Everyone has something good about facial masks. It is unknown why so many clients still do not include this simple application that can really help preserve and improve the integrity of the skin. It may be time-related, cost-related, trust-related, over-inundated with products-related, or a combination of so many negatives. Well, let us see if we can shed some light on some of these issues… and get all of us on the same page.
Let us start from the beginning – masks have been around for thousands of years in varying forms. Though our ancient predecessors did not have the same knowledge as we do today, they were pretty savvy in the beauty department. Masks can be traced back to ancient Egyptian and Asian societies. Back then, masks consisted of ingredients found purely in nature – clay, mud, fruits, and essential oils – and their purposes were much the same as our masks today… to improve the skin and help women look younger!
I will admit that I am the biggest skeptic when it comes to “promises of results.” I have had a crazy schedule with ongoing hope of some form of relief every year as I remain on full force; I care about how I spend my money, so I look for intelligent products and ingredients to deliver optimum results. So it makes it really easy for me to express the value I see in masking and why I overcame all possible negatives.
Types of Masks
Masks can come in varying forms from cream to oil, leave-on to peel-off. Each has their own benefits, depending on the results for which a client is looking.
Cream – Masks made with cream bases are recommended for people with dry or aging skin, as they are made to deliver a dose of instant hydration. Cream masks can range from light to heavy, depending on the amount of hydration they provide. Depending on the mask, it will instruct to remove the product after so many minutes or simply leave it and allow it to seep into the skin.
Mud or Clay – Best known for their detoxifying properties, mud and clay masks are also great for brightening and evening out skin tones. They are capable of penetrating deeper into the skin. As they dry up, impurities that have settled into the pores are naturally “squeezed out” of the pores. This also makes mud and clay masks a go-to for dealing with acne-prone skin and blackheads.
Oil – These types of masks are typically used for skin softening reasons or to replenish the skin with necessary vitamins or oils. Oil masks are most commonly applied warm and some skin professionals will massage the oils into the skin, allowing them easier penetration. There are many different oils that can be used for masks, but it is important to know which can be kept on the skin and which need to be removed. Heavier oils (such as olive oil) are comedogenic and should not be left on the skin too long, but lighter oils (such as jojoba oil) can be left on longer. The same care should also be given to the amount of oil used. As the old adage claims… Less is best!
Gel or Peel-off – Though technically two different masks, gel and peel-off masks have something in common: both can be used for a variety of purposes. Gel masks can take two forms – those that harden into a rubbery substance and are removed and those that stay moist and can either be rinsed off or left on for an overnight treatment. As for peel-off masks, they can be made from a range of ingredients, but all peel-off masks are removed by peeling them off the skin. Both these masks can be used for replenishing, detoxifying, tightening, and evening a client’s skin tone.
Purposes of Masks
Though there are seemingly unlimited purposes for masking various parts of the body, the most popular main functions of facial masks are to detoxify, replenish, and repair.
Detoxify – There is nothing like a good skin detoxification from daily makeup wear, from clients touching their skin all day with unsanitized hands, and from environmental impurities. Facial masks provide a deep cleanout! A client’s regular cleansing routine is not enough to really clean the pores. A simple detoxifying mask will penetrate deeper and remove any of those impurities, leaving the skin feeling clean and refreshed!
Moisturize and Hydrate – Cold weather, dry air conditions from natural surroundings, or electric and furnace heating, as well as frequent flying, are all serious culprits of a client’s dry skin problems. Dry skin can be hard to deal with and it leaves behind a flakiness that makes putting makeup on seem impossible. Hydrating masks are designed to deliver a surge of moisture for fast, hydrating results.
Replenish – As clients go about their daily lives, things such as sleep deprivation and stress can cause visible changes to the appearance of their skin. Masks are an easy way to deliver the skin the proper nutrients it needs. Efficiently replenishing your client’s skin with ingredients such as vitamins and essential oils can do wonders for perking it up.
Repair – Our society is completely fixated on youth and our beauty products and treatments reflect this. When it comes to anti-aging, there are a couple of things masks can do to help. As we get older, the skin loses its elasticity and one way to reverse or decrease these affects is by tightening the skin. Another way is to use masks that contain anti-aging ingredients such as collagen or hyaluronic acid.
As with everything put into and onto a client’s skin, it is important things to remind them which skin problem they want repaired. Although you cannot find much of anything listed for contraindications on masking, there are a few facts to consider.
Fact #1 – Detoxifying masks can increase dryness of skin, therefore, a client with dry skin should leave it on for less time and use a good moisturizing cream afterwards. It is always a nice effect is to keep massaging a moisturizer with warm, wet hands until it is completely absorbed.
Fact #2 – Some moisturizing masks contain powerful emollients designed to help very dry skin, but using these too often can end up clogging pores, leading to a whole other set of issues. Limit frequency.
Fact #3 – Peel-off masks can grip fine, vellus hair and yank on them as the mask is peeled off. It may even pull some out of the follicles. Either can cause irritation to the skin as it causes tension to the nerve endings from yanking the vellus hair that sits on the nerve endings. If this is ever the case, it is best to nix this type of mask.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So when in doubt, perform a patch test because no two people are the same and every client may react differently to ingredients. So before trying out a new mask, make sure you are aware of the ingredients it contains and whether or not the client’s skin can handle them. Masks can be easy and fun, so get masking!
A chief pioneer collecting many feathers in her cap, Lina Kennedy is the expert on professional sugaring who writes articles regularly for industry magazines in North America and Europe. As president of Alexandria Professional, one of her personal goals is to ensure that each professional trained in the art of body sugaring learns and understands the exceptional results they and their clients can achieve through The Kennedy Theory™ for sugaring and The Kennedy Technique Theory™.
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