Face Mask Heaven

SiruWen.Face_Care_Prep“Summer.

Hair gets lighter. Skin gets darker.

Water gets warmer. Drinks get colder.

Music gets louder. Nights get longer.

Life gets better” (tumblr.com).

Summer only lasts about three and a half to four months. In the abrupt transition from summer to the school year, life takes a major turn. Hair gets dry and brittle merely from the thought of the workload ahead. Skin absorbs all—old makeup, dirt and even the late night pizza grease from Tuesday’s study session. Drinks get hotter, meaning coffee is all you drink for the next nine months. Music is played only through headphones in the library. Nights turn into mornings when cramming for a test. Life…gets worse.

The rapid change in stress levels from summer to school creates a problem for most people to keep a clear face. I recently started using a face mask once a week, to help deeply cleanse my pores.  However, a face mask alone will not result in a clear face because unwanted bacteria and oil reside daily in the pore or the base of the hair follicle.

Personally, I have two absolute favorite face masks:

GlamGlow Mud (ranges from $24 to $199)

The classic container is around $65 and can be found at Sephora. Although extremely expensive for a face mask, it is worth every penny. The treatment container is also pretty small compared to the packaging, however when used correctly, the product lasts for 18-20 uses.

The company released its original product, exfoliation treatment, in 2010, which was voted “Best Mud Mask” across all 44 editions of Elle Magazine. Since then, the line has expanded and GlamGlow now carries masks for exfoliation, deep cleanse treatment, clearing treatment, hydration, and eye treatment.

A month ago, I bought the deep cleanse treatment and after the first use, I fell in love with it. After applying a thin layer (avoiding eyes, eyebrows and fly-aways), I could feel the product working. The mask stings slightly and I usually keep it on for twice the suggested time. After the mud has dried, you can actually see the pores that have been cleared out.

Freeman Feeling Beautiful Cucumber Peel-Off Facemask ($3.99)

I rarely see peel-able face masks and especially for a drugstore treatment, this mask personally scores higher than most high-end products. The Freeman Peel-Off Mask can be found at CVS or Rite-Aid. When my sister brought it home, I was surprised at the huge quantity for $4.

Unlike the GlamGlow mud mask that contains a creamy texture with tea leaves, the Freeman mask is more of a gel. The first thing I noticed about the mask was the surprising smell of cucumbers. Usually face masks with a gel-like consistency end up smelling like something engineered at a chemical waste plant.

The directions on the container say to apply a thin layer, but after trial and error, I realized that using a slightly thicker layer is better. This product reminds me of a Bioré Pore Strip except a lot less harsh on the skin—which is nice, because the pore strip made me cry every time I slowly ripped it off my skin. Removal of the Freeman mask is actually kind of fun and you can see all the impurities from the skin on the mask after peeling it off.

Face masks make it easy to keep skin clear during the school year because unlike going through multiple steps for some skincare products, GlamGlow and Freeman take two easy, quick steps: apply and remove. These products leave my skin feeling fresh and never oily. Since my skin is on the drier side, I usually apply my moisturizer (Murad Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30). Steam helps better to deeply cleanse because pores tend to open up more around heated moisture. For better and faster results, I spread the mask on my face immediately after stepping out of the shower or sauna. During the year, I plan on studying in these once a week, to save myself time and to get clearer skin.

Photo by Siru Wen