Trending: Face Masks

Face masks are one of the top trends for 2017, and no wonder! Face masks are more than cosmetics - it's an experience. It's relaxation in a product, something that is uniquely different from other cosmetic products that can at times, seem more like a chore than relaxation.

What are face masks?

There are many different types of masks, varying widely in cost as well as quality, from DIY concoctions that you can make at home with common ingredients, to a luxurious pampering at a poshy hotel downtown that could set you back a month’s rent. Generally, we can divide them into DIY masks, store bought masks, and professional treatments.

DIY: DIY face masks were rarely talked about before the Instagram craze, but people have been making their own masks from common kitchen supplies for decades, and can even be traced back to the ancients. Some common ingredients include: Cucumber, honey, citruses, and even mayo. Given how expensive store bought masks can be, DIY masks are all the rage on Pinterest. You can be creative with your concoctions, but it’s important to do some research about the ingredients beforehand. Buzzfeed has a derm-approved list of DIY treatments that can be made at home.

Store products: The price points can vary from product to product, but are generally in the range of $30 to $150, which can cover you for 10-20 applications, often more if you are frugal with it. As masks are not (and shouldn’t be) used on a daily basis, masks are more economical than they might first appear to be.

Spa treatments: Performed by an esthetician or a similar specialized professional, these combine facial masks with other relaxation services. They can range from $50 to $1000 or more. Although the masks serve the same function as the DIY or store product counterpart in terms of skincare, these spa treatments should be seen as a luxury experience (unless you are rolling in it of course) that comes with a facial mask treatment as part of the experience.

Types of Masks

Masks are one of the most varied cosmetic products out there and can serve a variety of functions for different skin types. In the world of DIY, there is even more room for creative mixing. Most of us associate facials with a special occasion of pampering and relaxation, but it can be part of a semi-regular routine in their skincare on the weekends. Others go for the DIY route, creating their own concoctions at home to apply to the face. To ensure an even application, you can use a brush or an applicator. If you are using your fingers, ensure that you wash your hand thoroughly. Leave the mask on for 10-20 minutes, depending on the product’s instructions. They are often cool and soothing, pleasant, and often relaxing experience, but do they actually help the skin? Moreover, which mask should you get? For the store products, however, there are a few common categories for masks:

Gel: Usually oil-free but hydrating. It can be soothing and cooling on a hot summer night. They are often flexible masks that can benefit any skin type.

Clay: Clay masks are very popular, and help to draw out excess oil from the skin. It’s very popular with people who tend to have oily skin, and can make the skin feel tighter and more toned. It’s important not to leave clay masks on for longer than the recommended time; more is definitely not better if your skin becomes overdried.

Cream: These masks contain moisturizing oils, and provide a hydrating effect to those with dry skin. These masks can be left on for longer than the clay masks.

Sheet: These masks are a little different; thin cotton sheets are typically soaked in hydrating serum.

Spa/Beauty Treatments: Generally, at a spa or a boutique, there is a quick consultation about your skin type, sensitivities (if you have any), and your concerns, and a esthetician will advise you on a treatment regimen. These are usually part of a package of other treatments that may include other services like exfoliation, extractions, to more pampering oriented services like aromatherapy, steam baths, and massages. While most of us can’t afford spa treatments every week, splurging once in awhile can be a great way to freshen up.

What Not to Do

Choosing the wrong product: There are a wide range of masks, and using the wrong product for your skin type can hurt your skin rather than heal it. For example, an overly drying clay masks may not be the best choice for people with dry skin. With DIY masks, do a little research before you make your own concoctions willy nilly. Acids like lemon and apple cider vinegar are common ingredients in DIY facials, and can help exfoliate, but only if they are at the right concentrations, and you ensure that the masks are completely removed. If you expose your face to sunlight with the mask still on, you can be in for a nasty surprise called phytophotodermatitis.

Forgetting to remove makeup: If you’re treating yourself to a mask, you might as well get the full benefit. Don’t be lazy and just slap it on without properly cleansing your face first, and starting fresh so that your skin can absorb the most benefit out of your mask.

Applying masks with fingers: This one isn’t all that bad - assuming you wash your hands meticulously first. There are good reasons to invest in an applicator however. You can get a more even spread, be more efficient and save money on the product, as well as protect yourself from spreading germs on your face.

Leaving it on too long: A common mistake with clay masks and acne masks. Often we want to squeeze the mask for every ounce of goodness, and end up drying out your skin. When it comes to drying masks, more is not the solution. Follow the directions, and make sure that you remove the mask properly, rinsing your face twice, or taking a shower.

Happy masking!

1 We don’t necessarily recommend all of these.
2 We don’t necessarily recommend all of these.