Monday 5 June 2017

Must Have Face Masks

I love a good face mask. They perk up your skin (and your spirit) and help treat any imperfections in time for a holiday, date or big event. I've been on a mask mission for the past couple of months, trying a wide range of different product, with a variety of price points and skin promises. Here are my current favourites...

I've always been a fan of a peel mask, often for the sole fucking fun of taking it off. However finding peel off masks that provide a real skin benefit are often hard to come by. Luckily there is the Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask (£60.00 John Lewis / $78.00 Perfect for those suffering from a breakout or dull looking-skin, Arden's Peel Off Mask treats, tightens and brighten the skin. Its clear gel formula features polymers - that instantly lift away dead skin, dirt and oil - and tree mushroom extract, that reduce pore size.

The Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask has a sticky gel consistency that, surprisingly, applies easily. From my past experience, I expected that I'd need to apply a thick layer of product to make the peeling easier. However the Arden mask really only requires a thin layer for good peeling to take place. If applied properly, the mask peels off quickly and easily with no residue or painful dragging or pulling on the skin. Skin is just left radiant and problem free!

Another peel-off powerhouse is the Urban Decay Rehab Makeup Prep Pore Refining Peel (£24.00 / $26.00 Sephora), a mask designed for use before applying your makeup. With a blend of sugarcane extract, Irish moss, St. John’s wort, burdock root extract, peppermint extract and lemon balm, this mask works to immediately draw out impurities, leaving pores visibly cleaner, more refined and, most importantly, smaller in appearance. Like the Elizabeth Arden Prevage Detox Peel Off Mask, this Pore Refining Peel has a clear gel consistency that is easily applied and just as easily removed. However, unlike the Prevage mask, this one is just designed for use on the t-zone...which is great considering there is only 30mls worth of it! After stripping this mask from my face, I do notice a little reduction in the appearance of my pores. However what I love most is the perfect condition it leaves my skin in - it makes makeup application a dream.

My next favourite face mask took inspiration from one of the world's most successful serums, the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. It is the Advanced Night Repair Mask In Oil (£55.00 John Lewis / $76.00 Nordstrom) and, like the famous serum, it's a revolutionary treatment designed for delivering radiant, younger-looking skin. Being an oil, it works a little differently from other masks. It applies like an oil but - like a mask - doesn't fully absorb into the skin. It is designed for use overnight, helping boost the beauty benefits sleeping bestows on the skin. By the time I wake, the mask is usually fully absorbed and my skin super soft and supple, with my pesky fine-lines less obvious.

As for the more traditional face mask, I've been fangirling over the Kiehl's Cranberry Seed Masque (£29.00 / $32.00 Formulated with cranberry and tumeric, this mask brightens and smooths the skin. It has a very thick, creamy texture that is on the lumpy side, thanks to the inclusion of tiny cranberry seeds. It slathers over the skin easily, however removing the mask is a little tricky, with a little scrubbing very much needed. Scrubbing aside, this mask leaves you with visibly brighter skin...the best glow I've ever experienced from a face mask!

Another traditional face mask favourite is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask (£52.00 / $62.00 Sephora). This is a multi-functional mask that can be used all over the face or just on the problem areas. Interestingly, it can also be used as a daily deep cleanser for those who suffer with oily and acne-prone skin. It applies easily...practically gliding onto the skin and feels amazing once on - not at all tight or restrictive. Considering it's a clay mask, it is incredibly easy to wash off which is a huge selling point for me. Like many masks on this list, the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask reduces the appearance of pores but also helps mattify the skin, without drying out the complexion. It is my go-to mask when I get a breakout!

Another great clay mask comes from cult Icelandic brand Soley, it is know as the steinEY (£25.00 John Bell & Croyden). Containing mineral rich volcanic clay from Eyjafjallajökull and hand-picked wild Icelandic birch, the steinEY mask works to regulate and balance the skin, stimulate cellular metabolism, strengthen tissues and reduce the signs of powerful mask. What's unique about this mask, compared to others on the list, is that you have to mix it with water to get it skin-ready, helping to keep the product as fresh as possible! Prepping the mask is straightforward, you just mix one part product with one part water and you're good to go. It applies easily, dries quickly and, like the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, is easily removed. Skin is left deeply cleansed and ultra smooth.

Next up are the sheet masks and my first recommendation is the Sanctuary Bubble Mask (£5.00 Boots). This is a black sheet mask that, once applied to the skin, begins to foam and a big way (it's very fun to use). As it bubbles, it gives a really nice tingling sensation to the skin and also feels hydrating and very refreshing up until removal. It applies very easily for a sheet mask and, most importantly, sticks to the face without any annoying drooping. It is designed to deeply cleanse the pores and purify your skin, leaving it problem-free and revitalised. It does this very well, with my skin looking clearer and fresher after each use.

For other fun sheet mask options, I recommend Oh K! From hydrogel to multi-step masks, this Korean brand has a huge number of masks on offer, for both the face and body. My personal favourite is the Panda Face Fibre Mask (£4.00 ASOS / $5.00, an adorable printed sheet mask that turns you into a panda whilst you pamper. Applying it isn't so tricky and, if you focus, you can align the panda design easily so it sits perfectly on the face. The sheet itself is really saturated in product, which is perfect for skin in need of a serious drink. Formulated with key Korean skin-benefiting ingredients, the Oh K! Panda Face Fibre Mask leaves skin radiant, refreshed and super hydrated!

The final mask on my list is very different from the is the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Light Therapy Acne Mask (£59.99 Boots / $39.99 ULTA). It is a wearable, reusable LED device that omits red and blue wavelengths deep into the skin at the speed of light to disrupt the acne cycle.

The Light Therapy Acne Mask uses the same technology you'd find at a dermatologist office but at an energy level that’s safe enough to use at home...and hundreds of pounds cheaper! 98% of participants in the clinical trials had improved skin after 12 weeks and I have witness these improvements first hand. Since using the mask, I have experienced less breakouts and a massive reduction in pigmentation...more specifically the red marks left over from old spots. 

The mask is super easy to use, you just hook it onto your face with the eye-protecting glasses (attached to the inside of the mask) and switch it on using the activator. The activator turns on the red and blue lights that get to work fixing your face. Each treatment lasts 10 minutes and is pain and discomfort free....the only thing you suffer from is restricted vision!

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