No longer reserved for Saturday night sleepovers, face masks just got serious. Moving away from the basic, one-size fits all, we explore the latest technology and innovative delivery systems, as well as the best ingredients to help boost hydration, cleanse and clarify, improve radiance and brighten.
It’s a common misconception that only dry complexions require hydration. Sun exposure, cooler climates and being subjected to office air conditioning are all factors that contribute to leaving skin feeling parched. Step up sheet masks, which offer a convenient and fast-acting injection of moisture. Use once or twice a week when skin needs a moisture boost and look for key ingredient hyaluronic acid, which holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water and works to instantly hydrate and plump surface lines. “Hyaluronic acid works well on all skin types”, explains Dr Dennis Gross, “but is ideal for oily complexions due to its lightweight, non oily structure, which won’t cause breakouts.” Sarah Chapman’s Skinesis 3D Moisture Infusion Mask combines hyaluronic acid with rose water to deeply moisturise the skin and comes individually wrapped, so perfect for taking on planes. The only drawback of a sheet mask is that you’ll need to lie down to stop it slipping off – workaholics, multi-taskers and fidgets take heed.
For those with mixologist tendencies, Dr Dennis Gross’ bright blue Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask is a two-step treatment that requires mixing a liquid and powder together to form a thick gel. Once applied, this gel undergoes a cooling chemical reaction on the skin, drying down to form a solid mask. Although it looks a little garish on, the slick technology involved facilitates an oxygen exchange, transforming dull and dehydrated skin into dewy and radiant in less than 10 minutes.
Those prone to breakouts and congestion should try to incorporate a detox mask into their skincare regime at least once a week. Look for clay-based formulas containing either kaolin or bentonite clay, which work to absorb excess sebum and draw trapped oil and impurities out of clogged pores. Chantecaille’s Detox Clay Mask is a good choice and helps calm irritation as well as offering a thorough clean. When it comes to application, you don’t have to go for the full face. If you have combination skin and find that only certain areas of your face are congested, dot the mask onto these areas to avoid drying out non-oily areas.
For more persistent blemishes, or an occasional deep clean apply a thin layer and leave on overnight, try Erborian’s Sleeping BB Mask. Not just good at treating breakouts on the spot, clarifying masks are good post blemish treatment too. If a breakout has left your skin looking red or you want to help speed up the healing process, look for masks containing zinc oxide. “Zinc oxide forms a protective layer on the skin and prevents redness and inflammation. It has also been shown to promote wound healing,” explains Dr Gary Goldfaden whose Facial Detox Clarify + Clear Mask helps to heal existing blemishes and prevent future breakouts by drawing out the impurities bacteria, dirt and pore clogging oil deep within the skin.
Whether you’ve spent all summer in the sun and are suffering from dark spots or it’s the end of another long week and your complexion is waning, a brightening mask is the quickest way to bring back your glow. Look for masks packed with natural fruit acids to gently buff away dead skin cells and reveal brighter, healthier more radiant skin. Ren’s Glyco Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is a real fruit-acid cocktail, it contains glycolic acid from pineapple, lactic acid from passion fruit, citric acid from lemon and tartaric acid from grape and works to gently exfoliate the outer layer of the skin, lifting dead skin cells, resurfacing and improving skintone. Other powerful naturals to look out for are ingredient of the moment turmeric AKA the golden spice of life, which is rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which works to slow down the activity of the enzyme that encourages dark spots to form.