There’s simply something about relaxing in comfort with a face mask on which surfaces a moment to de-stress, and even breathe in the benefits of aromatherapy…
Excessive time spent at home has given way for thorough relaxation and self-care. Therefore, driving a surge in the demand and sales of wash-off masks, sheet masks, overnight masks and those alike.
People’s enthusiasm for skincare doesn’t just stem from the confidence that having healthy skin can induce. Masking and other skincare routines promote a sense of self-care and self-importance. There’s simply something about relaxing in comfort with a face mask on which surfaces a moment to de-stress, and even breathe in the benefits of aromatherapy – depending on the product used and of course the environment you surround yourself with.
This brings us to discuss the vast range of face masks out there, which can help fulfill our personal self-care needs. Even post-pandemic, it’s of upmost importance to allow sufficient time at the end of a long day for some element of self-care.
Let’s delve into your face mask options.
This is perhaps the most well-known type of face mask for it has been around for the longest time. Records dating back to the early 1900’s show that clay masks were typically made from kaolin, plant-based oils, milk and rice water depending on the era and country of origin. Although, these masks adopted some qualities of skincare which emerged in even earlier times, as far back as 5000 years ago.
Clay masks have taken many forms over the years. Volcanic ash, charcoal and Matcha green tea have become common key ingredients to combine with various types of clay sourced from nature. The general purpose of clay masks is to unclog congested pores and soak-up excess sebum; however, time has allowed for the development of clay masks which do not entirely deprive skin of essential N.M.F (Natural Moisturising Factors). Nowadays, non-dehydrating clay masks are readily available, with some incorporating further moisture retaining ingredients such as Sea Kelp and Honey.
Surprisingly, sheet masks have been around a lot longer than you may realise. Illustrations which were used for advertisement and demonstrational purposes suggest sheet masks were used in the 19th Century, and patented around that time period. In present time, we associate sheet masks with modern day Asian skincare practices, mainly as a result of K-beauty booming to success in 2010. Many East Asian countries manufacture popular sheet masks, and consider this type of mask to be a vital inclusion in skincare routines for keeping skin radiant and youthful.
Sheet masks for every skin type and concern are now available, even in drugstores. The most widely sought after are those which hydrate, firm, brighten or soothe skin. However, the diversity among sheet masks doesn’t just concern their functionalities, but also the serum/essence contained within. Furthermore, the sheet itself can be made from alternative natural materials other than paper or cotton.
Lower grade sheet masks – sometimes referred to as ‘first generation’ masks – are made from tissue. These are more affordable but tear easily and don’t always adequately absorb the serum. Today, sheet masks are commonly derived from cotton or bamboo–based textiles – OEXO-TEX™, Tencel™, Hydrogel and Bio-Cellulose. They can also come coated in charcoal for extra purifying skin benefits, or foil for preventing moisture loss through evaporation.
Some common key ingredients for each type of sheet mask:
A common mistake people make when using sheet masks, is rinsing their face after use. In actual fact, unless stated otherwise, remaining residue from the serum/essence should be left to soak into skin after removal of the sheet mask. Carbonated (bubble) sheet masks are typically the only type of sheet mask that require cleansing after removal.
To beat the harsh effects of traditional face scrubs, exfoliating masks or scrub masks are formulated with non-abrasive particles to avoid microdermabrasion. Whilst there are some exfoliating masks which still contain sugar granules that can weaken the skin barrier, others contain finely milled grains of rice, wheat and oats to lessen the likelihood of skin irritation. Harsh granules can cause skin friction or piercing, which is not always obvious to the naked eye.
The additional benefits of soft granule masks are that they typically don’t harden or dry-out when exposed to the air, helping to replenish any moisture and suppleness lost through the cleansing phase. When selecting a mask which contains exfoliating particles, we recommend applying to the back of your hand to feel the texture’s harshness. This way you can gauge whether the granules are delicate enough for your personal skin type.
Carbonated masks are a fun alternative and can be enjoyed by non-sensitive skin types. We don’t recommend using on dry or acne-prone skin which could have unhealed breakouts or rough patches. Similar to clay and charcoal masks, bubble masks are deeply purifying. 9 times out of 10 bubble masks are made with Cocamidopropyl Betaine – a synthetic detergent and surfactant which increases the foaming action of the mask. Bubble masks can come in two forms: a spreadable mask contained in a pot or in individual sheet mask like sachets. Both types of bubble mask require rinsing off after the stated wear time.
If your skin is relatively normal or at least doesn’t easily react to detergents, bubble masks will leave your skin super smooth. You may also notice a reduction in pore size and blackheads. With all new skincare products, we advise a patch test before applying all over the face. Bubble masks are most definitely no exception to this due to the high–risk factor of causing allergic reactions.
The majority of sleeping masks serve two purposes: to restore skin–deep moisture, and improve skin’s ‘bounce’ as some would say. They aren’t however, considered to be as crucial as emollients. Sleeping masks balance skin’s moisture–to–oil ratio, particularly for those with inner dehydrated skin. If sealing your skin with a layer of facial oil at the end of your evening skincare routine doesn’t sit comfortably with you, sleeping masks may be the ideal alternative as they seep into skin at a steady rate.
Sleeping masks are still a fairly new addition to Western skincare brands, so for now most on the market will come from Korea and neighboring countries. Overnight masks can be formulated with Hyaluronic Acid of varying molecular sizes, Propolis, Royal Jelly, Rose Water, Azelaic Acid, Vitamin E, Microbiome and fermented extracts. They are favoured for their lightweight, gel-cream textures which don’t easily transfer onto pillowcases in comparison to facial oils.
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