Winter Skincare Tip: Overnight Masks

overnight-masks

My skin’s undergone a bit of a change this year compared to last year. It’s always been on the oily side and a bit dehydration-prone, but the dehydration’s gotten worse this year – I’ve stopped taking the oral contraceptive pill for the time being, which means my skin is a bit oilier than usual. At the same time, I’ve also upped my usage of retinol and tretinoin, and AHA and BHA exfoliants and peels, so my skin has dried out from that. All in all, it’s a pretty good recipe for getting combination dehydrated skin, where my nose ends up pretty oily during the day but my cheeks get dry – I’ve even had dry peeling which I’ve never had before, thanks to retinol! It’s taken me a while to get used to these new developments, so I’m going to be blogging about some of the ways I’ve been keeping my skin happy.

The first thing I’ve changed is adding an overnight mask. This is an extra product layered on top of all my other goo. As well as sealing in the goo, it seals in water so it doesn’t evaporate as much overnight. I’ve been looking specifically for oil-based masks for winter, as I’ve found that the water- and humectant-based masks (most of the Asian sleeping masks, like Laneige Water Bank Sleeping Pack) aren’t quite enough to save me from dehydrated skin at the moment.

overnight-masks

My favourite at the moment is Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Nighttime Miracle Moisturizer. This is a thick, sticky balm with the texture of honey that gets a little runnier once you heat it up in your hands.

elizabeth-arden-eight-hour-protectant

The stickiness makes it a little fiddly to apply, but it stays on much better than the more slippery masks. I’m not a huge fan of the scent although I’m usually a lavender fan – this is a slightly berryish lavender that smells like my hands after pole. Despite the scent, I love how smooth and plump this leaves my skin in the morning! It does contain a little salicylic acid, which might explain the extra smoothness. For a more budget-friendly version, Vaseline works pretty damn well too, though it doesn’t quite have the same skin-smoothing kick for me.

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How to choose a skincare mask

clay-masks

There are a lot of masks out there – which one should you use to boost your skincare routine into hyperdrive? Let me help!

What is a mask?

A mask is a treatment that you put on your face for an extended period of time (between 10 minutes and 10 hours). You’re not meant to be seen in public while it’s on. The effects of a good mask will last around 1-3 days.

There are a bunch of different types of masks, good for different purposes. There’s a bit of crossover, especially if you’re mixing the mask yourself, but these are the basic categories:

Clay masks

Clay masks have clay as their main ingredient, and are helpful for sucking oil out of your pores, along with any random gunk in the oil. There are a range of clays with slightly different textures, but since all sorts of ingredients (oils, humectants like honey, etc.) can be mixed into a clay mask, it’s hard to say what effect a particular clay mask will have without trying it (though we can safely say that none of them will detox your body).

Kaolin clays are less absorbent than bentonite, so kaolin-based masks (usually white or pink in colour) are generally better for dry and sensitive skin, while bentonite masks (usually green in colour) are recommended for oily skin (I’m using handwavy language on purpose, because there is a LOT of variation – look up reviews of that specific mask before you buy).

How to use: You can apply a clay mask with your fingers (my preferred method) or a brush (feels posher, but requires more clean-up). Wait 5-30 min depending on your skin’s tolerance, then wash off (you may need to use a cloth to soak it off – I find that sticking my face under the shower head for 5 seconds helps tremendously). You don’t need to wait for it to dry before removing, but letting it dry will result in more oil absorption (but also more irritation potential).

clay-masks

Examples: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is pure powdered calcium bentonite clay that you can mix into a mask yourself. If you mix it with an acidic substance, you’ll end up with a more skin-friendly pH and a very absorbent mask (here are some recipes for mixing bentonite with non-stinky citric acid and for mixing with slightly stinky ACV). You can make it less absorbent by adding humectants and oils. I’ve also got The Cosmetic Kitchen Raw Chocolate Clay Mask, which consists of pre-mixed Australian pink clay and raw cacao powder (antioxidant).

If you don’t want to go through the fuss of mixing, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque is a popular option which contains both kaolin and bentonite, but I find that the anti-acne sulfur in it smells very unpleasant (lots of other people disagree). Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil Absorbing Mask* is another example, but I found it quite itchy. Moreish Emergence Clay Mask* is a premade kaolin clay mask that’s super gentle, with lots of humectants and oils thrown in.

Hydrating masks

Hydrating masks are a pretty broad category – there are oil-based masks which soften your skin, there are humectant-based masks which help water bind and absorb. I’m lumping them together because most oil-based masks have some humectants in them. These masks aim to leave your skin smooth and plump.

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My 10 favourite scented products right now

Sometimes when I’m feeling down, a whiff of a scented product can make me feel a tad better. Here are ten of my favourite “scentsations” (I apologise profusely for the pun, it’s Monday!): Elume Creme Caramel Candle – I haven’t even lit this yet but I’m already in love. It occupies a permanent place on my bedside table, so I …

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