There are a couple of reasons why cucumber is such a skincare superstar. First, it has a high water content—cucumbers are over 90% water—making them lightly moisturizing when used in beauty applications. It also mixes well with anything else that’s water-based, like aloe vera and hydrosols, as well as honey and citrus juices. In addition, cucumber is high in vitamins A and C and folic acid, all of which are tremendously beneficial to your skin.
Cucumbers are best-tasting when they are fresh and crunchy, but they only last so long in the fridge; using your less-than-crunchy cukes in beauty treatments is a way to get something useful from what would otherwise be food waste. Similarly, you can use extra avocado, half of an old lemon, and a too-brown banana for hair masks and face masks where their ripeness won’t affect their topical use.
Here are 11 easy recipes to start using cucumber for skin, hair, and other beauty applications.
1. Cucumber Toner
You can make a refreshing cucumber toner with just three ingredients and water. Gather the following: a chilled, medium-sized cucumber, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel, and 2 tablespoons of water.
Peel the cucumber, then chop it into pieces. Put the pieces in a blender, along with the other ingredients. Close the top and blend everything for 20-30 seconds. Then, using a cheesecloth or sieve as a strainer, pour the cucumber mixture into a jam jar or other glass container. Keep in the fridge and use it up to twice a day. You can apply with a reusable beauty pad or small washcloth.
2. Cooling Rose-Cucumber Facial Spray
If you prefer your cucumber toner as a spray, simply puree a chilled, peeled, chopped-into-chunks cuke along with 1/2 cup of rose hydrosol. After it has been blended well together, separate the liquid from the vegetable matter using cheesecloth or a kitchen strainer.
Pour the remaining liquid into a spray bottle. Shake before using and keep in the fridge for a refreshing, hydrating, rosy-cucumber toner spray. You can use it on your face and your body, and it’s especially great when it’s hot outside.
3. Classic Cucumber Eye Treatment
It’s a classic for a reason. Placing cucumber slices on your closed eyes reduces puffiness by cooling the thin, sensitive skin around the eyes. It also forces you to relax, since you have to lie down and close your eyes to keep the cucumber in place.
Cucumber slices can be used on their own or paired with a face mask, and keeping them on for about 20 minutes is recommended—it’s also the same amount of time most facemasks take. Flip the cucumber slices over about halfway through to refresh them.
You can rinse your face off after you use cucumber slices—or not. Either way, don’t forget to moisturize your eye area for full benefits, since cucumber won’t be as hydrating as it is cooling.
4. Summertime Spritz
For the easiest ultimate cooling treat, peel and chop a cucumber and add it to a big spray bottle. Add 3-4 drops of peppermint essential oil, as many ice cubes as will fit into the container, and fill with water. Shake and spray while sitting in front of the fan or a windy window.
The combination of evaporating water, cucumber, and mint will get you cooling off fast. Spray on your neck, wrists, and ankles for the fastest relief.
5. Soothing Cucumber Hair Rinse
An apple cider vinegar (ACV) hair rinse is a popular application that can help balance pH, remove product build-up, and make hair shiny. Typically, you mix ACV with water to make a rinse, but if you mix it with cucumber juice instead, you’ll get a scalp-soothing boost.
Start by making your own cucumber water. Peel, chop and blend a whole cucumber. Then separate the vegetable material from the juice using a strainer.
Then, mix 2 tablespoons of ACV with 5-6 tablespoons of cucumber water. Shampoo your hair as you normally would, squeeze out excess water gently, and massage the ACV and cucumber water mixture into your hair, starting at the scalp and letting it run out to the ends of your hair. Leave it to soak for 3-4 minutes, then rinse out with cool water.
Condition as usual. Hair should be extra-moisturized, bouncy, and shiny.
6. Rich and Hydrating Cucumber-Avocado Hair Mask
If your hair needs more conditioning than a quick hair rinse can give, consider a cucumber-and-avocado hair mask. This is an especially useful way to use up a cucumber that has gone a bit soft or the other half of an avocado that you don’t want to eat.
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cucumber (peeled and chopped)
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or sweet almond oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Put all ingredients in a blender and mix on high for 30-40 seconds or until it’s a smooth consistency. It will be gloppy, but it’s a hair mask, so it should be.
- Work from roots to ends, giving yourself a good scalp massage at the start, so the beneficial avocado and grapeseed (or sweet almond) oils can work with the cucumber to moisturize your scalp.
- Apply to the rest of your hair. (If you have very oily roots, you might want to start at the bottom and work your way up, leaving the top 2 inches of your hair and scalp free of the mask since this is a very rich mask.)
- Leave the mask in for 30 minutes (or longer if you want to do a face mask at the same time), wrapped in an old towel, or covered with a plastic shower cap. The towel or cap will prevent drips and keep your head warm which will help the oils get into your hair shaft for deep conditioning.
- When ready, rinse out with warm-to-hot water, then shampoo and condition as usual.
7. Yogurt-Cucumber Face Mask
Every ingredient in this face mask is good for dry skin, so this one is excellent for reducing fine lines caused by dryness and for soothing irritated skin.
In a blender, add 1/3 of a medium-sized cucumber, peeled and chopped, to two tablespoons plain yogurt (this can be any type of yogurt, either made from cow’s milk or alternative milk like coconut or almond—most importantly, it should have beneficial bacteria in it).
Blend well and pour into a small bowl. Then, add a tablespoon of rolled oats. Your mix should be thick and chunky now. Add more pinches of rolled oats to get it to the mask consistency you like.
Spread the mix onto your clean skin avoiding the eye area. Relax (use some more of the cucumber to make eye covers) for 20 minutes, then gently rinse the mask off with warm water. You can then wash your face or just pat dry, tone, and moisturize as usual.
8. Good Morning Green Tea, Cucumber, and Mint Face Wash
If you need a light and refreshing facial wash to get you going in the mornings, try this DIY recipe.
- 1 medium-sized cucumber
- 1 handful of fresh mint
- 6 drops of peppermint Castile soap
- 3 tablespoons aloe vera
- 2 tablespoons green tea
- A squeeze of fresh lemon
- First, make some cucumber water by peeling, chopping, and blending a medium-sized fresh cucumber.
- Add a handful of fresh mint from your garden or patio pot if you have it, and blend again to incorporate the mint leaves and liberate their natural oils.
- Separate the water from the pulp (keep it to make a scrub, see below) using a strainer.
- Mix peppermint Castile soap (like Dr. Bronner’s) with aloe vera and 6 tablespoons of cucumber water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of brewed and cooled green tea and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
- Mix gently together in a glass container so ingredients are combined (but don’t shake or mix too hard as the soap will get foamy).
- Apply to dry skin in the morning and rinse off, moisturize as usual. The skin should be fresh, moisturized, and bright.
9. Cucumber-Strawberry Mask
This astringent, brightening mask is great for oilier or mixed skin types, and it exfoliates naturally due to the fruit acids in the strawberries.
Blend half of a peeled, chopped, medium-sized cucumber with 2-4 strawberries (depending on size—you should have similar volumes of cucumber and strawberry for this one).
Add to a bowl and mix in cornstarch to thicken the mask—cornstarch will also naturally draw oil away from the skin. Start with a teaspoon of cornstarch and keep adding the powdery starch until it’s thick but still gloppy.
Apply mask to the skin with your fingers, avoiding your eye area. Wait 15-20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Pat dry and moisturize as you normally would.
10. Cucumber Sugar Scrub
Tubs of salt and sugar scrubs tend to be expensive, but it’s fun and easy to make your own. This is a good use for the extra cucumber vegetable material that’s left over from making cucumber water (aka pulp).
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup almond or grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup cucumber pulp
- 1 teaspoon orange or lemon essential oil
- In a bowl, mix together white sugar, almond or grapeseed oil, cucumber pulp, and your chosen essential oil.
- Gently mix ingredients together and pour them into a storage container.
- Use as a face or body scrub.
11. Cooling Cucumber Foot Bath
If you have a job that keeps you on your feet, you know how healing a foot bath can be. And while most foot baths are warm and soothing, sometimes your feet are already hot and achy, and heating them further sounds unappealing (especially in the summer).
So, try a cool foot bath instead. To a bucket or pan, add room-temperature water and a whole chilled cucumber that has been pureed in a blender.
Put your feet in the water, and relax for 10 minutes. Dry feet off, then rub them gently with a light moisturizer.