Even for those of us who aren’t already elbow-deep in the world of skincare and beauty, the quarantine period (that’s now slowly lifting here in Australia) provided ample time to apply skin treatments (and dive into our bathroom cupboards to sample those products we haven’t had the chance to use yet).
If you’ve been keeping up with any online beauty editorial or social media, you’re bound to have seen at least 50 odd photographs of towel-engulfed bodies with some kind of mask slathered on their faces – I mean, video calls aside, if you’re working from home it’s the perfect opportunity to ‘pamper yourself’, right?
What’s interesting about face masks is that they pull together all sorts of symbolism about self-care, relaxation, spas, professional treatments and most of all – time. You’ll need at least 10-20 minutes for application, drying, rinsing and post-mask skincare, and all of this should feel unhurried – it’s a ritual as much as it is a benefit for our skin.
Which brings me to my next point – how good are masks for our skin? The reality is, too many masks on the market today (I’m looking at you, tingly-irritating mask in cute pot by a brand that sounds a bit like Damn,No!) include ingredients that, both on initial application and cumulatively, will wear down your skin.
If you’ve got oily skin, a clay mask once in a while isn’t a bad idea – it will draw up any excess oil, mattify your skin temporarily and make you feel like “all your pores are cleaned out!”. A clay mask, even for the oiliest of skin types, multiple times a week – not so good.
Your ‘radiance-boosting’ mask to combat dull skin might assist in the short term with some AHAs sloughing off some unwanted dead skin cells – but bring this into rotation on the regular, and you’re in for a bumpy ride. One of my favourite skin articles of late is by Jessica DeFino for Hello Giggles, talking about exactly how our dead skin is important to hold on to – linked here.
All of this simply to say: there is never a quick-fix when it comes to skin, and masks promise a boost in a neat package, but they rarely deliver what we expect. My favourite way to incorporate down time and skin healing and soothing is via an LED device – red and blue lights that interact with your skin and boost collagen, reduce bacteria and calm redness – all of this without needing to scrub, wipe, cleanse, dry and tingle.
If you’re finding “quarantine-skin” has hit you hard and you’re experiencing breakouts or inflammation – sometimes the best thing you can do for your skin is nothing at all, and this is by far the cheapest skin treatment you’ll ever come across.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!