I am a maskaholic and have to restrain myself from using one for every day of the week. I find them indispensable for offering deep nourishment, calming and the most effective instant pick-me-up. These are my very favorites and I use them all regularly as needed. These are the Five Best facial masks of 2013. Two quick housekeeping notes: Honorable mention should go to Living Nature Ultra Nourishing Mask, which was a 2012 Five Best. Exfoliating masks and peels will be in a future post.
Kahina Antioxidant Mask
Kahina Antioxidant Mask ($62) leaves my face looking refreshed and glowing, as if it had just had been given a healthy meal. I don’t see this as a quick fix, but more an anti-aging treatment that gives benefits over time. As you would expect, it has Kahina’s signature argan oil, but I credit a lot of this mask’s success to aspen (populus tremuloides). The bark is rich in salycin, an aspirin-like substance, which is considered to be analgesic and anti-inflammatory. The antioxidants are provided by rosemary, acai and pomegranate. Kahina’s mask is an excellent product for almost all age groups, from 30 through the 70s and beyond.
Arcona Wine Hydrating Mas
Arcona Wine Hydrating Mask ($38). This mask is a fantastic skin soother – it even calms down nasty rashes. If my skin is troubled and out of sorts, this is my go-to. It also lives up to its claim of being hydrating and leaves skin looking satiny. Wine, of course, is an antioxidant and the extract is accompanied by resveratrol, a molecule in red grape skins. Studies have shown that topical applications of resveratrol significantly inhibited UVB-mediated phototoxicity and enhanced skin thickness. I like too that there is omega 7-rich macadamia and black currant oil to promote healthy cell respiration and stimulate microcirculation.
Royal Nectar Original Face Mask
Royal Nectar Original Face Mask ($68 in the shop). This is its second year running as a Five Best. As Emily put it in her review of Royal Nectar face mask with bee venom: “This product is fabulous.” And I couldn’t agree more. About once a week or so, whenever my face doesn’t look its rosy and radiant best, I reach for Royal Nectar’s mask and am always renewed by it. Royal Nectar, from a family-run bee-keeping family in New Zealand, is the original source of the bee venom that has the British Royal Family all abuzz. Bee venom has 19 active components, including anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Whether it really makes the difference in this mask, or whether it’s the manuka honey or oils of avocado, apricot and rosehip, I don’t know. I actually don’t care. This is such a good product. Actually, a fabulous one. See the video.
Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask
Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask ($60). This luxurious, decadent chocolate rich moisturizer smells so divinely chocolatey that you will want to eat it. Chocolate is a super powerful antioxidant and this mask is dense with it. For that matter, it is dense with a ton of antioxidants including witch hazel, almond and grape seed oils, Yerba Maté, which contains higher levels of antioxidants than both green tea and red wine, scullcap and papaya. There is the free radical scavenger CoQ10 as well. Post mask, skin looks incredibly polished and refreshed.
Red Flower Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque
Red Flower Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque ($42 in the shop). I love the all-natural ingredients, the way it makes my skin feel and that it does double duty as a cleanser and mask. The standout ingredients are juniper, sunflower (helichrysum) and three types of mushroom. Juniper is not a common ingredient in cosmetics. However, it has useful astringent and antibacterial properties, which make this cleanser helpful for those prone to breakouts. The mushrooms are chock full of antioxidants.