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No more skin horrors
7:00am Saturday 27th October 2012 in Lifestyle
Forget the scary Halloween masks. Avoid your own fright night with an at-home mask makeover.
By Lisa Haynes
Forget the fright night mask this Halloween. Face masks of the beautifying variety are the costumes to covet this autumn.
Thicker and more intensive than your average moisturiser, they're the unsung heroes of at-home pampering that deliver an instant face fix. Think of them as a facial in a tube.
Givenchy has even managed to pretty up the image of caked mud faces with Le Soin Noir Lace Mask, a Calais lace mask infused with black algae sap that's too beautiful to wear indoors.
But before you scream at the £220 price tag (www.harrods.com), there are less decadent options available for an autumnal glow.
So slather on a transforming face mask and unveil beautiful skin.
With all the hocus pocus surrounding October 31, here's a fact you might find rather bewitching... Masks can deliver instant skin magic.
"Masks are often designed for instant effect as opposed to a normal skincare routine which can take time for you to see cumulative results," explains Sarah Chapman, facialist and founder of Skinesis.
"Clay masks can decongest by drawing out impurities, gel hydration masks can add a thick layer of moisture that the skin can absorb, and masks with 'tighteners' literally create a film which gives instant lift - not long-lasting but good for a quick fix."
If you feel your skin has depleted since the dark nights started drawing in, simply hide behind a mask for 10 minutes.
"Masks can be very useful as an intensive treatment when your skin is really crying out for some TLC," Chapman advises. "They're designed to tackle anything from dullness, dryness, uneven texture and congestion."
While wrapping up in this season's woolly cardis and big coats, don't forget an extra layer for your face. Winter is an especially good time to get into a weekly mask habit and repair distressed, dry skin.
"You should use masks as part of a regular at-home facial once a week," suggests Chapman.
"Or, try using them if you want to give your skin a pick-me up when it's looking a little dull, lifeless or is being especially problematic."
Celebrities often indulge in a mask before red carpet appearances due to their transformative results, so try one out before a big event or party - either a few days before to clear and calm stressed-out skin, or on the day itself if you want a firmer, brighter looking complexion.
Always read the product instructions for optimum advice on how long to leave on your mask and prepare your skin first.
Chapman says: "Masks should be applied on to cleansed skin and it's wise to exfoliate first for maximum absorption."
Finding your perfect mask might be a case of trial and error. A product your pal thinks is a dream might be a bit of a horror story on your face.
"Use a mask that suits your skin type," says Caroline Frazer, Simple skincare expert.
"Even on our own face, there can be different types of skin (combination) so if you feel you only need to apply to a certain area such as the oilier T-Zone section, don't be frightened of just using it on that problem area."
Experiment with DIY masks too if you're a fan of raiding the kitchen cupboard.
"Milk masks are great for dissolving dirt and nourishing the skin. Just sweep a cotton wool ball dipped in the milk across the skin for instant results," Frazer suggests.
"Grapes also make an excellent natural exfoliator - slice in half and gently rub in circular motions on the face, avoiding the delicate eye area as the natural enzymes get to work on dull, lacklustre skin."
Your mask match
Face masks are beauty's problem solvers. Choose your best skin transformer:
:: Congested skin- Clay-based masks are great if you suffer from breakouts to detox and purify. They're also a real radiance booster for skin.
:: Dry skin - Look for a mask with humectants in it, either a natural one like honey or a product containing hyaluronic acid.
:: Dehydrated skin - Try a cooling mask to combat the inflammation of the skin cells. Gel hydrating masks are particularly good during in-flight travel.
:: Dull skin - Slough off dead skin cells and revive sluggish skin with an exfoliating face mask.
:: Instant fix - Seek out a mask loaded with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid for flash-perfecting results that brighten and firm.
Tried & tested
Give dull hair a blast of shine. Our testers try three shine-boosting sprays on their tresses:
:: Fudge Head Shine, £10.45 (www.fudge.com)
This is a fine spray with a fruity uplifting smell that distributed evenly. The light-reflecting properties gave my hair an uber-glossy sheen but I needed to brush through as I found it separated my hair slightly. Good for up dos.
:: Tara Smith Shining Moment Glosser, £12 (Your Beauty at Marks & Spencer)
The pump spray doesn't make for impressive distribution but I loved both the packaging and fragrance of this vegan haircare brand. Best suited to styled hair that needs shine in targeted areas.
:: Label.m Shine Mist, £12.75 (www.labelm.com)
Suitable for use on wet or dry hair, this super-fine mist gave me a subtle healthy sheen that lasted throughout the day. Great for natural, down hair that needs a shine boost.
Buy it now
Adorned with stars, bats and cats, SteamCream's limited edition Midnight Party tin will set the scene for a Halloween treat. The perfect base before applying ghostly make-up, £12.95 (www.steamcream.co.uk).
:: Crimes against faces
Call the beauty police. Women believe that failing to remove their make-up every night is their biggest crime. Tiredness is cited as the number one reason for lack of make-up removal (67%), followed by forgetfulness (38%) and a late night leading to laziness (36%), according to the Kleenex survey. Worst of all, more than a quarter (27%) admit to commonly re-applying a full face of make-up without removing their existing make-up first.
:: Recessionista alert
Keep your eyes peeled for Boots 'Star Gift' offers in the countdown to Christmas. There's a bargain new deal each week, available from each Friday for one week only in stores and online (www.boots.com) while stocks last. This week is the 17 Ultimate Collection on sale for £17 (usual price £35), running from October 19-25.