Thursday, January 17, 2013

Masquerade: My Favorite Masks for Dry, "Slightly Sensitive" Skin

Though moisturizing masks are often a no brainer for me, I have to spend a bit more time considering what masks I'll use with the intent of improving things like brightness, skin tone, spots and pigmentation issues etc. As I've explained before I do consider myself quite blessed where skin is concerned. Despite being prone to eczema and infrequent psoriasis, I've grown out of many of the facial skin sensitivity issues that plagued me as a child and teenager. Nevertheless, the challenges I do face with my skin can make masks a bit of a challenge. If any given product is too strong my face definitely does not take kindly to what I've done to myself and it can often take days or weeks to recover.

Over the past few years I've done a bit of experimentation with skin care which has led to some exciting new discoveries as well as a better understanding of how to approach new "heavy duty" products such as masks. To begin with, I always, always, always apply a test patch of a mask to a small area on my neck before slathering the product hither and yon. If that area reacts poorly you can bet I will certainly not be using the product on my entire face. This brings me to another point: when possible I do my best to get a sample. Masks can be expensive and often times cosmetics in general are difficult to return. Particularly where skin care is concerned I push for sample packets or tubs and make sure I'm completely comfortable with a product before I purchase and start to incorporate it into my regular routine.

Thankfully the strict audition each mask has to pass has lead to some truly wonderful skin care, the likes of which I'd like to show you.

(Left to right): Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask, Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque, Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque, REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief, Chantecaille Masque à l'Argile au Miel et au Romarin

Moisture and General "Pick Me Up" Masks

I'm sure that everyone and their mother is familiar with the much buzzed about Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask. Though I have a mind to try the Drink Up Intensive Mask next, the ten minute incarnation is a speedier version delivering the same intense hydration. This mask does one thing and it does it well: moisture. When my skin is parched this is the first thing I turn to and in ten to fifteen minutes my skin is plump, soft and feels incredibly hydrated.

For a more soothing version of the same hydration I turn to another Origins blockbuster, Dr. Andrew Weil's Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Mask. I purchased this gem after reading a wonderful post on My Lucite Dreams. As a consequence of the harsh winter weather coupled with my disposition to struggle with eczema I experience quite a lot of redness at this time of year. The Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Mask reduces redness, soothes sensitivity and moisturizes my face all in one go. I've been using this mask twice weekly for about a month and I've simply fallen in love.

I turn to Dermalogica's Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque when I need a little boost. I've had this mask for roughly six months and it's been a lifesaver when my skin is feeling dry, dull or just stressed. This past October I spent quite a lot of time at work feeling very anxious: unfortunately this anxiety often impacts the appearance of my skin. Dermalogica's mask is antioxidant rich and packed with botanicals that soothe stressed out skin.

(Left to right): Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask, Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief, Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque

Radiance Boosters and Congestion Relief Masks

Aesop's Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque and Chantecaille's Masque à l'Argile au Miel et au Romarin serve essentially the same purpose for me. Though the Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque is a bit more harsh on my picky skin, both really clear out my skin, reduce the appearance of pores (which I don't struggle with too much thanks to my dryness) and eliminate the feeling of congestion. I essentially view masks like this in the same way I do clarifying shampoo: every now and then even dry skinned girls need to clean shop and reduce product buildup!

REN is an absolutely incredible skin care brand that I'm thankful I discovered in 2012. The brand's Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask is the only "chemical peel" that my skin will tolerate. Above all else I turn to this mask when my skin is simply looking and feeling dull. REN's incredibly effective mask leaves my skin feeling soft, radiant and very healthy! Best of all? I don't react negatively to the product and it smells of orange marmalade.

(Left to right): Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque, REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, Chantecaille Masque à l'Argile au Miel et au Romarin

Masks can be an incredibly helpful tool to improve the overall appearance and health of skin. For me one of the most rewarding aspects of discovering new and varied masks is learning about how to use them and what they can do for my specific skin type. I rotate masks and corresponding skin care items carefully and carefully consider the special "cocktail" of products and ingredients I'm feeding my skin. All this can be a bit complicated for a non scientifically inclined literature lover like myself, which is why the added knowledge I gain with each mask is particularly valuable!

What are your favorite masks? Do you have any must have masks that you would recommend for dry and "slightly sensitive" skin?