Masks are so often forgotten or completely left out of our routine, mainly because it can all be just too tiresome or difficult. Most of the time masks have been sold with so many rules about how they should be used that it just does not get done. To make it easy masks do not have to be done ‘once a week’ or ‘immediately after exfoliating’. If you exfoliate regularly then masking at any time is perfectly fine. In saying this, if you want to give yourself a mini facial at home then it is highly recommended to do one after the other but you do not have to do so. Think of masks as a tool to compensate for the undesirable things that happen to your skin occasionally due to lifestyle and environment. Your moisturising and cleansing routine look after your skin type and its condition on a day-to-day basis. Masks are for those occasions that our skin misbehaves because of the lives we lead.
Everyone should have two types of masks (sensitive skins can be an exception): a ‘giving mask’ and a ‘taking mask’—in other words a mask that adds hydration or nutrients etc. and a mask that has a cleansing action. When your skin feels dehydrated, tired, dull, tight etc. because you are short on sleep, have had diet changes, been to too many parties, worked long hours, been exposed to strong air-conditioning, been ill etc., it is time to use a ‘giving mask’. When your skin feels thick, congested, blackhead-ridden, heavy, broken out etc., perhaps due to issues such as illness, diet, heat and travel, this is the time to use a ‘taking mask’. The idea is to be responsive to your skin’s condition, rather than just masking out of routine. Compensating for occasional skin conditions will give you a happier, healthier skin every day. If you mask when you need it, not because you think you should, you will be amazed at how easily you will find the time.
The number one consumer objection to masking is, ‘I do not have the time’. We all have busy lifestyles with pressure placed on our time constantly. It does not matter if you have children or are single; there is always something to occupy your time. We tend to dedicate time to things we want to do or have decided are important. Finding time to mask is not so much about getting your diary out, as it is with making it a higher priority in your life. The first tip is to recognise when you need a mask and to just do it. Then make it easy to do, a time to multi-task. ‘Giving’ masks can be put on while shampooing and conditioning hair. The steam in the shower will be attracted into the skin by the humectants in the mask. Masking can be done when you get home from a busy day and walk around the house. Put it on when watching TV or reading, you can even cook with a mask on. If that is all still too difficult, look for a mask that can be left on the skin and go to bed with it on. A lot of people’s perception regarding masking is that you have to lie down for 20 minutes for them to work. The truth is it’s nice if you can do that, however if multi-tasking makes masking more do-able then let’s do it. To mask a little is better than not to mask at all. Skincare should fit into your lifestyle not dictate it.
Some people (they are a minority) love the routine of masking once a week. Generally they have a particular day and they have their routine. If only we all could be so dedicated. You don’t need to lose that routine, just be aware that your skin may need help during the rest of the week. You’ll need to check which style of mask you need to use each time, it is very rare that anyone needs to use the same mask every week.
Masking is about being proactive to your skin’s needs to help it cope with our demanding lifestyles!