I am a massive fan of face masks. Maybe because they give you an instant result, rather than the “better skin in 2 weeks”, gradual thing you get from a lot of skincare products. I try to restrain myself and use them no more than once or twice a week. It is the ideal thing for me to feel like I am looking after myself.
This post is about the two types of face masks that I regularly use – exfoliating/radiance masks and clarifying/detoxing masks. I don’t really use moisturizing masks, mainly because I rarely feel like that is my primary skin concern.
Exfoliating/radiance/AHA/fruit acids family
Ren Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask (50ml – £30)
This is probably my favourite mask of all times, mainly because it makes such a dramatic, immediate difference to my skin. Various fruit acids eat away your dead skin cells and leave your skin smooth and noticeably more radiant. It isn’t the most pleasant mask to apply as it is very sticky, but so worth it. I’ve done a first impression video on this, so you can watch me apply the mask here. It’s arguably very expensive, but you only need a thin layer so it lasts a long time. I bought my first bottle online from Marks and Spencer during one of their 20% off all beauty promotions (Amazing – they stock Ren, Nuxe, Murad, etc) and the second at Heathrow airport Duty free (£25).
Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating mask (6 x 7.5ml – £22.50)
Two of these came in a Pore Refining starter set I picked up at TK Maxx for 12 Euros. Such a bargain! This mask does similar things to the Ren one, but feels more cooling and tingling. I think it is similarly powerful at exfoliating, but the Ren mask might have the upper hand in terms of radiance. The packaging in individual sachets is a serious downside – 7.5ml is a ridiculously large amount for a single sachet. You can get at least two uses out of this.
Superdrug Radiance Renewal Brightening Renewal mask (75ml – £4.99)
Here’s your drugstore alternative of a fruit acid mask. Less powerful, but still gives you smoother skin. It feels cooling and slightly tingling,. Superdrug often sells this range for 1/3 to 1/2 off the already very reasonable price. A good way to dip your toe into the fruit acid business or maybe if the big guns above are too harsh for your skin.
Clarifying/detox/clay based family
Origins Clear Improvement mask (50ml – £10)
A clay based mask that has an amazing deep colour and feels very smooth when you apply it. It dries to a typical tight fit on the skin. My skin feels very clean and smooth afterwards. Probably the most powerful out of the three. I bought it from the Origins website with free delivery and got to choose two free samples.
Boots Botanics Shine away Ionic Clay mask (100ml – £4.99)
This contains only three ingredients on top of clay and water – one of them willow bark extract, according to the label a natural source of salicylic acid. I’m assuming it’s the lack of smoothing/silicone ingredients that means this really feels like putting fine grained mud on your face. It dries completely on the face. This is the only one of the three where your can see little dots once it’s dry where the oils of have been drawn out of your skin … if that sounds satisfying to you, give it a try.
Sanctuary 5 Minute Thermal Detox mask (100ml – £10.50)
This mask has the lovely effect of warming up and cooling down as soon as you apply it to the skin. It has a slightly gooey texture and does not dry down in the typical clay mask fashion. As you only leave it for 5 minutes, I think it has a much milder effect than the other masks. Still good for a spontaneous pick-me up if you feel your skin is congested but don’t have time for a full face mask. I tend to apply this before I get in the shower and wash it off in the end – hardly an extra time investment.