I confess to being a bit lazy when it comes to exfoliation and face masks and try to incorporate lots of goodies into my daily skin care products to save time. However lately I’ve been getting back into them and have re-discovered the benefits of a weekly skin treat.
What do face masks do?
It depends on the mask but generally they fall into three categories:
- Cleansing Masks with clay to draw impurities from the skin.
- Exfoliating Masks to dissolve dry, dead skin cells.
- Hydrating Masks to give your skin an extra dose of moisture when it needs it.
You may ask “Don’t I get all that from my normal skin care?” And the answer is yes, in milder doses. A skin care mask is designed for rapid absorption of a higher % of actives and comes from the ancient practice of applying poultices to the skin for medicinal purposes. In addition to flooding your skin with actives it also causes imbibition of the skin (swells it up) to make it look finer, dewier and much softer.
So here are my current favourite masks…
FOR BALANCING OIL AND MOISTURE LEVELS…
PEVONIA COMBINATION SKIN MASK – semi drying mask
I’ve been using this mask for over 10 years and never get tired of it. Firstly, the natural scent is so delicious; green apples and peaches and secondly it just seems to reboot my skin. This mask is ideal for Summer balancing because the kaolin helps to draw out excess oil and impurities and the vitamins from all fruit and vegetable extracts calm and hydrate. It also leaves your skin with an amazing glow so is wonderful when you feel a bit dull and lacklustre.
RRP $82 available at Pevonia Australia
REN GLYCOLACTIC RADIANCE RENEWAL MASK – gel, non-drying mask
What a mouthful! But a fantastic product; this one contains exfoliating fruit extracts so is ideal for dull, congested, lacklustre, or mature skin. It tingles on application (only mild and subsides quickly) and has a fresh fruity scent. Designed to loosen the “glue” that binds the outer skin cells to your skin’s surface to reveal a fresher, more refined look. I love to use this on the weekend to freshen up the skin for a make-up free day and find it also keeps hyperpigmentation at bay. Essentially it improves both the texture and tone of any skin type. Sensitive Skin types should not use this mask as it’s quite active.
RRP $66 available at Mecca Cosmetica
FOR DEEP CLEANSING…
AESOP PARSLEY SEED CLEANSING MASK – clay, drying mask
This amazing mask is like a skin Hoover; it literally vacuums excess oil from the skin and leaves it feeling normalised and refreshed. It has quite a strong and pleasant lavender scent and is a little stimulating upon application but this passes quickly. Applied in a fine layer it dries completely and goes through an interesting camouflage effect while doing it. When you cleanse it off your skin looks super bright, even in colour and pores are minimised dramatically. The essential oils in this mask; Lavender, Evening Primrose and Parsley to name a few help to wake up a tired and lifeless skin. I love this mask for pre-special-event makeup, it seems to leave the skin soft and primed and glowy.
RRP $39 available at Adore Beauty
FOR HYDRATING AND HEALING…
ANTIPODES AURA MANUKA HONEY TREATMENT MASK – creamy, non-drying
My favourite “Pamper Night” skin treat, this mask is seriously delicious! If you are not familiar with the benefits of Manuka Honey then I’ll abbreviate by saying it is a natural health miracle that has potent anti-bacterial and healing properties. So while this mask is deeply hydrating it is also wonderful for dealing with pesky breakouts. Described as a cleansing, moisturising and anti-oxidising mask this is a great all-rounder. The texture is super creamy and the scent; mandarin and vanilla are good enough to eat.
RRP $49 Available at Myer
FOR DEEP MOISTURISING…
SISLEY EXPRESS FLOWER GEL MASK – cream/gel mask
This is my long-haul flight saviour! One of the most hydrating masks you’ll find it sinks into the skin and helps to hold moisture there for hours. It has Lily and Iris extracts to hydrate and vitamin rich sesame extract which acts as a protective barrier.
Anyone who travels frequently will know what I mean when I say the conditions literally suck the moisture out of you! Since using this mask on board (it’s invisible and sets to a comfortable dry finish) my skin has never looked better. I apply it as soon as I board to freshly cleansed skin and it stays there the entire flight, just before landing I wash it off and apply a moisture and voila! Skin that looks like you’ve just had a facial. (I will be forever indebted to makeup artist; Lisa Etheridge for this great tip)
I also use this as an eye mask, once a month I apply a fine layer around the eyes for an hour or two and when rinsed off the eye area is firmer and dewier, perfect quick eye-lift!
If you purchase this over counter you are likely to pay in excess of $130 so I suggest you do as I do and head over to Amazon where you can pick it up much cheaper
TWO LATE ADDITIONS…
Lately I have been loving the LUSH Fresh Face Masks. These are free of any preservatives and more like “skin food” than a cosmetic mask. Consequently, they need to be kept in the fridge and have a limited shelf life. They are small and inexpensive for that reason. My favourites;
LUSH LOVE LETTUCE FRESH MASK
This is a scrub/mask in one; you apply it to cleansed skin, leave it for 10 to 15 minutes then add water and exfoliate gently before washing off. It has a lavender/earthy smell and is loaded with Fuller’s Earth which cleanses and tightens. The seaweed gel (it’s actually sea lettuce not iceberg) helps firm and moisturise. Another great all-rounder and a special skin treat. I found it lasts about a month in the fridge and I got at least four good doses. RRP $16.95
LUSH CUPCAKE FRESH MASK
I got this purely for the fun of it; it’s chocolate! And was very pleasantly surprised by the great results! The base is Rhassoul Mud which is a volcanic ash that has incredible cleansing properties. It also has cocoa butter, linseed and cocoa powder and some impressive essential oils; peppermint, spearmint and sandalwood. A great balancing treatment that cleanses and moisturises at the same time and the bonus is that it is great for calming breakouts. RRP $16.95
So that’s my mask line up, I’m always trialling new masks and would love to hear your favourites!