ABOUT THE WRITER: Elizabeth Best is a journalist, beauty expert, foodie and travel lover with a mild obsession for all things shimmery. She likes long walks down the makeup aisle and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @thebeautypalate.
There’s a reason face masks pop up any time someone mentions pampering in movies or TV. They represent the ultimate in both relaxation and looking after your skin. You get to take a precious few moments out of your life to chill out knowing you’re doing a bit of self-care at the same time. But what do face masks actually do? And why should they be a staple in your skincare regimen?
What are the benefits of masks?
I could talk for hours about how good masks are for you and your skin. Is your skin dry, oily, irritated, uneven, dull? There’s a mask for that. I like to call masks my little problem solvers, because whether it be sheet masks or a clay/liquid variety, bathing your skin in their goodness is designed to FIX. What’s even better if you’re a lazy beauty lover like me, is that you can sit on your butt and do nothing while they do all the heavy lifting. It’s like gym for your face, but the type of gym where you can sit on the machines and watch Netflix without moving a muscle and still get a full workout (side note: they really need to invent a gym like this).
Your first stop is identifying what your concern is. Do you want to control breakouts? Brighten your skin tone? Nix those pesky fine lines that keep turning up to the party when they’re definitely not invited (take the hint, guys!)? Face masks can do all that, if you pick the right one.
The other thing about most masks is that they take TIME, which means it’s the perfect excuse for a bit of self-care, and mindful me time. Think of mask time as the best time to get zen. It might feel dumb at first but it really is the perfect opportunity to do whatever soothes you: take a bath, binge your fave show, do some cooking (as long as none of the masks drips into your culinary creation. You can even just sit in silence if you fancy. Point is, you have to keep most masks on for 10-20 minutes so whatever you choose, make sure to treat yo’self.
What Types of Masks Are There?
Ok so you’ve decided you want to mask up, but how in the flip do you pick a mask? Fear not, I’m gonna run down some of the most popular ones.
You Have Your Standard Rinse-off Mask.
These are pretty self-explanatory, you put ‘em on, you wash ‘em off, and they give your skin a deeper cleanse than other masks. They draw out impurities from your pores like a magnet and if you suffer from too much oil, clay masks in particular will be perfect for you. Try Generation Clay masks ($49.99 from Priceline), for all the benefits of clay masks, but with added boosters such as brightening or detoxification depending on which colour clay you choose. Bubble masks (the type that puff up in a fluffy cloud) also fall into this category.
Image: Glow by Skinvitals
Then You Have Sheet Masks.
Taken right out of the beauty regimen of porcelain-skinned Korean beauties, sheet masks are single-use; can be made of fibre, or gel, and mould onto your face like a second skin. They are soaked in serums full of skin correcting goodies designed to be pressed into the skin to sink in rather than rinsing off. The sheet format is great because it forms a barrier on the skin, allowing the serum contained within to sink deep into your pores. I am a big fan of Skinvitals two-step cloth masks ($12, skinvitalsmasks.com) that are described as “a prescription for your skin”. There are six varieties, depending on if you want to glow, quench, firm, lighten, control or detox and they’re magic!
And if you want to try a revolutionary sheet mask, get your hands on a Foreo UFO or UFO Mini Device (from $257 at Sephora). These weird-looking hockey puck-like devices can do an entire sheet mask routine in just 90 seconds! Get ready for LED therapy, T-sonic vibrations, and gentle warming hyper-infusion technology.
Image: Foreo UFO
Next Up: Leave on Masks.
Surprise, surprise, you leave these ones on overnight so your skin can soak up all the serum-y delights overnight. Get ready to wake up to hydrated, gorgeous skin because you’re literally getting your beauty sleep with this type. Get your hands on the super dreamy Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon ($120 from Dermalogica) for that “I woke up like this (literally)” hydrated glow.
Then, a Beauty Blogger Favourite - Peel-off Masks.
Can you guess how you remove them? These babies are designed to adhere to the top layer of your skin, and take dead skin cells and clogged pore dirt when you (gently… dear god, gently) peel them off. They can also get rid of unwanted fine facial hair too! But be really, really careful when removing because man, ripping one of these off your face can take more than just dead skin cells with it. My pick of the bunch for these is the Origins GinZing Mask ($39 available from Mecca). Wake up your skin with this caffeine-infused formula for a whole-face boost of radiance. Get ready for smaller pores, smoother skin, even tone and a restored glow.
So sit back, flick on Netflix and get your mask on!