I’m a curmudgeon about face masks, putting me out of step with the beauty community, which can’t get enough of them. My issue is not with masks in principle, but their ambitious claims and high customer expectations. I see face masks are a relaxing treat and believe they can temporarily improve skin appearance and texture, making them ideal as a weekly or pre-party boost. What I don’t buy is their doing lasting good, and I fear they encourage a curative, rather than preventive, mentality.
Taking proper daily care of your skin with cleanser, flannel, acid, serum and moisturiser will yield far greater results in the long term than a weekly blitz with anything. But, for ephemeral loveliness, I do love Beauty Pie’s Advanced Serum-Infusion Sheet Masks (£13.82 for five for members), which are biocellulose (meaning they’re able to hold more moisture than paper), so are extremely wet, but any excess sinks in with light massage. The complexion emerges plump, smooth and moist, making the sheets perfect for flights, if you can bear to appear to fellow passengers like Hannibal Lecter on the gurney. Sheet masks are wasteful (arguably less so than pots, though, which routinely languish unfinished in the bathroom, the formula spoiling and the plastic unable to justify its own existence), so I favour reusables. Nannette de Gaspé’s dry sheet masks (imprinted with ingredients) are my favourites, but the cost of their technology makes them prohibitively expensive. So I’m delighted with Miss de Gaspé, a new, more moderately priced version. While still by no means cheap at £30, each of these fabric masks can be used up to three times and gives the best results of any I’ve tried. Brighten Beam is perfect when things look dull, imparting brightness.
If a disposable still offends (we’ll be seeing more compostable versions soon), try a Korean washable sheet mask (about a fiver on Amazon or eBay, and much of a muchness). The principle is simple: the silicone mask is placed over skincare, preventing evaporation and intensifying results (just as you might wrap conditioning masked hair in clingfilm). Alternatively, take a piece of muslin, cut out holes for eyes and nose, soak in any treatment essence and/or oil you fancy, drape over the face and relax.
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