I Tried Face Masks Made Of All Kinds Of Booze

During my last Netflix and wine night, I had a crazy idea. Could different types of alcohol be beneficial in DIY face masks? I had always heard that red wine does wonders for the skin when applied topically, but what about the rest of my favorite spirits? I tossed some shoes on with my sweatpants and headed to my local liquor store to see what I could come up with.

As far as alcohol selection goes, I wanted to have a wide variety. Wine and beer seemed like no brainers for this experiment (beer has beauty benefits, too) but I wanted to expand on this idea by testing various liquors, as well. I wanted to include things that you wouldn't typically think to add to an at-home face mask. This wasn't necessarily for shock value, so much as I just was blatantly curious about the outcome.

When I told my friends and family about this experiment, they immediately thought it was silly. I kept hearing silly comments like, "alcohol is so drying," and, "your skin is going to fall off." With all the naysayers in place, I had to discover what would really happen. It was for science, after all! Here's how nine alcoholic beverages fared when added to regular at-home face masks:

1. Wine

Whether it be cheap or expensive, I'm a die-hard fan of wine. Since it already fills my life with joy, I wasn't really surprised to hear that red wine pairs beautifully with DIY face masks. I had to try it out for myself.

Red wine is packed with antioxidants that are amazing at fighting off free radicals, inflammation, and dark spots. For my mask, I paired the wine with other ingredients that are known to have similar effects. Here were my results:

Mask Ingredients: Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon, honey (antibacterial), yogurt (moisturizing)

Initial Thoughts: This mask smells heavenly. Seriously, I wanted to bottle the stuff. I suggest putting this on with a cotton ball as it tends to be more on the creamy side. It’s very cooling on the skin. The mask doesn’t dry down right away, though it does feel oddly tightening.

Time On Face: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: My skin was glowing. Also, like #byepores. This mask is perfect addition to a Netflix and wine night.

2. Whiskey/Bourbon

Before this experiment, I wasn't very familiar with the differences between whiskey and bourbon. However, it's my understanding that bourbon is made in the USA, while whiskey can be made anywhere. There are a bunch of other details involved, however, as far as health benefits, these two are one-and-the same.

Whiskey and bourbon can allegedly help to tighten the skin while banishing bacteria. I paired my bourbon with honey, egg, and lemon to intensify these results.

Mask Ingredients: Jim Bean Bourbon, honey (antibacterial), egg (tightening), lemon juice (brightening)

Initial Thoughts: This one burned at first, probably because of the lemon-alcohol combination. I do not recommend this recipe for sensitive skin. After a few minutes, the mask cools down and feels better on the skin. As for the scent, this mask smells like a fancy whisky drink you get at bar.

Time On Face: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: My face felt slightly sensitive after washing this off, but my pores were noticeably smaller.

3. Vodka

Oh, vodka. I have such a love/hate relationship with this liquor that I had to try it out for this experiment. After a bit of research, I discovered that diluted vodka can actually help reduce the look large pores and clarify the skin, according to Who knew?

Mask Ingredients: Tito's Vodka, lemon juice (brightening), brown sugar (exfoliating), olive oil (moisturizing)

Initial Thoughts: This time around, I decided to make more of a scrub/mask combination in order to buff away some noticeable dry skin (super sexy, I know). When I applied the combination to my face, it went on easily. Not too much fallout or dripping to be seen. While the mask doesn’t smell too strongly of vodka once applied, the faint scent was enough to trigger some less-than-pleasant memories from college for me. However, it didn't tingle or feel too drying on the skin.

Time On Face: Five minutes.

Final Thoughts: I let the mask sit on my skin for a few minutes to soak up all of the lemon juice and olive oil goodness. Afterwards, I buffed the combo into my skin in hopes of removing any dead skin. The result? It did a pretty good job. I couldn't see any visible flakes after I washed it off, and it didn't leave my skin feeling overly dry. My face was a bit red after removal, but it didn't feel overly sensitive. Overall, my skin felt soft, and my pores appeared smaller.

4. Tequila

Normally, I like my tequila in the form of a margarita, but today I decided to try it out in a face mask. While this might seem like a terrible idea at first, a tequila face mask is actually pretty good for your skin, according to Allure. Like most alcohols, tequila has astringent properties that help to refine the pores and remove impurities from the skin.

Mask Ingredients: José Cuervo Silver Tequila, coconut oil (holy grail), brown sugar (exfoliating), lemon juice (brightening)

Initial Thoughts: OMG, this mask smells so strongly of tequila. The lemon juice wasn't originally part of the recipe I had in mind, but I needed to add it to cut the boozy scent. Just like the vodka experiment, I opted for an exfoliating mask DIY instead of a traditional cleansing mask in order to soothe my congested skin. I'm not going to lie, this mask tingled. I’m not sure what if it was from the rough brown sugar or from the tequila, but my skin was pretty red during this experiment.

Time On Face: Five minutes

After Thoughts: My skin felt a bit sensitive and red after I washed it off. However, it was nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I think the coconut oil saved the mask from being a total disaster.

5. Clear Rum

If you're looking to banish a few breakouts, you may want to consider adding rum to your next DIY face mask. Rum contains astringent as well as antiseptic properties that are great for fighting off lingering bacteria that can cause acne. For someone with frequent breakouts, I wanted to see if rum lived up to its hype.

Mask Ingredients: Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, olive oil (moisturizing), oats, lemon juice (brightening), honey (antibacterial)

Initial Thoughts: You know when you regret something instantly, but are too stubborn to do anything about it? That's how I felt when applying this mask. After much trial and error, I come up with this recipe, which would have been amazing if I hadn't included the oats. It's not that they were itchy or uncomfortable, but they got everywhere. It was such a mess! I included them in the recipe to give the mask a solid binder, but it just ended up being a lot of cleanup. However, once I got the stuff evenly spread across my face, it felt wonderful.

Time On Face: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: The mask felt great once it started to dry down. It felt almost cooling and very hydrating. There was still a slight smell of rum, however it was masked behind the honey and olive oil smells. Once, I washed it off my skin felt so good. It felt so hydrated and incredibly soft. Honestly, it was worth the mess.

6. Beer

While we might not assume that beer can lead to a good skin day, it actually can. According to the New York Times, beer spas are growing in popularity in Europe, thanks to beers cleansing, healing properties. So, as someone with dry, acne-prone skin, I felt as if this would be a great addition to my at-home face masks.

Mask Ingredients: Dogfish Head Sixty-One Beer (contains Syrah grapes, which are high in antioxidants), green tea (reduce sun damage), banana (acne fighter)

Initial Thoughts: Here's another example of a mask that is super messy, but totally worth it. The smushed banana doesn't want to adhere to the skin, but with a little patience, it'll stay put. My first thoughts on this mask is that it initially tingled, but then the sensation died down. Also, this mask smells great. It's super soothing and relaxing.

Duration: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: This mask felt as if it tightened my skin, while also hydrating it. It left my skin feeling soft, supple, and hydrated without feeling oily.

7. Brandy

Brandy is wine that has been distilled for longer in an oak barrel. Since it's a byproduct of wine and grapes, the liquor contains many powerful antioxidants that can be beneficial for anti-aging. Sounds like a great addition to a face mask, doesn't it?

Mask Ingredients: Christian Brothers VS Brandy, coffee grounds (exfoliant), honey (antibacterial)

Initial Thoughts: OK, so this mask smells like coffee and alcohol, which could be awful or amazing depending on your personal nose preferences. However, it wasn't hard to apply, and it dried down after a few minutes. What I loved most about this mask is that there was no burning or itching sensation at all. It immediately felt great on the skin.

Duration: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: After washing off the mask, my skin felt a little tight, but not overly dry. However, I did notice that my pores looked smaller, and any dead skin had been removed. Even though it had great exfoliant properties, the mask really didn't add any glow to my skin.

8. Cognac

Cognac not only tastes delicious, but it is also great for your skin. reported that the liquor contains several antioxidants that can help fight off free radicals that can worsen the signs of aging.

Mask Ingredients: Hennessy, milk (mild exfoliant), honey (antibacterial), cornstarch (soothing)

Initial Thoughts: It’s not everyday that I put Hennessey on my face, but when I do, I feel like Beyoncé. This face mask is creamy, nourishing, and luxurious. It honestly feels so good on your face. Just make sure to be standing over a sink when you apply this; it tends to drip for the first two minutes. Possibly my favorite part of this mask is that it doesn’t have a pungent alcohol smell like a few of the others.

Time On Face: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: My face looked amazing! My skin felt smooth, hydrated, and next too poreless. BRB, I'm investing in a bigger bottle of this stuff.

9. Gin

The key to flawless skin may just be inside a gin and tonic. Gin is made out of juniper berries, which contain loads of anti-aging antioxidants, according to Cosmopolitan. Let's see how it fared in this face mask.

Mask Ingredients: Bombay Sapphire Gin, pineapple (anti-inflammatory), mango (acne fighter)

Initial Thoughts: After rounds of mixing, I thought I had blended the perfect consistency. However, I was wrong once I started applying. This mask was a tad to thin and needed a thickener. My suggestion is to add honey if you make this mask at home. With that said, this mask smelled and felt amazing. It was very cooling on the skin and felt so refreshing.

Time On Face: 10 minutes

Final Thoughts: This mask doesn't dry down that well (hence, the towel in the photo). However, it does do great things for the skin. My face was super radiant after I washed off the mask, and it left me looking poreless. It was magical.

Which Booze Is Best For Your Face?

After all of this testing, I would absolutely recommend the cognac and gin masks. They worked wonderfully on my sensitive skin. However, the masks you should stay away from are the tequila and bourbon DIYs. Those burned like nothing else. In the end, my overall rule of thumb for adding alcohol to face masks is that if it burns when you drink, it's going to burn your face.

Images: Emily McClure