Confessions of a Binge Masking Convert: How My Skin Went From Sensitive to Strong
Jan 30, 2018
While other overindulgences can leave you feeling bloated, hungover, or wrecked the next day, a habitual masking problem leaves you hydrated, bouncy, and glowy. Find out how one K-beauty guru’s conversion to binge masking has changed her skin for good.
I have a problem. A problem with indulgence. It's a habit I have, but it's not one I ever want to break. Unlike other things I'm prone to binging, this one doesn't give me a hangover, a stomachache, or a sore bum (hello Netflix!). This one is actually beneficial.
I am a binge masker.
I have always loved a good mask and was pretty much instantly hooked on them from the first time I tried them. Unlike some who seemed to jump on board for the novelty factor, I instantly recognized the skin benefits. A sheet mask felt like a distilled express facial to me. After each masking session I'd come away feeling so refreshed, pampered, and hydrated. And with each passing year, the formulations seemed to advance to higher and higher quality. The ingredients went from simple water and glycerin-based masks (of which there are still plenty) to options whose first ingredients are ginseng water and snail filtrate, which are a real treat.
The only thing that annoyed a fidgety person like me is that I had to stay still while masking. It drove me crazy. I'm one of those people who can never sit still and never relax. If I'm laying down, my mind is racing a mile a minute thinking of all the things I could be doing instead.
The discovery of the silicone mask cover solved that problem. Once I got one of those little magic helpers, I was able to do any number of things while masking. You might walk into my home and find a masked vacuumer, dishwasher, video gamer, or even yoga practitioner.
As a result of my newfound freedom, I began masking more and more frequently. I also began tailoring my masking sessions, doing my own take on multi-masking. While moisturizing my overall dry skin, I'd also tend to the pores on my nose. Although I'm not oily and don't have especially enlarged pores, I do like to indulge in a charcoal or peel-off mask in that area. So I began cutting the noses out of my sheet and silicone masks so that I could spread on a solution to the nose. I now look sort of like the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz (but with a bit more brains, I hope).
I also got the bright idea to pamper my dry lips. While the giant hydrogel lip masks are nice, they're just as I said — giant. Way too big and slippery to be held in place by the silicone mask cover. So what I do is apply a lip serum (yes, it's a thing!), a good lip balm, and then a generous slather of Vaseline, which is a great occlusive that locks everything in. Then I cover it with a small strip of Saran Wrap. Voila, homemade lip mask.
Multi-masking has become a bit of a ritual for me, and I don't feel right without it. I can definitely tell the difference if I'm unable to mask for a few days; in fact, I can tell within one day. I'm considerably more dehydrated and less bouncy by the time I get around to my nighttime routine if I miss my beloved masking time.
Masking once a day is perfectly respectable and not at all strange; however, since I've been pregnant and had a small baby in the middle of the cold season, I've been home. A lot. And in all that downtime I've filled it with — you guessed it — masks. I've been known to mask up to three times a day on especially languid winter storm days. I don't always go all out with the multi-masking, but I do at least slap on a nice sheet while doing chores. I have made my way through quite a stockpile that way, and I can proudly say I've only ever had one box of masks expire on me, justifying all those crazy mask hauls I've made.
It's also gotten me to experiment with a great many masks and discover some real princes amongst the frogs. My favorite wintertime masks have been the Papa Recipe Honey Bombee masks, COSRX Holy Moly Snail Mask, Leaders Moisturizing Recovery Mask, and Polatam Pure Cream Hydro Radiance masks.
A little pro tip: If you have one of those microwavable sore muscle neck warmers, get it hot and then place it on a towel with your masks underneath. You'll be treated to a nice warm mask on a cold day.
For the summertime pop your masks in the fridge. Speaking of summer masks, the Benton Snail Bee Mask is still a favorite of mine after all these years. It's so light and soothing.
Binge masking may sound over the top, and yes, it is indulgent, but all it is is babying your precious skin. And I must say, all this babying has helped my skin's sensitivity tremendously. Since it's in such great shape and the moisture barrier is so happy, it's allowed me more freedom for skincare experimentation. My face can take a lot more of a beating than it used to be able to. I'm able to tolerate the maximum level of BHA and can now take mild irritants that used to send my skin into a tailspin. I knew it had become my new normal when my 5-month-old would smile at me even though I was wearing a horrifying looking contraption that would shock other babies into hysterics. And I have to say, my skin very much likes this new normal.
Are you a binger masking convert? How do you mask and what are some of your masking tips? Let's talk in the comments!
Coco Park is an author, beauty journalist, blogger, podcast host, and all around oddball living in Montreal Quebec with her family. Originally from the southern USA, she worked for several years in the makeup industry as a professional makeup artist and holds a certificate in esthetics. She is a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Want to know more? Check her out on the Beauty Beyond Basics podcast, on her blog TheBeautyWolf.com, on Instagram @thebeautywolf, and in her book "Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup."