Undeniably the one of the best parts of a facial is the mask. It’s guaranteed relaxation with multiple benefits mixed in. No matter your skin type or concern, there is a mask for you. Awhile back we took some time to review the features and benefits of the most popular masks on the market and here’s what we found:
Facial Masks have been around for centuries and are widely thought to be the original cosmetic facial treatment. While they have only been gaining popularity in the US over the last decade, they have become enormously popular in a short amount of time and they continue top spa trend lists.
Spas and estheticians lean toward masks during facial treatments for many reasons:
- Masks offer a way to treat a host of skin concerns quickly and effectively
- Visible results that keep clients engaged and willing to come back routinely
- Masks enhance the efficacy of all products being used during the treatment
- They enrich the skin barrier, offering the client more protection from environmental aging agents (say that 3 times fast).
- Quick and easy to apply, masks offer an immediate upgrade to any spa service
- Professional masks are more effective due to a higher concentration of active ingredients
- Retail mask offer clients the ability to enhance their treatment and home care routine. Think of it as the client’s insurance policy for treatment they received
Although they come in various application types, many of these masks have similar and overlapping benefits and ingredients so the spa professional can truly pick their potion and tailor the mask to the client’s needs. Here’s a rundown of the choices:
This mask has long been used in Asia. It made its way into the U.S. around 2010 and its popularity has grown immensely. The sheet mask is often the mask of choice because active ingredients are already infused making it fool proof and cost effective. The main benefits of the sheet mask are the ability to brighten, hydrate, refresh, and treat fine lines. Sheet masks are commonly made from a thin cotton sheet infused with hyaluronic acid and peptides for anti-aging and hydration and ginseng and salicylic acid for purifying. Although sheet masks are good for all skin types they are best for hydration as they do not deep cleanse or exfoliate. Optimal mask time is 15-20 minutes.
Generally made of glycerin, hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamin C and E the silicone mask works its magic by hydrating and firming the skin. The biggest benefits are anti-aging, wrinkle firming and lightening. This mask is known to stimulate cell regeneration and provide deep hydration. It’s often used as a cover over the sheet mask to prevent it from falling off and reduce product evaporation. The silicone mask is also used with cleanser for deep cleaning. For anti-aging the recommended mask time is 15 minutes. For deep cleansing it’s best to wait 20-30 minutes.
This multi-tasking mask is perfect for those with multiple skin concerns. Multiple masks are applied simultaneously to combat different zones. It’s the perfect choice for the client with combination skin. The esthetician can detox the t-zone while hydrating the rest of the face. It’s also good for targeting redness in the cheeks and nourishing other parts of the face. Clock watchers beware, you may need to remove one zone quicker than the other based on the type of mask and the skin condition being treated. Mask times vary by mask type but range from 10-20 minutes.
This pre-treatment for masks is designed to augment the efficacy of the mask and optimize the skin for maximum product penetration. Generally packaged as a spray, primers truly enhance the mask experience. Common ingredients include marine algae and seaweed. Primers also aid the process by providing a smooth surface for the mask to rest. These multi-taskers help post mask too, especially if you have one that’s difficult to remove. After using a primer, the skin will be less irritated and dry. Perfect for all skin types, primers are the masking prep step you never knew you needed.
Foil masks are the newest of the mask line in the U.S. but offer great benefits. Their main function is to prevent the mask formula from escaping via evaporation. They also speed the delivery process of active ingredients by up to 50% and decrease the mask time to only 10 minutes because the foil retains heat. This mask is also offered as a regenerative sleep mask although many industry leaders believe it may be too much heat for too long. Foil masks generally target those looking for softer, smoother, younger looking skin and as such, they often contain hyaluronic acid and collagen. Recommended mask time is 15 minutes.
With the viscosity of a toner, splash masks offer offer a quick mask experience with a concentrate of potent
anti-oxidant rich ingredients such as Vitamin C and E to quickly soften, smooth, build and protect the skin barrier helping the skin to be less sensitive and reactive overall. This instant no-mess mask with anti-aging benefits is ideal for the time sensitive client.
These fizzing frenzy masks are specifically designed to remove dirt, cleanse pores and exfoliate using bubbles to activate the active oxygen thus stimulating the skin cells. Foaming masks also hydrate the skin without stripping it of natural moisture. Vegetable glycerin is a common ingredient of foaming masks for its quick-nourishing benefit. Suggested mask time is 10-15 minutes.
Typically, a scrub and mask combined, these hybrid masks are great for brightening and evening the skin tone. Commonly used active ingredients include Niacinamide to help reduce dark spots and hyaluronic acid (are you tired of that word yet?), to help plump the skin. Often comprised of anti-aging marine ingredients, this blend combines the properties of a serum and a mask in one. After just 15 minutes the skin is visibly nourished and plump.
All hail powder power. These masks pack a host of antioxidant ingredients such as algae, plant extracts, minerals, clay, charcoal (to absorb excess oil) and seaweed to detox, hydrate and stimulate blood flow. Results are hydration and improved skin elasticity. Powder masks come in a variety of types for all skin concerns: anti-aging, hydration, anti-acne, deep cleansing and skin purification to unclog pores. Mask time is 10-20 minutes depending on the targeted solution. A great spring cleaning for the skin.
Designed to restore the barrier function of the epidermis, gel masks are generally full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals from the sea making them perfect for all skin concerns. Ease of application is a great feature for the esthetician as this mask is applied with your fingers and removed after 15 minutes. Gel masks treat a host of skin concerns from fine lines and wrinkles to clogged pores.
Peel Away Masks
Great for blemish prone skin, the peel away mask is the perfect way to turn a soft mask into a sheet mask that takes on a rubbery feel. These transforming masks deliver a powerful punch of concentrated marine ingredients to boost the natural hydration of skin cells. Often made from algae, they remain on the skin 10-15 minutes and peel off easily in one piece. Note: you need to work quickly to mix and apply this mask before it begins to rubberize.
For the more adventurous esthetician, the paste mask requires quick, skilled hands as it must be applied swiftly before it begins to set and transform from a paste to a plaster-like mask. Excellent for all skin types, these masks boast ingredients such as seaweed, algae, marine extracts and seawater. Some have heating properties to push the active ingredients into the skin more readily. Masking time is 15 minutes. Added bonus: you can send the client home with their mask. A tangible souvenir often makes clients feel as if they got their money’s worth.
It’s easy to see, based on the options available, that the estheticians job is never boring. Masks have become an integral part of the spa repertoire and as new masks trends emerge, it’s likely they will be successful. Masks truly make the estheticians job fun but let’s not forget the work that we do while the client is masking. Mask time gives the esthetician a chance to relax the client with a hand, arm and head massage and if they are lucky, a minute or two to clean up the area and prepare for the next facial.