Multi-masking: What is it and why bother?
Once upon a time, standard masking practice meant smoothing a generic cream or gel formula over your face one evening a week, letting it soak in, and then scrubbing it off. But times have changed. Now, there are more masks available than ever, each with a unique blend of concentrated ingredients that are better at treating specific skin concerns such as dullness, blemishes, dehydration, congested skin or fine lines.
“Skin care isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for women,” says Pia Ghosh, L’Oréal Paris senior brand manager for skin care. “Especially in Canada, there are different seasons and a smorgasbord of ethnicities. Multi-masking is really cool because it allows you to create a customized solution to address your specific skin needs, area by area.” For best results, women are applying two or more masks to different areas to target competing concerns – for example, dry cheeks and an oily T-zone.
How to prep your skin
To allow for optimum penetration of the masks, remove all makeup and cleanse skin using lukewarm water to soften up the pores, says Ghosh. Next, exfoliate. “If you have a lot of dead skin on the surface of your face, it’s not going to allow the mask to penetrate fully,” says Shana McChesney, a regional trainer at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas Canada. She suggests choosing a chemical exfoliator, which uses natural acids to remove buildup on the face. “If you want to combat oily skin, then I suggest a salicylic acid exfoliator. If you have dry or sensitive skin, then try lactic acid. And if you’re looking for anti-aging benefits, use glycolic acid.” Some exfoliators use a mix of these ingredients.
Mask combo 1: For combination oily/dry skin
If you find that your skin seems to be oily in your T-zone and dry or flaky on your cheeks, look for a purifying or mattifying clay mask and pair it with a cream or gel mask that targets hydration. Apply a thin layer of each mask in the areas needing treatment (e.g. Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask on T-zone and Vichy Quenching Mineral Mask on the rest of the face) and don’t forget your neck! “A lot of women tend to leave their neck area out when masking, and the neck is usually the first to show signs of aging because the skin is thin,” says McChesney. If you’re using an anti-aging mask or one for soothing or hydration, apply it to your neck and décolletage as well.
Follow the directions when it comes to amount of time the masks should sit. “If the instructions say to leave a mask on for five minutes, don’t go over that time thinking you’ll get more from the mask,” says Mara Vezeau, Vichy Canada integrated communications and medical relations leader. “You may end up doing more harm than good. For example, clay masks aren’t meant to dry hard on the skin, as this can cause them to dehydrate your complexion.”