There’s a better way to use face masks, and it’s a case of more the merrier
Why use one mask when you can use four? Wait, it’s not as extravagant as it sounds.
Our skin often has more than one concern; it could be dry in some places, oily in others. You might have a couple of breakouts on your chin but masses of dehydration lines around your eyes. It stands to season then that slathering one kind of mask all over your face isn’t necessarily going to do much in the way of improving your skin. That’s where multi-masking comes in.
It’s sounds complicated, but it’s not. The chin area tends to reflect hormonal issues – you can blame your cycle for your monthly breakouts – the forehead tends to be on the dry side, cheeks can be sensitive and the T-Zone can become oily and its pores clogged.
Before hitting the bathroom cabinet, take a few minutes to really look at your face – get the magnifying mirror out if you must – notice areas with enlarged pores or black heads and lightly run (clean) fingers over the surface of your skin to feel for dry patches. Now, cocktail-up your favourite masks and apply each one where it’s needed most. Here’s a little help to get you on your face painting way.
The T-Zone is pretty much the entire centre of your face including the middle of your forehead, your nose and chin. The pores in this area tend to be larger than those found on the rest of your face, which means they produce more sebum and they’re more noticeable. Sebum is sticky and when it attracts dirt and pollution it can clog pores, make skin shiny, and result in spots and blackheads. Bleurgh.
Look for masks containing pore-clearing ingredients like salicylic acid and clay, which will gently encourage skin to turnover quicker, clear pores, eliminate acne-causing bacteria and smooth skin.
Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque, £41.25
This cool-to-the-touch mask contains both salicylic acid and clay so it really does a number on excess sebum, blocked pores and spots.
Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel, £33
There’s a reason this delicious-smelling mask is a longtime favourite: it boasts the naturally exfoliating enzymes of papaya, which literally nibbles away at greasy sebum and any detritus that has accumulated within pores. There’s a healthy dose of vitamin E and marine algae to comfort and condition your face too.
Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Cleanser, £12
This product is one of those multi-tasking genius items that once added to your beauty stash you kind of wonder how your skin ever coped without it. It can be used as a cleanser and an exfoliator, but I particularly love using it as a mask. Apply a layer over your T-Zone (ensure your skin is clean first) and allow it to try. As it does so it satisfyingly tightens-up on your skin and literally sucks the life out of breakouts and mops up greasy sebum.
Relatively speaking, the forehead is quite a large expanse of skin and as such, it takes a bit of a hammering. Harsh winds literally suck moisture from the skin and while we all know UV can cause skin damage (including melanoma, pigmentation and wrinkles) it also speeds up water-loss. All-in-all, it’s not surprising that the skin on your forehead can, at times, resemble a parched and barren landscape is it?
Look for hydrating masks that ultilise moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, or humectants like glycerin and shea butter, and be generous with your application.
Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask, £33
This mask is literally like a shot of moisture to the skin. It’s so creamy and rich you can almost feel it working its magic while it’s on your face. It contains hyaluronic acid so it will restore moisture to parched skin and there’s an ingredient called Katafray (from the bark of a tree found across Madagascar) thrown in too, which improves the skins barrier function so it can hold in moisture.
Crème de la Mer The Intensive Revitalizing Mask, £110
This mask is on the pricier side but there’s a reason for that; it boasts the brand’s infamous Miracle Broth, which encourages the skin to renew itself. There’s a ‘Vitality Ferment’ too which essentially pushes moisture into thirsty skin. Paint a layer over your forehead and allow it to do its thing for around eight minutes.
Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Masque, £49
This mask changed my skin. No joke. Sensorially it feels like smearing thick water over your skin and what it can do in terms of hydration is nothing short of magic in my opinion. It’s bursting with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 – two things thirsty and battered skin loves in abundance. If your forehead is looking scaly, flaky or it just feels a little tight, apply a nice thick layer of this gel and once your time is up massage the excess into the skin. If I’ve been out in the sun too much, I love to apply this to reddened skin; it’s super cooling and seems to knock the heat out of a mild-burn.
Cheeks can tend to be on the sensitive side of things and it’s here that you’re likely to see redness, patches of pigmentation and even broken veins. Your mask of choice for your cheeks should be of the soothing and anti-inflammatory variety. Get your hands on one of these…
La Roche Posay Hydraphase Intense Masque, £16
Thermal spring water has been used for centuries to sooth irritated skin and calm skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. This mask combines thermal spring water with hyaluronic acid so it gives skin a moisture boost too.
Avéne Antirougeurs Calm Soothing Mask, £15
If your cheeks get red this mask was made for you. A nice thick layer left on your skin for 10-minutes or-so will tone down redness with saponin-rich Ruscus extract, and sooth inflamed, over-taxed skin with thermal spring water and anti-irritants.
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Mask, £37
You wouldn’t think of mushroom as being particularly soothing, but the Reishi mushrooms found in this mask have long been used in Chinese medicine and will almost instantly reduce redness. You’ll also find ginger, tumeric, holy basil and marine algae, which will also help with redness and calm irritation.
The eye area needs its own kind of special care. The skin here is thinner and more fragile than the rest of your face, it’s more prone to wrinkling, irritation and discoloration. Treat your peepers to one of the following…
Clarins Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask, £30.50
This mask is an online exclusive but well worth logging-on for. Wild rose, apricot and rose water do what they do best, soothe, brighten and decongest. It’s a total winner.
Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask, £59
Applying retinol – a derivative of vitamin A – to your skin is possibly the best thing you can ever do for your face and it works insanely well around the eyes. Retinol speeds up cell turnover, reduces pigmentation, brightens, resurfaces, fades lines and plumps skin (that little list is probably only half of what it can actually do). These eye patches are saturated in the good stuff; just peel them away from the backing and smooth on the skin under your eyes after you’ve applied your other masks. Retinol will make your skin a touch sensitive to the sun so be sure to follow-up with an SPF the following day.
Sisley Eye Contour Mask, £81.50
Ginkgo biloba, arnica, horse chestnut and linden blossom come together with vitamins B5 and E in this cooling gel mask to reduce under eye puffiness.