I LOVE MASKS. They give the feeling of luxury, like being at a fancy spa, only you don’t have to go out or tip anybody. Now that fall is closing in, it’s a great time to find one to fine-tune your skin and pamper yourself a little bit.
I checked in with my favorite esthetician, the redoubtable Renée Rouleau, to discuss the role of masks in skincare and how to choose the right ones for your skin type. If you’re unsure – skin can change like the weather — refer to Renée’s handy skin typer.
GA: What are the most common skin problems as we move toward the end of summer and into fall?
RR: Hyper-pigmentation (discoloration and/or brown spots), breakouts and dry or tight skin.
GA: How can using masks, especially after exfoliating, help and make a difference in the health of skin?
RR: While not considered an essential in a basic and simple skin care routine, I do consider masks to be an important part of achieving healthy, beautiful skin. A mask treatment, while not quite like getting a professional facial, still certainly offers additional skin benefits above and beyond your basic skin care routine. Masks can vary from oil-absorbing clays to hydrating sheets and gels or moisturizing creams. Because everyone’s skin is unique, masks are not one size fits all. It is important that you use the right mask for your skin type.
GA: Which masks do you recommend for what skin issues?
RR: The general rule of thumb: A gel mask (like Renée Rouleau Bio Calm Repair Mask) is great for providing hydration; a clay-based mask works to absorb oils and tighten the skin; and cream-based masks contain moisturizing oils that help to deeply hydrate and plump up the skin.
Here’s how to do it:
Start by washing your face with lukewarm water. If you have a Clarisonic brush, use it along with Mario Badescu’s Glycolic Foaming Cleanser ($15), whose exfoliating acid works with the brush to break down build-up, dirt and oil and open the pores. Just make sure you don’t put either near your eyes.
Otherwise, wash your face with your regular cleanser and lightly towel dry, leaving skin very damp. Use an exfoliator that’s right for your skin type, rinse off and again lightly towel dry.
The reason we’re doing all that, incidentally, is to prime the canvas. You want completely clean skin and open pores in order to receive what the mask is going to deliver.
When they’re tired, puffy, and you spy dark circles, this is The Answer: Clarins Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask ($46).
Oily Skin, Pronounced Pores
Use these while it’s still hot out or anytime your face feels congested.
Awesome now, and awesome on through fall and winter.
Fresh Rose Face Mask ($58)
Skin That Feels Its Age and Doesn’t Want To
These are all about firming and brightening the skin and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
When you’re done, rinse (or peel) off the mask. Gently wipe off any residue with a dampened baby washcloth and then apply your skincare products. You should look – and feel – radiant.
Gigi Anders regularly writes about beauty for MyLittleBird.