Looking to amp up your skin-care routine but don’t want to toss your tried-and-true standbys? Consider adding one of the latest complexion-boosting masks a few times a week for that Julianne Moore-worthy glow. What makes these new mega-treatments different from your mother’s mud masks? Think high-tech formulas and new application techniques.
Cloth and overnight masks have surged in popularity because of their massive appeal in Asian cultures, where multi-step skin care reigns supreme. Concentrated anti-oxidants, smoothing and clearing alpha hydroxy acids and ultrahydrating skin plumpers can all give spa-like results without the appointment or the price tag.
“Adding a mask to your routine is great because you can treat different skin conditions, such as seasonal dryness or breakouts on a weekly basis,” says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who has worked with Julianne Moore and Naomi Watts. Target problem areas by keeping an arsenal of masks on standby to help treat dry patches, acne and fine lines as they crop up – or even beforehand. “More and more formulas are designed to focus on skin at the cellular level. Instead of putting a Band-Aid on skin issues, I like to see clients try to strengthen their skin before damage occurs,” says Joanna.
If you have oily or combination skin and deal with regular blemishes, incorporate an exfoliating mask with ingredients such as glycolic or lactic acid, which can help clear skin congestion, banish blackheads and prevent acne.
“Repeated use will improve your skin’s texture, [fight] dullness and even target fine lines,” says Dr. Paul Cohen, a dermatologist at Toronto’s Rosedale Dermatology Centre. Formulas with charcoal or clay are also beneficial to those with a shiny T-zone to help “dry” the skin and draw out impurities. When your skin is feeling parched, apply an overnight hydrating mask that contains ingredients such as nourishing amino acids, plumping hyaluronic acid and anti-inflammatory adenosine and ginkgo biloba.
Signs of aging can be reduced with the regular use of masks applied to where skin tends be thinner and more prone to wrinkles, such as on the cheekbones and around the eyes. “Formulas with anti-oxidants will help prevent cell mutation, which is what lines and wrinkles really are,” says Joanna.
To help turn back the clock, look for labels that trumpet peptides and antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E and seaweed, which help stimulate collagen, prevent cell damage and reduce pigmentation.