Masque therapy has been a part of skincare going way way back.
Think mud baths in mineral springs, and harking back to the use of poultices and packs for healing, cooling or heating to treat skin conditions or systemic issues such as fevers or nausea.
Masques have their roots in plant medicine and the healing medicinal practices of most cultures around the world for eons of time.
And while the thought of 'face mask' has brought on a completely new significance for us over the past two years, we wanted to bring back the original masque and remind you how a beautiful blend of ingredients can help to renew, replenish, clear, calm, tone, tighten, hydrate, brighten, lighten and decongest the skin.
Masques, poultices and packs are still in use for cosmeceutical health and healing (that is a cosmetic that has or is claimed to have medicinal properties), but masques can also be handy as a quick fix or intensive treatment in our busy lives.
That means that even if we've got a busy schedule and not a lot of time, we can easily support our skin function in a matter of minutes, while also receiving a delicious mind and emotion reset.
It is now widely understood that our gut microbiome plays an important role in our metabolic and hormonal regulation and balance. The gut–skin axis is intimately linked and even changes and adjusts as we move through life.
Care of our skin asks that we also consider our broader wellbeing – stress management, ensuring you are supporting your gut bacteria with a healthy diet packed full of fruit, vegetables, concentrated nutrition, prebiotics and probiotics. Even perhaps jotting down your daily activity to understand any triggers that may cause inflammations or outbreaks so you can notice any correlation between social life, even intense sad or stressful days and outbreaks or rashes.
The key thing is to avoid harsh stripping cleansers and exfoliants.
Use exfoliators with gentle, natural, mechanical exfoliants such as jojoba beads and with acid exfoliants like alpha-hydroxy acids. They are beneficial to stimulate circulation and drain toxins (one of our lymph system's important jobs) and to prevent the buildup of oils and dead skin cells.
Understanding that the products we use on our skin can affect our microbiomes can be empowering to help us make good choices around clean, natural and organic skincare products that don't need to be aggressive to be effective.
In general (depending on the quality of the product and its ingredients), masques will very effectively, deeply and gently cleanse your skin. This includes the pores, flaky skin, dead skin cell clusters and sebum build-up. Remember to always cleanse your skin before applying any masque to make sure the masque can do the deeper cleanse without being blocked by daily buildup like sweat, makeup and sunscreen.
Face masques allow us to support specific skin conditions and skin concerns as well as assisting the efficacy of your skincare products. Using a masque regularly will assist in making all the beautiful ingredients in your skincare penetrate deeper and more effectively into your skin. Result = your products are going to be working better for you.
Most masques feel cool to apply and are very sensory (though some are special, heat-activated on applying = thermal masque). There are many nerve and meridian pathways over our face which is why a facial massage is so deliciously relaxing and often sends us into a deep meditative sleep.
This means that applying a masque can be a beautiful experience if you make it into one. Here's what we recommend...
Et voilà - you are now masqued up and ready to relax with a nice cup of herbal tea - we might know of one or two :) Use this time as part of the therapy – unwind, escape the busy, be still for a bit. Read a book or put on an eye pad and have a cat nap.
Tip – if you're going to lie back and relax, best to set an alarm with a gentle wake up sound for the recommended masque time so you don’t slip off like sleeping beauty for a hundred years!
And that's how simple an at-home masque experience can be!
Enjoy the mini pampering as often as you like, even up to every week, so long as you replenish the moisture in the skin once it's off.
Do you love applying a masque to your skin?
Have you ever made it into a whole pampering experience, either by yourself or with friends?
Let us know in the comments!
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