When I first started using face masks there were two options: the ones that dry like caked on mud and crack when you smile or the one that dries like plastic and peels off like glue. I associated both as solutions for oily, spotty skin and steered clear for years. Masks have progressed enormously since, with brands offering a wide range of intense skin solutions for all skin types - and have now become part of my regular routine. If I forget to use them for a while, I notice a difference and would put them on a par with daily serums in terms of impact. A big learn for me was that a mask doesn’t have to be used over the entire face, but can target specific issues from blocked pores to dehydration, just where needed.
So which one’s for you?
CONGESTION - clogged pores, black heads, spots, a feeling that your skin needs a good spring clean.
Of all the clay masks that I’ve tried, Pur Minerals Mud Masque (now called Dirty Girl) is my absolute No1 and I won’t be straying any time soon. Rich in minerals, it contains Pascalite, a rich form of calcium bentonite clay for deep cleaning and brightening. This is a traditional style, cracks-when-dry, putty coloured clay mask and believe me when I tell you, this literally hoovers my skin, without stripping it. I still laugh when I remember the first time I used it - I applied it right down my neck and honestly, the suction was so strong it almost felt like being choked. Moral of the story - don’t put it right around your neck - just below the jawline is enough and only a thin layer is required. I used to think the more I used, the more gunk would be removed, but not so. I don’t always use this on my whole face, sometimes restricting it to my nose and chin area. It’s also great to help zap spots when they first flare up!
NB I’ve had this (almost empty) tube for a while - it has since been renamed Dirty Girl and comes in much more stylish packaging (identical formula, phew!), which you can find here. A great budget alternative is Good Things Manuka Honey Face Mask, suitable for sensitive skins.
DEHYDRATION - thirsty, lacklustre skin (dehydrated skin lacks water while dry skin lacks oil)
Personally I think we all need extra hydration and it’s pretty much impossible to overdo. I do a lot to rehydrate my skin -from facial mists to toning waters, but it’s hard to beat a long, quenching drink from a hydrating mask. My most used are Bioderma Hydrabio (on offer), Dr Jart+ Most Moist Water Sleeping Mask and Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask. The first two are quick and easy to use and I’ll often pop them on as soon as I climb out of bed (the morning after *cough*) for deep rehydration while I eat breakfast, or slather on a layer before bed and leave to work overnight. The Hydraluron is a bit more of a full on treatment, which I’ve reviewed here.
DULL - tired, lacking radiance
Lately I’ve been reaching for Zk'in Brightening and Hydrating Masque when my skin is looking a bit flat. Zk’in is an Australian brand, new to the UK, which marries certified organic ingredients and scientific skincare with realistic deliverables. I find this mask a complete pleasure to use and see a notable brightness in my skin after doing so. It contains antioxidants found in organic Cocoa to smooth skin, improve circulation and temporarily brighten, while organic Aloe Vera increases hydration. I tend to pop a thin layer on cleansed skin while I’m in the bath, then rinse off with a flannel and warm water.
MAKEOVER REQUIRED - blah and in need of va-va-voom!
If you want to prep your skin for a special occasion or just shake things up a bit to look your best, REN 1 Minute Flash Rinse Facial is The One. ‘Me time’ is a rarity in my house, so anything that promises fast results gets my attention and this mask really does deliver… while still managing to feel like a treat! I apply the gel to dry skin, massage in gently (it’s a teensy bit gritty, but very gently so), splash with water to activate the Vitamin C and then leave for 1 minute before rinsing off. I guess it’s more like 2-3 minutes in reality, which is fine by me. It leaves my skin feeling extra soft, radiant and perfectly prepped for make-up. Recommended use is every 3 days and I genuinely look forward to using this every time!
Do you ever use face masks?