Friday, 25 July 2014 09:18

The Multiple Benefits of Masks

Written by   Alice Pichery

For centuries, muds, clays, milks, seaweed, and herbs have been used by Roman, Egyptian, and Asian civilizations as masks to maintain the beauty of the skin, treat its specific concerns, and protect it. The development of modern cosmetics incorporating the latest technology and scientific research has led to incredibly sensorial and effective facial treatment masks to deliver an infusion of active ingredients to the skin.

The application of facial masks provides the maximum opportunity for absorption of active ingredients within a facial treatment.
The beauty of masks is that they can address pretty much any concern of any skin type: hydration, nutrition, aging, enlarged pores, and so on… and provide immediate results.
In the retail sector, several mask options are available to satisfy any consumer’s needs:

  • Creamy/gel masks. Generally hydrating, nourishing, anti-aging, soothing. They will be left on the skin for approximately 15 minutes or can often be left on overnight. 
  • Absorbent masks. Commonly used for oily skin and local imperfections. Usually clay-based, of a thicker consistency, they need to be allowed to dry on the skin to absorb excess oil, sebum and impurities and clarify the pores. For a clear, matte, and purified complexion, these masks have to be rinsed off and should obviously be avoided on dry, sensitive skin. 
  • Peel-off masks. Primarily their action is to cleanse the skin, improve the appearance of pores and remove dead cells and deep impurities. Peel-off masks form a film that dries on the skin and is then lifted off like a “second skin,” taking with it excess oil and dead cells. They often contain alcohol to allow the formation of the film on the skin and can, therefore, be dehydrating. 
  • Deep-cleansing masks. They will sometimes be self-heating to improve the purifying/detoxifying action and can be two-in-one scrub masks, with exfoliating particles and then left on to provide a deep-cleansing. They sometimes contain alpha or beta hydroxyl acids to improve the resurfacing/deep-cleansing action. 

Although end consumers often seem challenged integrating a mask in their home care beauty routine, they would not imagine receiving a facial without a professional finishing mask. Why? Because the mask is the wow-factor in the facial. Exclusive, professional masks are an added value to a facial treatment as they give intensive and immediate results, the type of spectacular result that the consumer cannot achieve at home but can maintain with a retail equivalent. To increase customer loyalty and ensure the customers return, this is a perfect example of why it is important for the spa to offer a variety of facial treatments with differentiating professional masks to achieve these results.
The professional skin care industry offers plenty of options for professional masks to aestheticians:

  • Collagen sheet. Any skin type can benefit, particularly mature and dehydrated skin. Instantly firms and lifts the skin, deeply hydrates. The application can be sometimes challenging; they are also available under the form of a collagen peel-off mask that is easier and quicker to apply.
  • Peel-off/rubberized masks. For all skin types. Their virtue: to favor the penetration of previous ingredients/products applied under mask. Aestheticians favor them as they are easy to apply and offer quick and immediate removal; if well applied, the peel-off mask does not leave any residue on the skin. The skin typically absorbs the product that was applied before the mask; therefore, a simple skin toning is all that is required to refresh the skin and apply the end of treatment products. 
  • Gel masks. Very refreshing. Because they are oil-free, they can be used safely on all skin types. They are generally deeply hydrating and firming. Their texture makes them perfect to use in combination with equipment: microcurrent, ultrasound, high frequency to ensure a penetration of the active ingredients in the deeper layers of the skin. 
  • Thermic/wax/paraffin masks. The goal is to warm the skin tissues and create vasodilatation, stimulate microcirculation and open the pores, to enhance the penetration of active ingredients of the mask and/or products previously applied and enable the skin to eliminate its toxins and impurities. They are usually applied over protective gauze, easing the removal of the mask. This type of mask should be avoided, though, on sensitive skin and broken capillaries; also guests suffering from claustrophobia. 

Other original textures were developed specifically by skin care companies to offer original alternatives and unique textures such as foamy/effervescent masks, gradually color-changing masks.
During the mask application in a facial treatment, it is important not to leave the guest in the treatment room – make this an occasion to enhance your customer’s experience with a hand and arm or scalp massage. It also leaves time for you to fill out the prescription form and select the products you wish to recommend at the end of treatment.

Home Care
As skin care professionals, we all know how incredibly beneficial masks are for our customers, yet retailing masks for home care use brings challenges and they are often items that sit on the shelf. Before using the customer as an excuse, stating that they are not willing to buy a mask to use at home, let us review our skill set in regards to recommending retail products.
To start, do you recommend a skin care regimen to every customer? This is the first step of a successful sale. Each spa treatment performed should be followed with a comprehensive at-home regimen recommendation. Masks are an integral part of this skin care regimen.
Ensure you recommend a full regimen with cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, and mask. They probably will not buy into the full regimen initially, but this will increase the potential quantity of items sold (recommend two, they will buy one; recommend three, they will buy two).
Link the product recommendations to allow you to explain the benefits of using a mask at home – for example, customers who love to exfoliate and peel their skin regularly, link to an intensive hydration mask, explaining how the benefits can enhance the results of the exfoliation and peel, leaving the skin fresh and revitalized.
Education is essential. As skin care professionals, it is our goal to educate our customers on the importance of a skin care regimen. Make sure that you and your staff are well trained and understand the benefits of retail masks; look to your vendor’s educational and sales classes.
Use samples wisely. They are not a reward with purchase – do not give a sample of the cleanser/serum/cream they just bought. See it more as an opportunity to have them discover a mask that they can try at home to complement this purchase. And once they discover the great results and improvement from just one application, they will return to the spa wanting to discover more.


The great thing about masks? They are quick and easy to use and for a price which is a lot more accessible than a serum or moisturizer, they deliver immediate and spectacular results. Your customers come to you as you are the expert, so gain more confidence; do not be afraid to recommend and share your knowledge and little tips with them: Use hydrating/nourishing masks on the tips of the hair before flying or after sun exposure; an absorbent mask can be left overnight on a local breakout, while leaving on their deep conditioning hair mask, and why not use a facial mask? Allowing the customer to see the multiple benefits of a mask, they are more likely to incorporate it in their beauty routine.

Alice-Pichery 2014Alice Pichery serves as a national trainer for Sothys since November 2012. She previously worked as a training assistant for L’Occitane en Provence in Paris as well as a spa therapist for various spas in France and Australia. She graduated from a French Spa Management and Spa Therapist Training Program and has taken many courses in teaching and demonstrations. As a National Trainer for Sothys, Pichery promotes Sothys products and treatments through education, product knowledge, hands on technique and retail sales.

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