This post was requested by the lovely Adrienne, and while I’m not sure this is exactly what she thought of when she suggested that I discuss my use of face masks, I still very much hope she enjoys it. <3
Kids I love me the hell out of a face mask. They are one of my favorite **self-care** things to do in the entire world, and as a bonus, if I don’t tell my husband that I’m putting one on, I get to terrify him with my visage. “What’s wrong with your face??” is music to my trollololol ears. When I been up straight for nine days I need a spa day I don’t get one but I do put stuff on my forehead and it’s basically the same. Here’s the process.
- Pick out a face mask
*shivers delightedly* capitaliiiiiiiiiisssssmmmm. My previous danger zone was always CVS while waiting for a prescription to be filled: I’d walk around and around and inevitably end up with Essie nail polish and Pringles or some shit aaaaand a weird clay face mask. I’ve definitely purchased more than one whose brands are no longer sold there, and one or two YesToFruitOrVegetable things. (My current CVS offers drive-thru pharmacy services and I am so incredibly grateful as I do not need any more pale pink nail polish. Yes, I doNOYOUDON’TYESIDO okay okay okay I’m okay.)
My *current* danger is absolutely 100% Sephora. If a sample is a mask, I’m on it. If a points reward is a mask, I am SUPER on it. Is this year’s birthday gift a mask oh HECK. YES. LEGGO.
Although most of my Sephora masking has been in the form of deluxe samples, I have actually purchased a few once I’ve used up the deluxe sample over the course of several months like a weird, skin-care obsessed Ebenezer Scrooge. The most recent full purchase was an Ole Henricksen mask/scrub and there’s something lovely and freeing about being able to scrape out as much of the mask as you’d like to use and putting it on your face without doing the rationing math. I like clay ones, too, and I’ll definitely have fun with ones that harden and prevent you from smiling. I’ll even mess with ones that say “you may experience some tingling” because to me, that means something is happening, which means it’s working, and that means I am about to become BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL.
Also a good selling point? “This mask smells amazing.” I have one green mask that does the tingly thing and did seem to make my skin feel smooth but it also kinda smelled like I was rubbing dirt into my face and it’s cool if that’s your thing but nah.
My most recent indulgence was a SET of masks from the Sephora Favorites collection and I would put them all on at the same time if that were dermacologically sound. However, because of who I am, fundamentally, as a person, I am actually looking forward to stretching these mini sizes out until my retirement.
After I’ve chosen, then comes
2. Don’t eat it
Hear me out tho
Yes, this is not a standard type of thing that many others have to do but my current mask bae is part sugar scrub and it smells so good and okay I maybe tried a little bit just once and no it wasn’t good I learned my lesson but it’s SUGAR, HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO NOT DO THAT and NO I DON’T EAT THE CLAY ONES I’M NOT A MONSTER
3. Put it on mah face
I will usually take like nearly 5 minutes to just apply the mask itself to my face like some self-indulgent 1950s screen siren who spends her days wearing robes with feathers and purring “hello boys” to adult men. When face mask-ing, I immediately forget that I have 10 fingers and exclusively use the pointer finger on my right hand and apply this stuff so slowly that the first goop on my face is nearly dry by the time the last goop makes it to my cheek. Dab dab dab get another q-tip-sized amount on my finger dab dab dab ohhhh aren’t we going to be pretty dab dab dab be careful with the hairline dab dab dab boop the nose dab dab. I do not particularly like being touched, so who knows why on earth I’m like UUNNFFF YES with this, but boy howdy do I love smearing stuff on my face.
I think there’s also a weird freedom in doing this: if I have a face mask on, I am not doing people things, or leaving my house, or interacting with the world seeing me. I’m at home, super at home, and comfy, and there’s clearly no performative aspect to my appearance (other than playing a horror villain for Andrew). Just at home, livin’ life.
I have been swayed between two masks because one said to leave on for 10 minutes, and one said to leave on for 30 minutes. Team 30. I want to sit tight for as long as possible. The whole point of the face mask is to feel like I’m taking care of my health while doing literally no active work. I want to recline on my bed with a laptop on my legs and watch Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids while comfortingly murmuring “skincare” and neglecting all other responsibilities. Face masks are the personal equivalent of buying stationary and pens at Staples. You feel responsible and productive but it is an illusion. A lovely, lovely illusion. Additionally, I am a person who frequently struggles with a lot of aspects of traditional femininity. I am still working on eyebrow pencils and if you try to suggest a liquid eyeliner to me I will cackle in self-deprecation and my wardrobe color theme can best be described as Civil War Battlefield Chic (it’s a lot of greys and blues and very few if any skirts and dresses). However, by smearing some fancy gunk on my face, I get to be full-on “I Enjoy Being a Girl” and that is oddly soothing to me. I feel like an impostor, a bit, but I do also feel like I fit in more. Alone. In my room. Where no one sees me in this mask. Don’t ask, okay, my brain doesn’t work normally.
5. Wash it off???? maybe???
Uuuuugggghhh I don’t like this part. I just wanna leave it on forever. I don’t wanna go “carefully remove from face with cloth warm water and pat dry” because I’m not doing that, I’m gonna scrub it off with ice cold water and a non-name-brand paper towel and probably leave some at my hairline and walk into work like that the next day. This was supposed to be relaxing; this is bullshit.
Again, my scrub mask does come a bit to the rescue, because I get to feel useful as it comes off. Look at me exfoliating like a champ. I’m the BEST, AROOOOOUUUND
NOTHIN’S GONNA EVER BRING ME DO- okay sorry
At this final stage, I have also tried, more than once, to splash my face like they do in acne treatment commercials. It doesn’t work and you get water up your nose and your shirt collar will be soaked. Oh, and did you notice I said “more than once”? That’s true. I forget how much it sucked and I try again once every few years. Please kindly categorize this one, too, as “my brain doesn’t work normally.”
If you have a favorite mask that I should try, please comment and tell me so I can feed this odd impulse.