Every 90’s girl spent their pocket money on sachets of brightly coloured face masks from Superdrug, and applied them in anticipation of feeling like a proper grown up having a ‘girls night in’. The magazines lead us down the path of thinking that 99p sachet would unlock our untapped sophistication, when in reality it did little more than zap all trace of moisture from our complexions. You could be forgiven, if that’s your last experience of them, for thinking face masks are a superficial and excessive step in your regime – and they’re often the first to go when we’re short on time or funds; but if you use them wisely they really can help to boost your skin in ways you didn’t know was possible, unlocking a smoother, brighter, firmer and more hydrated surface that ensures both skincare and makeup performs at its most optimum.
I’ve always loved a good face mask, but as my needs have changed I’ve become overly critical with a lot of products that do little more than a heavy moisturiser or think absorbing everything from the surface (good and bad) is the answer to our skin dilemmas. For a face mask to stick around until the very last drop, it has to deliver both instant and long-term visible benefits while making the weekly treat just that: a treat for the senses as well as the skin. For the past few months and beyond these are the five face masks I’ve had on rotation that deliver the results I can rely on every time.
BEST FOR TIRED SKIN: ARK Skincare Hydration Injection Masque (£35.00)
Often I can find myself overlooking the benefit of a good hydrating mask, preferring to see some tangible results after soaking in the tub, but when you find a great one it really does make all the difference. This is ideal for a mid-week pick-me-up when your complexion is looking and feeling a little lacklustre, thanks to the inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid (to provide up to 24 hours of moisture,) Vitamin C (to brighten and even skin tone,) Sugar Beet and Abyssinian Oil (to intensely nourish and calm.)
It also has a brilliant mix of Vitamin A (to regulate collagen synthesis,) Vitamin B5 (to smooth) and Vitamin E (to prevent photodamage) to leave skin cared for and boosted in the long-term too – perfect if, like me, you’re starting to see those signs of ageing more prominantly as soon as you’re a little knackered. One of those ‘what did I do without this’ products.
BEST FOR REJUVINATING: IMAGE Skincare Firming Transformation Mask (£55.00)
Although I feel like a Power Ranger when this blue mask is applied to my face, it really does pack a punch and leave my complexion feeling much firmer and clearer after only fifteen minutes. Not only does it hydrate with Hyaluronic Acid and gently lift away dead skin cells with Jojoba beads, but Pepper Berry Extract reduces inflammation (often the root cause of those fine lines) while Kaolin and Volcanic Clays help to balance and remove excessive oil – critically, without drying out the surface.
The result is a complexion that looks brighter, clearer and more radiant, as well as skin that feels far smoother and more plump. With an eye-watering price like this you may be put off, but you need a surprisingly little amount; when used once a week it really could make all the difference. I’m a big fan.
BEST FOR QUICK PLUMPING: Kate Somerville Wrinkle Warrior Pink Plumping Mask (£48.00)
Waking up to a less than radiant reflection needn’t be anything to worry about, if you have a little of this stashed underneath the bathroom sink. A quick ten minutes while brushing your teeth or eating your breakfast can help to transform your complexion into one that’s far plumper, smoother and more hydrated; it’s also perfect for using before a big night out or event, boosting skin in a way that ensures makeup sits so much better on the surface. With three different sizes of Hyaluronic Acid to ensure penetration at different levels, skin is left hydrated with the added benefit of fine lines appearing (albeit temporarily) smoothed.
Additionally Apple Fruit and Algae Extract help to increase hydration and retain moisture for longer, making this a great tool to have in your repertoire. Again, you need only a little amount to make a difference so the price tag may seem more manageable when you realise how many applications you get from each tub; to keep it lasting even longer, applying it to targeted areas (i.e. around the eyes or across the forehead) helps to boost hydration exactly where you need it. Definitely one I forget about for a few months, but then am delighted to re-discover in my bathroom cabinet.
BEST FOR COMFORT: The Body Shop Instant Soothing Mask (£18.00)
Definitely on the more affordable end of the scale and perfect for using during a long soak in the tub, the texture of this is rather unexpected and unusual as it’s inspired by ancient Roman recipes. Containing a blend of Oatmeal, organic Almond Milk, organic Aloe Vera and Community Trade Shea Butter, the result is a super nourishing, soothing and comforting formula that’s suited for even sensitive skin.
It rather looks and feels like porridge, but it feels fab when applied and doesn’t leave any tightness after its removed either; great for helping to rebalance, refresh and soothe after a long day (particularly in the summer months when we’re exposed to the heat of the sun,) this is a mask I’m never without. Definitely the closest you’ll get to a ‘one pot suits all’ face mask too.
BEST FOR CLEARING: OMS Exfoliate & Resurface Mask (£30.00)
One I’ve been turning to when I need a serious boost, this is unexpectedly brilliant and delivered amazing results from the very first use. Their ‘unique natural enzyme formula’ helps to dissolve the bond between and slough away dead skin cells to leave a much clearer, smoother and radiant complexion – without any harsh or abrasive ingredients (that are often form the basis of similar products and can cause irritation.)
Additionally, Cacti Enzyme, Wheat Grass Extract, Meadowfoam, Moringa Oil and a range of concentrated vitamins (including B3, C and E) offer antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties to ensure skin is left feeling cared for. Great for clearing congestion, reducing pigmentation and lifting the skin, this is also vegan and is available in a refill tube – keeping its impact on the wider world to a minimum. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
SHOP OTHER FACE MASKS I LOVE