As far as time management goes, I mask pretty regularly. Certainly more than I clean my apartment—though I have used an SK-II mask as a prize in order to will myself into vacuuming. At this point, it’s less of an indulgence and more about skin maintenance. May Lindstrom’s gentle Honey Mud goes on immediately after a post-work run (sweat and my skin don’t get along too well—it can cause rosacea flare-ups, along with unwanted breakouts if you’re new to running, like me). There are the BioRepublic sheet masks for something affordable, reliable, and hydrating, and Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask when there’s nothing left to do but make what’s already pretty good better.
Maybe it was because there are so many other things to do in the summer (early evenings in the winter undoubtedly help foster a stay-at-home-and-spa attitude), but for the past few months, masks more or less bored me. I found myself slipping—no more post-workout masks, and definitely no treatment that lasted longer than 10 minutes. And the difference was visible. Maybe nothing drastic, but I was certainly less pampered than usual.
It was the hint of a breakout (you know the warning signs…) that encouraged me to pick up Wei’s Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask. The unassuming box houses eight single serving cups of soft mud and kaolin clay, along with what looks like a hybrid between a foundation and a calligraphy brush. As instructed, I opened a pod (you won’t need all of it—a single cup should last you two go ‘rounds), dipped in the brush, and smoothed it onto my face.
Now maybe this is a revelation to me because I prefer to apply my makeup with my fingers. Or perhaps it’s because the only other skincare brush I’ve dabbled with is the buzzy, rotating Clarisonic, but holy cow. It was the most satisfying skincare sensation I’d had, perhaps ever. First of all, the mask feels like chocolate ganache, thick and luxurious. Add in a brush, and you’ll want to paint your face for days. Application takes a little longer than if you’d just smeared with your fingers, but for good reason. The mask will go on more evenly, and you don’t even have to touch your face (it’s irrelevant with the Wei mask because of the packaging, but the brush makes a good option if you’re sensitive about sticking your hands into jars of product because of the potential bacteria).
The Wei brush is probably your most convenient option—it comes with the mask—but May Lindstrom sells one, too, to pair with her Honey Mud or Clean Dirt formulas. There’s also nothing stopping you from cleaning off an old foundation brush and designating it for a new task. It’s fitting: The brush will have you seeing all your masks in a new light, too.
Illustration by Lucy Han.