For all of its merits, the poor face mask gets slapped with the label of being suitable only for those with loads of time on their hands, lounging about in fluffy white bathrobes. It’s just a luxury, isn’t it?
Well, if there’s one thing I’m on a mission to tell you, it’s that the face mask should be part of your weekly beauty regime. Yes, it’s pampering to lie back and relax while a mask works its magic, but find a really good one and your skin will look tons better for its powerful, deep-absorbing ingredients. It also allows for a few moments of self-care and calm, which we could all probably benefit from at the moment.
For years, my go-to has been the Black Rose Cream Mask by Sisley, which is beyond brilliant at waking up the skin and making it look fresher, smoother and healthier (and keeping it that way for days). At £99, it’s very pricey, yes – but a once-weekly Sunday-night slathering means it lasts and lasts.
Also, it’s not messy: just apply to freshly cleansed skin before bed, then leave it on overnight. The delicious ingredients absorb in five minutes so you don’t need to worry about any greasiness. And the fresh, bright skin you’re left with the next morning is the best start to the day I can think of.
One of my favourite French pharmacy brands, Vichy, has three mineral masks that tackle different skin concerns. The Double Glow Peel Mask is my pick: apply it for five minutes and the alpha-hydroxy acids remove dead skin better than any gritty exfoliator.
There’s also a super-hydrating Quenching Mineral Mask, plus a Clay Mask for congested skin. At £15 a pop, they’re good to use whenever the skin needs a bit of tailor-made TLC.
I’ve also been loving the Rapid Morning Mask by Marks and Spencer, which is packed full of active vitamin C for just £12. It’s really impressive: apply it on in the mornings if your skin’s looking a little lacklustre or dull.
Or you could go a step further and make your own mask, especially while at home. The facialist Abigail James suggests mixing one tablespoon of natural yogurt (which contains lactic acid to gently exfoliate the skin), one tablespoon of honey and a sprinkle of porridge oats. It’s a winning mix that helps skin to re-hydrate and soften.
My own pantry cupboard recipe lends itself well to a homemade brightening face mask: in a base of two tablespoons of natural yogurt, mix a tablespoon of chickpea flour with a teaspoon of turmeric. Not only is the turmeric naturally antibacterial, it also helps to brighten and soften the skin.
The top five face masks
A lovely natural offering, this mask is great for sensitive skin. Slather on for 10 minutes and rinse off with the hot towel included.
The ultimate exfoliator, this helps to slough away dead skin cells and rejuvenate tired skin.
A satisfying cream that helps to refine, brighten and balance the complexion – all in less than 10 minutes.