Target your facial conundrums and the season’s indoor/outdoor temperatures head-on by adding a mask to your weekly routine
By Adriana Ermter
What we do behind closed doors typically stays, well, behind closed doors. But when it comes to your skin and how to take care of it, especially during this time of year, we need to be more upfront. Yes, it’s time to talk about masks.
Facial masks are skin’s deep-conditioning answer to dehydration, sensitivities and more, and can provide you with a multitude of benefits from anti-aging and rejuvenation to acne busting and firming. Much like a thick moisturizer, masks are smoothed over your entire face and then left to sit there so your dermis can absorb their ingredients. And with a dipping thermostat and an elevated indoor thermometer, trust us when we say: your skin is craving this attention. “While most skincare products form part of a daily routine, masks are used less regularly—yet they are essential for giving your skin a bit of TLC,” affirms Zoe Roebuck, the co-founder of Dr. Roebuck’s skincare brand. Here’s what you need to know.
Masks have a higher concentration of ingredients than face creams and offer superb instant gratification. Among their benefits: erasing fine lines; creating a clearer complexion; adding moisture, softness and radiance; and offering an overall plump and youthful afterglow in 30 minutes or less.
When to apply
“It’s important to keep your skin clean and fresh, as it is your body’s largest organ,” explains Roebuck. “It’s crucial to give your skin the opportunity to naturally regenerate.” So consider using a facial mask as part of your weekly skincare regimen. Don’t overuse, however, by using a mask on a daily basis. This can dehydrate or aggravate the skin, as can applying a product that is ill suited to your skin type and your skin’s needs. “The key is finding a product that gives your skin the deep clean it needs but also keeps your skin hydrated and optimal to your dermis’s specific condition,” says Roebuck.
How to do it
All you need to do is pick the day and time; then, once a week, include the mask application in your grooming routine. Make sure to start by cleansing your face of the day’s impurities: there’s no point in slathering on a product if you still have a layer of dirt and grime stopping the formulation from absorbing into your skin. Next, on your newly clean skin, rub a thick layer of the product all over your face. Turn on CNN and watch Trump verbally shoot himself in the foot yet one more time, and then (30 minutes or less later), head back into the bathroom to remove the product. Peel or wash the mask off your face, apply your favourite serum and facial cream, and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes with taking care of your skin. After all, says Roebuck, “Who doesn’t love the pampering feeling of a face mask?”
The different types
Know what type of mask to apply, and when to apply it. While most masks offer hydration, there are a multitude of options to choose from, from deep hydration, anti-aging and exfoliating to purification, rejuvenation and anti-acne. “Different skincare concerns have different remedies,” says Roebuck. “The quality of what goes into your skin care is reflected in the quality of the results.”
Reading the label for specific ingredients will help you make the right choice. Perennial ingredients such as glycerin; vitamin E; and peppermint, grapefruit and macadamia oils provide properties such as hydration, anti-aging tissue repair and radiance, not to mention antibacterial and firming benefits. Other ingredients such as kaolin clay, white tea tree extract, jojoba and lavender draw out impurities, exfoliate and calm the dermis. “Different skincare concerns have different remedies, but the most important thing to look for in a mask is ingredients,” says Roebuck. And know that, “regardless of your skin type, steer clear of any product with a long list of ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
For intense hydration, look for products that contain natural emulsifiers to hydrate, soothe and protect your skin, such as the clary sage, beeswax, honey and rose in Burt’s Bees treatment mask with Clary ($30, available at Shoppers Drug Mart) or Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask and Fresh Rose Face Mask ($75 each, available at Sephora).
To give your pores a deep clean to eliminate acne, try products containing kaolin, bentonite and French clays, mineralizing thermal water, Syn-ake, sulphur and volcanic ash. These work to deep-clean and purify your skin without stripping it of moisture, and can be found in Vichy Pore Purifying Clay Mask ($34, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), Rodial Glamoxy Snake Mask ($105, available at Hudson’s Bay) and Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque ($60, available online at www.dermalogica.ca).
To wipe away fine lines, boost radiance and plump up your skin, try anti-aging, hydrating and skin-tightening ingredients like salicylic and hyaluronic acids, dragon’s blood, shea butter and cocoa extract found in Nip + Fab Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask ($15, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy Boosting Face Mask ($80, available at Sephora) and The Therapy Anti-Aging mask ($38, available at The Face Shop).
To eliminate dead skin cells and provide you with a non-abrasive exfoliation that will revitalize your dermis, opt for peel-off, facial sheets and scrub-like masks containing vitamin C, bilberry extract, seaweed, coconut, echinacea green envy, jojoba beads and grapefruit oil, like Bliss Mask a-‘Peel’ ($38, available at Hudson’s Bay), Farmacy New Dawn Mask Medley ($32, available at Sephora) and Dr. Roebuck’s Polish ($40, available at Murale).
ADRIANA ERMTER is a Toronto-based, lifestyle-magazine pro who has travelled the globe, writing about must-spritz fragrances, child poverty, beauty and grooming.