The Masking Diaries


Everybody masks! Team ITG just does it with particular gusto. (Every night isn't too much, right?) The skin benefits are nice, blah blah blah, whatever. But it's really the act of masking—that blessed 20 minutes or more of self-care—that makes the mask worth doing.

Of course, there's no limit to what you can do while activated charcoal goo is clearing your pores for you. So we got curious—what do you actually do while you're masking, besides masking? A question with no wrong answers. And to prove that, we asked a few Friends of ITG (FOITG) how they spend their allotted skin rehabilitation time. Let them inspire you to do something—anything!—the next time you mask. Then share whatever that is in the comments.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome:

Beverly Nguyen, Stylist Assistant

“Post-Leo-season masking is total me time. I give myself 30 minutes to pre-party, slipping into an insanely comfortable robe, chilling out (lights candles, burns sage, cues SZA). It’s vital that I get my pillow oasis set up, and scent it with a lavender spray that I picked up from the Four Seasons Hotel in LA. Then, I like to use Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle™ 24k Gold Intense Wrinkle Sheet Mask. When that’s finally on, I throw on a crest white strip, send a selfie to the group chat to warn them I will be IDLE: Do Not Disturb. Then I lather my skin in Clé de Peau body lotion. Lounging in my pillow oasis, I read something light, such as the New Yorker’s Table For Two, which leads me to daydreaming about the rest of my weekend.”

Alyssa Reeder, Writer

"The luxury of working from home is being able to mask while you're on a conference call or answering morning emails. Sometimes I just put on a mask when I feel like I deserve one—like after I've walked up a long flight of stairs, for example. I also like to put on a mask when I have to make a really hard decision in a short amount of time. The mask gives me exactly 20 minutes to make up my mind. Sounds strange, but it works. When my skin is tired or just bored I use Dr. Barbara Sturm's Kaolin Clay Face Mask. It's like baby skin magic. Makes your skin so soft. You have to wait for it to dry and rub it off, so it's a process. I also like True Botanicals' Moisture Mask. It's great to put on when I know I'll have to answer the door for the mailman or something since it just makes you look like you're extra shiny. Another favorite is May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon. Technically not a mask, but if you layer up, pretty much anything can be a mask, right?"

Emily Ferber, Senior Editor, Into The Gloss

"At this point I mask almost every day because I'm worth it. Afterwards, I always feel 1000x better than I did before the mask. Nightly, it goes on while I'm watching TV, but occasionally on weekends, I'll use a mask as a counterweight to something I hate doing—like cleaning my apartment. I figure, if I'm treating my skin simultaneously, folding clothes will be less emotionally taxing. Because organizing takes me forever, I pick a mask that can also be on forever. Tammy Fender Restorative Radiance Masque is my favorite. It has clay to clarify, but letting all the other ingredients really soak in leaves me with the most balanced complexion—and without that crusty clay feeling at the end. It's wonderful, but tidying up still stucks."

Anna Gray, Writer and Model

"Once a week I take a too-long shower, during which I use all of the stuff I don’t have time for in a normal shower, such as a razor, conditioner, etc. Once my skin is exfoliated and my pores deep cleansed I apply The Mask. My favorites are Beautycounter’s Brightening Facial Mask, Root Science Detox, and Biodara's Clay mask. I also love Dior’s Smooth Balm mask, which I use every other night as a bedtime moisturizer. If I’ve been in the sun, I’ll use Glossier’s Moon Mask—sometimes even as a sunburn balm. After my shower and during the 15-20 minute masking time I apply all the body lotion I should probably be applying everyday. This week though, I instead spent the whole time watching 'Mukbang' videos of people eating… It’s a Korean phenomena I can’t quit. When the time is up, I rinse off the mask with lukewarm water and feel very proud of my dedication to self care for the next week."

Brianna Lance, Artist and Musician, Les Filles Music Collective

“If I don't stay stationary when I have a mask on, I end up getting it all over the place. I typically listen to music and take a bath when I do a face mask. Occasionally I’ll try to play guitar while I’m masking, which normally results in me leaving the mask on for too long. I tend to forget I have it on. A nice long bath is the best place to be!”

Tchesmeni Leonard, Stylist

“I typically mask when I feel my skin is stressed and I need to decompress. I love a really strong mask like Glamglow or Aztec Indian clay—basically anything with a tingling feeling or something that feels like everything bad is being sucked out. After I’ve applied a face mask, I'll put on a ]Dragon's Blood eye mask from Rodial. When all my masks are on, I'll pour a glass of wine, light a candle from Coqui Coqui or Byredo, and catch up on TV—usually Insecure, GoT, or Housewives. I'll also try to catch up on some work on the computer, but that turns out to be a trap for online shopping.”

Alessandra Steinherr, Beauty Director, Glamour UK

“Ever since I was a teen I've done my at-home Sunday Facial—though back then it was just a scrub and mud mask. My routine has since gotten more elaborate, but the centerpiece is still a mask—from sheet, rubber, to classic cream formulas, I love them all. It's my ultimate Me Time! Plus, nothing gives my skin that dewy refreshed glow like a mask. It always makes me look and feel better instantly. I love Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Powerfoil—especially when I am on a plane. It's always a great conversation starter when people go 'what the heck?"

Anna Jube, Editorial Assistant, Into The Gloss

“Something about having a mask on my face makes it impossible for me to focus. Can’t read, can’t watch TV. My tried and true weekly ritual, then, has to be Susanne Kaufmann’s Enzyme Peel, some of Kate Bush’s most danceable stuff, and a cup of tea. This is also the only time I remember to water my plants. After the peel, if I’m really invested, I’ll do some kind of a clay mask—last night’s was this Youth To The People one, which I painted on with an actual mask brush. Then I'll nightcap with Sisley's Express Flower Gel Mask, which does a lot in three minutes."

Sabina Socol, Journalist

"I’ve been using face masks frequently lately, especially ones that purify and brighten my skin. I usually like for my boyfriend not to be home when I do one. Better not to scare your significant other off—looking at you, sheet masks. I’m always up for a change so I alternate between the Sephora sheet masks, the Glossier masks, and the Dior Life plumping mask. I love how plumped my skin is after (see selfie!). Depending on the moment I’m doing it, I either answer my emails—I have a mask on my face right now!—or watch a TV show. Lately it’s Brooklyn 99. I never do my nails when I have a mask on—I always mess them up!"

Deepica Mutyala, Vlogger

“I wish I could say I thought of masking as a time to zen out and lay down, but that's really not the case! It's totally a purposeful thing to me. At home, usually on a Sunday night, I put on a mask that won’t fall off so that I can answer emails simultaneously, or I’ll FaceTime a friend—one who can accept that I look a little insane while we chat. Tula's Probiotic Mask and the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack are my go-tos. I really only use sheet masks when I'm flying—I know I look like the crazy girl on the plane, but my skin dries out the most while traveling. Throwing on a sheet mask really helps! The Lancôme Génefique sheet mask is hands down my favorite—feels like you just had a facial once you’ve taken it off. If I have an event, I throw on a brightening mask right before. In that case, the Adore Organics Gold Mask is everything. Totally a splurge product, but I used it before the Met Gala carpet, and my skin had ALL of the glow that night.”

—as told to ITG

Looking for more mask options? Try one you can make at home.