Mask on

Future, Mask Off (2017)

Wearing sunscreen is extremely important to me.  It provides a valuable service, keeping most of the sun’s harmful UV rays away from our precious skin cells.  And according to friends, tanning with sunscreen actually helps achieve a nice glow without the fear of skin peeling.  Though I wouldn’t know, because I dislike staying out under the sun for more than five minutes.

Despite all these great benefits, sunscreen tends to make your face feel clogged and greasy.  Even after thoroughly washing my face with an oil cleanser and a regular cleanser, I still feel like there’s some sunscreen residue left.  So, to combat that, I turned to masks, which makes skin feel great.

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Mask Mediums

Face masks come in many different forms, each catering to a different need.  While it’s hard to definitively categorize the types, I would say that there are seven types of ways masks are presented.  And to note, while these are the general standards for each type, it’s also very important that you read the instructions first!

Cream
Cream masks are designed to brighten, hydrate, and/or rejuvenate skin.  A thin layer is applied to a dry and cleansed face for a few minutes before you remove it, using a wash cloth, or something similar.

Exfoliating
Exfoliating masks are designed to give your face a good scrub.  Chemical or physical exfoliators, like glycolic acid or microbeads, do away with dead skin cells that lay on top of the fresh skin cells.  Exfoliating helps the skin be more accepting of other skincare products and makeup, by evening out the skin.  This should only be used about once per week because once you start to over-exfoliate, you lose the beautiful glow hidden underneath the dead skin cells.

Food Based
Food based masks are designed to use the natural properties found in fruits, vegetables, plants, etc. to revitalize the skin.  Common food based masks are cucumber, oatmeal, honey, rose.  However, if you have sensitive skin or allergies, it’s best if you skipped on trying out this method because it’s not worth breaking out in hives and having trouble breathing, just to get healthy skin.

Peel-Off
Peel-off masks are designed to fight blemishes, fight stress-induced blotchiness, tighten skin, amongst other things.  It usually comes in a gel, plastic, or paraffin wax form that hardens after application.  This type of mask is recommended more for people with mature skin, as opposed to younger skin, but if you’re in the latter group that’s interested in trying this, proceed with caution!

Sheet
Sheet masks are sort of the lazy way to juice up your skin with essential nutrients, a method that originates from South Korea.  These are serum soaked, face-shaped sheets (i.e. made of fiber, hydro-gel, pulp, or biocellulose), in individual packages, typically for one time use only.  They are extremely easy to use because all you need to do is slap on a sheet masks and let it do its job for about half and hour, before removing.  Pro tip: the serum remaining in the bag can be used on your neck, décolleté, and hands.  These areas also need to look young!

Thermal
Thermal masks are designed to open your pores and encourage your skin to breathe by warming the surface tissue through a chemical reaction.  The process begins by exposure to water, which causes it to heat up.  Think steaming your face, but much more penetrative.

Warm-Oil

Warm-oil masks are designed for softening the skin and increasing blood circulation.  They are typically used in spas, though it’s possible to make your own using an extracted oil, like olive oil.  Like peel-off masks, it’s most effective on mature skin, so buyer (or DIY creator) beware!

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Mask Targets

As seen in the previous section, different mediums are more effective for certain skin treatments.  When you buy a mask, they generally come with four different taglines.

Oily Skin (e.g. Clay)
Clay masks are one of the most advertised mask for people with acne prone, oily skin.  They’re great for people with these skin concerns because it absorbs oil without stripping the skin completely.  Clay masks are designed to bring out impurities to the skin’s surface, as it dries with the clay, and tightens as well.

Dry and/or Mature (Aging) Skin (e.g. Hydrating)
Hydrating masks, though they are most effective for people with dry and aging skin, is actually something we should all use.  During cold and dry weather, like the winter, your skin takes a toll because it becomes easily dehydrated.  If you don’t take proper measures, then you can be a victim to white flakes, itchiness, and makeup that never looks right.  Hydrating masks pump your skin with much needed hydration and nutrients, to maintain that glow even when the weather sucks!

Firming & Rejuvenating Skin
Rejuvenating masks are designed to smooth fine lines, give a healthy glow, lift skin, and slow down any signs of aging.  This is a typical “anti-aging” product, though many beauty experts agree that it’s never too early to start using these things because we’re all bound to get wrinkles.  The question is, how many years will it take for that to happen?

Detoxing Skin
Especially for city gals like me, daily pollution exposure, compounded by the sun’s rays, sweat, etc. definitely slow my skin down.  Detoxing masks are like a chance to start a game again with a fresh slate, free of any irritating obstacles.  These masks are most effective when used bi-weekly, or every two weeks.

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Later, keep your eyes peels for my mask recommendations, ranging from a “luxury” option, to a cheaper method!

IMAGE CREDIT: Faviana NY
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