Other than being a relaxing dose of me-time, doing a face mask might just be one of the kindest things you can do for your skin. There’s really a mask for everything: cleansing, exfoliating, moisturising, healing, soothing, the list goes on. Since the ancient times, people have been using masks to stay beautiful and there’s nothing we love more in the modern day than a lovely face mask while we put our feet up, soak in the bath or have a good gossip on the phone. Here’s why the well-loved face mask is one of the most powerful skincare products on our dressing tables.
The different type of masks
If we were to list every type of mask available today, it probably wouldn’t all fit into one blog post so the most popular ones are as follows:
Often in the form of dead sea masks, mud masks contain lots of minerals that are beneficial to the skin. More hydrating than clay masks, they can be used to cleanse pores without drying them out. Remember to tone and moisturise well after washing off a mud mask.
Clay masks are the sort that crack off once they’re dry and soak up all the excess sebum that your skin excretes. Before applying a clay mask, soak in the bath or gently steam your face to loosen all the excess dirt around your pores. Remember that the properties in a clay mask will dry out the skin so applying a rich moisturiser afterwards will restore the skin’s balance.
This is a mild form of a clay mask that is compatible with all skin types. It’s a great way to cleanse pores without drying out your skin and feels a lot softer than a normal clay mask. Once it’s dry, you’ll almost be able to peel off the cream clay to reveal soft and supple skin beneath.
Witch hazel is a popular ingredient in peel-off masks which is a natural mattifier for excessively oily skin. A gentle peel-off mask is good for acne sufferers as it will detox and clear blackheads. Apply an even layer over the skin, concentrating on the T-Zone and only start peeling when it’s 100% dry.
Sheet masks or tissue masks have taken off in the last few years as they are a fabulous way of locking serums into the skin. The sheets are soaked with key ingredients such as collagen and gold extracts which absorb and penetrate the layers of your skin when left on for a long time. Don’t forget to moisturise after a sheet mask - they aren’t designed to replace your moisturiser.
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on your face so different skin care is needed to look after your eyes. Using under eye serum patches and other eye masks are especially designed for the delicate eye area. They’re also good for anti-ageing and will smooth out fine lines and first signs of ageing.
While you sleep, your skin heals so giving it an extra helping hand in the form of an overnight mask is an easy way to take care of your skin. Usually cream or oil-based, the active ingredients will penetrate the skin as it repairs.
You can either make your own mask at home using ingredients such as oatmeal, yoghurt or turmeric, or buy a ready-formulated fresh ingredients mask. This is one of the most natural methods of skincare and if you have sensitive skin, you can control exactly what goes in.
Why masks work
Although many people believe that masks don’t really do anything other than feel nice, skincare experts have confirmed that masks do have a positive impact on the condition of your skin. Dr Neal Schultz, a renowned New York dermatologist, says that a face mask is an effective way of getting lotions and serums onto the skin to improve its quality and appearance. It is the job of the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, to stop anything from the environment going into the skin. This also makes it hard to absorb product so face masks are a good way of helping active ingredients penetrate the skin. Over time, masks will make a huge difference to your skincare regime and it’s vital that you keep an eye on what your skin needs. Using the same mask over and over might lose its effectiveness because your skin changes with seasons and hormones so it might be needing something else.
Which properties to look out for
Do your research to get to know which ingredients your skin needs and the form of mask that will be most compatible with your skin type. If your skin is dry or more mature, opt for a cream or a cream clay mask over a clay or mud mask and consider using an overnight mask at least twice a week. If your skin is oily or acne-prone, a peel-off mask or a natural clay mask will soak up extra sebum which might cause breakouts. Remember that you don’t have to apply a mask all over your face. If you have a super oily T-Zone but dry cheeks, apply a clay mask just to the areas that need it. After doing a face mask, whether it’s a sheet mask or a clay mask, moisturising is super important. Think of it as locking in the effects of the mask and watch your skin sparkle.
- by Jacinta Ruscillo