SKIN 101 | Face Masks

One of my favourite things to do is pop on my pj’s and cosy slippers, tie my hair up, and slather on a facial mask as a treat when I have ten minutes to myself!  Sometimes your skin just cries out for that extra little bit of TLC and there’s no better and easier way to do that, than using a mask to tackle the issue in hand.  Masks are a fabulous addition to your skin care routine with something to suit every skin type/condition – whether you want to brighten or tone your skin, add as boost of hydration or minimise pores and detox, there’s a plethora of masks on the market at the moment.  Not only that, they can be infused with fabulous scents and oils for a spa-like treatment in your home!

Firstly, how to best apply a mask (scroll to end for my Youtube video)

Applying a mask can be a little messy, so make sure your hair is back off your face, and you’ve a beautifully cleansed base.  What does this mean?  Simply, double cleanse, and exfoliate preferably beforehand, so the mask can penetrate a fresh clean base.  You might as well get the best out of your product! Avoid the eye area, hairline/brows and mouth.  Rinse off in the shower or use a warm face cloth to remove once your pampering time is up! On average masks are worn for 10-15 minutes.  Your chosen product will outline this so check the packaging for further information.

What masks do?

Deep Cleansing | Detoxing Masks:  If you feel your skin particularly clogged up then using a detoxing mask will not only de-grease and unclog pores, but has a drawing effect, pulling out impurities in the skin.  Masks have another level or deep cleansing to that of exfoliation in the sense that such ingredients as clay in a mask will help draw up blackheads for easy removal.  In some cases, you can even see the drawing effect in one mask session. One mask I can vouch for that has this effect is the Neutrogena SOS Cleanser – Blackhead removing mask.  It also doubles up as an exfoliator and when dried, you can re-dampen with wet hands or a face cloth, and in circular motions exfoliate and remove the product leaving you with a fresh but tightened and super clean feeling, especially on those shiny areas or where you may have enlarged pores! Fabulous on combination to oilier skin types.

Tightening/Brightening Masks:  They do exactly that, tighten the skin improving fine lines and crow’s feet whilst also firming the skin, and brighten to leave you looking refreshed and uplifted.  Ingredients such as bananas, eggs, and clay help tighten the skin, whilst turmeric, lemon and honey will brighten and refresh the skin!  At the moment, when my skin needs that extra pick me up, I’ve been using Clarins Extra Firming Mask – a gorgeous treat in a lavender shade this truly works wonders and is fabulous for a girl in her late 20’s/30+ looking for that uplifting skin pick-me-up!

Hydrating Masks:  I’m a combination skin type – meaning my ‘t-zone’, or forehead, nose and chin are more oily and shiny, whilst the outer areas of my face tend to dehydrate very quickly if I don’t maintain a good daily skin care routine.  Even if you’re an oily skin type, this does not mean your skin condition cannot turn to dehydrate.  Especially in the colder months, with the extremes of cold outdoor weather to sitting by a blazing fire, our skin can dehydrate very, very quickly. Everyone can use a hydration mask.  Ingredients such as avocado, coconut oil and again honey, can add a boost of hydration!  Lancome Hydra Intense mask is a gorgeous hydrating mask and is perfect for dry/combination and even oily skin types.

L’Oreal have a range of masks out at the moment that have rave reviews that I’ve started using lately. You can apply one mask or even use all 3 to target specific skin issues in one sitting.  I have to say I enjoy using these even for the colour combination you create on your face! And they certainly do work.  I particularly like the Purifying Mask (green) as it reduces the pores on my nose and my skin feel super refreshed, radiant and like I’ve been for an intensive facial at a top spa at home! What more could you want!

If you’ve never tried a mask before, jump right in! Be aware detoxing facials do exactly what they say, they detox so be prepared for some blemishes or even a breakout if you’ve never detoxed before! Cleansing and caring for your skin thereafter, plus drinking water, helps ensure a fabulous base will emerge, so go for it! Remember, you can create your own tailored mask at home from cupboard ingredients that are just as good as branded products. A quick google and you’ve a mountain of natural DIY mask recipes at your fingertips!  And finally, as always, if you have problematic or extremely sensitive skin, consult with your GP or skin care specialist before trying any of the above recommendations! Kerry Harvey

Feel free to follow me on snapchat (@kharveydesigns), Facebook (Kerry Harvey Designs)  or my weekly beauty blog with Donegal Woman – My new and exclusive monthly video tutorial features these masks with WeddingsOnline – coming soon!