Step 4: Mask
Here’s the relaxing part, and a chance to really get your skin in the mood for whatever event you throw at it. Because this is a serious at-home facial, don't be afraid to use several masks; pick and choose as you see fit, but know that this is the opportunity to really feed the skin whatever it needs.
Post-extraction and steam, when pores are at their most open, it’s always a good idea to use a clay mask, like the classic Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque
or Chantecaille's luxe Detox Clay Mask
, to lift out impurities and debris from the skin. Apply generously, let it set until dry, and then use a muslin cloth to remove every trace.
“Now you need to get the radiance and hydration back into your skin,” says Thomas, who recommends using a thick, creamy mask this time around. They don’t get much more thick and creamy than the Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask
, a beloved staple in every beauty fiend’s cabinet thanks to the black rose and magnolia essential oil combo, which leaves skin fuller, softer, fresher, and exponentially better than before. (It is
expensive, so for a cheaper alternative, try Avène's Soothing Moisture Mask
— you really can't beat a French-pharmacy classic.)
Instead of just leaving the mask on for 20 minutes and wiping off, this is the perfect time to give yourself a vigorous, skin-lifting face massage, says Thomas. "Use the heels of your hands to carry out firm upward and outward movements," she explains. Then it’s on to the pinch. Start in the center of the face and move outwards, pinching the skin using enough pressure to encourage a pinkness to the face; try keeping it up for 5-10 minutes and you’ve got yourself increased blood flow (a.k.a. radiance) and more sculpted cheekbones.
Thomas has another trick for stimulating circulation: “Rub an ice cube all over your face and keep it in constant motion,” she says, or make like Kate Moss
and dunk your head in a bowl of icy water. It's brutal, but it'll get your cheeks glowing, minimize any inflammation or redness, and make pores look tighter, too.
The day of the event, a half hour before applying makeup, a good sheet mask will get skin ready to go — and who to call on other than the king of pre-event skin care and treatments, Dr. David Colbert? The go-to derm for Victoria's Secret Angels just before the big show has an excellent skin-care line, which includes the Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Mask
. It turns skin's brightness level up to 11 in just 15 minutes. If your skin gets flushed easily, try popping Erno Laszlo's Soothe & Calm Hydrogel Mask
in the fridge — it's infused with serum that contains honeysuckle extract to help calm skin.