Skincare’s most powerful formulas can work miraculous wonders when paired with the right skin type at the right time
The age-old stereotype of a pampering girls day always includes some form of comical facial mask, along with champagne and pillow fights, of course. But masks aren’t just for show on a special occasion—they’re a super effective way to get quick, tangible results for a number of skincare concerns, says Space.NK.apothecary founder Nicky Kinnaird. Plus, they help bridge the gap between facials. “Masks can make the world of difference,” says the globe-trotting beauty guru. “They’re a perfect way to pamper your skin after a long day, following air travel or as a pre-party skin radiance enhancer.”
Perhaps the best part about these formulas is their potency. “While most skincare products require regular use over time for visible results, facial masks have higher concentrations of actives and are designed to give your skin an intensive boost in a matter of minutes,” says Kinnaird. She personally masks at minimum once a week and always upon landing after air travel. (The Eve Lom Moisture Mask, launching this fall, is even suggested as an in-flight treatment to prevent dehydration.)
The actual process of masking should be simple, not a chore, says Kinnaird. Apply on clean, dry skin before bathing to allow the steam to open the pores and the formula to penetrate more deeply; it should be the last thing you rinse off and always followed with a treatment serum or moisturizer. The harder part is selecting the mask targeted for your individualized needs. Some seem to do it all: Kinnaird calls Zelens’ Transformer Instant Renewal Mask “the perfect all-rounder,” while Wei’s Gingko Leaf Repair Face Pads both brighten and hydrate deeply. And Masqueology makes formulas for virtually every skincare concern—antioxidant, anti-blemish, pore-minimizing, you name it.
Those with oily, acne-prone skin should look for masks made with kaolin clay (such as Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask) or rhassoul mud because they draw out impurities and clarify, and can even be used as an overnight spot treatment to help quickly dissipate eruptions. All skin types except sensitive benefit from the smoothness and radiance glycolic masks (such as REN’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask) impart, while hyaluronic acid-based hydrating masks (like Sarah Chapman Skinesis Instant Miracle Mask, which multitasks with rhassoul clay as well) will dramatically improve dry and mature skin.
In addition, says Kinnaird, “I suggest having a couple of options on hand as changes in season, travel and environmental stressors can cause our skin to act up.” Additional formulas to keep in your arsenal are a clay-based mask for unexpected blemishes, a deeply hydrating formula to soothe dryness in the winter, and an antioxidant-loaded moisturizing mask to help combat free-radical damage. At the end of the summer, lightening formulas like Karuna Brightening Treatment Masks are a go-to for evening pigmentation.
To really pack a skin-changing punch, says Kinnaird, try the “Hollywood red carpet trick: five masks on consecutive nights delivers A-list skin without the office appointment.”