I am blessed with beautifully clear almost translucent skin. No, I am not tooting my own horn. It’s true. I am not plagued with breakouts (save for the odd blemish or two that creeps up around my “period”) or uneven skin tone. I have firm dense skin and even the hyperpigmentation (a gift from pregnancy) has magically disappeared. My skin glows!
I know, you hate me right now, don’t you?
Before you “flip the channel” none of this was true about my skin four years ago. I was riddled with blackheads, you could take a bath in my pores, and suffered frequently from hard cysts that just sat under the skin. My skin was fragile and I frequently fought with broken blood vessels. In short, I was a mess. My skin hated me.
I believed firmly in an organic diet but I wanted organic in my body but science on my face. I had a treasure trove of the latest and greatest skin clearing, anti-aging, tightening, lifting, brightening products. Every new technological breakthrough I bought into hook, line, and sinker. Everything fell short so I kept buying cleansers, masks, serums and creams. To make a long story short, the firming and lifting creams created more cysts, the acne creams created more oil which created more blackheads and everything else just made my skin red and angry.
Then something shifted. I decided to toss “science” out the window and switch to a more natural approach. That’s when the magic happened.
I started with the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), something I still use today with the exception of having access to some amazing balms I substitute for the oil sometimes. (More on that later!). I changed my toners to hydrosols and started using natural but powerful masks to help clear my skin. My serums changed to oils and my creams to natural but effective substitutes.
Around this time I was traveling all over the world giving speeches and as I was on my way through the Istanbul airport en route to Tokyo they decided that my entire beauty bag was unacceptable (far too many “wet” products) and they confiscated everything but my One Love Organics Skin Savior Balm which turned out to be fine because it doubled as a cleanser and moisturizer as well as an in-flight mask.
The moment I got back aside from buying up travel sized versions of everything I love I started looking for alternative skincare good for travel. This is when I fell in love with masks you have to mix with water before you apply. With highly concentrated ingredients like clay, spices, cocoa and even fruit powders, these masks pack a punch in the skin beautifying department.
Below you will find my top 4 picks but I must mention that there are a few on the market that I like as well, Dr. Alkaitis Universal Mask being among them but I chose the ones I did because I see much more dramatic results with them and I really enjoy the scents of each one of my choices.
First up is Yuli Pure Treatment Mask. This is like a vacuum for your pores. It really gets in there and gets out all the grime of the city! This mask combines the incredible benefits of detoxifying mineral-rich clays that draw impurities, fruit enzymes that gently exfoliate dead skin and grime, and botanicals rich in anti-inflammatory collagen stimulating and free radical scavenging antioxidants like mung bean, rose, willow bark, & cucumber, that infuses cells with vital nutrients. I love mixing this one with plain rose water but have been known to use honey as well for an added softening component.
Where to buy:: Spirit Beauty Lounge $65 for 1.7 oz (A little will go a long way!)
Next we have Saf Organics Cocoa Superfood Mask. When I travel I can get a little red (especially if I have a glass of wine on the plane). This mask eradicates redness which makes it super nurturing for rosacea or acne prone skin. The clay purifies and the cocoa is a super potent bioflavonoid and anti-inflammatory. This mask I love mixing with avocado and even mashed strawberries for extra brightening. This is the simplest formulation and the one I use often because it is actually quite inexpensive. They also have a Berry Superfruit Mask I like that is great on days when I just need a little refreshing. (Because of the price point, I LOVE these masks for my whole body!!)
Where to buy:: Saf Organics $18 3 oz.
May Lindstrom has been taking my breath away since she launched her super luxe but über effective line a few years ago. Her entire line is nothing short of breathtaking but her Problem Solver mask has always got a place in my skincare routine. It is nothing short of magic. On the surface it appears to have the usual suspects as ingredients, raw cacao and clay but the alchemy is miraculous. It has rhassoul and fuller earth’s clay prized for their ability to “suck” impurities straight out o the skin, bamboo charcoal to detoxify skin, raw cacao as an antioxidant and a symphonic blend of warming cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove which aid in revealing your most radiant self while increasing blood flow. Turmeric and marshmallow root are not ignored as powerful inflammation fighters to promote an even skin tone. Although this mask can be mixed easily with plain water, I love pairing it with May’s Honey Mud which works in synergy to perfect skin all the more.
Where to buy:: Spirit Beauty Lounge $90 8.4 oz. (This lasts for ages!!!)
Last but certainly not least we have Laurel Whole Plant Organics facial masks. I say masks instead of just one because they have not one but four different dry masks and they are all second to none. My favorite of their dry mask line is the Detox with it’s French Green Clay to detox breakouts and blackheads, anti-inflammatory properties such as marshmallow, chamomile and aloe, and powerfully healing essential oils such as helichrysum, lavender both chamomile and Roman chamomile, and palmarosa which are all known for their restorative properties. Their Brighten mask is my second favorite with ingredients that are very high in Vitamin C and E (Camu Camu, rosehips, and acerola cherry to name a few) and this is my go-to mask for the summer because it really does wonders for sun worn skin. There are days when my skin needs the vibrance restored and this mask really illuminates my skin! They have a really good Antioxidant and even a Gentle mask for more sensitive skin that is worth a nod as well.
Where to buy:: Laurel Skin 5 $50 to $60 1.7 oz. (Also surprisingly lasting!)
I should take a word to talk about two of my other “dry” favorites that are not technically masks, rather cleansers but work as well as a mask when pressed for time. These definitely deserve honorable mention. The first one is May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt with it’s powder to paste formula full of warming and anti-inflammatory turmeric and cinnamon, Moroccan rhassoul gentle enough for daily use but powerful enough to be a healthier form of microdermabrasion, and healing salts that whisk away impurities in the skin, this is one of my favorite “cleansers” when I don’t have time for a full on mask but want clear bright skin without often harmful grain exfoliants. I love the way it smells and the turmeric seems to give my skin an ethereal quality.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Annee DeMamiel and her seasonal oils (which get my skin through the change of seasons with ease) and her Altitude Oil, with its antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic properties keeps me from getting sick and gets my skin glowing even during long haul flights. Needless to say I was SUPER excited when she released her Botanique line of cleansing balms (which really is a post by itself), facial mists and body oils. The star attraction of the line is the Botaniques Brightening, Cleanse & Exfoliate with it’s ginseng to really wake up tired skin, it’s pearl powder that buffs skin to perfection, and Vitamin C powder that really does have tremendous brightening abilities. I love this cleanser, especially around the change in seasons when I am using her seasonal oils as it prepares the skin to receive the maximum benefit of the oils.
It’s no surprise “dry” masks (and cleansers) are easier for travel because there is little risk of spillage and no risk of pesky security measuring liquids for airplane travel. This is a great reason alone to choose “dry” products but there is another even bigger reason I choose these products for my skincare needs. The “dry” ingredients seem to be more potent in general. I’ve used and loved many masks but those chosen above seem to be the most effective for making huge changes in the skin. In fact, I find them “fun” too. I love experimenting with bases like yoghurt, avocado, raw honey, mashed up fruits such as banana or strawberry (I don’t recommend blueberry as it does tend to take a bit to get off the skin), and even a gel cleanser for extra purifying.
It’s your turn? Do you use masks to treat your skin? What are some of your favorites?