At anytime of the week, nothing is better than a long soak in a mask (or masque if you’re fancy - I am not).
From around 8 years old, I think I started to hear about masks which was green goo you put on your face. I saw it in the pre-teen magazines I begged for from mum at the supermarket and somehow associated it with being beautiful and grown-up, two things I desperately wanted to be.
I had a period of experimenting with home-made masks, but it didn’t last long, nor was it particularly successful. In fact, my only memory is of a strong smell of mashed banana which was the basis for my at-home mask. Banana browns and sours when left out, and I think the smell was what ultimately put me off.
I then graduated in high school to those cheap packet masks which my friend Lauren and I would do. The most fun was the cucumber peel-off mask, where you could see your blackheads literally being ripped out of your nose. Equally thrilling was the one which heated up on your face when you applied it. Go knows what terrible ingredients were in these, nor why we wanted to corrupt our lovely teenage skin.
Now I like to play with masks after a tough week at work, and fortunately I can afford something a bit better. My go-to is the Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque, which is perfect for nighttime with its thick and creamy texture. It smells faintly of citrus, doesn’t sting or dry out skin and washes off with water, revealing a more glowing and hydrated visage.
If I have an oily patch, I like the Antipodes Clay Halo Mask, which dries satisfyingly over your cheeks, nose and chin. Waiting for the nose to dry can be a bit tiresome, but I love how bright and tight my skin feels when it comes off. A clay mask has some of the old school mask appeal, much of which is about feeling a bit hideous while wearing and washing off to reveal your beauty.
Also from Kiehl’s is their more recently released Ginger Leaf and Hibiscus Firming Mask. If exotic ingredients are what you’re after, this mask is for you. It has a soufflé like texture and claims to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines over time.
Finally, the much loved Liz Earle Balancing Gel Mask (unfortunately unavailable at counters in New Zealand but available online) is a soothing light-weight concoction, which reminds me of dandelions and chamomile. It is perfect for when I am tired, and want to battle uneven skin. I have normal skin, which is neither too dry nor too oily most of the time, so a gel treatment is perfect when I just need SOMETHING, but can’t decide what. I also love a good old fashioned muslin cloth!
A mask is about more than improving your skin. It is an expression of self-care and also a sign to those around you that all bets are off and it is strictly ‘you’ time for the next 20 minutes. If there was a skincare solution for ‘do-not-disturb’ it would be a pot of holding your favourite mask.