When presenter Maya Jama launched her own brand of face masks in December 2020, you had to be quick to beat the rush. The collection – a face mask and eye patches - sold out in 24 hours, and small wonder. For months she'd been teasing her brand MIJ Masks ( after her initials, Maya Indea Jama) on Instagram where she has 2.2 million followers. Fans loved it when she roped in her nan as a model and created an Instagram filter to make it look like you were wearing the products before they'd even launched.
Now she's added a third member to the MIJ Masks family, 003 Hydrogel Eye Patches, £15.99 for two, made with brightening vitamin C. Like the OG launches (001 Bio-Cellulose Face Mask, £15.99 and 002 Hydrogel Eye Patch, £13.99) they aim to rescue "thirsty AF skin".
Bristol-born Maya, 26, DJ, Loose Women guest presenter and documentary maker, is currently duetting with ex-footballer Peter Crouch BBC1's Crouchy's Year Late Euros. So why masks? Maya’s Instagram followers will know that she loves a sheet mask, regularly uploading selfies wearing them on trains, in taxis and on planes and even being turfed out of an Uber in Soho wearing one after her driver couldn't go any further and she had to walk. It was the love of masks that led her to create her own.
“I’ve been obsessed with face masks since I was in secondary school because my mum was really into them," she told us. "About two and half years ago I started wearing face masks on planes and posting pictures on my Instagram just to be silly and [my followers] started doing the same and sending pictures to me and it became an online thing ‘face masks on a plane with Maya.’
"I’d always find myself recommending face masks to people and then just thought ‘why not do my own?’. I know which ones are good for me and I’m the consumer. Instead of teaming up with another brand like I usually do, I got some skincare experts involved who know what they’re talking about and made my own
“I did my own market research and tried all the masks including the super expensive ones to work out what they all did and worked out I could combine all the super-ingredients and not have a scary price tag attached to it.”
MORE GLOSS: All the beauty products and treatments in Maya Jama's routine
Maya fully invested in the brand herself, which she calls a “100 per cent risk” but “you have to believe in your juice sometimes and I believe in the sauce that is in the masks.”
What's are MIJ Masks like? We tried them all
We've tested all three and like that they not only don't slip, but are packed with moisturising ingredients in eco-packaging and leave leaving a noticeable glow on your skin.
First the 001 Bio-Cellulose Face Mask: the ingredients include moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid and glycerin, along with glow-giving grape extract. I found it a pleasure to wear. The dimensions are just right and being ultra-thin, it covered even the finest of lines snugly so really felt like it was getting into the creases.
What's the 002 Hydrogel Eye Patch like? In (Instagrammable) rose gold, it's good for depuffing and smoothing with glycerin, panthenol and hyaluronic acid to plump. I wore the patches for 15 minutes and my under-eye area certainly had a sheen that has been missing in recent months. Plus they didn't slip about, which is handy if you're wearing them as you move. They felt cooling to wear too, a real moment of self-care in a busy week.
The new 003 Hydrogel Eye Patch, in silver, has vitamin C to brighten, wrinkle-smoothing and skin barrier building niacinamide and hydrating hyaluronic acid. Our Editorial Director Victoria tested these.
"I really wasn't expecting much of a celebrity product, but these did brighten up my permanently parched under-eye area. They felt very cool to wear. I was able to keep them on for an hour of yoga, by which time my under-eye lines had smoothes noticeably," she says. "Allantoin is a highly soothing ingredient that works well to buffer the pigmentation-busting vitamin C, which can be sometimes sting. They are not cheap, but you can get more out of them by waiting until the product has absorbed and spritzing a face mist on your skin and going in for another round of hydration."
How sustainable are MIJ Masks?
Well aware of the number of sheet masks and packaging creating landfill, Maya worked hard to make hers as sustainable as possible. The face masks are made of bio-cellulose, a compostable carbon-positive fibre, produced through the fermentation of coconut water. The face masks are free of disposable plastic inserts although the eye patches do contain them for support. The foil pouches are non-recyclable, as with most sheet masks.
The boxes are made from FSC-certified card, ethically sourced from responsibly managed forests. They're sent out in non-toxic and home compostable mailer bags from sustainable packing brand Noissue. Plus for every order placed Noissue plants trees in areas of need.
MORE GLOSS: Can sheet mask ever be environmentally friendly?
Buy MIJ Masks at mijmasks.com