I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been particularly enamoured with at-home face masks, mainly because they never delivered the desired results (well, not for me, anyway). However, that all changed when Jules introduced me to the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, which I raved about here. It managed to obliterate my dry patches after just one use, and my skin was left clear and glowing afterwards – I was officially converted. Fast forward to the night before Jules’ wedding in Greece, and she whipped out the Origins Clear Improvements Active Charcoal Mask for the bridesmaids to try – I was a little hesitant to use a mask the night before for fear of a breakout the next day, but Jules quickly put my mind at ease and before I knew it I was slapping it on with great enthusiasm! It’s not a comfortable mask to wear, I’ll be honest – as it dries it tightens up a lot, and after about two minutes, any facial movements are almost impossible. But it’s also great because you can literally feel it sucking all the dirt out of your face like a vacuum cleaner (the thought of it literally makes me tingle with joy). Prior to using the mask I had been struggling with my skin a bit – the European heat had left me congested and red, and not having access to all my usual skin-care goodies didn’t help either. However, when I awoke on the day of the wedding my skin was clear. Completely clear. No redness, no congestion, nothing! I’m going to let that sink in for a sec…
This mask combines three ingredients to leave you with perfectly clear skin: activated charcoal to draw out those pesky pore-cloggers, white china clay to absorb toxins and regulate the skin’s sebum production, and lecithin to reduce inflammation and irritation and stimulate cell regeneration. No wonder my skin looked so good after using it! I like to use it once a week and I usually have a warm bath first or hold a warm flannel over my face to open up my pores, and then I really go to town with this stuff. I leave it on for about 10 minutes, and then remove it (very gently) using a flannel and warm water. Afterwards my skin feels clear and tight (in a good way), and perfectly prepped for the second mask. That’s right, ladies…double-masking!
A while ago Jules told me that her little secret was to apply a glycolic acid mask AFTER the Origins mask for maximum skincare benefits. Now, anyone who has ever met Jules will attest to the fact that she has supermodel skin, so who was I to disregard her pearls of wisdom? The day I got back from Greece I made my way to Woolies and picked up the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, which came highly recommended by Jules and also by the world’s most respected beauty bloggers. This potent bio active peel mask contains natural fruit acids and papain which work together to renew your complexion, reduce the appearance of fine lines and dramatically improve skin tone (papain is an extract of papaya and exfoliates the outer layer of the skin, thereby encouraging cell turnover). The instructions say to use this once a week, which is what I have been doing, and it hasn’t upset my overly-sensitive skin in the slightest. I am not a fan of physical exfoliators – that scrubby feeling leaves me cold – so this is right up my alley. It provides the level of exfoliation that I need, without any of the messiness of a conventional scrub/exfoliator. The texture is gloopy and it smells a bit strange, but it’s not unpleasant in any way – and whilst it makes your skin tingle on application, it’s not uncomfortable. As with anything though, exercise caution and if you feel like it’s too strong or aggressive for you, rather give it a miss.
So there you have it, the All Dolled Up skincare secret is officially out: double-masking! A charcoal/clay mask to clear out the gunk, and a glycolic acid mask to even out your skin’s texture – all in a mere twenty minutes, once a week! I have found that the combination of these two masks has made the most incredible difference to the tone and texture of my skin – I get less breakouts, my skin looks smoother, and it feels far softer than ever before. As you know, unfortunately Origins is not available in South Africa, but I would imagine that any face mask containing activated charcoal and/or clay would do a similar job (try the Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque, Lush Mask of Magnimity, The Body Shop Warming Mineral Mask, REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask or the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque). If you decide to give any of these masks a try, please let me know what you think – I’d love to have your feedback.
(REN is available from selected Woolworths stores, or online here. LUSH is available in-store only at the V&A Waterfront and Cavendish Square. You can locate your nearest Body Shop store here. Aesop is available from Loading Bay.)