Beauty

High tech: The latest advances in face masks and skin treatments

Kenneth Willard/Trunk Archive Author: Canadian Living Credits: Kenneth Willard/Trunk Archive

Beauty

High tech: The latest advances in face masks and skin treatments

Remember the mayonnaise-mask craze from the '70s? At-home masks have come a long way from those wacky DIY versions. Not only is the new crop of treatments more potent than its predecessors—thanks to refined formulations and active ingredients—but they're also less messy and easier to use. Enter the new(ish) kids on the block: sheet and sleep masks, from the skin care–obsessed South Koreans.

The sheet mask—a one-use serum-soaked, individually packed fabric mask made of cotton or silk cellulose—has been a skin-care fixture in Asia for more than a decade. The cloth helps hold nourishing ingredients, requires no rinsing postapplication and delivers radiant, hydrated skin in only 10 minutes. "It's become so popular in Canada because it's an affordable, effective, quick skin treatment," says Katrine Gouron, brand communications manager at The Face Shop Canada, a South Korea–based skin-care and cosmetics manufacturer and retailer with locations across Canada. The Face Shop Canada offers 41 types of sheet masks, ranging from $2 to $12.

Not to be confused with satin eye covers for transatlantic flights, sleep, or "sleepover," masks are made of gel and cream, and they work with your skin's natural night rhythm. "Gone are the days of grandma's beauty routines, where you'd give your hair 100 brushstrokes and put on your cold cream and towel turban," says Katie Rattray, international trainer for Éminence Organics. Sleep masks take no longer to apply than night cream. As you snooze, your skin drinks in a potent cocktail of skin-plumping hyaluronic acid and complexion-firming peptides. By morning, you'll look fresh, hydrated and glowing. 

So is it time to toss your traditional cream or gel mask? Of course not. Those tried-and-true formulas can be just as effective—provided you actually use them. "You can never mask enough," says Rattray.

Traditional face masks
Traditional masks
Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask*, $80, charlottetilbury.com. Éminence Organics Eight Greens Phyto Mask, $52, eminenceorganics.com. Fresh Limited-Edition Rose Face Mask, $72, sephora.ca. FarmHouse Fresh Pudding Apeel Tapioca + Rice Active Fruit Glycolic Mask**, $30, farmhousefreshgoods.ca. Caudalie Moisturizing Mask, $39, sephora.ca.

*If acne plagues your complexion, try a clay mask. It draws sebum and impurities from pores and is anti-inflammatory. To avoid dehydrated skin, don't leave it on for more than 10 minutes.

**Looking for gentle exfoliation? Try a mask with alpha hydroxy acids or enzymes. Check for formulations with glycolic and lactic acids, and fruit enzymes such as pineapple, papaya and grapefruit.

Sleep masks
Sleep masks
AmorePacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque, $72, sephora.ca. Estée Lauder Nutritious Vitality8 Night Radiant Overnight Creme/Mask, $75, thebay.com. Lancôme Paris Hydra Zen Masque Anti-Stress Moisturizing Overnight Serum-in-Mask, $80, lancome.ca.

Sheet masks
Sheet masks
Patchology Hydate FlashMasque Facial Sheets, $60, murale.ca. Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Face Gels, $39, murale.ca. Look Beauty Masque Bar Brightening Sheet Mask, $10, shoppersdrugmart.ca. The Face Shop Hydro Gel Mask Sheet Vita C, $3, thefaceshop-america.com. Yves Rocher Anti-Age Global Complete Anti-Aging Mask, $16, yvesrocher.ca.

How to get the most from your mask

Clean slate: There's no point in giving skin a jubo dose of nourishment if it can't soak in all that goodness. "Cell turnover is about 28 to 45 days, and it slows as we age," says Katie Rattray, international trainer for Éminence Organics. That means exfoliating and cleansing before masking to clear away skin cells and dirt.

Spot-treat: Nourishing masks needn't be reserved for your face, says Anna Vouyioukas, esthetician at Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie at Toronto's Shangri-La Hotel. She recommends using a mask on elbows, feet and any dry patches.

Cool it: Chilling treatments such as foot and undereye masks can enhance their efficacy and the experience. "We suggest placing treatments in the fridge an hour prior to use," says Katrin Gouron, brand communications manager for The Face Shop Canada.

In-shower booster: Give yourself an express facial in the shower. While you're letting your conditioner set, put your mask on. Some masks work better when they're applied in a steamy environment so that ingredients remain active longer, says Rattray.

Neck of time: Your neck and décolletage should get as much time with moisturizers, serums and masks as your face. "Don't neglect those zones," says Kyla Garritano, owner of Caryl Baker Visage Yorkville in Toronto. "They're aging at the same rate as your lips and eye area."

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This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue of Canadian Living.

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High tech: The latest advances in face masks and skin treatments

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