All Summer long I look forward to the cosy Winter months. Does that make me the worst? I simply prefer the hygge that the colder months afford us. The hot water bottles, endless cups of hot tea, hunkering down under a soft blanket with the latest series I'm hooked on. Bliss! What I always tend to forget though is that the Winter months wreak havoc on my poor skin. Between being blasted with central heating, being flushed from the heat of the open fire and then getting lashed with rain, hail, sleet and (on a rare occasion) snow and that's not even mentioning the cold wind that feels as though it could cut right through you, our skin goes through a LOT in Winter so it's only right if I'm pampering myself with a little hygge in the evenings I should be affording my skin the same luxury.
It stands to reason then that I've taken to doing a face mask every other night so today I'm going to take you through the face masks I've been using to combat the cold weather conditions and the effect they have on my skin.
The emphasis has been on hydration and masks that help with stressed skin and I've discovered some new gems as well as revisiting old favourites.
I've blogged about the Hyaluronic Acid Moisturising Sheet Masks before (read it here) and considering the price of these masks I ensure that my skincare shelf is well stocked with these. I usually opt for the ordinary My Beauty Diary Hyaluronic Sheet Mask but I decided to give the Platinum version a whirl for extra hydration and much as though my skin absolutely adores this mask and I do see a significant difference on the surface of my skin after use, I don't think the platinum version is much different than the ordinary version so they're much the same. Still glorious to use and still one of my favourite budget masks out there at the moment. I usually pop one of these on for 20 - 30 minutes and pat in the excess moisture that remains on the skin. Because these sheet masks are drenched in solution I do sometimes pat the excess off with a cotton pad, both methods have the same outcome. Refreshed skin within a half hour. I buy mine here and for a couple of quid they're a really lovely quick fix for tired and dehydrated skin.
Similarly, the Clarins HydraQuench Cream Mask for dehydrated skin has been a dream through these last few months. My blogging buddy Claire from World of Kitsch sent this one down to me and I was excited to integrate it into my masking routine. A beautifully light cream texture that absorbs really nicely into the skin, this mask is slightly perfumed which I had worried would set my skin off but it didn't. In fact, my skin drank this up and looked much brighter after use, largely in part due to the fact it also contains hyaluronic acid - a wonder ingredient for hydrating skin. With this particular mask I apply it to the skin and allow to soak in for approximately 5 - 10 minutes then remove with a cotton pad soaked in my Kiehl's Ultra Facial Toner. This particular mask has a salon feel to it because it is lightly scented so why not really take the time to work it into the skin, light a few scented candles and relax whilst it goes to work!
Another absolute skin saver and solid staple in my face mask rotation over the last few months (and especially Christmas!) was the *True North De-Stressed Mask. A little pricier than my usual face masks but what a treat! This is a lighter scented mask but it packs a big punch in regards to the difference it makes to tired skin. Slightly different in the sense that it's a velvety gel style mask but I find that this works to ensure the texture feels so much lighter on application. Another mask that my skin drank up and I can say with certainty that it helped with dullness during a stage where weather was battering my skin as well as hospital procedures and visits. Those lights and anaesthetic etc are going to have an effect on your skin so it's worth bearing that in mind. This one is a 10 minute mask and though it says to tissue off excess afterwards, I found there wasn't much excess at all so after using I continue on with my skincare routine and find my skin feels softer than when I use any other mask, plus it looks significantly brighter.
I feel I should also mention those little Crystal Collagen Gold Eye Masks hiding in the background as well because they have revolutionised my skincare routine. A little bit of backstory: a few years ago I was reminded that I wasn't getting any younger, that fact coupled with a lack of sleep at times seemed to be leading me to dull and tired eyes with bags for days. Any eye cream I tried, and I do mean any and all, didn't seem to make a difference. In fact, not only did they not help matters they actually made the whole situation worse. The skin in and around my eyes seems to be extra sensitive, though it usually is the most sensitive area of your face anyway, I found that any eye cream I attempted to integrate into my routine was leaving me with little blocked pores and sometimes a little bit of milia. And so I abandoned the idea of working eye cream into my routine. Then I came across the gold eye masks and they have changed the game entirely! Not only do I look like a kick ass super hero when I'm wearing them, my under eye area looks visibly brighter after use AND no adverse effects afterwards either! I use one of these once to twice a week now and have never looked back. I get mine on Ebay here for a very budget friendly £2.98 for 10 trays. Hard to beat!
Another favourite during the last few months has been the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask which is the most convenient as you just pop it on at night and go to sleep. The morning after using this one I simply go through my skincare routine as per usual. I had treated myself to one of the mix and match boxes a while ago which featured a range of Origins face masks but this is hands down my favourite. Some (the rose clay one specifically) didn't fare so well and I did end up breaking out after using them but the Drink Up Intensive mask is really lovely. Would I recommend it over others within this post? I don't think so... but it was nice to have to hand this last while! One to look out for within a mix and match for sure but be aware that it is scented, moreso than any other mask I've tried...
Much as though I adore face masks and ensure I always have some to hand, it's hard to beat the convenience of a sheet mask so when I had the opportunity to try one of the *Timeless Truth Deep Sea Extract Moisturising Masks I couldn't wait to get my 'let's pretend we're relaxing in a salon' sesh on. I know I've already sung the praises of the budget friendly korean hyaluronic sheet mask at the start of this post but if your budget can stretch to one or two of these then I'd highly recommend it. The addition of the Algae Extract paired with Hyaluronic Acid ensures a deep hydrating experience for your skin. This is a 20 minute mask and again, I simply pat the excess into my skin afterwards ensuring I take it right down my décolletage. I have to admit it's a little more comfortable than the ones above because it's a lighter sheet and I don't have to sit with a towel during the time it's on like I do with the one at the top (I did say that one was DRENCHED in solution, remember?). You can get these masks and so many more at Beauty Belle who stock such an amazing and extensive range of sheet masks, I've already got a few more on my list to invest in.
The final product I wanted to highlight, especially for tired, stressed and/or dehydrated skin is this fantastic exfoliating powder by Image Skincare. The *Intense Brightening Exfoliating Powder is part of their Iluma range (which I'm loving!) and has not only become a skincare staple in my routine but I also discovered it adds an extra level of deep cleanse to a face mask. Obviously in no way suitable to use with a sheet mask, I mean that just wouldn't work, but I've been using it lately mixed in with the True North mask and WOW! This comes in powder form so I shake a small amount into the palm of my hand which I've wetted with a little warm water, I then rub my hands together to create the light foam, adding a decent drop of the True North facemask into the mix and then apply to my face for up to 10 minutes. By the time I rinse my skin feels exceptionally polished, exfoliated and hydrated all at the same time. It can also be used as a straight exfoliating cleanser but I have to say I am loving it mixed in with a mask at the moment.
It should go without saying, although I'm going to say it anyway, it's grand looking after your skin and pampering it and looking after it through the Winter months to ensure it stays in peak condition but remember to drink plenty of water. If you're dehydrated within yourself it goes without saying that it will show on your skin so be sure to get those extra glasses of hydration actually INTO your body as well as concentrating on the surface.
I hope you're all taking a little extra care with your skin during these months!
*This post contains reviews of some products sent for consideration. These are clearly marked with * I am not under any obligation (paid or otherwise) to give glowing reviews and will always ensure I give you my full and frank opinion in these cases.