Face masks for every skin concern
A turban-topped, cucumber-on-the-eyes affair still definitely has its place in our beauty routines, but a new generation of targeted face masks boasting supercharged formulas is also hitting shelves. Plant-powered and pinpoint-precise, they boldly claim to tackle myriad skincare issues. And while their liberal plastering across Instagram may induce fad-weary scepticism, the numbers speak for themselves.
In 2018, face mask sales in the beauty industry increased by 43% on the previous year, with the market valued at a staggering £10 million in 2019. And the rise in sheet-mask popularity isn’t the sole driving force – clay and mud-based face masks grew by 121%, proving we’re still invested in tried-and-tested methods. These are put to work in a variety of new products, with updates on active ingredients and even the application process. ‘There are many new and innovative masks hitting the market, from turmeric to charcoal to stem cell,’ says skincare expert and facialist Lisa Franklin. ‘But delivery systems are a hot topic at the moment.’ Here’s why this is good news for our beauty routines…
The problem: chapped lips
In winter, cold weather and central heating don’t just play havoc with our skin. Lips can suffer, too, resulting in a dry, cracked pout. ‘The skin around the lips is very thin and easily damaged,’ says Franklin, ‘so a lip mask loaded with nourishing ingredients to soften and hydrate ensures a perfect pout is maintained throughout the colder months.’
It’s true that while wearing one, you look a little bit like you have popped a huge bubble of gum on your face, but for those days when lip balm just won’t cut it, lip masks are a godsend. With the ability to plump, hydrate, moisturise and condition, they’re perfect before an event or as a primer before applying make-up.
‘Look for hyaluronic acid, which if present in high and low molecule weight, will aid both long- and short-term hydration,’ says Franklin. ‘Jojoba oil is a very effective ingredient for lips, too; it’s rich in nutrients including vitamins E and B, zinc, copper, selenium, chromium and iodine, all of which will help soothe and treat chapped lips.
The problem: dehydrated skin
‘Bio cellulose masks are produced by specific bacteria – these organisms are able to weave a fabric that can be harvested for cosmetic application,’ says Franklin. Disconcerted by the mere thought? Well, don’t be. According to her, these bacteria-born sheets ‘perform better than their paper counterparts, mainly because they adhere snugly to skin and don’t allow ingredients to evaporate’. One of their most beneficial properties is the ability to attract water, which locks moisture into the skin. ‘This enables a deeper penetration of key ingredients such as peptides, which stimulate collagen and elastin production,’ says Franklin.
The problem: tired eyes
Fake a solid eight hours with cooling under-eye patches, designed to combat dark circles, dehydration and fine lines all in one. ‘The skin under the eyes is thinner and contains fewer oil glands, which easily leads to dryness and wrinkles,’ says Franklin. ‘Under-eye face masks are an effective way to deliver serum when pampering pre-event.’ Her top tip? Pop them in the fridge for an hour before use. And if your upper eye is also an area of concern, you can swap the patches from under-eye to under-brow part-way through treatment. Key ingredients to look out for include boswellia serrata (frankincense) for its soothing properties, and jojoba oil for reducing dark circles. ‘An eye mask containing retinol is also an excellent way to deliver this powerful anti-ageing ally to such a delicate skin area,’ says Franklin.
The problem: a dull complexion
‘Two-in-one treatments are a great way to give yourself an at-home facial,’ says Franklin. Normally packaged as a mask to be used along with a scrub, microdermabrasion, or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) peel, these products offer spa-level luminosity and serious bang for your buck. ‘The exfoliant removes tired skin cells and improves the absorption of active ingredients in the following mask,’ says Franklin, ‘and a peel removes dead skin cells.’ Star ingredients include brighteners such as vitamin C and fruit enzymes for gentle exfoliation, followed by favourites hyaluronic acid and retinol which can penetrate further into the skin, impacting cell turnover and collagen and elastin production.