Jan' 2012


Man About Town’s Ultimate Guide To Face Masks

Your grooming regime should rest on the twin pillars of cleanse and moisturise.  But there are some issues that require a more comprehensive approach.  

There’s a definite taboo around face masks amongst men, although I do sense this to be slowly shifting in recent times and my mantra has always been, why should the girls have all fun?  Face masks are a real game changer as part of any skincare routine, particularly for problem areas and problem skin.  They dig deeper; with the ability to absorb impurities, unclog pores and mop up excess oil, it’s time to man up, slap on and refresh your complexion.

Here’s a few of my favourites depending on your skin type and problem areas:

Oily Skin

Men’s faces get shiny quick, because they’re covered in sebaceous glands that pump out oil like the Deep Sea Horizon spill!  A clay mask sucks up grease and will help prevent the production of sebum, to leave your skin looking and feeling matte and squeaky clean.  Clay masks have long been my go-to and if you’re someone that spends lots of time in the gym or out on the sports field, a clay mask will become an extremely handy sidekick, helping to get rid of any grime or blocked pores from sweat.  A personal favourite of mine is the Purifying Charcoal Mask from L’Oreal Men Expert.  This mask combines kaolin and bentonite clays, both renowned for their absorptive qualities.  Using this mask once a week will help manage excess oil and draw out impurities, while the combination of other ingredients such as allantoin help soothe and condition the skin.

Of course, with every do there’s a don’t, like putting on a face mask immediately after a sweaty workout. That just traps bacteria against your face.  Always cleanse beforehand!Another product that really hits the spot is the Age Defender Scrub Cleanser from Kiehls, using Moroccan lava clay you can leave this scrub on for a few minutes and it ultimately acts in the same way as a clay mask, dragging out impurities.  This is a great entry level product and also ideal for those of you that travel given it’s essentially a scrub, cleanser and mask all in one handy bottle!

Top Tip – Don’t leave a clay mask on for too long as it can begin to dry you out; if the mask starts to sting or crumble, it’s time to wash it off!


Dull Skin

Drinking, smoking, air pollution and a bad diet can all contribute to a dull-looking complexion and tired skin.  I try to set aside 10 minutes twice a week to bring things back to life and revive my skin with a brightening mask.  If you’ve had a particularly heavy session a brightening mask can really save the day and help disguise the signs of the night before as best it can.If you’re looking for the equivalent of a spa treatment in a jar, look no further than this top-rated peeling mask from Ecooking. This BHA and enzyme brightening mask is a favourite for brightening my skin when it’s looking rough, dull and tired.  The content of plant extract and Vitamin E in the Ecooking Peeling Mask decreases the appearance of creases and wrinkles and at the same time it gives a smoother and younger look.

My all time favourite is the Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque from Kiehls.  Though the ingredient list sounds like it should be consumed in smoothie form, the cranberry seeds are a great natural exfoliator, removing dead skin cells and impurities on the surface, whilst the turmeric has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help re-invigorate your face and ultimately resuscitate your complexion!

Top Tip – Give these a go before shaving to get rid of any dead skin cells and leave your skin feeling ultra fresh!


Signs Of Ageing

Don’t wait until the wrinkles start to show.  You want to try and counteract the ageing process early, keeping skin as hydrated as you can without it roughing it up too much.  Keep an eye out for masks with exfoliants such as glycolic acid, which will help to build more collagen and vitamin A derivatives that improve elastin in the skin.I’m a big fan of Acid Fix by the Hungarian brand Omorovicza which contains the potent trio of glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids which ultimately create a more even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful complexion.  Another firm favourite of mine is from Fresh Beauty, a brand Josie recently introduced me to.  A creamy five-minute facial in a jar that smoothes and resets tired skin, restoring its youthful radiance, Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask is a five-minute facial designed to combat signs of tired and overstressed skin, revealing incredibly smooth and radiant results after just one use. Powered by a blend of kombu seaweed, red algae, and lotus seeds that works to gently buff and refine, this revitalising ‘skin SOS’ treatment helps to comfort and reset the complexion.

Top Tip – Beware leaving these acidic products on the skin any longer than the recommended time as they can really burn – always read the back of the bottle!


Dry Skin

Is your skin looking scaly and dehydrated? Then there’s no better time to join the sheet mask squad!  As we transition into the colder months you will find that the sudden temperature changes can play havoc with your complexion.  Harsh winds, heating and rain will all be attacking your skin and sucking out the moisture that keeps it looking youthful and fresh.  

I like to use a sheet mask twice a week as part of my autumn winter routine, stick one on after your evening cleanse or shower, hop into bed, switch on your fave Netflix show and just relax.  Sheet masks can be quite pricey and it’s definitely worth researching as with most things, a higher price tag is no indication of quality and effectiveness! 

Yes, sheet masks are gonna make you look like Hannibal Lecter, but just get it on your grill and feel those benefits!  One of my current favourites is the Pure Charcoal Purifying Tissue Mask from L’Oreal Men Expert, which is great for dry skin.  This sheet mask is rich in antioxidants which help re-hydrate and moisturise the skin.  After leaving the mask on for 15-20 minutes, I like to take mine off and use it like a flannel, rubbing in excess serum in an attempt to reap maximum benefits.  For extra added efficacy, steam your face beforehand to open your pores up.

For something a little more targeted, I’m loving the Post Shave Cooling Mask from Barber Pro.  This one is great to reducing redness after a shave and is a particularly ideal after a heavy or late night for a much needed moisture boost!

Top Tip – Most sheet masks are double-sided, so you can flip it over halfway through, to feel the cooling effects all over again.  Remove the mask after 15 minutes –just peel it off – and use your hands to work in the leftover juice. It’s all good stuff, so don’t waste it.