Winter skincare: Masks / by Didier Young


As we brace ourselves for the upcoming coldest months in Toronto and we start getting over the holiday cheer, the winter blues start settling in slowly. The sun casts a gloomier light on the city and sets earlier. The trees are barren and the ground is covered in ice and slush. Worse of all, my skin starts drying out and is more prone to breakouts and cracks, my lips are chapped and I look dehydrated and dull. Winter is the season where my skin requires the most care, pampering and regular exfoliation. I decided to write a small series of posts about how to take care of my skin during those dire months. Part one of the series focusses on facial masks.


There are many different types of masks on the market, geared towards different skin types. Someone with normal/ oily skin could benefit from a peel- off mask while someone with lots of irregular pigmentation or uneven skin tone could try out an exfoliating mask to help renew their skin. There is an increasing number of companies that now retail products that may be used for multiple purposes. For example, ones that may be used as a cleanser and as a mask. Given my combination skin type, I will mainly be talking about masks that work best for my complexion.

I mentioned earlier how my skin would get dull and dehydrated in the winter. After experimenting with various types of hydrating balms and masks, I’ve come to realize that the most effective masks to rehydrate my skin tend to be gel or cream typed formulas. While I do love a good sheet mask from time to time, it is not the best option for men unless you have a clean shaven face . Aēsop’s Blue Camomile Facial Hydrating Masque is a light aqueous gel that spreads quite nicely on the skin while leaving a very gentle botanical scent. You could leave it on for thirty minutes, take it off with some toner and you’re good to go. Sometimes, I do enjoy leaving it on overnight as it does absorb quite nicely into the skin. It cuts down my night routine for the day while giving me a refreshed look in the morning. Another great option is Charlotte Tilbury’s Multi- Miracle Glow which may be used as a cleanser, mask and balm. I personally enjoy using it as a cleanser and as a ten minute mask. The product leaves my skin with a nice healthy glow but it is quite heavily scented, which unfortunately prevents me from using it as a balm. However, I heard from multiple sources that it proves to be quite effecting as a balm and leaves your skin nice and soft.


The next target in our search for perfect winter skin is the elimination of flakey and uneven patches. To do so, one needs to find a product that will exfoliate one’s skin and help to remove dead skin cells. My exfoliants of choice both hail from down under. Aēsop’s Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant is not a mask per se, but it is different from most products available on the market while Dr Roebuck’s POLISH is a two in one scrub and mask.  Aēsop’s botanical powder is meant to be added to your cleanser to transform it into an exfoliating process. Both products use natural products, with Aēsop using walnut shells and Dr Roebuck’s makes us of jojoba beans to create a gentle, non abrasive exfoliation.


When my skin starts breaking out or in the case of Eczema, a mud mask may come in handy. You could use a clay mask like Tom Ford’s Intensive Purifying Mud Mask all over your face or put it on pimpled areas as a form of treatment. Another fantastic option is Blue Lagoon’s Algae Mask which comes straight from Iceland. Containing silica and an algae that can only be found at the geothermal location, this natural mask proved to be very gentle on my skin and helped soothe breakouts and itchy areas on my face. The label instructs a 5-10 minute mask but I left it on for 20 minutes and that is when I noticed the best results.


Those are some of my personal preferences but I cannot guarantee that it will have the same effects on everyone. However, do try as much as possible to take care of your skin. It is better to put on a face mask to reveal your skin’s beauty than to use make up to mask it all.