I love face masks. Applying a face mask feels ritualistic, and wonderfully healing and restorative - a once-a-week chance to do my skin some special good. Marketeers jump on this bandwagon because it's great for sales, because what self-loving woman wouldn't want to quench her skin's thirst? Or to "bio-repair" and rejuvenate her skin? But so long as you're able to take any and all of these claims with a big pinch of salt, face masks and any other of sort of weekly treatments can be fun and still do your skin some good. Personally, I use face masks twice a week and for me they're very much connected with self-love and taking time away from my everyday worries. I apply my face masks whilst I run a bath, or at the end of the day before I go to bed. When I pick them up I know I'm about to take a moment to pamper myself in a way that I enjoy, and all of my favourite face masks do something wonderful for my skin.
My classic go-to face mask, which I've been repurchasing for years, is Antipodes' Aura Manuka Honey Mask (RRP £21.99). For me it is a great all-rounder; I find that it gently cleanses and refreshes my skin, leaving it looking brighter and clearer. I apply quite a thick layer of product and then I massage it in with my fingers, really working it into my skin so it emulsifies. I then leave it on my face for twenty minutes to half an hour, before rinsing it off with warm water. If I'm ever worried about my skin's sensitivity or I've got spots then this is the face mask that I normally reach for as it's gentle by still effective. It doesn't dry down like traditional clay masks so it's easy to remove and it doesn't leave skin feeling tight. Honestly, this is probably my favourite mask in this line-up.
On the days when my skin is a little on the oily side, or when I'm cursed with more than just a couple of blemishes, that's when I'll reach for Origins' Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay (RRP £24.00). I'm a really big fan of rose clay face masks (for anyone in Europe, I'd highly recommend the one that Cattier make) as this type of clay feels a little more gentle on the skin, but still offers all the same skincare benefits. This Origins mask marries together exfoliation, thanks to tiny exfoliating particles, with cleansing and mattifying properties. After use my skin feels smoother and more even in texture, and I think that it helps to more quickly reduce the size of blemishes. For me, this isn't the perfect face mask but I like how it works for my sensitive and combination skin.
If your skin is more on the dry side then Origins' Drink-Up Intensive Overnight Mask (RRP £24.00/100ml) is worth your consideration. This face mask has a thick creamy texture with a fresh and fruity scent. I apply this pretty liberally to my face before bed and then when I wake up I find that my complexion is smoother and brighter thanks to the mask's dose of hydration. This is another product that I've been repurchasing for years and I am an ardent fan. However, as I've gone on to try more and more skincare I have found that this mask could really be used as a regular moisturiser if you wanted to use it in that way. Origins' Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask isn't really a super "treatment" for the skin and is rather just a very effective intensive moisturiser.
I think it's worth noting that all three of my Peter Thomas Roth face masks have made it into my list of favourites. Last year, I recieved Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Mask (RRP £30.00) as a gift and I absolutely fell in love with it. This mask is super-effective at exfoliating your skin and brightening your complexion. It contains both manual exfoliating particles and exfoliating enzymes, which come together to created an intensive skin resurfacing treatment. Of all the face masks on my list, this is the one that best lives up to the promises that it makes on the packaging and I would repurchase it in a heartbeat.
Based on my positive everperience with the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, I went on to purchase Peter Thomas Roth's Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask (RRP £29.95). I was seriously intrigued by its claims and rose products are supposed to be good for skin that is prone to redness, like mine. However, although I enjoy using this face mask, I don't think that it has lived up to my high expectations. I find that this mask is a fantastic to use as a sort of serum before applying another more hydrating mask or moisturiser. I apply it to my skin quite thickly and massage it, it absorbs quickly and leaves my skin with a pleasant texture. It doesn't "do" as much as the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, but it feels cooling and soothing and I do think it helps to calm the redness that I sometimes get in my cheeks. I think that some people, especially those expecting the same results as the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, might be disappointed with this product. Yet, if you're willing to accept that this is a very different sort of mask with less visible immediate results then I still think that there's a lot to enjoy. Personally, I will definitely be repurchasing this as I enjoy its texture, scent and results.
Many of my comment about the Rose Stem Cell Mask also apply to Peter Thomas Roth's Cucumber Gel Mask (RRP £30.25). This is another gel formulation mask that abosrbs into the skin really quickly, and feels incredibly soothing to use. I've actually taken to leaving this in my fridge, to emphasise the mask's soothing properties, and it's the perfect product to use under ther eyes after a restless or late night. The Cucumber Gel Mask isn't nourishing in the same way as the Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask, instead it offers a light dose of hydration with a calming effect on the skin. It's actually perfect for use after the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask, as the exfoliating properties of that mask can leave my skin looking red.
I have quite a face mask collection and these six products are the ones I reach for on a regular basis. I find that I'm not really missing anything at the moment, and my skin is generally unproblematic and pretty predicatable - so something is clearly working! If you'd like an insight into the everyday skincare routine that I follow alongside the use of these masks then you should check out my simple winter skincare blog post.