A good daily cleanser and moisturiser should keep your skin in good condition. But unfortunately your skin becomes lazy and gets too used to your regular routine. A good weekly mask treatment will give your sluggish complexion an invigorating boost. And the results are instant and dramatic. Masks are the most effective and economical way to build and maintain healthy skin. Masks dislodge cellular debris that gives skin a drab, grey cast; firm and clear skin; plump up wrinkles and complete a facial. In fact a regular mask treatment is no longer a luxury but a necessity to combat the adverse effects of daily pollution and air conditioning which our skin contends with.
Know Your Skin Type
Before applying a face mask, it is imperative to know your skin type. As soon as you get up in the morning use a tissue to blot your face. Oily areas stain the tissue and accordingly you can conclude whether you have oily, dry or combination skin (oily on the forehead and nose and dry everywhere else).
Most skin-care experts suggest masking once a week for people with normal skin; once a month for dry skin and masking with discretion for acne skin or spider veins. Paying heed to the skin's reaction is the best guide to which mask is right for you. If your face is dry in some areas and oily in others, you may want to apply a different mask on each section.
Over the Counter Masks
Today's cosmetic-counter masks make application a breeze and deliver multiple benefits in minutes. Overall, these masks are divided into four types - moisturising, deep cleansing, purifying/invigorating and special benefit masks. Each formulation aids different skin types or specific problems, with ingredients ranging from natural botanicals to marine extracts and mineral rich mud. To reap maximum benefits, use them regularly and strictly according to given instructions.
Home-made mask - A Wholesome Alternative
Home-made masks whipped up with ingredients straight out of your kitchen are anti-ageing and help renew complexions too. But remember, just because a home remedy is natural it doesn't mean you can't have a bad reaction to it. Before trying any formulation, test it by dabbing a dime-size drop on your inner arm. Don't use if the area becomes red or itchy.
Ingredients for Masks
These natural ingredients come from the four major food groups:
Masks for Combination Skin
- Fruits and vegetables are venerated skin beautifiers with a plethora of benefits.
- Eggs have been acknowledged for centuries for their skin care benefits. Eggs are anti-oxidants and pull impurities out.
- Honey is stimulating and soothing for its antiseptic, hydrating and cleansing properties. However, if you're prone to pimples, don't use it before a big night out.
- Skimmed milk aids oily skin; whole milk helps under-40 skin; half-half cream discourages over-40 dryness.
Grape mask: Grapes cleanse and moisturise. Puree a handful of seedless green grapes and leave on for 10 minutes. For South-American rejuvenation, add a tablespoon of flour with the puree.
Citrus Mask: Grapefruit is great for unclogging pores and lemon is a natural clarifier, while egg whites tighten. A tingle with this mask means it's working. If skin is dry, it could burn. If this occurs, rinse off immediately. Blend half grapefruit, half a lemon (both peeled and seeded), half a cored apple, 5 tablespoons chopped watercress, one to two egg whites and 30-40 seedless grapes. Rinse off with warm water.
Honey Mask: Honey acts as an anti-irritant and moisturiser, almonds gently exfoliate and lemon juice provides that tightening and refreshing zip. Mix 2 tablespoons honey, 3 tablespoons finely ground almonds and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Rinse off with warm water.
For Oily/Acne Skin
Apple mask: Apple was originally developed as a masculine mask, but this combo is equally effective for feminine faces. Grate 1 medium-sized apple. Mix with 5 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and half teaspoon dried sage. After 10 minutes, rinse off with cool water.
Strawberry Mask: Strawberries meticulously clean pores, clear blemishes, tighten skin and postpone wrinkling. Mash 8 or 9 berries (fresh, bruised or over-ripe) into a pulp and mix in 3 tablespoons honey. After 10 minutes, rinse off with cool water. For deep cleansing and softening, mix half cup puree with 2 tablespoons yogurt.
Carrot Mask: Carrots, grated, ground or pureed, firm skin and clear blemishes. Cooking the carrots releases more of their vitamin A for better effect. Mash them to a paste with a little of the unsalted water in which they were cooked and prepare a mask while still warm. Try mixing 2-3 large carrots, with 4 tablespoons honey, 2 teaspoons orange juice, 1 teaspoon yogurt and half teaspoon lemon juice. Rinse off with cool water after 10 minutes.
Tomato Mask: Tomato is a mild astringent that refines pores, exfoliates and removes blackheads. Cut thin slices and apply for 10 minutes; or drain the juice and seeds from slices, mash in a pulp and pat on. To cure blemished skin, mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice plus a little brewer's yeast, oatmeal and yogurt. Cover with a hot, moist towel before rinsing.
Veggie Mask: A veggie mask blots out excess oil. Mash half tomato (skin and seeds removed). Mix with 2 teaspoons yogurt, 1 teaspoon mashed cucumber, 3 teaspoons aloe vera gel, 3-4 teaspoons oatmeal powder and 3 crushed mint leaves. Rinse off with warm water after 10 minutes.
Egg Yolk Clarifying Mask: Beat an egg yolk and smooth it on. Wait 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Nutmeg Acne Mask: For acne, make a paste of milk and nutmeg. Apply on pimples and let it dry. You could apply overnight and wash off the next morning.
Mint Mask: Fresh mint refines pores. Blend half a cup of leaves with 2 tablespoons of almond and enough water to ground a paste. Massage in and let it dry for 5 minutes. Rinse off; follow with a coating of honey, then let it dry another 5 minutes before rinsing.
Wheat Mask: Wheat masks are great oil busters. Mix 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour with half a teaspoon vinegar plus water to make a paste. Let stand to soften before patting over face.
Oatmeal Mask: Oatmeal is given credit for many flawless complexions. Mix with water or milk and leave on for 10 -15 minutes to smooth, soften and remove dead cells. To multiply the benefits, add 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon instant non-fat dry milk and half teaspoon almond oil.
For Dry Skin
Banana Mask: Banana is a Guatemalan favourite. Lie still and arrange thin slices all over your face. Let the banana's oils and vitamins permeate the epidermis. You can also mash the banana to a smooth paste before applying (for added benefits, blend with the peel and 1 teaspoon honey). For very dry skin, add 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Fruity Mask: Quench your skin's thirst with a fruit cocktail. Blend one cup mixed mashed fruit (try cantaloupe melon, peaches, raspberries and bananas), 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, 3 teaspoons cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 teaspoons dried sage and 4 teaspoons oatmeal powder. Wash off after 10 minutes with warm water. This does wonders for chapped faces and is especially great after a hot day in the sun.
Egg Mask: Beat 1 tablespoon dry milk into a stiffly beaten egg white; then fold in an egg yolk stirred with 1 teaspoon honey. As an alternative: Egg yolk and olive oil is an Italian treatment. Beat one yolk with 1 teaspoon oil.
Hungarian Mask: Four-layer milk mask is a Hungarian treatment. Mix a tablespoon of whole milk with half teaspoon olive oil. Smooth on a thin film; let it dry for a minute or two, then apply a second layer. Repeat until four layers. When the mask has dried and the face feels like granite, remove with lukewarm water.
Choccy Mask: A chocolate mask leaves skin baby soft. Mix 1/3 cup cocoa, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, 2 teaspoons cottage cheese, 3 teaspoons ripe avocado, 1/4 cup honey and 3 teaspoons oatmeal powder. Wash off with warm water after 10 minutes.
Rose Mask: A rose petal mask cleanses and moisturises. Fill a pan with water and place a glass bowl atop (or use a double boiler). Heat until water starts simmering and then pour in 1 and a half cups milk. Add 1 cup clean rose petals and 1/8 cup vegetable glycerin. Remove from heat and let it cool to the touch. Then pour into a blender and mix well. Wash face with the mixture, rinse with warm water.
Article courtesy: Arabian Woman