflamed.”

Onion mask cannot be used immediately
This onion mask is good for oily to combination blemished skin but a word of advice from Jess is that you SHOULD NOT use this mask immediately but only after chilling it overnight. Because if you do, the onion fumes are going to sting your eyes so badly. She’s speaking from experience because she tried it the first time and was stumbling around, blinded for the next 15mins.

Finally, keep the blend in the fridge for 2-3 days at most.

So anyone game for this mask?

I am looking for contributions of DIY beauty experiences. If you have tried a DIY recipe for beauty reasons and would like to share, please send me an email – vivawoman[at]


  1. GabrielLe says:

    Sesame! I’d definately say “NO” to this remedy…as I wouldn’t want to burn my own skin! =/

    GabrielLe: Haha…I can understand your reluctance. I’m worried about my eyes… but from what Jess has described, I don’t think it’ll burn.

  2. pf1123 says:

    Interesting. My derm’s formulation of cleanser for my acne includes watercress which I think is in the family of parsley.

    Maybe I shall check up on that more.

    pf1123: Watercress? Very interesting. I did a quick check and found it also contains sulphur and is apparently considered an antioxidant. But I’ve never come across any products containing this.

  3. GabrielLe says:

    pf1123, my mum used to tell me how watercress is cooling for the heaty body…I didn’t know that it helps to cure acne too. But why didn’t they use barley instead? heehee. Mom said barley helps to purify ones skin. My derm’s use caviar for my facial to combat the stubborn red & big acne & it helps really really much!

    GabrielLe: Wow, caviar! Never tried anything with caviar on my skin but heard so much about it.

  4. Dee says:

    Onions! Sounds interesting…

    Dee: Yes it is isn’t it. I was so intrigued when Jess first mentioned to me so I asked her for the recipe and persmission to post it here to share.

  5. pf1123 says:

    I have no idea at all. But I heard that Barley is more for whitening. Can use barley water for the bath.

  6. Soos says:

    Uh, no. Will make a SOUP of the onion, watercress, parsley and barley. And eat the caviar on toast! j/k

    I do love the LUSH fresh mask with ginger – called Brazened Honey.

    Soos: I should try the soup recipe…one day…haha…

  7. Elaine says:

    I used a prescribed sulfur lotion on my face and it’s the only thing that seems to clear it up.
    I’m very interested in a more natural approach. I’m middle-aged and have to be careful about products that are too drying.
    I may try that onion concoction one of these days, interesting how watercress also has sulfur.
    I’ve learned so much from this blog.

    Elaine: I hope this will work for you if you do try it. Sulphur products cannot be used consistently for too long. I use one for an acne spot treatment and I have to stop after 7 days of using then start again a few days later.

  8. raelynn says:

    trying out the mask… but i’ve tweaked it quite a bit, i added a small clove of garlic, a few drops of tea tree oil, aesop hydrating toner and parley seed serum, and a little bit of clay mask that i have. while i admit it stings for a while even though i avoided the eye area provavly cause i applied immediately (i thought most of the stinging would be neutralized by the honey and facial products that i added), it actually smells quite good. hahaha. waiting for it to dry… see if there’s any improvement after usage for a few days. =)

    Raelynn: Wow, you used it immediately! Good thing it didn’t sting you badly. Hope you can see some improvement using this. I’m curious to know…

  9. raelynn says:

    well, on the first attempt, there were hits and misses on the pimples.. some really swollen ones went down by half while there were some new pimples. and my skin was really bumpy the next day.. perhaps i have to try again. hmmm

    Raelynn: I hope it’ll do your skin some good and not cause mroe problems… Jess mentioned it took her two weeks.

  10. raelynn says:

    attempt number two:
    1)pounded onion, garlic, ginger, rosemary leaves.
    1)obtained the liquid. added honey and milk.
    3)found the whole thing to be too watery and added finely pounded oats *not that it helped to become more like a paste eventually*.
    i woke up the next morning with slightly better results than the first. the skin is not so bumpy as the first attempt. swelling and redness also improved, indeed, i would say that the mask works, but it will take quite some time with constant diligent use.

    Raelynn: Wow you’re very diligent girl! I’m impressed! Glad it improved for you. I think with most natural remedies, it will take time but I find them pretty rewarding in most instances. But I don’t think this will work for my acne scar. I’ve got extremely itchy fingers and I went to squeeze on one and now I have a big red patch on my face! I’m using aloe, shea butter whatever but I think it will take a few days to heal… ?

  11. raelynn says:

    nothing seems to work for scars.. chemically or botanically that i’ve tried so far at least.

    all i can do is to slap on sunscreen to prevent the scars from getting darker and to diligently put tea tree oil, hoping that the patch will dry up, drop off, and grow new skin. i can totally understand the process of enjoying the satisfaction of squeezing a pimple and later stabbing urself for the scar. hahahaha.

    Raelynn: Haha…lucky I’m not alone being sadistic to my own skin! ? The scars can fade totally for me on my forehead and to a large extent on my chin over time with the products I’ve used. But those cheek acne marks are sooo difficult to get rid!

  12. michelle says:

    Have you ever tried aloe vera for acne? It works wonders.

  13. Suzie says:

    Watch our for sulfur! My granma and mom are serverly allergic, so I’d be careful about using this on your face if you happen to be allergic too.

  14. sesame says:

    Yes, I wouldn’t recommend this for those with sensitive skin.

  15. K says:

    Hi, i’ve seen this post and thought to share another method. My mom is an adept of natural remedies and i’ve learned this from her: the onion should be split in layers, which will be baked until they are soft, then they can be applied on the problem area and covered with a sterile bandage to keep them in place. They can be left overnight and process should be repeated few times until healing. This is effective as well for treating furuncles or similar inflamations. I hope it helps someone ?

  16. sesame says:

    Oh that’s great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Anne says:

    Hey, I tried out this mask a week before prom hoping for a way to get rid of a “purging” breakout from changing my diet to all organic and natural, no bad oils, and it did wonders! I tweaked it a bit after a little research. I used 1/3 onion, 1/2 tomato, 5 tblspoons of honey, tee tree oil, neem leave oil, extra virgin olive oil, Indian Aztec Clay powder. I pureed everything together except the clay, then added that and mixed, left in fridge for about 5 hours, and applied it for 20 minutes a day, every day for 7 days, and my acne cleared up substantially and is now the clearest it has been in 3 years. I also have a daily face routine I do that adds to it, but this definitely was a huge plus and I will be continuing it. Anyone know of any side affects of using sulfar-products for extended time?

  18. sesame says:

    If I’m not wrong, the sulfur could burn the skin if consistenly used so it’s better to stop for a few days or a week before resuming.

  19. Anne says:

    Thanks! I’ll do that and switch to a calming mask for 3 days then switch back, hopefully that will work.

  20. Marisa says:

    I just made the mixture and it is sitting in my fridge! Cant wait to try it. I have mild to moderate acne scarring, so I am going to stick with this for a few months and see if it actually helps.

    After the last humiliating trip to the dermatologist, I’ve written them all off and they can take the pharmaceutical companies with them. Will keep updating this very unscientific experiment! Hopefully if it works, more people can move away from the abrasive chemicals in all this acne junk. It occurs to me that they are a business, and business is good when they have repeat customers. What financial incentive do they have to actually improve our skin?

    Bring on the onions!

  21. sesame says:

    I hope it’ll work for you. Another formula to use and it’s my fave is cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Very good for acne scarring.

  22. Marisa says:

    I read about this mixture on another page on this website. What would be the best way to use both these masks? Maybe use them on alternating days? The onion on one day and the nutmeg/ cinnamon on another?

    Thank you.

  23. sesame says:

    Yes, don’t use them on the same day! Actually, I would recommend doing them like 2 or 3 days apart as some gals developed a reaction to nutmeg or cinnamon. So best to determine your skin type. If your skin is too sensitive, this mask may cause it to burn.

  24. Marisa says:

    I tried the mask last night! I didn’t have any clay, so I just used onion, honey, and water. I don’t know if it is just the result of the honey, but my face is noticeably smoother this morning. I am going to try to track down the clay to thicken it up. The downside is the smell. I let it sit for about six hours, but it was still pretty oniony when I put it on. My boyfriend said it didn’t smell afterwards, but I could still smell it and he is stuffed up with allergies, so his senses were dulled anyway. Thanks for the recipe!

  25. sesame says:

    I’m glad it worked out well for you. Yes, it’s most probably the honey cos it has this smoothing effect on the skin.

  26. Flee says:

    Hi Sesame, just wondering where we can get white kaolin clay in SG?

  27. sesame says:

    I might have seen it at but not sure if they still stock it now.

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