How to Mask: In Three Steps

I’m frequently asked what I’m using on my skin. What moisturizer? What foundation? But skincare is more involved than just one magic cream (though a few come close!).

I believe in face masks. Every week. It makes my skin feel like butter, and I rarely need facials. People complain they don’t have time to mask. I do it on Sundays while soaking in a steamy scented bath with a good book, but it could also be done while marathoning Friends on Netflix. I don’t know your life! Find the time. It’s truly worth doing.

I always mask in threes. It takes about 45 minutes total…ok ok, it CAN take 45 minutes, but I’m usually at it for over an hour. Who’s counting?


 EXFOLIATE: An exfoliating mask clears the way for other skincare to work more effectively. Our cell turnover decreases sharply as we age dulling the complexion, clogging pores, and creating flakes. I prefer a light peel to a scrub, as some scrubs can irritate sensitive skin or exacerbate acne. Look for ingredients like glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, pumpkin or papaya enzymes. My favorites:

o   REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

o   Gressa Skin Pumpkin Peel Clarifying Masque

o   Arcona Mandarin Brightening Peel


DECONGEST: A decongesting mask removes sebum, dead skin, and dirt from pores. Leaving pores clogged causes blackheads and can permanently stretch your pores over time. Look for a clay or charcoal based mask that includes ingredients like seaweed, aloe, or plant oils. A pure clay mask can harden and be harsh, but the blends stay slightly soft and won’t strip your skin. Clay can also calm inflamed or irritated skin. My favorites:

o   African Botanics Mineral Cleansing Mask

o   REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask

o   May Lindstrom The Problem Solver


 HYDRATE: A lot of fine lines we see are from surface dehydration. Our skin is depleted by heaters, the sun, travel, and dry climates. Hydrating masks are like super moisturizers, replenishing and plumping. Some rinse off, and some can even be worn to bed. I recommend taking a small amount on your next flight to cushion your skin against the parched air. Look for ingredients like shea butter, rich oils like squalene, rose, and macadamia, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid. I also love a sheet mask to hydrate, but haven’t encountered a natural one to love. My favorites:

o   Arcona Wine Hydrating Mask

o   Elemental Herbology Facial Souffle

o   Absolution Le Soin Repulpant


If you can’t commit to three masks, choose one that addresses your main concerns, and go from there. Your skin will thank you, immediately and long term.



Bonus points for: Wearing a ridiculous turban or shower cap and trying to hit on your partner while you look like the Incredible Hulk.