New season multi-tasking masks

New launches seem to come in fits and starts; one minute brands are clamoring to bring out serums, the next everyone is focused on cleansing oils. At the moment it seems to be face masks which are top of the bill, but simply leaving skin soft isn’t enough. A new breed of these products are intent on fixing all your beauty ills at one, so allow us to introduce you to 2016’s multi-tasking mask launches.

Dullness

One of the biggest complaints people who live in cities have about their skin is loss of radiance. Kiehl’s believes dullness is caused in no small part by pollution – it penetrates the skin, damaging the barrier, affecting the way it repairs itself, making it more sensitive and accelerating the ageing process. None of that sounds great, which is why the brand has launched two new masks to combat these effects. The Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque protects the skin from pollution and helps strengthen it in the long term. The Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque helps with dullness instantly, as it works like a mini facial by exfoliating skin and then treating it.

Deep cleansing

Sanctuary Spa’s 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask isn’t new, but its Warming Detox Charcoal Wash is and is the perfect partner for the treatment. The wash was designed to offer deep purification, cleansing the skin and helping get rid of all grease and grime which could clog pores. Then add the mask on to help refine your pores even further – it’s self heating, so perfect for winter too.

Clearing

If you hanker after the feeling of a facial but don’t have the money to splash out on one regularly, Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask is the answer. It has exfoliating enzymes in it which help dissolve dead skin, plus it unclogs pores to help keep the complexion clear and boosts radiance too.

Smoothing

Many of us go for a scrub followed by a mask when we want a real pampering treat, by why use two products when one will suffice? Filorga Scrub & Mask sloughs off dead skin while at the same tightening pores and helping with radiance. Your skin will be left soft and smooth – so much so that in a trial, 100 per cent of people claimed their face was clearer after using it for four weeks.

Overnight

While smoothing on a mask and relaxing in front of the telly is great for some, we don’t always have the time to dedicate to our beauty routine. If you want a treatment hit but don’t have minutes to waste, Origins Plantscription Powerful Lifting Overnight Mask could be right up your street. You should apply every night before you drop off, with the product helping firm and plump skin as you sleep. Fine lines and wrinkles should be less apparent and sagginess will be a thing of the past.

Charcoal for skin

It may sound counteractive, but using charcoal to cleanse your skin is one of the oldest beauty tips in the world. The use of charcoal dates back centuries, when people in India and Egypt treated wounds with it. Later, it featured as a cleansing ingredient in places like Japan, as charcoal acts as a magnet to draw out and trap as much as 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities in your skin.

Most commonly found in beauty products, activated charcoal was created solely for medicinal purposes. Doctors initially used it to treat poison, gastrointestinal tract infections, bug bites and nausea. It also proved helpful during World War I, when activated charcoal was placed in gas masks to prevent soldiers from being poisoned by chemical exposure.

To create this, regular charcoal is heated with gas to make it expand, thus making it porous and more absorbent. Activated charcoal chemically binds other substances to its surface and compared to regular charcoal, can absorb thousands of times its own weight, so things like bacteria and dirt will be lifted, helping you achieve a smooth complexion.

In saying that, since activated charcoal does remove toxins, it is a great ingredient to take control of acne and improve skin health in general. It’s found in many products which help fight against acne, effectively healing pimples and preventing further breakouts.

Activated charcoal is also an anti-ageing ingredient, reducing inflammation and subsequently preventing premature ageing. It tightens pores and smooths the skin, calms irritation and leaves you with a toned complexion.

If you want to make your own face mask, mix one half or one whole activated charcoal capsule powder into a small spoonful of aloe vera gel. Add some water, a few drops of tea tree oil and a pinch of sea salt, until it becomes an even consistency. Apply to your skin and let dry, then wash off with water.

Why coconut oil is your skin’s best friend

Over the past few years, coconut oil has become popular in both the food and beauty worlds. While it’s a great cooking and baking ingredient, this oil is also perfect for your beauty routine, since it’s a natural product without any chemicals or additives. In tropical parts of the world, where coconuts are more common, using coconut oil on your body is an ancient practice, but for those of us who don’t live in those areas, we’re just getting the hang of this helpful oil now.

So why is it so beneficial for your beauty routine? Coconut oil contains good fats that provide us with energy and Vitamin E, which is essential to maintaining healthy and smooth skin. It also has the ability to penetrate your skin more than off-the-counter products because of the way it bonds with proteins in your body. Plus, there’s the added bonus of it being much more cost effective than handfuls of items you’d get from the beauty store.

Coconut oil is a perfect product for all your facial needs, starting as a moisturizer. Regular products contain a high amount of water, which initially makes you feel like your skin is moisturized, however when the water dries up, you’re left feeling tight and flaky again. Coconut oil, since it does contain plenty of saturated fats, provides deep moisture and helps strengthen tissue and remove dead cells on the skin’s surface. All you need to do is rub a small amount between your fingers and pat on to freshly washed skin, just as you would your normal moisturizer.

Coconut oil can also be used as a make-up remover, especially if you have a difficult time getting off waterproof mascara and eyeliner. Just dab a small amount on a cotton ball or cotton pad, and gently sweep off the make-up from your eyes, then rinse with warm water. The oil breaks down waxy make-up and gives you the added bonus of leaving your skin hydrated.

Speaking of taking off make-up, you can use coconut oil as a face wash and cleanser. Other products have a tendency to strip your skin of its natural oils, which in turn results in an overproduction of oil that can lead to acne and clogged pores. To make a cleanser, take a small amount of coconut oil and emulsify it between your fingers. Gently massage it into your skin in circular motions, until the impurities on your face are washed away, then pat your skin dry.

The list goes on for coconut oil uses, including lip balm, night cream, sunburn relief, and even a cheekbone highlighter to make a tired face look brighter. Just remember; a little goes a long way with coconut oil, so don’t go overboard with your new favourite product.

Sweet skincare: Beauty treats without the calories

Topping the list of most people’s New Year’s resolutions is to ditch the sugary snacks and swap them for healthy fruit and veg. But even if you’ve bid adieu to sweet treats in 2016, we have good news: you can use them in your skincare without putting on a single pound! Here we round up some of beauty’s most delicious ingredients that won’t affect your diet.

Chocolate

Why it’s good for you:

Dark chocolate is packed full of antioxidants, which fight free radicals. This even means it’s OK to eat it every now and again, but for those of you wanting to stay completely off the sweet stuff (we salute you!) it makes a great ingredient in beauty products.

How to use it:

You can make an at-home toning facemask by warming 50g of good-quality dark chocolate (at least 70 per cent cocoa) and adding to a blended mixture of banana and strawberries. Apply to your face and neck and relax for 20 minutes before washing off. We won’t judge you if you try and lick your face…

There are also tonnes of chocolate-scented products for beauty queens with a sweet tooth. We particularly love Christopher Courtney London’s rich Anti-Oxidant Chocolate Face Cream.

Honey

Why it’s good for you:

“For centuries honey has been one of nature’s best-kept beauty secrets,” CEW Award winning company Bee Good’s beekeeper, Simon Cavill, revealed to Cover Media. “Honey has so many benefits for the skin – in its purest form it’s suitable for all skin types and assists with perfecting, cleansing, and protecting the skin.”

How to use it:

Thanks to its antibacterial properties, honey can be applied to skin issues like acne in its purest form as a natural spot fighter. You can also mix it with coconut oil to make a gentle cleanser – simply rub in, avoiding the eyes, and wash off.

If you’re after honey-based products, look out for healing creams. For example, Calendulis Plus Cream uses Manuka honey to moisturize and help fight eczema and psoriasis.

Sugar

Why it’s good for you:

Sugar is a great base for homemade scrubs as it’s far gentler on skin than ready-made versions with abrasive beads. It’s also a natural humectant, which means it draws moisture into the skin, leaving it hydrated. It also contains glycolic acid, which promotes cell turnover, leaving you radiant.

How to use it:

As mentioned above, you can make your very own scrubs with sugar. Simply mix sugar and coconut oil in equal parts and apply to any rough areas, including the lips. Gently rub and wash off to reveal smoother skin.