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A face mask is great for instant gratification – slather on, wait a few minutes, rinse, and voilà – beautiful skin! There are hundreds of face masks on the market for every skin need imaginable; from hydrating, to detoxifying and even temporary lifting masks. Every skin concern can be ameliorated, if not completely remedied with the right facial mask. As a face mask junkie, I have tried masks in all colors and textures, ranging from smooth pastel blues to gritty green Aztec mud masks. I have meticulously measured out ratios of powder and water for May Lindstrom’s magical “The Problem Solver” mask, and have had my pores all but vanish with Mario Badescu’s Silver Powder. Although each mask is unique and serves its own  specific purpose, one constant variable is the skin prep method prior to application.


So, what’s the best way to prep your skin for a mask? First, remove all makeup using a cleanser or a makeup removal wipe. Press a warm, wet washcloth against your face for five seconds. You’ll find that the heat will open your pores, allowing the mask to penetrate deeper. Next, exfoliate your face using an exfoliator with coarse grains for removing those dead skin cells. I personally use Mario Badescu’s Kiwi Exfoliating Scrub which is a key lime pie green cleanser that has the texture of whipped cream and feels luxurious. The kiwi seeds provide a decent exfoliation that is gentle enough to use 2-3 times a week. For an even deeper clean, use a microdermabrasion scrub once a week such as Origin’s Modern Friction scrub. It contains gentle ingredients like lemon peel and rice starch to leave your face luminous and polished. Exfoliate your face in circular motions for at least 45 seconds and rinse.


After your face is squeaky clean, dry off with a washcloth. If you want to go the extra mile, you can further open your pores with a little DIY trick: pour boiling water in a bowl and place your face directly above the steam. This may feel uncomfortable, but after two minutes your pores will open dramatically. This is a good time to use an extractor to remove any blackheads in those problem zones. The skin has seven layers, and we want to remove all the gunk from the superfice so the product can do what it does best. After your pores are open, you’re ready to go! Your canvas is now prepped and it’s time to paint: apply your mask generously and follow the directions. Your skin will look more hydrated/young/firm/clean in no time. After removing the mask, use a toner to close your newly decongested pores and follow with a moisturizer appropriate for your skin needs.

Enjoy your radiance, lovely face!

Have you tried a face mask? What are some of your favorites?