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Currently in my collection I have Philosophy’s Hope Springs Eternal, Mario Badescu’s Healing and Soothing Mask and, my total favorite, Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty. Love them all but MOM is truly awesome!

I am fond of masques. Some of my tried and true favorites are Borghese Fango (the classic green one), and also like their other more hydrating versions, when I am feeling dry, in the winter season.Dermalogica’s Age smart line, has a fantastic hydrating masque I couldnt live without.Perfect pre- party makeup pick me up! I also like drug store brands such as Freeman, and Queen Helene, for the classic clay masque varieties they offer.

i used to use the alot of lush face masks, but now i find whisking egg white and applying it to my face works great. i also love using queen helenes mint julep mask as well

Sometimes I would treat myself to homemade peaches and cream, chocolate yogurt and honey mask, or a strawberries and yogurt mask after a stressful week of school. I don’t need it much though since I’m still a teen.

I like The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask, Origins Clear Improvement and Drink Up, Murad Exfoliating Fruit Enzyme Mask and Clarifying Mask, and Philosophy The Oxygen Peel. I have so many and I often forget to use them.

I love using asian sheet masks by My Beauty Diary and Etude House. They work a treat, especially when scaring the family!

I love Lush…and most of their face masks as well. My fave mask would be the Love Lettuce, but Oatifix and Cosmetic Catastrophe are high up there as well ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m using My Beauty Diaries and Beauty Diaries. I checked the package and I just couldn’t find the brands’ English names. So I just translated them directly. They are Taiwan and Japanese brands. I doubt if they sell them in states. I don’t think they actually made a significant difference on my skin though. Except the acne-control by Beauty Diaries, which is green in packaging. I didn’t break out while I was supposed to when I wore it. But the effect doesn’t last long, a day or two, the break out still comes back.
Christine, what should I looking for after I wore masks? My skin just looks more hydrated for a teeny tiny bit if I wear a hydrating mask. And if I wear a whitening mask, my skin is actually whitened but only for a couple of hours. Is this normal? Or maybe I should switch a brand.
I’m asian and my skin is combo. oily on the T-zone, normal on the rest. Do you have any budget recommendations?

Profile photo of Christine

Some masks really only generate short-term results – exfoliating masks tend to be the ones with longer-term benefits. I use Lush’s masks, which are budget-friendly, but those are primarily short-term results. If you have acne, they’re good for that, too, in my experience.

Would you think it’s too much if I exfoliate twice or 3 times a week since I’m 16?
I checked out the Lush, they only have Fresh Face Masks in Hong Kong.

Hmm…don’t think I’m a fan of masks. Here’s why: with the exception of in-office chemical peels, masks in general are just fluff products that are definitely not necessary.

Hydrating masks typically contain a lot of emollients that work basically like very heavy moisturizers, which means that the longer a moisturizing/hydrating mask stays on your skin, the more beneficial it will be to your skin. In fact, most of these types of masks are best left overnight in order to enhance efficacy. Hmm… what does that sound like? Let me guess, a moisturizer! Haha. If you are a person that claims that you have to use a hydrating mask to keep your skin moisturized (for our purposes here, moisturizing=hydrating), that means that you’re daily facial moisturizer is not emollient enough. You can remedy this by either finding a more emollient moisturizer, or using your current moisturizer and adding a non-fragrant oil that provides moisture like olive oil, which is an excellent source of essential fatty acids like linoleic and palmitic acids. It is also a good anti-inflammatory properties. Some other people will also claim that masks are miracle workers that completely transform their skins. That claim, in a hutshell, is typically impossible. This is because most people who use masks use them maybe once a week, or every other week. Even if the frequency of occurrence is higher, the cumulative time that’s it’s on the skin is still dramatically less than that of a moisturizer. What I’m trying to say is that, what you do day to day with your regular regimen, will have a much larger impact than something (like a mask) that you slap on once a week for an hour or overnight.

Now balancing masks, like clay masks, carry slightly more importance than hydrating masks because balancing masks can help dislogde blackheads more quickly than using salicylic acid alone. However, consistent use of salicylic acid will net similar results.

Ultimately, masks are nice and can be very relaxing in a spa setting, but other than chemical peels, will not generate significantly transforming results for the skin. What you do on a daily basis is what will most greatly determine the condition of your skin.

Finally, if you still feel that you still need a certain mask(s) in your routine, evaluate them like any skincare product. This means that a good mask needs to have proven ingredients that give moisture or balance the skin and be without any irritants.

I’m not going to review each mentioned mask because like I said, they are not essential at all. However, any specific questions about certain ingredients or general questions about masks that I have not already addressed, will be answered as promptly as possible. ;]

Hi John! I believe I read a comment from you regarding essential oils and irritation, but I can’t find that comment now so I hope you can tell me more about that. I think you mentioned that lavender oil has negative effects on skin…how about other essential oils? Should I avoid them completely?

I’ve been looking at ingredient lists and have also noticed ingredients like “orange water” or “lavender water”. Are those just essential oils mixed with water? Should they be avoided as well?

Lastly, what do you think of natural(ish) products, things with plant extracts and such? What common “natural” ingredients are actually irritating or bad for the skin? (I was totally surprised that essential oils are bad!)

Thank you so much!

Yes Angie, I tend to avoid essential oils completely. Essential oils by definition are volatile aromatic compounds. Volatility, chemically-speaking, refers to the tendency that a substance will vaporize. Volatile compounds have very high vapor pressures, which means they will vaporize rapidly. Why is this important? Two reasons. One, because these substances turn from liquid to gas states very quickly, they are damaging to the skin. Remember, gas molecules move significantly faster than liquid molecules and therefore generate much more energy. This energy translates to increased irritation for the skin, which can translate to slower skin healing times, and ultimately a loss of net collagen. Two, essential oils have to be distilled into an appropriate solvent, which is usually ethanol, a very drying type of alcohol. This alcohol will further dry your skin out and cause irritation, which again like I said above, is not good for your skin. Not to mention each individual essential oil has its own unique properties that can damage the skin. For example, grapefruit peel contains an organic class of chemicals called furocoumarins that causes phytophotodermatitis, which in vernacular speech, is the inflammation (itis) of the skin (derma) when exposured to said plant (phyto) and sunlight (photo). For our purposes, inflammation=irritation=loss of collagen. So yes, I would recommend that you avoid all essential oils as well.

There are other aspects I’d like to address about the potential benefits of essential oils that proponents of them would certainly bring up, but I’m trying to keep this as short as possible. If you would like to see them, just let me know.

Now, orange water or lavender water is actually the fragrant plant extract in a solution of mostly alcohol and a tiny bit of water. So yes, avoid these as well. They’re kind of like weak perfumes.

Finally, there are amazing natural ingredients out there, like pomegranate and grape extracts, and many other. I mean there are a TON of them. However, there are many bad ones too like menthol, camphor, lavender, etc… A natural product is not necessarily better than a synthetic one. I mean french fries are completely natural, but does that mean that they are healthy and nutritious to the body? Absolutely not. What’s important is to see what kind of research is behind any given product/ingredient.

And you’re so very welcome!

Thanks again! I feel guilty asking more from you, but I would be so grateful if you could spare some time for me again as I value your opinion.

What do you think about parabens, John? Some of my paraben-free products use essential oil(s) as preservatives, and since I’m going to avoid them now, I don’t know what safe preservatives remain.

I feel pretty stupid asking this, but is “orange extract” the same as orange essential oil? Should I avoid orange no matter how it’s listed on the ingredient list? There are so many names for the same ingredient sometimes, it can be tricky!

Yes, there are some beneficial uses for essential oils, namely as insect repellant! Did you know that many insects dislike the smell and taste of lavender oil (among others)? If you sprinkle it in bug-infested places, they are likely to leave. I’m not sure how safe it is to breathe in a room that has lavender (or other) essential oil sprinkled all over it, but I think a little in dark corners should be fine.

Thanks for your time; you’re so patient, generous, and helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course you are so welcome again! Don’t ever feel guilty about asking me for help. That’s the only reason why I’m here. Now, I actually made a response to someone about parabens recently. I’m just going to copy and paste what I said.

Parabans are definitely not scary at all, or damaging. The skincare industry just tries to scare you through falsified data. Hereโ€™s is a link to a pretty conclusive (10-part) reivew of parabens. I will list the intro link, and you can go to the next parts by searching for them using the websiteโ€™s search bar.

http://www.personalcaretruth.com/2010/11/parabens-in-perspective-an-introduction/

Note: I do not take any credit for any part of this collection of articles.

As to your question about orange extracts… well they are not always the same actual ingredient. This is because there are no regulations regarding details this specific. My advice is to just avoid products with anything orange in the ingredient list because there is no substantiated research saying that any part of any species of oranges, when applied topically, have great benefits that are exclusive or at least are hard to find with other ingredients.

Finally, I don’t know if insects dislike lavender oil, and of course that begs that question, what specific insects don’t like it… and what research shows this to be true. But anyways, I’m just concerned with lavender oil when applied topically to the skin. Maybe there are adverse effects when lavender oil is inhaled, but perhaps the effects are so low as to be negligible. Of course, this is all speculation. And certainly if this lavender spray works for you as an insect repellant, don’t stop using it because it will improve your quality of life. Kind of like how fragrances do slightly hurt our bodies because of the high alcohol content and essential oils used, but we’re not going to stop spraying perfumes or colognes on ourselves just because of that. It’s all about balancing the pros and the cons, and avoid the cons when it’s possible, desirable, and practical.

I used to use Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask but I haven’t used it in a while so right now I’m using DDF’s Sulfur Therapeutic Mask. And every so often I scrub with MAC’s Volcanic Ash Exfoliator.

Same here. Im using Lush Oatifix and it smells so good I wanna eat it. The smell totally makes me happy so I use it when I’m feeling down.

I use (and adore) Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. My skin feels awesome after I use it!

I just can’t get into using masks, anything that has to be removed. I like to put something on and get on with what I need to do. With that said if I where to do one it would be the aspirin mask.

I use Queen Helen’s Mint Julep mask, Pangea Organics’ Japanese Matcha Tea with Acai & Goji Berry Facial Mask, AHAVA’s purifying mud mask and variety of Asian masks.

Right now I am using LUSH Dark Angels scrub/mask followed by Dior HydrAction hydrating masque. Such soft clear results from this combo!

I have been using the DDF Sulfur mask. Great for my oily, acne/blemish-prone skin. Mostly I mix up my own facial masks. I have made my own versions of Lush Cosmetic Warrior and Cupcake and really liked them.

I use full fat plain greek yogurt a couple times a week. Feels wonderful cold from the fridge and my skin is SO soft and smooth after I rinse it off. Much cheaper than regular masks, too. ๐Ÿ˜€

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