Beauty

Save, spend, splurge: clarifying masks

Like a lot of people I love whacking on a mask a couple of times a week, usually in the bath or whilst sprawled across the bed watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I have lots of them but most fall into one of two categories – clarifying or moisturising. The save, spend, splurge this time is all about the masks I use when I feel as if my face, especially my t-zone, needs a good deep clean.

Save, spend, splurge - clarifying masks

The cheapest of the three is the Quick Fix Facials Anti-Blemish Mask. It’s a thick whitish cream which is easy to spread around (I use an old flat foundation brush for this), and only needs ten minutes to work before it dries slightly and you can wash it off. It’s designed for oily skin, which I don’t really have, so I only tend to use it on my nose and chin, which are my most spot-prone areas, so the salicylic acid can work its magic on any congestion. It’s not a miracle worker but it does seem to calm redness and bring spots to a head quickly (lovely); you can also use it as a spot treatment on individual blemishes. Find it in Boots for £4.99 (but often on offer).

The middle option is from one of my favourite skincare brands, NIOD, and is the Flavanone Mud. It comes in a brown glass jar, which isn’t the most portable or convenient but does look rather charming on a bathroom shelf. The mask itself is a deep terracotta colour which will stain every flannel used to wipe it off – don’t say I didn’t warn you. NIOD’s explanation of the science behind the mask is a little long to explain (it can be found here), but basically it works to both purify and decongest the skin immediately and protect it from premature ageing and pollution in the long-term. I spread a thin layer all over my face, leave it for between ten and twenty minutes, and wipe it off. It doesn’t tingle when it’s on but, oddly, it does sting a bit when you’ve removed it (which is normal, according to NIOD) so do be gentle. Regular use leaves the skin more even in tone and smooth – I love it. It’s £29 for 50ml, but currently has 20% off at Escentual.

Finally, we have the priciest option, the May Lindstrom Problem Solver. It’s horribly spendy but the pot is a massive 250ml. I’ve had mine for about 6 months and haven’t even used a fifth of it yet, because you need so little. It’s a dry powder which you mix with water or facial oil before spreading it over your face and settling down – this one needs as long as possible, or at least 45 minutes, so it’s a great option for the bath. It contains Fuller’s Earth to purify, with cacao and cinnamon to boost circulation and provide some anti-oxidants. I can never decide if it smells amazing or a bit funky – it’s not one to be wearing if you want to enjoy a glass of wine as it really affects the taste! It leaves the skin really smooth, as it’s slightly exfoliating when you remove it, and super glowy. It’s £72 for a 250ml jar – definitely expensive but I think it’s worth it because it lasts for so long and works so well.

What masks do you recommend for when your face feels in need of a deep cleanse? Have you tried any of these three?

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