June 21st 2021
Face masks have seen double digit growth in the past few years according to the NPD group, while Mintel Senior Beauty Analyst Jane Jang reports that sheet masks in particular are continuing to fly off the shelves, particularly in South Korea which, let’s face it (apologies), sparked this whole whacky masking trend in the first place:
“The sheet mask craze does not seem to be slowing down. Moving beyond basic hydrating benefits, sheet masks and patches are now designed for each part of the body and every member of the family, babies included, to target every possible need and to be used on the most specific occasions. Some interesting examples include masks inspired by oriental acupressure massage techniques and injection treatments at clinics, featuring micro-needles and pressure points, and sauna-effect masks that lock in moisture while trapping body heat.”
In short, masking is mega, and it’s moving beyond your mug. Here are ten body masks that claim to do everything from tanning to treating your toes to toning your tush. Not all at once of course, unless you’re indulging in a spot of multi-masking for the body, which will no doubt be a “thing” on social media soon. We in no way condone posting pictures of your posterior on the internet. We’re aiming for peachy bums, not breaking the internet.
We’ll start off sensible. If you’re looking to create a hammam type experience without the airfare to Marrakech, and don’t mind turning your bathroom tiles black* (*temporary), The Body Shop’s Body Clays are a goer. With a Moroccan Rhassoul and Himalayan Charcoal option, both body masks will sweep away any skin related cobwebs while cooling and softening, although I don’t recommend getting either in your nooks and crannies. The idea is to spread the mask over stomach, chest, limbs and back (a good looking, not shy hammam assistant would be ideal at this point), leave it to dry for about ten minutes and then rinse away to leave behind skin that feels and looks more taught. Weirdly, it works, although any “sculpted” effect is short lived. That being said, skin does feel beautifully satin-like post-use. Apply it with the accompanying Spa Of The World™ Body Mask Brush, £10, if you’re feeling flush and fancy. It certainly elevates the experience. I would also recommend steaming up your shower room/ turning the heating on for the ten minute hanging around naked part.
Similar in concept to The Body Shop option but more intense, this tingly, minty mask is designed for use on the face as well as body, but on account of the high levels of menthol and general zingy-ness, I’d be tempted to stick to bodily territory. Pleasingly green and gungy, this would be a delight to use on a hot day, and the combo of honey and kaolin clay feels purifying and satisfyingly purging both during and after application. Ground aduki beans polish without the classic brillo pad effect of some exfoliators, and there’s also quite a bit of glycerin in there for moisture boosting effect. How long you sit about in this is up to you (some testers managed a good half an hour), but stalking the flat looking like Green Lantern with no clothes on didn’t appeal to me on a rainy May evening. Chill out (literally) for as long as is comfortable, and definitely until it dries on the skin, and then rinse away for skin that feel distinctly fresher and is left nice and soft. Some people report not needing any type of bodily unction afterwards, but I’m all about the lotion to seal the silky skin deal.
If you expect visible glow-giving results from your chosen mask, consider this rather lush overnight self-tanner. A fragrance-free gel with an impressive amount of aloe vera squeezed in, it’s as soothing as self-tanners can be while also being quick drying so it doesn’t turn your pillows/ pjs/partner an unwelcome shade of orange. I think what qualifies this as a ‘mask’ is its similarity to actual skincare rather than simply a functional tanner- it lavishes your limbs in moisture binding hyaluronic acid and antioxidant algae extracts as well as good old aloe. It’ll also encourage you to get a good eight hours kip- for the best colour results you shouldn’t wash it off before then. If you’re just napping, there’s an Express option that develops into a light bronze over 30 minutes and a darker shade if you give it 60, plus a Go Darker version of the original overnighter if you like to wake up as if you’re two weeks into that far flung sun soaked holiday. No one need know you slathered it on on a rainy Sunday in your studio flat. Your secret’s safe here.
Similar to Sleep Mask Tan only with a different array of free-radical fighting antioxidants and more suited to the pale amongst us, this self-tan is designed to be used on face, neck and chest, but can be applied anywhere you’d like a hit of faux sunshine with more hydration and anti-ageing power than the average fake tan. Vita Liberata founder Alyson Hogg recommends using this mask pre-flight for subtle colour on landing, plus it’ll go someway to combatting in-flight air-con skin flakiness. With vitamins A, C and D and organic plant extract oils to seal in moisture, this slow but steady bronzer is pretty much as healthy as a tan gets, and if you do choose to wear it in the air it won’t stink out the cabin with that telltale mouldy, curried biscuit stench. Your in-flight companions may wonder how you achieved a glow before even getting to the inbound airport of course, but who’s telling?
Onto the specifics. A sheet mask designed to combat crepiness and dehydration from the face down, this cooling, serum drenched smoother is best worn topless to save your precious lingerie and spread the slimy skincare goodness far and wide across your chest region. The Skin Laundry crew haven’t held back in terms of buzzy and beneficial skincare ingredients here- from niacinamide to a virtuous salad of antioxidant fruit and vegetable extracts (tomato, broccoli, celery, turnip…), hydrolyzed starfish and snail secretion, there are no less than 19 elasticity promoting components in each sachet. Long-term effects are yet to be seen, and while it’s not going to cure a case of turkey neck, it does make skin look instantly better- think smooth textured, dewy and bright. If you’ve got an important occasion coming up involving any kind of v-neck, it provides an instant boost, and if you’re late to the ‘tits up’ skincare game, it gets to work fast (15-20 minutes) to increase moisture levels.
We’ll stop beating around the bush now- “chest” clearly means that your boobs are involved in the process, but this bust mask leaves no doubt- your girls are being targeted like never before. A dry sheet mask, the techstile™ “fabric” circles your nipple to cup your breast, with the idea that the lipids within the mask help active ingredients such as marine collagen extract to benefit the skin without being diluted by water or other “wet” ingredients as they can be in traditional sheet masks.
Nannette assures us that her masks are composed of 87% actives, which can continue penetrating the skin up to eight hours after wear, plus the masks can be worn twice (there are three in this pack), which makes the whole business a tiny bit more economical. In terms of actual wear, these masks adhere to your bra cup, then you shape it around your boob from there and get about your to-do list for an hour as they plump, hydrate and combat free-radical damage. As for the effects, I’ve tried Nannette’s masks before and they do deliver on instant fine-line filling and suppleness (it’s actually a bit weird how springy skin is afterwards), but if you’re hoping for actual lift, that’s not happening. It’s a lot of cash to splash on an area that’s generally kept under wraps, but if “I must improve my bust” is a mantra for you, there’s something in this.
Nannette isn’t stopping at smooth boobs- she has her sights set on your tush too. Essentially the same idea as the bust mask, these dry sachets “cup” your buttocks, “restoring firmness, suppleness and bounce”. You can apply the mask to any area of your bum that you want to target, adhering it to your pants and wearing for an hour. As you might imagine each mask needs to be disposed of after use.
If you’re wondering what’s in it for your bum, it’s basically the same deal as you’d get for your face- 90% active ingredients including antioxidant marine collagen, firmness-promoting sodium hyaluronate and plant extracts of 94% natural origin. All very lovely, but unless you’re a bikini model or plan on relocating to a Brazilian beach, the need for these is not great.
If you LOVE a gross-out beauty treatment, you will be in your element with these dead skin sloughing socks. They look cute, until your rough skin starts shedding like a snake all over the house (cue evil cackle). Once you get over the fact that you’re leaving bits of dead foot in your wake (apologies), you’ll come round to the fact that these lactic acid soaked socks are in fact the best thing invented in home pedicure history.
Rather that sweat it trying to buff off dry skin with an abrasive scrub, just whack these on, literally put your feet up and wait for your scruffy bits to be nibbled away by the naturally exfoliating formula. It's sort of like those tiny fish that eat your feet, only a lot more hygienic and less ticklish. You need to leave them on for between 60-90 minutes, so we’re talking a decent Netflix run here, and if you’re worried about them dissolving your actual feet, fear not, as lactic acid is relatively gentle as chemical exfoliators go, plus there’s some soothing plant extracts tucked away in here to restore calm. Post-wear, dead skin and calluses will gradually “peel” away in a week to ten days, so these are perhaps best worn at least a week before hitting the pool. No one wants to be next to snake feet on a sunlounger. Once their mission is complete, however, these foot masks are like nothing you’ve ever tried- you’ll achieve the silkiest hooves of your life. They’re also disgustingly addictive.
A kitsch Korean import, these hand masks may look like funky marigolds, but they’ll do a whole lot more for your chapped knuckles than your average washing up glove ever will. Infused with a moisturising serum, 20 minutes wear delivers soft mitts, and unlike simply applying a hand cream, you’ll give the light textured emollient a chance to absorb rather than typing/washing all the nourishment away. If your nails and cuticles are in need of some TLC, this will do the job, not to mention it’s a good reason to be waited on hand and foot as they work their magic. Rejuvenated hands and renewed family bonds will result.
More craziness from South Korea, these tiny finger “hats” aim to brighten dull nails and rehydrate ravaged nail plates and cuticles. There are other ways to go about this of course, but you can’t beat these for cute factor, and giving your fingers a good 15 minutes to soak up the essence undercover can’t be a bad thing. But wait, it gets weirder…
Totally bonkers, but if flaky elbows are your beauty nemesis, these hyaluronic acid soaked hydrating flower elbow patches might smooth them over. One of the mask’s main claims is that it “whitens” the elbow area. As targeted masks go, it’s niche, and makes me ponder what the world is coming to.\
For low-effort masking, check out our edit of the best overnight masks
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