I’ve always been impressed by women who incorporate regular face masks into their skincare routines. I can see the appeal of a more intensive treatment, and a little relaxation, and I have used hundreds over the course of my career, but masks seem to represent a lot of hassle for only moderate gain. A nice optional extra, but one for which I frankly don’t have the time (I’m also faintly allergic to the nauseating marketing language around masks: “me-time” and “pampering” make me shudder).
However, in recent months, some excellent products have caused a shift in my opinion, and I find myself with a little portfolio of masks that give me immediately noticeable results, and that I rotate according to need. If my morning skin is dull and flat-looking, but I don’t have time to mollycoddle it, I cleanse as normal, then massage in a coat of Ren 1 Minute Facial (£25.60). There’s some tingle, then it’s time to rinse off – a mercifully straightforward affair (so many masks are maddeningly hard to shift). My skin is brighter, healthier-looking and provides a much smoother canvas for makeup.
If I have a little more time, perhaps at the weekends, I reach for Origins Original Skin (£23). I’d normally steer clear of anything with a clay texture – almost always drying – but this is exceptional. It’s a two-phase mask that sits on the skin for 10 minutes, then is massaged off like a scrub. It smooths, softens and is particularly good if you have the enlarged pores and combination skin so common in middle age and menopause.
If I’m going out to an event where I’ll be photographed, I turn to Glamglow. Now, this is a brand I was almost adamant I’d hate from the off – the name, the copywriting on the jars, dear God. But it’s one that has since charmed me with truly fantastic, if eye-wateringly expensive, masks. There are five in the range, all of them great, but for me, Supermud (£44.99, for oily, blackhead-prone skin) and Youthmud (£49.99, an exfoliating treatment for all skins, especially mature) edge it. Both give such great results that, for up to three days afterwards, someone will invariably ask what I’ve had done. The cost is prohibitive, but you don’t need to use them more than once a month. Plus, the brand sells sample pots, so you can try before you commit.