One of my abiding memories from childhood is going through my mum’s ‘toiletry drawer’ and caressing the various tubes and pots inside. The masks were always a source of fascination for me – Avon seemed to do, like most brands at the time, one for ‘dry’ skin, involving avocado or similar, and a lemon-scented one for ‘greasy’ skin, which you peeled off like Keanu Reeves emerging from his pod in the Matrix.
Thankfully, these days masks do more than either dry out or overload. I am a big fan of quick fixes that brighten, boost or soothe your skin – they’re perfect when you’ve not had much sleep (for wine or child related reasons), and they also give an extra radiance to your skin when you’re going out. Here are my current favourites.
REN’s Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (£33) is just lush. I love being told to apply a ‘generous amount’ of anything, but particularly when it smells of Opal Fruits and makes me glow like I’ve just snogged Joaquin Phoenix. It even comes with a little cloth to rinse it off.
Equally glow-inducing is Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask (£46), which smoothes and also targets unevenness, something of which I am not a fan. Now this is a real tingler, be warned. But there is no redness – just criminally soft cheeks and a “You look well” brightness about your complexion.
When I feel the need for a skin detox, I reach for Dr LeWinn’s Ultra R4 Recovery Masque (£41). This is clay-based, but nothing like the drying ‘mud’ masks of yesteryear. Instead it improves clarity, deep cleanses while boosting collagen and elastin into the bargain. A post-Shiraz essential.
Even normal skin like mine gets dehydrated – after a flight or in hot weather when I’m not drinking enough. I love the way that Aromatherapy Associates Rose Hydrating Face Mask (£34.50) plumps and restores without leaving a greasy film and making me break out. Smells like your mum’s front garden. In a good way.
Finally, one for the summer months: Jamela Lavender After Sun & Restoring Night Gel Face Mask (£17). Heaven forbid you should ever burn your face, but even if you felt you’d exposed it a bit too much, this is a wonderfully fragrant way to cool and calm it overnight.