Not too long ago face masks were an indulgence you treated yourself to only when you were desperately in needs of a beauty boost, or were taking part in a pampering sesh on a girls night-in.
Somewhere in the past few years however face masks have joined an ever-growing list of skincare products that are not just add-ons but must-haves.
Armed with an arsenal of serums, essences, facial oils, and more, the steps in our skincare routines number almost too many to track these days, and face masks are a key element to the magic mix.
Applied a few times a week, masks can remedy a host of skin woes. Too dry? layer on a hydrating mask. Too rough? Apply a skin exfoliating peel mask. Congested skin? Look no further than a clay mask.
Added to the complexity of the situation is the concept of ‘multi-masking’ – only applying certain masks to the parts of the face that are calling out for their specific benefits – one mask can’t heal all.
The result is a face that is colour blocked as you treat different spots with different needs at the same time.
After just a few days I noticed a considerable improvement, the spots that were currently inflamed died down and blemishes lurking under the skin disappeared.
But for now, let’s get back to those clay face masks, a staple in your masking repertoire that every woman has probably dabbled with at some stage.
They promise to purify our skin, detox our pores and leave us with squeaky clean skin, but often do very little more than dry like cement on our faces and grant us with a good selfie opportunity.
Having done the face mask rounds, here are three clay face masks that I’ve tried, tested, and actaully worked for me.
Note that I’d suggest applying all three only to your t-zone, or other areas prone to oiliness, to avoid dehydrating your skin.
Also, to stop things getting too messy and to avoid wasting product, I like to apply all face masks with a mask brush, you can pick these up in Penneys.
Alpha-H Balancing & Pore Refining Mask 100ml €34
Not your ordinary clay mask, cult favourite Alpha-H Balancing & Pore Refining Mask contains a variety of skin-loving ingredients that combine to keep spots at bay. Lavender soothes, White Clay battles blemishes, Zinc Oxide accelerates post-acne healing, and Jojoba Oil counteracts the drying effects of the clay.
Though I rarely pay heed to the recommended application time, this mask works quite actively on the skin and can leave it slightly red if left on longer than the recommended ten minutes. Overall, it smells divine, is easy to remove, leaves the skin tingling, and definitely has reduced breakouts.
L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox Face Mask (50ml) €11.49
Last year L’Oreal released a trio of clay masks designed for multi-masking. You can buy these in a set, with small samples of each, or separately in a 50ml jars. I picked up the trio and applied all three masks to different sections of my face.
At the time my chin had flared up with a few spots and after applying the dark grey clay mask, the others are burnt orange and pale mint, to this area and the rest of my t-zone twice over the course of a few days I noticed a considerable improvement. The spots that were currently inflamed died down and blemishes lurking under the skin disappeared.
Mineralize Reset & Revive Charcoal Mask (100ml) €30, available in-store at Brown Thomas.
Though not as well-known for its skincare as makeup, MAC is keeping up with the times, and with the exploding interest in skincare, and in January 2018 launched two new skincare products: Mineralize Charged Water Charcoal Spray and Mineralize Reset & Revive Charcoal Mask.
Part of their Mineralize range, which already boasts moisturisers, cleansers and a Volcanic Ash Exfoliator, on Instagram MAC senior artist Dominic Skinner describes the mask as “a proper – draws out all the crap in your skin – mask,” that leaves the skin “soft and awake,” and having tried it for ourselves we have to agree. Extra marks for the sparkly black packaging.