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Unmask smooth skin

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: November 08, 2012

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THICKER and more intensive than your average moisturiser, they're the unsung heroes of at-home pampering which 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 which is 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 in an instant.

"Masks are often designed for instant effect as opposed to a normal skincare routine which can take time for you to see cumulative results," said 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 said. "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 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 which 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."

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