This weekend’s beauty indulgence, face masks, have been around for a long time and the benefits of using them are almost immeasurable. Masks mimic the experience at a spa, and a good face mask can improve the overall appearance of your skin--they can hydrate the skin, remove excess oils and impurities, and improve the appearance of pores.
Masks are effective because they contain concentrated ingredients that treat specific skin concerns, and there is a mask for every skin type. For optimal results while using a mask, start by prepping the skin with a good cleanser, then employ a pH-appropriate toner to balance it out.
In celebration of the release of Bolden’s new face mask, we have put together an introductory guide to face masks. We have categorized them by method of application or function.
SHEET MASKS: Available for all skin types
Sheet masks are face-shaped sheet fabrics soaked in an essence or serum. The sheets can be made of paper, cotton, or it could be in the form of a hydrogel. They are usually individually wrapped for single use and the best attribute of sheet masks is that you don’t need to wash off the serum after you apply the mask. Just pat down the serum that is left on your face after you take off the sheet, until it is fully absorbed. Two of the biggest drawbacks of sheet masks are that they come in a “one size fits all” shape and often do not adhere to the skin well. Hydrogel masks tend to be easier to wear than cotton sheet masks as they conform to the contours of your face and make for a better fit.
CLAY MASKS: Best for oily and acne-prone skin
These include “mud masks” because in reality most mud masks are made of clay; the distinction between the two has more to do with particle size than anything else. The most common type of clay used for masks are bentonite and kaolin. Clay masks are among some of the more popular mask options and are most notable for their ability to clear clogged pores and absorb excess sebum from the skin without stripping it. Bolden’s Clear Skin Clay Mask uses bentonite clay which is gentle, absorbent, and detoxifying. We recommend wearing the clay masks for no longer than 15 minutes, then rinsing off with warm water. Clay masks should not be left on for so long that it dries and begins to crack on the skin.
HYDRATING MASKS: Best for dry skin
As we all know, a hydrated skin is youthful skin. Hydrating masks typically come in cream or gel form and pack a lot of punch--they give major hydration without feeling heavy or clogging your pores. The key is to look for ingredients that give a boost of moisture to parched skin. Ingredients like glycerin which helps to replace the skin’s moisture barrier, hyaluronic acid which has the ability to absorb more than one thousand times its weight in water, and ceramides which hold skin cells together, forming a protective layer that helps it retain moisture.
EXFOLIATING MASKS: For all skin types
These are designed to treat dull uneven skin and work to get rid of dead skin revealing the new skin underneath. Some exfoliating masks have physical exfoliants like sugar, coffee, or rice bran, while others are made with alpha hydroxyl acids like glycolic acid or beta hydroxyl acids such as salicylic acid. Some exfoliating masks are gentle enough to be used every day, but listen to your skin and do not overdo it and you’ll be on your way to fresh, young-looking skin.
OIL MASKS: Best for mature, combination, and sensitive skin
We are big fans of oils and they are a key part of many beauty routines. However there’s often fear in applying oil to already oily skin. When used well, oils can actually benefit acne-prone skin. For example, shea oil is naturally anti-inflammatory and is an excellent moisturizer for sensitive skin. Shea oil is also a great base for several DIY face masks. (See a few of our favorite DIY recipes using shea oil)
PEEL-OFF MASKS: For all skin types
These are typically light weight clear gels that dry to a film that can be peeled off. The idea is that as you peel off the mask it pulls the dirt clogging the pores on your face. The peel off effect is more than anything a marketing shtick, but there is something to be said for the satisfaction derived from peeling this type of mask off.
These masks can be used on their own or together. If you are going for a treatment medley, start with an exfoliating or clay mask, then follow up with a hydrating or oil mask for a lasting glow. The important thing to note about masks is that it just another medium sort of like a lotion or serum through which active ingredients are delivered to the skin to improve its appearance.