Spa Services: Marvelous Masks

Facial masks are a crucial component of spa facials—and clients love to rave about their results.  Check out which mask is the favorite of the VM staff as written for Dayspa Magazine, by Tracy Morin

By nature, facials have multiple working parts—cleansers, exfoliators, extractions and massage, to name a few—but many clients agree that one particular component can truly make a facial stand out: a great mask. Luckily, today’s masks are designed to treat everything from moisture-sapped and aging skin to acneic eruptions to dull tone and hyperpigmentation.

Many masks allow for the addition of ingredients to make them more effective and provide a truly customized experience for clients; others are inherent multitaskers, ideal for everything from spot-treating acne to cleansing and soothing before or after extractions. Here, DAYSPA checks in with spa owners and technicians from around North America to go behind the masks and find out why clients find them so irresistible. Click here for a longer list of companies and their tantalizing mask products.

Age-Defying Assets

The spa pro: Michelle Frye, spa director, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad, CA

Mask of choice: Pevonia Lumafirm Repair Mask Lift & Glow

Effects on the skin: This mask is Frye’s favorite because of its ability to lift tired, aging skin while nourishing and hydrating the deepest levels of the epidermis. It’s especially popular with clients who are concerned with uneven pigment and age-related loss of elasticity.

Star ingredients: Kombucha, licorice extract, peptides and sorghum

Why clients love it: “Used in our Lumafirm Lift & Glow Facial, this mask is a hit with our guests because of its powerful combination of ingredients,” says Frye. “The kombucha smoothes and nourishes, the licorice brightens and the sorghum tightens. The facial promotes an instantly luminous and even complexion, delivering an immediate brightening and anti-aging effect. It stuns our clients!”

Bright Stuff

The spa pro: Devin Romero, owner/lead esthetician, The Treatment Room, San Francisco, CA

Mask of choice: Rhonda Allison 12 Flower Mask

Effects on the skin: Crediting its natural antioxidants and flower acids, Romero uses this mask as an anti-inflammatory, and for brightening and regenerating. Twelve flower extracts offer lightening properties as well as intense moisturization, while the acid contents allow for mild exfoliation, leaving dull and lifeless skin rejuvenated.

Star ingredients: Hibiscus flower and lotus

Why clients love it: “The mask is featured in our 12 Flower Facial and is completely plant-based, with no artificial dyes or perfumes,” explains Romero. “Everyone loves this mask because it smells amazing, it’s super-hydrating, and it’s new and unique.”

Anti-Acne Action

The spa pro: Trina Renea, lead medical esthetician/founder, Facial Bungalow, West Hollywood, California

Mask of choice: Yon-Ka Masque 105

Effects on the skin: Renea turns to this purifying and soothing multitasker to detoxify, tighten and brighten the skin, leaving clients with a refreshing glow. The formula balances oily skin and is used for those who are battling frequent breakouts.

Star ingredients: Three clays—montmorillonite, bentonite and kaolin—and Bornéol (which has similar properties to camphor)

Why clients love it: “Clients love the cooling, tightening effect of this mask; it soothes sensitive and irritated, reddened skin extremely well,” reports Renea. “Plus, the mask feels good, smells great and calms inflammation immediately—it’s perfect for customers with acne, as well as those with dry or sensitive skin types.”

Sensitive Solutions

The spa pro: Angela Comfort, lead spa therapist, the Auberge Spa at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina

Mask of choice: Osmosis Skincare Repair Healing Mud

Effects on the skin: Comfort has found this sensitive-skin mask to promote healing, help repair scar tissue, deliver anti-inflammatory action, and soften and moisturize. A liposome delivery system helps create an instant plumping effect, and the mask aids in restoring the barrier around compromised skin for immediate calming and healing.

Star ingredients: Beta glucan, willow herb, wild cherry bark, L-hyaluronic acid, squalane and sweet almond oil

Why clients love it: “A lot of clients have inflamed skin, rosacea and other skin conditions; many come in with sunburn or eczema, or after a chemical peel,” says Comfort. “But this mask is great for all skin types—and it’s transparent, so clients can even sleep in it or wear it while on the plane. Everyone loves how soft their skin feels afterward and how thoroughly any redness has disappeared.”

Efficient Exfoliators

The spa pro: Paulina Alexander, spa director, Grotto Spa at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort, Parksville, British Columbia

Mask of choice: Éminence Organics Rosehip & Maize Exfoliating Masque

Effects on the skin: Alexander notes that this mask’s gentle yet effective exfoliation properties leave the skin silky smooth, while its antiseptic qualities reduce blemishes. The formula, rich in vitamins and fatty acids, also help it to soothe and heal sensitive skin.

Star ingredients: Rosehip, maize flour and honey

Why clients love it: “This mask is a hit with our clients because of its creamy, rich texture and fresh scent,” says Alexander. “But it’s not just that—it calms sensitive skin, and has smoothing, brightening and hydrating properties, which leave a glowing complexion. It doubles as an exfoliant and a mask, making it one of our top sellers.”

Hydration Station

The spa pro: Christie Citsay, spa director, Vito Mazza Salon & Spa, Woodbridge, New Jersey

Mask of choice: Repêchage Seaweed Facial Mask

Effects on the skin: Rich in vitamins, minerals and amino acids, this mask is Citsay’s go-to powerhouse. It’s suitable for all skin types as it calms inflamed skin, and hydrates and brightens, leaving a radiant, more youthful glow.

Star ingredients: Pure fresh seaweed harvested off the coast of Brittany, France

Why clients love it: “Clients adore this mask because it combats all their concerns at once and it can be incorporated into any of our treatments,” explains Citsay. “Its cooling properties make it ideal for parched summer skin, but it also hydrates winter-weary skin. As well as in our Four-Layer Facial, we use the mask on its own, as a hydrating treatment, and at our Facial Bar. Our clients see an immediate, dramatic increase in firmness, tone and an overall rejuvenation of the skin. It keeps them coming back!”

Custom by Nature

Let’s face it: Today’s clients expect customization in every aspect of their lives, from programming their favorite iPod playlists to, yes, facials that feel made just for them. At the same time, they increasingly seek all-natural and organic solutions for skin care—as long as the results are phenomenal, of course. At the Auberge Spa at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina, lead spa therapist Angela Comfort fulfills both of these modern-day requests by incorporating Marie Veronique Organics powder bases into all-natural, customized facials. The powder bases, featuring oatmeal, wheat germ and rice bran, can be mixed with plain—or vanilla, for an enhanced aroma—yogurt; for a brightening treatment, Comfort may also mix in a gel with hyaluronic acid and bamboo, plus fresh lemon. “We paint on the mixture and top it with a cheese cloth to hold the mask in place; it’s really popular with clients because it’s calming, healing and brightening—and completely organic!” she raves. “We can also make a soothing version by leaving out the lemon and instead using coconut and honey; the old-style wheat germ-based mask is so softening for skin, and it’s really a neat option for clients who want custom facials and love to see products mixed right in front of them.” Of course, the great results—including hydrated and soothed skin, plus plumping effects—don’t hurt either.