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Face Masks

A Treat For Your Skin

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A face mask, also known as a facial mask, is what an esthetician applies to your face after cleansing, skin analysis, exfoliation, extractions and massage during a professional facial.

Face masks are generally left on your skin for for 10 to 15 minutes. Face masks contain ingredients like clay, aloe vera, algae, seaweed, essential oils, carrier oils, herbs and vitamins and are and are intended to treat your particular skin type or condition.

For instance, if you're dry or dehydrated, the face mask should help add oil and moisture to your skin. If you're red or have inflamed areas, the face mask should calm and soothe. If you're oily and congested, it can help draw out impurities from the skin.

One sign of a good facial is that the esthetician stays in the room with you during the mask, giving you a scalp massage or some other service that enhances your experience. If she says, "Relax for a minutes and I'll be back", it breaks the connection between therapist and guest. I'm not paying good money to lay there by myself. You can do better.

After the mask has done its work, the esthetician removes it either with a cool towel, cotton pads (or it may even peel off). After making sure it is fully removed, she then completes the facial with application of toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, lip balm and if it's day-time, sunscreen.

A face mask is intended to treat whatever condition is going on with your skin -- dryness, dehydration, acne, or aging skin -- so it's important to choose the right one. If you're working with a regular esthetician and a particular skin care line, she can recommend a facial mask for you to use for a once a week home facial.

What Are The Benefits of Face Masks?

Face masks have a number of benefits for the skin. Depending on what they are made of, they can do the following:

  • draw impurities out of the pores

  • clear up blemishes

  • tighten and tone the skin

  • hydrate the skin

  • nourish the skin

  • calm and soothe the skin

  • rejuvenate the skin

  • What Types of Face Masks Are There?

  • Clay masks draw impurities to the surface of the skin. They contain clay, kaolin or bentonite for their tightening and sebum-absorbing effects.

  • Cream masks or gel masks are formulated to hydrate and nourish the skin.

  • Setting masks are made by mixing a powder with water, whipping it up, and quickly applying it to your skin. They then harden into a rubbery state and esthetician peels them off at the end. These are cool and refreshing masks, but not found that often because they're tricky to work with. They're not a good choice if you have claustrophobia.

  • Can I Make My Own Face Mask?

    Definitely! Home-made masks made from fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, honey, and eggs have been used for centuries. They are fun to experiment with, and you can only do them at home because they aren't practical in a spa setting. I recommend you use organic ingredients because you don't want to put pesticides on the sensitive skin of your face.

    Here are some of the most common ingredients for a home-made face mask and their benefits:

  • Avocado - rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E and oil. A good choice for dry and sensitive skin.

  • Cucumbers -- Cooling, soothing and healing. The classic at-home eye pad.

  • Papaya - Contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that dissolves the dead outer layer of the skin. Don't use if your skin is already irritated or sunburned.

  • Eggs - Egg whites tighten and tone the skin.

  • Potatoes - Use thin slices for oily skin or to reduce under-eye puffiness.

  • Yogurt - Contains natural lactic acid, which helps exfoliate the skin. It can be used alone as skin softening face mask and is appropriate for all skin types.

  • Honey - Has hydrating, toning and tightening effects.

  • Herbs - Herbs and teas such as chamomile (soothing) can be used as ingredients for face masks and compresses.

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