Today I’m sharing with you a face mask recipe that I created that I call the “Helen of Troy” Mask. Why? You ask? Well, the three ingredients used in the mask can all be found in Greece and would’ve been available to Helen waaaay back in the Bronze Age (scroll down for more about Helen).
This is a great mask for people with dry skin (like me). I have VERY dry skin on my face, so I’m always looking for treatments that are deeply moisturizing and this recipe is perfect.
The three ingredients in the recipe are:
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs cow’s milk
The avocados and olive oil are great for moisturizing. The cow’s milk contains lactic acid, which is great to kill bacteria and give your skin a little bit of natural exfoliation. I had an aesthetician tell me once that Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin beautiful!
Start by mashing the avocado up in a small bowl. Then add the tablespoons of olive oil and cow’s milk. Mix all three ingredients until smooth. Next, using a makeup brush to apply the mask to your face. Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes and then wash off with a soft cloth.
Your skin should feel moisturized and clean! Repeat once a week.
Helen of Troy is a mythical princess that was so beautiful she started a literal war- hence the phrase “a face that launched a thousand ships”. If she was real she would’ve lived in the late Bronze Age, about 3,500 years ago in Greece. Here’s a brief account of her story:
Helen of Troy was actually Helen of Sparta first, and like King Arthur in England, she is a myth….. There is no proof that she was a real person. Her birth is a bit of a mystery… Her father was Zeus (the king of the Greek gods) and her mother was either Leda (a mortal queen) or Nemesis (a goddess of fertility). In one story Zeus raped Leda and she then became pregnant with Helen. In another story Zeus (in the form of a swan) raped Nemesis (in the form of a goose), she then laid an egg which Leda found. Leda took care of the egg and it hatched into Helen.
Either way, it’s pretty obvious her conception and birth was borne out of violence. This makes the rest of her life story pretty fitting.
So, Helen grows up and rich and beautiful and by the time she's a teenager there are men vying to marry her. An athletic contest is held in which the winner will get the prize of marriage to Helen. The winner is Menelaus, the red headed King of Sparta. They are married and Helen becomes the Queen of Sparta.
Now, we are getting into the really juicy part of the story! The arrival of the handsome prince Paris.
Paris was the son of King Priam of Troy. Troy was a coastal city state on the coast of modern day Turkey. Apparently he was really hot and Helen was really into him. She was so into him that she decided to run away with him. Although in some stories he kidnaps her. But let’s go with the first version…..so off they sail into… bliss...yeah right…this is a Greek myth after all!
When they show up in Troy Paris’ father and the whole rest of his fam were totally pissed that he brought Helen back with him. They knew her husband was going to be ENRAGED and this might even cause a war. Annnnndddd, they were right
Back in Greece Menelaus rounds up his buds, the other kings of Greece and off they sail to Troy to get Helen back.
They lay siege to Troy for 10 years. Finally, to end the siege the Greeks come up with a sneaky plan. They build a wooden horse, board their ships, and sail off; leaving the horse behind. The Trojans open up the city gates and head down to the beach to check things out. The beach looks deserted and they figure the horse is a peace offering. They decide to bring it inside the city and have a big victory party!
Later that night after the Trojans have partied till they’ve dropped the Greeks (that are hiding in the horse) sneak out and open the city gates to let in the rest of the Greeks (who actually didn’t sail away, just around the corner). Things go really bad for the Trojans after that, and Helen is captured and taken back to Sparta.
She was born of violence and she sparked violence. She’s also the perfect Hollywood character, beautiful, seductive, and passion stirring. But, I think the story actually has less to do with the power of Helen’s beauty and more to do with the desire for power that men often posses. I think she makes a nice excuse to wage a war that certainly would’ve brought power and wealth to the Greeks. Troy was a pretty rich place. It's easy to blame the woman, after all in a lot ancient history tales women are often the problem. Stories over flow with women spoiling the well laid plans of men, and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. But since men are often also the writers of the story, maybe we aren’t getting the whole story. Perhaps the true story is not that Helen’s beauty launched a thousand ships, but instead the riches of Troy launched a thousand ships.