I am a big fan of facial masks—I own four different ones for different skincare concerns.
Most people do not see the best results these great skincare products can offer simply because they use them incorrectly. Highly misunderstood, and often overlooked, facial masks can really make a difference in the over all health of the skin.
Here is my step by step guide to using masks:
One mask is not enough.
The skin changes everyday and while basic skincare is standard masks are specific treatment. You may need extra hydration one week and more exfoliation the next. Masks need to be suited to what is happening on the skin at the very moment of use. To be prepared you should have a hydrating mask, clarifying mask and exfoliating mask on hand at all times.
Weekly use is important.
Masks really need to be applied once per week—less than that and there is no point really in using one and more often than that and they can actually over stimulate the skin causing more problems. Choose a specific day and use a mask on that same day every week. like Wednesdays—it seems to be a day I can reserve because I have almost no social engagements on a Wednesday night and I always seem to get out of the office early. Pick a night that works for you and be consistent.
Prep and post
In order for the mask to work the skin must be washed and manually exfoliated prior to application. After the mask is removed moisturizer should be applied immediately.
Masks take time to work. 30 minutes is ideal, regardless of what the instructions say, the longer you can leave a mask the better it will work. Too long and it irritates the skin. The 30 minute mark is the best to see optimal results.
While the magazine layouts always show a face with mask applied so thick it looks like cake frosting this is actually so misleading. Masks should be applied in a very thin layer, transparent actually. The reason is two-fold—the products are highly active so you don't need lots and anything you wash off is really just product waste. There should be almost nothing to remove after the 30 minute application period. Here is a tip—my most commonly used mask is a hydrating treatment. I use it about 3 times a month, it is a 60 mL tube and I have had the same tube since January—that is how little should be applied.
Masks take time to work and it is important the skin be in a state of calm—when wearing a mask do not run all over the house trying to get chores done—sit, relax and allow the 30 minutes to expire without interruption. When you are calm the skin is calm and in the best possible physical state to utilize the mask. One note—wearing a mask while in the bathtub is not a good idea. The more humid the skin the less the mask penetrates.
I am not making this up.
There has been a race, by the major cosmetics companies, to bring the most expensive moisturizer to market.
It seems Cle de Peau may have taken the title. This summer they launch a version of their famous La Creme which will retail for $13,000 USD. That is not a typo. A 50 mL jar of cream for $13,000. That is more expensive than gold per gram (gold is $57 CAD per gram while this new product is $270 per gram). To be fair this is a collector's version of the product. The jar will be a work of art and that is where most of the cost is derived—and there will only be 3 jars made for the entire world. When I heard about this, though, I thought I should look at the regular version of the product. It carries a hefty price tag alone.
Cle de Peau is a Japanese luxury brand (it sounds French but it is not) and in recent years has positioned itself as the go to luxury offering for 20-somethings that want high-end product but do not want to buy their mother's moisturizer. Only in existence for 30 years, this brand has done a great job of being the "new generation" of luxury skincare.
The problem is the formulas are pretty standard and—in the case of La Creme—not very good at all.
Cle de Peau La Creme ($600 for 30mL)
The marketing claims this product can create firm, luminous skin that has a refines texture. These claims are made by just about every product on the market.
The first seven ingredients are slip agents, water-binding agents, preservatives and thickeners. None of which have anything to do with product benefits. Additionally, these agents are used in just about every cream in the market. Nothing here you can't find in a store brand moisturizer.
Petrolatum. Basically this product is about 30-40% petroleum jelly. Seriously, the same stuff Vaseline is made from. Not only will this occlude the skin it will also disrupt the skin's oil water balance causing more dehydration. A moisturizer that causes dehydration is not well formulated at all.
Numerous irritating plant oils, fragrances, dyes and more preservatives that can cause inflammation in the skin and cellular decay. More damaging ingredients that will require another product to correct.
The only ingredient worth note is a mild exfoliant that is derived from BHs. This is not, however, unique in any way. These types of exfoliators are found in drugstore moisturizers for as little as $20 a jar.
Overall, Peau La Creme is a joke of a product—not only is it all marketing and packaging but the formula itself is not even good for the skin. I could forgive being overpriced if it was a quality formula (I mean if someone wants to spend $600 on a moisturizer because it comes with some prestige and is in a fancy jar then ok, but to spend that and get a product that will actually cause problems on the skin is not a great idea). Overpriced, overhyped and frankly one of the worst formulas I have ever seen—I mean, ever, at any price point, in any store.
Bar none the most important part of a skin care regime is cleansing. Yes I know the cosmetics companies would have you think it is moisturizing but there is no single step, more important to maintaining the over health of the skin than cleansing.
Most people use a cleanser that is not well suited for skin and still many more people (even those with a well-formulated cleanser) use them incorrectly thus denying themselves of any real benefit.
Here is my step by step guide to proper washing of the skin:
Use soap-free products—soap has a pH balance of 9 while the skin is 5.5. Washing the face with soap will cause surface dehydration and intense irritation. Best choice for cleanser is a mild emulsion (either gel or cream) that will remove make-up, dirt and impurities but will not disrupt the natural pH of the skin. A gel cleanser will not make a dry skin more dry and cream cleanser will not make an oily skin more oily. Choose based on your personal texture preference. Just make sure you select a soap free option.
Designer: Darphin Aromatic Cleansing Balm ($130 for 125 mL)
Spa: Daniel Thompson Cosmeceuticals The Cleanser ($84 for 150 mL)
Mass: Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser ($15 for 250 mL)
Use standing water—washing the face with running water will cause vital skin oils to be rinsed away. Splashing with water that is standing in the sink will help the skin regulate its oil water balance more efficiently. This one little adjustment will help clear 80% of all concerns on the skin. Warm water—not hot—is best but the important part is to fill the sink. Use a wash cloth if you like; just keep rinsing it in the water as you wipe the face clean.
Cleanse once per day—the face does not require cleansing twice per day. As a matter of fact over cleaning it will cause more problems. Wash at night and rinse with water in the morning. If you really need that "clean" feeling in the morning then use an alcohol free toner to refresh the skin. By reducing the frequency of cleansing not only will your actual product last longer (big savings) but your skin will also start to look better more quickly.
Simple steps that will change the way your cleanser performs and gives you the best possible results!