We’re Ditching Sheet Masks, And Here’s Why …

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Here are the pots, tubes and jars that do the job better …

I know sheet masks have been a big skincare thing for a while now, and a much-touted “self-care” thing at that, but I’ve always found them quite annoying. I’m not sure when you’re supposed to wear one. I can safely say I’ve never spent time lying down for any period of time with a facemask on. Who actually does that? So you have to walk around wearing one. But even now, when barely anyone is allowed in your house, you still have to see the postman/people out the window/other half/kids/the dog. And honestly I don’t want to sit at the computer wearing a piece of soggy gauze on my face, trying to drink my coffee through a too-small mouth-shaped gap and squinting at the screen beneath flappy eye bits (I already have quite enough of my own, thanks). Many masks claim to pack in an entire bottle of serum in one go, but that seems profligate in the extreme; I’d rather use the serum itself over time, if it’s a good one.

I’ve always preferred more of a balm-type mask or a glossy one that you can wear on your skin and still answer the door. I want my skin to look relatively normal while wearing it, not radioactive green or stiff with caking mud (which then sticks in your eyebrows and hairline for the rest of the day). And preferably, I want one that doesn’t need rinsing off – a pet hate (laziness, but also it makes the whole operation seem a bit pointless, washing it all down the sink). Not to mention environmentally friendly (all that fiddly plastic packaging). Though I do occasionally make an exception for Seoulista’s Instant Facials sheet masks as they are so cheap and cheerful.

Here are five great face masks that I always go back to – they are a pleasure to use, are in no way gloopy or annoying to wear, and yes, they absolutely make your skin look better.

1 A glass jar is always pleasant, and Fresh’s Rose Face Mask has always been a favourite as it feels like the dew from rose petals and really sinks into your skin like a fragrant drink. It has actual petals in it. Say no more. From €24.50 at www.cultbeauty.com, or try it in an adorable mini set of Fresh bestsellers, Mini Loves, €38 at www.spacenk.com.

2 Kiehls’ Calendula and Aloe Hydrating Mask is another one that makes skin look very glossy and gives it a hefty moisture boost, but without any mask-type messing around. And one pot lasts a good while. €48.20 at www.Arnotts.ie.

3 Instagram favourite Summer Fridays has been gaining a lot of attention for some time now, but I’ve only just tried it. The brand seems to grab people’s attention for its great name, and the fact that random celebrities just lurrve the Jet Lag mask (presumably since they’re the only ones still flying, on private jets) – it promises a “business-class complexion” which is somewhat hilarious but also slightly tempting. Actually it’s a nice but fairly standard cream mask that’s good for dry skin – but I reckon it’s the R+R Mask for glow (€52, at www.cultbeauty.com) that’s more interesting. It comes in a good-looking rose-gold tube (always love a tube – cult brand Aesop, now available at www.indigoandcloth.com, does tubes best: who can resist their Sage & Zinc Hydrating SPF15 Cream, €35, or their hand balms? But I digress). The Summer Fridays mask itself is pretty oily, but not sticky, and features lots of lovely plant and seed oils. It’s not cheap, for sure, but you need only a small amount to pep up your skin, it’s gently fragrant, and you can wear it while working or indeed shopping if you really had to – what a pleasurable experience compared to walking around in a falling-off, drippy paper mask. 

4 L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine range is an eternal favourite for many people, including me, with its delightfully sensorial textures and natural scent that conjures the Corsican countryside (and it really does). The Divine Cream Mask (€104), ideal if your complexion is looking dehydrated or dull, is a luxurious velvety duvet for the skin – and you can wear it whether you’re on a full Zoom call or hiding with audio only. Combine it with the elixir that is Divine Youth Oil for a superlative home facial and all-round treat. www.ie.loccitane.com

5 A recent discovery is Hungarian skincare L’Amia, a gentle natural range stocked exclusively by master therapist Andras Paroczai at his treatment room in Dun Laoghaire. Experience them in one of his superlative face or body treatments (hands down one of Ireland’s best beauty insider secrets) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. There are a few good options, including a Carotene Vitamin Mask, which gives you a natural blast of antioxidants. I’m using the Collagen-Hydrogel Facial Mask with sweet almond milk and rose water, which is light and lovely on the skin and helps to plump, deeply moisturise and firm. All masks are good value at €36 for 100ml. www.andreas.ie

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