Finding the Right Face Mask for You
On Instagram and Insta-Stories I post about Face Masks A LOT. One of the top tips I give to almost everyone is integrating face masks into their weekly (and sometimes daily!) skincare routine. Working with celebrities and celebrity makeup artists I've seen firsthand the immediate benefits some masks can give you for a big day and personally I've seen how long term use of certain masks have helped stave away breakouts, ease fine lines and wrinkles, and keep my skin moisture and oil production balanced. Last week, an Insta-Friend sent me a message saying they had purchased one of my fave masks from Parker for Men and wasn't sure if it was right for them and lamented about the number of options there are now. Skincare is not one size fits all. Yes, all of our skin needs the same basic things but finding out what's best for you takes just a tiny bit of research and developing a tiny bit more personal and educated relationship with your skin. I've compiled my Top 5 Masks for the Top 5 Skin Concerns I get asked about. Get ready to learn!
Dry flaky skin does not bode well for anyone. Some people are genetically pre-dispositioned to have dry skin due to low levels of oil production while others feel a tightness and dry texture because of harsh facial cleansers. Dry skin leads to more fine lines and deeper wrinkles than you probably care for. It's important to note that your body will try and overcompensate if you're naturally oily and you attempt to achieve "squeaky clean" skin year around. Your body's natural reaction will be to pump out extra oil and you'll end up with a full oil slick on your face.
ToGoSpa has probably one of my favorite Face Masks for moisture I have ever used. The results so powerful and immediate I swear by it for any big occasion or whenever I want to treat myself. The Ice Water Face Mask is genius. A micro-infused Collagen Gel Face Mask that is pumped full of Hyaluronic Acid (which draws and and keeps moisture into your skin!), Aloe (an incredible soothing ingredient), and Vitamins C and E. Together they moisturize, even skin tone, and minimize the appearance fine lines and wrinkles. When I tell you that the first time I used it I stared at my skin in the mirror for way too long, it is THAT good.
GLAMGLOW ThirstyMud. I first fell in love with this mask on my first long-haul trip to Australia. Flying really dries out your skin and I was being picked up at the airport by a very handsome gentleman that I was meeting for the first time (sidenote: we are both now living our "happily ever after" together here in NYC.) I wanted my skin to stay hydrated and boy did this mask come in handy. It comes in a little jar and has slightly unconventional instructions. Apply a healthy layer of the goo all over your skin and massage in. Let it set for at least 20 minutes before simply dabbing off. No Rinsing!
Too much sun, wind and dehydration. Too many days burning the candle at both ends. Effects accumulate, and your skin needs extra help to break the cycle.Characterized as irritated, red, and blotchy. Usually more prominent on my fairer skinned friends it can be embarrassing. The cheeks are where it's often more notable and sometimes you'll need the help of a dermatologist. But for more immediate relief Origins has done it again by giving a skin solution to many's main concern. I'm a HUGE fan of Origins and their products are tried and true, many if not all with heaps of clinical testing proving their efficacy (meaning how well the product actually works). They teamed up with world renowned healer of sorts Dr. Andrew Weil who together created the Mega-Mushroom line of products. Addressing the needs of all skin it's especially powerful for sensitive skin types. Harnessing the holistic healing properties of mushrooms the Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Mask is a gift from the heavens for redness and blotchiness. Chinese black bamboo leaf extract, celebrated for centuries as a symbol of eternal youth, quells and calms visible redness and reactivity. A unique blend of marine algae and moisture-replenishing plant extracts helps revitalize and restore luminosity to stressed skin and rebuild a protective barrier to help avoid future flare-ups. This is a WIN!
...are the bane of my existence. I was blessed with my skin's highly productive oil glands (slower aging process for me! i.e. the "black don't crack" saying) but cursed with large pores. Contrary to what product labels might tell you, you can't make pores disappear. But you can certainly camouflage them and help them not enlarge. Sebum (the oil produced by your Sebaceous Gland) is incredibly beneficial but for some very easy to clog pores leading to breakouts and a dull complexion. Origins' Clear Improvement Mask is a lifesaver. Whenever I use it I see an immediate difference in complexion and pore size. My skin glows and feels likes it's quite literally breathing a sigh of relief. Using Activated Charcoal as it's main ingredient it works like a magnet to draw out deep dwelling pore-cloggers. If you wear makeup this is especially important. It has also has White China Clay that absorbs toxins and Lecithin that dissolves impurities. For max benefits, press a warm wet towel to your skin for five minutes prior to using to help soften and open up your pores. Apply the mask generously and let dry before wiping away with the same warm wet towel.
Parker for Men is a skincare line based out of Australia specifically formulated to address men's skin. You've probably seen them on Instagram and this mask one the faces of brawny, muscular men. The Charcoal Peel Off Mask isn't just a marketing gimmick, it WORKS. Not only does it work but it's fun to use. A powerful peel- off mask composed of Activated bamboo charcoal that sucks blackheads from you pores, polishes skin, fights acne and removes impurities It's a peel off mask that's applied straight from the tube and onto your skin. After letting it dry you simply peel it away and immediately see all the gunk that's living deep in your pores. This is most definitely a mainstay in my skincare routine.
As soon as puberty hit I was breaking out. Deep cystic acne and that didn't seem to go away. My all-skincare-knowing-Mother immediately coached me into a skincare routine and took me for regular facials. At one point I was taking oral medication to help but weekly masks helped pave the way for clearer skin. Not too long ago, my friends at Cedra Pharmacy in NYC sent me a little care package of their fave products which included the Sircuit Skin Clarity Broccoli Sulfur Mask. Sulfur? Yes. Specifically, Broccoli Sulfur- sulfur directly derived from Broccoli.
Sulfur is one of the oldest known acne treatments. The same stuff the flammable ends of matchsticks are made of is also used as an acne treatment. Historically known as brimstone, sulfur was used in ancient times to treat a wide range of skin problems, from dermatitis and dandruff to rosacea and warts. Sulfur helps reduce skin oiliness. Secondly, it helps the skin slough away cells more effectively, so pore blockages(AKA the beginnings of a breakout) don't develop. Sulfur also has antimicrobial properties, so it helps keep the acne-causing propionibacterium acnes in check.
Probably one of the best compliments you can get on your skin is that it's glowing. All of the masks mentioned above will definitely help with a glowing complexion but there's one that works above else to specifically help with dull skin. As a man of color I'm tan year around and it's super important that my caramel complexion always looks bright and even. Enter Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.
The mask's major ingredient claim is thePumpkin Enzyme - a natural enzymatic exfoliator that helps smooth the skin's surface. Another power ingredient is Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) - which chemically exfoliates to help reveal a fresher, more youthful and radiant appearance. Aluminum Oxide Crystals - provide an effective physical exfoliation to polish skin, rejuvenating the appearance of a lackluster complexion. It's especially tingly and the directions suggest only leaving the mask on for 7 minutes max. I wouldn't recommend it for super irritated or especially delicate fair skin. The tingle is worth the after photo though because you'll most definitely be glowing after using this mask.
*It's important to note that alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.
I hope these five masks lead you in the right direction towards finding skincare that's best suited for your individual skincare needs. If you need anymore recommendations or have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or hit me up directly on IG. Good luck!