A weekly mask is a great addition to a skincare routine to add extra hydration, to purify, clarify, detox, revive, nourish, unclog or firm, according to the skin's needs. These cruelty-free and vegan masks are not only a pleasure to use, but they really deliver. Use them regularly and you'll see an improvement in the appearance of your epidermis in no time.
Nini Organics has fast become one of my favourite beauty brands. I’ve tried several products from their vegan, organic and natural range and none of them has disappointed. I particularly love the Nini Organics Natura Miracle Mask, £35 for 100g, a detoxifying and deep cleaning powder which you activate by adding water to it. It contains cacao, coconut, Australian pink clay, hibiscus, spirulina and neem to deeply cleanse and absorb pollution and grime. Unlike some detoxifying masks, this leaves your skin really soft and moisturised and works wonders on dry as well as oily skin. Put a couple of teaspoons of the mask on the palm of your hand, add water to create a paste and apply to face and neck. Once dry, remove with lukewarm water and follow with a good moisturiser, oil or balm, such Nini Organics Infinity Beauty Balm, £55 for 30ml.
What’s more the brand takes sustainability seriously. All their products come in reusable and recyclable glass jars, and the only plastic in sight is in the lid, but they are currently working hard to find an alternative to it.
Bentonite clay is a volcanic ash packed with vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and copper. When powdered and mixed with water it produces a charge of electrical nature and applied topically to the skin, or even ingested, it draws out toxins from the body.
This clay is used to alleviate many skin complaints including acne, dermatitis, redness or simply to draw out impurities. Get Mask’d Bentonite Clay Mask, £19.10 for 180g, contains only its eponymous ingredient and comes in powder form.
To apply as a face treatment, mix a teaspoon of the clay with a teaspoon of water (use a non metallic spoon as metal deactivates the clay) and let it sit for 20 minutes (don’t exceed this time because this is powerful stuff that really does what it says on the tin). Wash it off with lukewarm water, either using your hands or with a cloth and you’ll notice your skin being clearer immediately.
Bentonite clay can be used on all skin types, including sensitive, and don’t be alarmed if your skin is a little red after application - this is normal as the clay promotes blood flow as it draws out toxins. The redness will subside quickly. Bentonite clay can also be used on the body by adding three tablespoons to the bath (don’t soak for longer than 15-20 minutes) or as a hair mask by mixing it with water and leaving for the same amount of time as you’d leave it on the face.
This is an inexpensive product that really delivers and you’ll feel it working as soon as you apply it. Not only does it draw out impurities and toxins, it also tightens and firms without drying. Use once a week for clear, glowing skin.
Hydrate and smooth
Swiss made skin689 Bio-Cellulose Hyaluron Mask, £5.90 per sheet, is packed with hyaluronic acid, fermented coconut extract, adenosine and amino acids to hydrate and smooth the skin, replenishing it and plumping it. Apply this sheet mask on clean skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Once you are done, massage any residue into the epidermis. This product is suitable for all skin types and particularly beneficial to dry and mature. Use it regularly as a once a week treatment or when you are in particular need of hydration. Ideal for preparing the skin ahead of colder or dry weather.
Exfoliate and Renew
Launching mid May, this brand new mask by Bodhi and Birch, £60, uses the power of Eastern herbs, purifying clays and enzymatic fruit power to exfoliate, brighten, refine, renew and balance the skin. Renshen (Mandarin for ginseng), one of the main ingredients, is very beneficial to the skin thanks to its antioxidant, anti-ageing and toning properties. Use once a week to get rid of dead skin cells, brighten and renew.
Revive and Brighten
Botanicals Revitalising Mask, £20, deeply cleanses whilst replenishing the skin. French rose clay draws away impurities, whilst antioxidant-packed rosehip and jojoba oils moisturise, brighten and nourish. Apply after cleansing, leave for 10 minutes and follow with your day or night serum and moisturiser. Ideal for normal, dry and mature skin.Vegan and cruelty free.
Blackheads and Clogged Pores
Remember in the mid 90s when blackheads strips came onto the market and everybody went crazy for them? It sounded too good to be true and it was. Having tried those strips myself I can't say they were very effective. Thankfully 20 years have made a big difference and Starskin Sunset Strips 3-Step Advanced Pore Cleansing Expert System, £8.99, which utilises a similar concept to get rid of blackheads and unclog pores, works beautifully. These strips work in three stages. First apply a strip mask to open pores; follow with the charcoal one to pull out the blackheads and finally apply the bio cellulose strip to shrink and refine pores. It really does work and you can see (should you wish...) those unsightly blackheads firmly stuck to your strip. Vegan and cruelty free.
Purify and Clarify
Whether you have oily, combination, normal or dry skin, the epidermis does become dull if not deeply cleansed regularly. Dead sea mud has been used in skincare for a long time as it's very effective at cleansing, purifying and clarifying. Apply Emblá Dead Sea Mud Mask, £12.95, for 15-20 minutes. To aid exfoliation massage the face in a circular motion before rinsing off with warm water. The addition of shea butter leaves the skin soft and hydrated. Vegan and cruelty free
Refresh and Nourish
Who hasn't seen little pouches of Montagne Jeunesse 7th Heaven masks in their chemists? This affordable brand has been around for years and it's ideal for travelling. What's also great about it is that it works, it's cruelty free and vegan too! Montagne Jeunesse do different types, according to skin needs. I love their Super Fruit Mud, which is packed with goji and acai berries and pomegranate to cleanse the epidermis deeply and nourish. The Cucumber Peel-Off removes dirt and refreshes and it's a great pick me up when the skin is looking dull. If excessive oil and clogged pores are your problem, the Charcoal Peel-Off mask cleans deeply and gets rid of impurities. All mask sachets cost between 85p and £1.
Hydrate and Soothe
I'm a big fan of American brand MyChelle. I've tried several products in their line and have always been very happy with the results. Their Hydrating Cactus Mask, £21, doesn't disappoint either. Prickly pear cactus and blue agave work in conjunction to soothe, calm and hydrate, making it ideal for dry, sensitive and ageing skin. It's also really quick and easy to use; simply apply and let it do its magic for 5-10 minutes before rinsing.