Face masks sales have soared in 2015, and the humble face pack has come a long way since your sleepover days. Are you a committed multimasker?

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Multimask: verb, gerund or past participle: multimasking, definition: applying two or more masks to the face at any one time. Along with ‘hangry’, ‘manspreading’ and ‘microaggression’,  ‘multimask’ can surely slip into the Oxford Dictionary before the end of the year, given the prolific rise in popularity and the subsequent sales that are thought to have been provoked by ‘painting the rainbow’ with face masks.

According to the NPD Group Inc, sales of face masks grew by 22.8% between October 2014 and October 2015, which is no small feat given that the women’s skincare sector represented 24.1% of the prestige beauty market in October 2015, which in total equated to a whopping £368m (the face mask market alone was worth £6m). Why are masks making such a killing? June Jenson, UK Director of Beauty for the NPD Group, thinks that we’re increasingly looking to bloggers rather than billboards for skincare know how and inspiration:

“The recent growth in the mask market, fuelled by the trend for multi-masking is important in a number of ways. Firstly it’s boosting the prestige skincare market by increasing sales, whilst ensuring that customers are exploring new products and experimenting with new lines in different ways.”

“It also demonstrates the role that beauty bloggers and Instagram influencers have on the sales of beauty products. Beauty consumers are increasingly turning to their peers for advice on products and take the lead of their online idols, revealing the true influence of online social media channels like Instagram and Twitter.”


Multimasking certainly makes for a fun, shareable image; once you’ve daubed an impurity elimination clay mask on your nose, ‘contouring’ mask on the high planes of the face, moisturising mask on the cheeks and finished off with a few cooling, tightening eye patches, you’re essentially a living, breathing Picasso. The experts at Mintel think that the shift is about more than the social media storm, however, referring to Estée Lauder’s acquisition of GLAMGLOW earlier in the year as an indication that the face mask market’s success is anything but a flash in the pan:

“The rise in popularity of multimasking is likely driven by a move toward more customized skincare solutions along with improved ease of use. As such, consumers perceive improved efficacy from skin treatments such as masks. In fact, Mintel research shows that 13% of US adults who use facial skincare products agree that facial treatments give them better results than everyday skincare products.”

Our ‘need for variability’, along with the perception that a mask does more for us than our daily moisturiser, goes somewhere to explain why we’re willing to spend an average of £31.90 on a face mask (10p more than last year incidentally), according to the NPD Group Inc. There’s no doubt that many face masks are worth this price tag and more for their rejuvenating effects (especially during and post party season), but if you’re multimasking, it’s not hard to imagine your thrice weekly DIY facial creeping into triple figure territory, not to mention your free time disappearing down the plug hole. Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of wearing all of your masks at once…


Multimasking could well be a cure-all for combination skins, and given that many of us experience patches of dryness, combined with oiliness, blemishes and puffiness as we marinade in mulled wine over the Christmas period, that could well count for all of us. Apply a pore shrinking paste to nose and chin, a nourishing cream mask to cheeks and some reviving hydrogel half moons  under the eyes and it’s remarkable how skin suddenly snaps back to life and starts behaving itself. In the words of Origins Executive Director of Product Development Lizz Starr, ‘by targeting each zone differently you receive optimum benefits for varying concerns.’

You’re following in the footsteps of true skincare connoisseurs, the South Koreans. They started multimasking donkeys ago, and have a preventative attitude rather than a last minute, panic stricken one. See cute, effective and relatively inexpensive localised masks such as Tony Moly Choco Mushroom Cream Pore Pack , £16, newly landed from Seoul at Cult Beauty .

As cocktails go, multimasking is very healthy. Your skin will thank you. Keep coconut juice saturated StarSkin® Eye Catcher™ masks , £8.50,  in the fridge alongside any naughty drink ingredients and the soothing, smoothing bio-cellulose sealed serum will destroy most of the evidence of last night’s margaritas.

It’s especially satisfying in terms of frightening kids, partners and pets. You could expand your reach to your Facebook friends or Instagram followers if you’re feeling bold.

It justifies playing with all of your self-gifted Christmas beauty presents at the same time. It also legitimises you buying them all in the January sales. You will most definitely not be partaking in Dry January from a skincare point of view.


It’s expensive. Slap on six prestige face masks at a time and you’ve burned a big hole in the rest of the year’s beauty budget. Mix up luxe anti-ageing masks with less pricey purifying ones and shop around to find both formulas and price points to suit.

TIME and also THOUGHT. It takes time to strategically apply various face masks and watch the clock in terms of leave-on requirements, and thought as to where to put each one. Headspace and spare time are not generally at a premium in this day and age or at this time of year, but if you do find yourself with a lazy Sunday, ladle them on of course. Perhaps the vision of your in many masks will convince the in-laws to pack off home to give you said ‘me time’. Sneaky. But still, a lot of effort.

Bathroom/ fridge shelf crisis. Having multiple masks open at the same time presents a challenge in terms of giving them a home without irritating those you live with and keeping them fresh without sacrificing actual, life giving food for the fridge space. This is where sheets, patches and individual sachets come into their own.

Skin reactions. If you suffer with sensitive skin, this is a trend to approach with caution, and even the resilient among us need to be wary of loading too many active ingredients on our visage at one time. Tread gently, investigate whether the masks you’re using might be incompatible when used all at once , and be aware of any ingredients you’ve had trouble with in the past . A bit of patch testing might not go amiss either .

Gimmicks. I’m just yet to be convinced by contouring masks. Let’s stop at makeup and let it be.

Face shape morphing masks may well be pushing it, but we in the UK adore a good old fashioned skin quencher, with hydrating masks taking the top spot in terms of sales and popularity. The following were 2015’s best sellers, so if you want to get in on #multimasking mania, these will carry on their good work long after online skincare stunts have dwindled. in no particular order…

Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Rose Clay Mask , £23

Wear one, wear three, wear none, but the team at NPD believe that ‘specialist products such as masks introduce customers to new lines and foster greater brand loyalty.’ A large amount of growth has come care of new launches, suggesting that the future of the face mask is bright indeed. Hopefully our own faces will follow suit. I’ll toast to that.

Have you tried multimasking, or are you tempted? Let us know your experience below or  tag us on Instagram  with your multimask ‘face’.

Follow me on Twitter  @AnnyMaryHunter  and Instagram  @annyhunter

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