You know what I realized the other day? We’re usually at the mercy and brilliance of face masks when we use them. Meaning, that mask (and its formula) basically decides what it’s going to do on your face, whether that be exfoliating or moisturizing or brightening or something else. But beyond how long you leave it on, you’re in the passenger seat of this face mask marinating on your skin. Aka—there isn’t a lot of control when it comes to face masking. This probably explains why we dedicate so much time to investigating and researching what mask does what.
This Freudian-level thought process about something that sits on your face for 10 minutes was brought on by a conversation I had with Jessica Morelli, the founder of Palermo Body. She showcased the individuality behind her about-to-launch Detox Facial Mask, which is made using sea clay and spirulina.
The powdered formula is meant to put control back in your hands—because unlike most masks, with powdered face masks you are in the driver’s seat. You are able to customize the treatment based on exactly what your skin needs that particular day. As we’ve learned, your skin can change every single day (dry, overworked, oily, etc.), so you should treat it differently every day according to how it’s feeling. With a powder mask, you can change the base according to the day. On a normal day, activate the powder with water. An oily day, try mixing with a yogurt for extra exfoliation. And on a dry day, blend the powder with manuka honey for extra calming and moisturizing.
Powder masks may feel like a bit of added effort, but it’s worth it, TBH. “We prefer to make our masks in dry form for a few reasons,” says Morelli. “First, upon activating your mask, you’re unleashing all of the benefits the ingredients have to offer each time you use it. This safeguards the potency of each ingredient and ensures they won’t degrade over time. Second, dry masks don’t need any added preservatives, which means each ingredient has a purpose and benefit to your skin. Lastly, our masks are easily customizable by simply changing up what you choose to activate them with—for example, water, yogurt, honey, aloe—allowing the product to address multiple skin concerns and skin types.”
Well, consider us converted. But where to start? We’ve assembled a little Powder Masking 101 guide, to get you on the right track.
Launching this week, Palermo’s Detox Mask ($38) with spirulina and activated charcoal helps pull gunk from skin by absorbing excess oil and clarifying pores. It’s powerful when used the way it was originally intended (simply pour a teaspoon into the palm of your hand and mix with a drop or two of water, adding bit by bit as needed), but to kick it up a notch, add a teaspoon or two of yogurt (goat, sheep, or Greek) to get the added benefits of lactic acid.
Another incredibly powerful, entirely clean version is May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver ($90). Don’t be fooled by the clean ingredients—it’s extraordinarily effective. The mix of activated charcoal, spices and salts, and antioxidant-rich raw cacao effectively treats and prevents breakouts, stimulates collagen, fades hyperpigmentation, heals inflammation, and brightens (so, yeah, pretty much everything). Start with just water with this powerhouse, it is pretty special all on its own.
With dry skin, you might be tempted to run to a thick, creamy mask; and yeah, those are great. But the right powdered one can work major wonders, too. Origins’ RitualiTea Feeling Rosy ($36) has rooibos tea (very rich in antioxidants) and rose botanicals to rejuvenate but also address dry and uneven skin tone. If you really want to pump up the healing powers, mix with manuka or raw honey, or aloe juice (ideally freshly from an aloe plant). Aloe is treasured for its soothing properties (great for calming dry skin) and honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great at both calming irritation and acne.
Normal or Dull Skin
Another beloved favorite is Herbivore’s Pink Clay Exfoliating Mask ($22), which exfoliates, yes, but with rosehip and chamomile flowers to naturally soothe and plump skin. The ultra soothing mix will nourish and brighten dull skin. Depending how your skin is feeling, you can either mix with water or boost it with yogurt or aloe or honey (or, try a mix of a few).
There are no rules in powder masking. Mix and match to your heart’s delight. Though each mask is powerful on its own, added boosters can soothe, hydrate, or help with bacteria, depending on what you need—also, don’t be afraid to add more than one and get creative. Happy masking!