No matter how tired your skin may be, there’s always a facial mask out there to help it recover and return your natural glow. Like a good hair conditioner nourishing your locks, these products can be a game-changing step in your beauty routine as they hydrate, calm and brighten your complexion in no time. But with tons of options on the market, how can we choose the right one?
Choosing your beauty mask
Facial masks are available in cream, gel, clay, peel off and paste formulas, as well as sheet masks for one-off use. They work by delivering active ingredients to the skin by creating a safe barrier between your face and the everyday aggression of the environment around you.
Finding the right one to combat dullness, dryness, and sagging that may arise in women over 40 may not be so easy, however, when it comes to choosing a good mask, two main criteria should be considered: the active ingredients and the skin type.
As a rule of thumb, dry or dehydrated skin would find benefit from applying cream masks that nourish your tissues with oils and moisture, while sensitive skin may find it soothing using unscented cool gel masks which hydrate and calm. Clay or charcoal masks will help oily skin by reducing the excess sebum on the surface as well as hydrating your face.
If you prefer, you can also opt for sleep masks that you need to keep on your face overnight: rich, creamy formulas, that are meant to seep into the skin and stay there while you snooze. By the time you wake up, the product will have been absorbed, and your skin will feel renewed.
Whatever you choose, don’t expect immediate results: for the best outcomes, they should be a part of your regular facial skin care routine and be used 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes.
Here is a basic guide to help you find the face mask of your dreams.
The benefit of patchworking masks is to give each area of your face and neck the boost it needs, whether that be hydration, nourishment or oil reduction. Applying different masks to different parts of your face is also a great way to make the most of the products that may have been in your drawers for weeks. I would recommend starting with a clay mask on to the t-zone first, then adding a cream mask to your neck and a gel mask to your cheeks. Leave on for 15-20 minutes, rinse off and put on your toner, serum and moisturiser as usual.
Because most people have a variety of different skin issues, they need to find the answers in more than one mask. Applying one on top of the other is known as layering and it is beneficial for skin types that are both dehydrated and oily at the same time. Always start with the gel mask formula, which hydrates, soothes, and calms skin. Then, add a cream or a clay-based mask on top that absorbs impurities and excess oil and clarifies. This will also push the gel formula into the skin giving a plumped effect. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse. Then, continue with your usual skincare routine.
A facial mask with a paste formula is usually homemade using ingredients found in your pantry and it’s considered one of the best options for women who prefer going green. Usually, a combination of honey, natural yoghurt and turmeric well mixed together are great for oily skin, while a blend of oatmeal, honey and cinnamon are ideal for sensitive skin. If you are looking to soothe your dehydrated face, then a mix of yoghurt, honey and mashed avocado would work wonders. However, the best way to de-stress your face would be either to make a paste mask with cocoa, oatmeal, cream and honey or to apply an egg white or crushed bananas on your skin.
They are convenient, easy to apply and bring a glowing effect on your skin. Originated from Japan and Korea, they are amongst the latest beauty trends and a quick-effective method to spruce up your face if you are always in a rush. The good thing is that you don’t have to struggle washing it off after application. Whether they’re made of bamboo or bio-cellulose, they come in an individual foil sealed packet and cut to fit the face. Soaked in water or essence and packed with hyaluronic acid and vitamins, they need to be unfolded and placed directly on your face (better over your serum, eye cream and toners). Leave on your skin for 20-30 minutes, then apply your usual moisturiser.
Peel off masks
Peel-off masks are a cream or gel formula that stays set on the skin. They are great either for firming your tissues and clearing blackheads. Coming pre-mixed in a tube or in a 2-part formula, they need to be carefully spread over damp skin after exfoliation, avoiding your eyes, nose and mouth. For best results, apply the product from your forehead down the face and then remove it in the same way. Always, peel off the mask by lifting the edges around your hairline and rolling it down your face (this will stop the mask from pulling on any facial hairs).
A beauty ritual
Masks should be included in your usual beauty routine and considered a moment of self-love. I always recommend a proper ritual to maximise the effect of the whole operation.
Exfoliate your skin first, be gentle and use circular motions. This will open and unclog pores, allowing your face mask to penetrate deeper and extract dirt, bacteria and blackheads from the source. Rinse off the product but only pat your skin when dry. Then apply the facial mask immediately after, using your fingers or a mask brush (usually made from synthetic bristles or a silicone head) spreading the product over your face, neck and décolleté.
During the mask activation time, close your eyes and play some gentle background music to mimic a Spa experience. Add some hydrogel pads around your eyes to super hydrate and plump that area, or raid the fridge for cucumber slices. What’s more, you can also lay in a bath of bubbles to soak away your day and really relax your whole body. Time to chill out!