Whatever your skin complaint, chances are there’s a mask out there that will have the answer to your woes. Be it a dry, parched complexion or a lack of radiance, there’s a different texture and formula that’ll work its magic to transform your skin back to its usual self.
Here are six of our favourite types of face mask and what they’re best for…
It might seem counter-intuitive to put mud on your face, and we’re not about to suggest you pop into your rose garden and smooth a fistful of compost across your complexion… But not all muds are created equal and some are so packed full of skin-loving nutrients, minerals and vitamins that it’s just plain sensible to incorporate it into your beauty regime. Legend has it that Cleopatra was a fan of mud’s ability to detoxify, draw out impurities, plump and refresh the complexion – if it’s good enough for the Queen of Egypt…
One of our all-time favourites is Mudmasky Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask, £58. Think of this as rehab for your skin as it undoes all the ills caused by a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep and a poor diet. And it handily tells you how long to leave it on depending on your skin type. Set your timer and countdown to beautiful skin…
Sheet masks are having a moment, not least because they offer a little slice of rest and relaxation into the mix given that it’s prudent to lie or sit down while you’re using them. These cotton sheets are drenched in hydrating serums and the sheet means they have only one place to go – into your skin. What makes them doubly wonderful is they are easy to store or take with you on holiday and they are prepared with the precise dose for getting the best out of them. There really is very little for the user to do other than unfurl them, position them carefully and get lost on their Kindle – or a snoozE. They’re an utter dream if you’re suffering from dry or dehydrated skin.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Powerfoil Mask, £16, is one of the best around. Advanced Night Repair is a beauty icon – the serum is known for reviving tired skin by feeding it with a cocktail of rejuvenating ingredients and this mask takes this high-performance serum to the next level. Keep one in your bedside table – you’ll know when you need it.
Another ‘dirty’ ingredient, like mud, but no less beautifying. Clay has a natural ability to absorb toxins and excess oils, but in the same way that muds vary in their beautifying capabilities, different clays can have wildly different effects on the skin. Clay can remove dead skin, help improve circulation, give pores a good and thorough cleanse and leave your complexion feeling super smooth.
L’Oreal’s new Pure Clay Masks, £5 each, offer three different additional benefits to the core clay ingredients. There’s a red algae variety to brighten and exfoliate, eucalyptus to purify and mattify and charcoal to detoxify and clarify.
There is something supremely satisfying about peeling off a face mask in one, single piece. Not only does it feel refreshing, you also know that the mask has stuck to all that dead skin you no longer need and you’re peeling away a layer that’ll leave you with a refreshed, plumped and healthy looking complexion. Masks that peel-off normally ‘paint on’ quite wet, but get tacky when they are ready to be removed. It’s a great way to regularly slough and exfoliate if you’re not a fan of physical scrubs or if your skin gets irritated by too much rubbing.
Elizabeth Arden Peel & Reveal Revitalising Mask, £26, is one of the first masks to nail the ‘peel’ formula and it’s a firm favourite for skin that’s feeling and looking tired and/or dull. The peel not only lifts away signs of fatigue, it also feeds it with hydration and glycolic acid to support skin’s natural turnover.
Activated charcoal is a clever little ingredient. It’s essentially carbon that has been specially treated to increase its absorbency so when used in face masks, they become like magnets for impurities and dirt, absorbing oils, toxins and pollutants. For a deep cleanse, turn to Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask, £23. The mineral clays soak up any excess oil from your skin while the added charcoal powder works to draw out any deep-seated dirt to really purify your pores. The result? A fresh, smooth and healthy complexion.
Cream masks are often the thicker, slightly more enriched versions of a traditional day or night cream. They’ll be so packed full of hydrating ingredients – this is where the cream formula really comes into its own – that it leaves skin so hydrated they are best used before bed as they do not create the greatest base for make-up. In facial treatments they would often be applied and then a warm towel or flannel would be placed over the top, to promote absorption into the skin, which is where sheet masks were born. A great tip with cream masks is to use them where you need them rather than just apply all over the face.
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, £24, is a silky cream formula that’s enriched with avocado oil, mango butter and Japanese seaweed to quench your skins thirst while helping to prevent any future moisture loss. Let it sit on your skin overnight for an extra boost of hydration – or use it as an SOS mask on patches of dry skin.