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Alluvium’s Ultimate Guide: The Science, Benefits & Types of Face Masques

Updated: Jul 9

Masque up, Buttercup!

Hey, Beauties! So I’m winding down from a wonderful evening at The Beauty Lab.  Those awesome ladies and I connected over refreshing Skincare Spritzers, yummy bites, and the curiosity to create.  We learned about our different skin types and formulated facial masques (also known by its French origin - “masques”) by infusing active ingredients specific to our unique skin types.  I’m sure we’ve all used them a time or two…or perhaps you’ve even had your own custom formulated masque at The Alluvium Suite. But what makes them so effective, and how do they work? Let’s dive into the science behind face masques, explore their benefits, and different types.

Two young women with facial masks applied - Alluvium's Guide to Masques

The Science and Benefits Behind Face Masques

You know I love this part — Masques are a staple in my facial protocols.  Here are some reasons why…

How Face Masques Interact with the Skin

  • Occlusive Effect: Face masques create a barrier on the skin, which helps to lock in moisture and active ingredients. This occlusive layer ensures that the beneficial components are absorbed more effectively.

  • Penetration Enhancers: Many masques contain ingredients that help to increase the permeability of the skin, allowing active ingredients to penetrate deeper layers.

  • Hydration Boost: Masques can provide an instant hydration boost by delivering water and humectants directly to the skin’s surface.

  • Detoxification: Certain masques, especially those containing clays or charcoal, work by adsorbing impurities and toxins from the skin, clearing out pores.

Mechanisms of Action

  • Delivery of Active Ingredients: Masques often contain high concentrations of active ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid, which target specific skin concerns.

  • Exfoliation: Some masques include exfoliating agents like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or enzymes, which help to remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover.

  • Increased Blood Flow: The application and drying process of masques can stimulate blood flow to the skin, enhancing nutrient delivery and giving the skin a healthy glow.

Benefits of Face Masques

  • Deep Cleansing: Masques can penetrate deeper into the skin to remove impurities, excess oil, and dirt.

  • Hydration: Many masques provide intense hydration, essential for maintaining skin health and elasticity.

  • Brightening: Ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide can help brighten the complexion and reduce pigmentation.

  • Anti-Aging: Masques containing ingredients such as retinol, peptides, and antioxidants can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Calming and Soothing: Masques with ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, and green tea can soothe irritated or inflamed skin.

  • Pore Minimizing: Masques that contain clay or charcoal can help to reduce the appearance of pores by drawing out impurities and tightening the skin.

Woman getting facial masque applied with paint brush

Different Types of Face Masques — What’s on the Market Now?

1. Sheet Masques

  • Description: Made of cotton or hydrogel, soaked in a serum full of active ingredients.

  • Benefits: Highly hydrating, easy to use, and great for delivering a quick boost of nutrients to the skin.

  • Best For: All skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin.

2. Clay Masques

  • Description: Contain various types of clay like bentonite, kaolin, or French green clay.

  • Benefits: Excellent for absorbing excess oil, detoxifying the skin, and unclogging pores.

  • Best For: Oily and acne-prone skin.

3. Gel Masques

  • Description: Light and cooling, often containing ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, and hyaluronic acid. Can also be formulated to dry and peel off.

  • Benefits: Soothing, hydrating, and great for calming irritated skin.

  • Best For: All skin types, especially sensitive and irritated skin.

4. Crème  Masques

  • Description: Rich and moisturizing, often containing oils and butters. Can also be formulated into overnight masques.

  • Benefits: Provide deep hydration and nourishment.

  • Best For: Dry and mature skin.

5. Exfoliating Masques

  • Description: Contain chemical exfoliants (AHAs, BHAs) or physical exfoliants (scrubs).

  • Benefits: Remove dead skin cells, improve skin texture, and promote cell turnover.

  • Best For: Dull, uneven, and mature skin.

***Bonus: CO2 Emitting Masques (Transdermal Carboxytherapy)

Fancy words, I know.... In a nutshell, this involves mixing 2 different substances applied to the face that react to expel carbon dioxide. This is the basis of a lot of "Oxygen Therapy" services on the market today. I came across a small pilot study (Draelos ZD, Shamban A. A pilot study evaluating the anti-aging benefits of a CO2-emitting facial mask.) that covered a short and long term study using this method. The long term study that found a statistical improvement in the subjects' skin elasticity as well as assessed improvement in luminosity, radiance, tactile roughness, visual roughness, and erythema. Is this something you would do at home, 3x a week??? Just say the word, and I'll get to the lab!

Now that we know the science and benefits behind face masks, would you agree that they're a versatile and powerful addition to any skincare routine? Do you know which is best for your for your skin type? Check out our next post!


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