Facial mask are preparations made from various dried, ground, mashed or powdered ingredients that are moistened to form a thick paste. The paste is spread over the skin and left on for 20 minutes or longer for a sustained cleansing, nourishing and tonic effect. Any scrub formula can be moistened for use as a mask, or you can use fresh plant material, foodstuffs or other ingredients. Because mask penetrate the skin more deeply than scrubs, their use should generally be limited to once or twice a week otherwise, they can end up stripping the skin of its natural protective oils. However, certain mask are predominantly nourishing, moisturizing and so gentle that they will not dry out the skin; thus they can be used more frequently. Ideally mask should be applied following a steam treatment because the pores are open, which allows the mask formula to penetrate more deeply.
Basic Mask Technique. When applying a mask, tie the hair back away from the face. Some of the mask are quite messy, so you might want to wear an old shirt or drape an apron or towel over your chest to protect your clothing. Moisten the formula as for a scrub, gently spread the mixture over your face, then rest quietly for 20 minutes while the mask goes to work. It is best to remain in a reclining posture to aid circulation to your face. You might want to place a towel under your head while reclining to catch any drips. Rinse well with warm water and allow your skin to air-dry rather than toweling it off. While the skin is still slightly moist, proceed to the next step of your skin care program. I find it helpful to use a soft cotton cloth for rinsing off some of the mask.
Facial Scrub mask. The scrubs used for daily cleansing can also be used as mask if applied thickly and left on for 20 minutes or longer. Choose a facial scrub appropriate for your skin type from the Facial Scrubs section using 1-2 tablespoons of scrub per mask application. Moisten with 1-2 tablespoons of an appropriate liquid, such as water, honey, cream, oil, distilled witch hazel, herbal infusion, tincture, etc., until a spread- able paste results. If needed, add more liquid or scrub a half teaspoon at a time, until the de- sired consistency is reached.
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