Skincare 101

Unmasking Masks

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Quick Advice

Masks aren't just for selfies and relaxation. They can help you achieve next-level skin and balance out the weather or stress climate you're in.

When it comes to the products you choose for your skincare routine, daily essentials like a cleanser, moisturizer, and sun protection should keep your true skin type in its healthiest base state. 

Other products like serums and masks help you target specific concerns like evening out skin tone or texture, drawing impurities out of your pores, or replenishing your skin’s hydration and nutrients.

A great mask can deliver results after just one use and using the right mask or combination of masks as a consistent part of your routine can help take you to the next level achieving your skin goals.

A weekly masking ritual can be pure fun, or an essential part of your skincare routine, especially if high pollution, stress, regular travel or exercise are part of your life. Anyone can find masking particularly beneficial at season’s change as well, as these power tools can help skin transition gracefully from warm to cool weather or vice versa.

Where to start?

The two basic masks that every city dweller should have in the medicine cabinet are one that replenishes hydration, calms, soothes, and feeds the skin nutrients, and one that helps to detoxify the skin and pull impurities out of the pores. Hydrating, soothing masks tend not to dry out the skin (one would hope), while purifying masks sometimes can, so the balance is important.

Hydrating masks are often overlooked as a critical tool for oily and acneic skin types. Well-hydrated skin actually produces less oil and hydration is half the battle to beating breakouts. A hydrating mask is a great way to give your skin a deep drink of the calming moisture it needs to get clear without weighing it down or clogging pores with too heavy of a daily moisturizer. 

Purifying masks generally feature clays or charcoal, which draw excess oil and impurities out of the skin. It’s important to be mindful when you reach for a clay or charcoal mask, because a purifying mask can also pull vital moisture out of skin that’s already struggling with dehydration. If your skin is depleted or very dehydrated, reach for hydrating masks rather than these, no matter how appealing purification sounds. 

Are there others? Yes, definitely. (In fact, some exfoliants that are kept on for a period of time... like a mask... are called masks.) For the sake of today, we're keeping it simpler.

How often and when

Masking is best as a weekly ritual, but depending on your skin and the specific mask, some can be used multiple times a week. Your Skin Therapist can help you navigate which mask(s) to start or what mask ritual is best for your skin this season, and how often to use.

When masking, start with cleansed, gently exfoliated skin. You want to remove dead cells built up on the surface of the skin so that your mask is able to penetrate the skin properly and deliver results.

How to fit a masking ritual into your routine

Decide on a time: Like any new habit you want to conquer, it’s important to put it onto your schedule. Choose a day of the week. Think about when you usually try to take a little downtime in the week or tend to be home. Will a mask be part of your Sunday morning milling around the house? Can it be a self-care skin and mood boost on Wednesday nights, when you’re halfway through your week and don’t usually go out? Pick a time. Maybe Google Calendar invite yourself. Just a suggestion.

Multitask: What to do while your mask is on? Anything! Just set a timer to make sure you don’t leave it in longer than directed, and do you about your business just as you would normally. You can mask while you clean (or is it clean while you mask?), you can Netflix, you can catch up on emails.... If you’re like many New Yorkers, you can put on a mask to give to yourself while you give your employer that extra hour of work from home. ;-)

Share. If the mask works for your better half's skin type, then by all means, make it a duo act. Selfie definitely optional.

Some of our favorite mask picks are to the right, or available on our online shop here

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