A face mask can elevate your skin from good to great
While many of us relegate applying a face mask to something we do hardly ever, we actually need to use masks—and use them often—no matter our skin type.
“Masks are an extremely important part of our skincare routine because they’re a concentrated version of a product that contains way more active ingredients than others,” says Penny Kriel, spa director at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, VA.
But using a mask isn’t something we come by naturally. “Most of us are married to our cleanser, moisturizer and usually an exfoliator,” Kriel says. “We’re way less sure about how a mask fits into our skincare regimens.”
First, you’ll want to find one that best suits your skin type. “For example, if you have oily skin, you’ll want a mask that has active ingredients that absorb excess oil,” Kriel says. “If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want one with calming properties as well as a soothing, hydrating effect.”
Next, you’ll need to book time to add this to your weekly routine. “Apply a mask at least once a week, no matter your skin type,” Kriel says. “What’s best for your skin will be in that mask and your skin will only take from the mask what it needs.”
And you may see results pretty quickly. “Facial masks are key to revitalizing tired skin and improving skin elasticity to give it a more refreshed look,” says Alicia Villanova, lead esthetician at the Guerlain Spa in New York City. “They help plump and revitalize the skin, providing an often much needed boost of hydration.”
By coupling your mask with a gentle massage, you’ll revitalize your skin all the more. “Massage the mask around your face and neck to plump tired skin,” Villanova adds. “With both a facial mask and a facial massage, you’re giving the skin an ‘exercise treatment’ that energizes multiple skin layers and relaxes facial tension.”
A mask can lead to an overall feeling of relaxation, too. During the 15 or 20 minutes it will take to leave the mask on, you can take the time to relax and regroup. “Apply your mask and then draw a bath that incorporates your favorite bath milk or essential oil,” Kriel suggests. “This will be a much needed way to take a break from your daily stresses.”
Behind the Mask: Ingredients to look for
Shopping for just the right facial mask? Salamander Resort & Spa Director Penny Kriel helps you zero in on seven ingredients to look for on the label.
Activated Charcoal Works like a magnet to remove dirt and oils beneath the skin’s surface, ultimately releasing toxins from your pores.
Ascorbic Acid A source of antioxidants, ascorbic acid helps with skin repair. “This ingredient is great for inflammatory issues and to calm the skin after sunburn,” Kriel says.
Clay Seek out a clay mask if you have oily skin. “Clay works well to absorb excess oil from the skin,” Kriel says.
Green Tea As a rich source of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, green tea helps repair the effects of aging.
Lavender Extract When added to a mask, essential oils of lavender are soothing and healing.
Marine DNA “This patented ingredient holds 10,000 times its weight in water,” Kriel says. “It’s very hydrating to the skin.”
Pomegranate This superfruit contains antioxidant properties, including a free-radical scavenging polyphenol.
The Scoop on Goop
Find the right mask for what your skin needs now.
Action: Removes dead skin cells
Oily & Combination
Action: Reduces shine and excess oil
Action: Beats blemishes and inflammation
Action: Soothes and nourishes skin
Try: Aloe Replenishing Gel Mask by Naturopathica, $48; naturopathica.com; Avo Cocoa Skin Food Mask by Andalou Naturals, $15; andalou.com
Action: Smooths and firms skin