One of my favorite ways to de-stress during finals is to use face masks. They do all kinds of things for the skin (depending on the mask and ingredients) and can really turn your day around if you’re feeling frumpy (which for me, during finals, is almost all the time).
I was told when I was younger that even if you feel shitty, you don’t have to look it. So, hello, face (and eye) masks!
There are two main kinds of masks – cream and sheet. Within these two categories, there are a lot of varieties. For cream, I’ve tried: clay, peel-off, thermal, and oil. For sheet mask (for both the face and just eyes), I’ve tried: paper and gel. We could get into the millions of nuances, but basically there’s a kind you paint on or have to apply by hand (which is how you can create multi-masking experiences by putting different kinds of masks on different parts of your face), or the ones that literally look like a face with cutouts and you stick ’em onto your face.
I hope that makes sense.
SO, I figured I’d write this post because the more I use them, the more tips & tricks I come across (both on my own, and thanks to the world wide web).
1. EMPTIES: For the masks where you have to squeeze it out and paint it on (the green Freeman mask pictured is a great example of this), know you’re going to have extra mask material. You don’t have to use it all one one go. What I like to do is utilize an “empty” from another beauty product that I’ve finished & cleaned (like the little fuschia Tatcha container pictured), and put whatever I don’t use in there for another time). Not only does this save me from globbing on way too much product onto my face in one sitting, but it also allows me to use the rest of that mask another time (if it’s not enough for a whole face mask, I can use it just for my T-zone, cheeks, or décolletage).
2. FOUNDATION BRUSH: I used to apply all of my cream masks by hand before I learned about how much bacteria that spreads around your face, even if you’ve washed your hands prior to application. What I like to do is use a foundation brush (that is solely dedicated to masking), and use that to apply cream foundations. This has a dual purpose – it keeps my hands away from my face & oftentimes uses less product because I don’t end up with a bunch of it on my hands.
3. FACE WASH: Instead of irritating my skin by scrubbing off hard-to-remove masks (I’m talking to you, volcanic clay ones), try applying a face wash with a little water before you begin removing it. What I like to do is use a face wash that isn’t in my daily routine (like one I bought, didn’t like much, but haven’t parted with yet for whatever reason), and I make use of it when I’m taking off a difficult mask. It’s a win-win because I’m using the face wash & not endlessly rubbing off a face mask that’s adhered to my skin.
4. CHECK EXPIRATION DATES: Just like I forget to wash my makeup brushes regularly, I often also forget that beauty products have expiration dates. The fewer the chemicals (e.g. the no paraben, no sulphates, etc.) expire more quickly than those with more chemical-based ingredients. Keep an eye out for this because using expired products can easily irritate sensitive skin (hence why I use a meh face wash for masks just to use it up…and if it’s actually expired by more than a few weeks, I usually part with it immediately so I don’t forget it’s old & use it/break out/wish I’d remembered to throw it away earlier).
5. MIX IT UP!: I’ve been told by estheticians to not mask every day (and if you are masking often, mix up what you’re using). If my skin is particularly irritated, like it was yesterday because of all these finals I’ve got going on, I try to use purifying masks like an avocado + oatmeal combo. If I’m looking to brighten up my skin or remove a spot of texture, I look for a mask that targets that.
6. DON’T FREEZE EYE MASKS: So, I thought I was being clever by freezing a set of eye masks because I wanted to put them on while they were cold…but failed to read the packaging that said freezing the masks makes them evaporate. OOPS. Be sure to read the entire package/box/container before doing something like this. Sometimes popping a sheet mask or cream mask in the fridge for 15 minutes is nice to add a cooling sensation, but check twice before considering the freezer.
These are all the tips I have right now, but if you have any other beauty hacks (mask specific or not), share them in the comments! OH, and totally random, but apparently using Elmer’s Glue as a blackhead remover (e.g. like a nose strip) actually works. I’ve yet to try it…and if you have, do share your findings.
Spoonie Adventures in Books, Beauty, & Bullshit
I'm a twenty-something year old recent law and business school grad living with a chronic health condition. Follow along on my shenanigans.