Everyone loves a good face mask nowadays - just ask anyone in quarantine who’s come out of the woodwork to post a masking selfie. If you’re not masking, do you even #selfcare?
As a cosmetic chemist, I look at masks a bit differently. And while masking can definitely benefit you mentally and emotionally by giving you a sense of relaxation, there are a few other things to know. The 5 myths about masks that I’m busting:
Myth: A mask is a good format to solve all skin problems.
Of course as much as we love instant gratification these days, it would be nice to just do a face mask for 20 minutes and have all our troubles go away. But if you’re looking for deep hydration, anti-aging, dark spot correcting, wrinkle reduction, etc, a face mask probably isn’t your best bet.
What a face mask can do really well in that amount of time is exfoliation or soothing. Ingredients like kaolin and bentonite (both types of clay) will help with this tremendously! It’s no wonder that clay masks have been around for so long - they really work. Especially for oily skinned folks, this can be a great thing to add to your routine 1-2 times per week.
Myth: Masks provide a lasting effect.
Probably not. As mentioned above, 10-20 minutes is really not enough to do more than exfoliate or soothe. If you’re looking for a temporary effect (such as plumping or tightening), there are some masks for this (Honest Beauty Prime + Perfect Mask), but know that it won’t last more than 24 hours, and isn’t actually improving your skin over time.
Myth: Overnight masks are a whole new category of skincare.
Nope! While overnight masks are being advertised as a new type of mask - don’t be fooled by the marketing lingo. Overnight masks are basically just night treatments, serums, and creams with a bit of rebranding. If you already have a night treatment you like, don’t feel like you need to add yet another product to your routine. But, if you are looking for a night time product, check out an overnight mask as a possibility.
Exhibit A: Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Dream Mask. I really like this product, don’t get me wrong, but think of it more like a brightening cream than a whole new category.
Same goes for lip masks - really just a heavy duty lip balm/moisturizer.
Myth: Sheet masks… just wtf.
Sorry I can’t stand these. As you can imagine they drive me up the wall. Not only is each one individually wrapped (so you’re throwing away a wrapper and a sheet mask every. single. time.), they typically tout benefits like ‘nourishing’, ‘energizing’, and ‘refreshing’ all of which have no technical definition and are just fluff claims. You can say the same things about a splash of water to the face. Pardon the rant, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend these.
Myth: I should have several masks in my cabinet.
Part of the reason masks became such a popular format for skincare is social media. The idea that people would put on a mask and post a selfie is a great form of free advertising for brands. Plus, by creating ‘once-in-a-while’ products, brands can pump out trendy new masks constantly without cannibalizing their core products. In that way, masks are the epitome of ‘fast beauty’ to me. It’s centered around making trend focused products quickly, and by making people feel like they need to buy more and more and more (or else they won’t have any new masks to post!). So be selective with the masks you do choose to purchase.