Central heating, hot baths and showers, cold winter winds and re-circulated office air can leave skin dry and chapped by the end of winter. Inject a shot of instant moisture to quench thirsty skin ready for spring, with one of these hydrating, moisture-boosting masks. Only the masks tested that increased elasticity, suppleness and vitality, and got rid of tightness, made the final cut.
1. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask: £23 for 100ml, Origins
Take advantage of the skin's natural restoring, repairing and rebuilding processes at nighttime, by boosting moisture overnight. Apricot kernel oil, orange peel wax, avocado oil and mango butter help build up a strong moisture barrier and increase hydration levels, so parched skin is better equipped in the day to battle against dehydrating UV, central heating and cold winter winds. Rich and creamy with a natural fruity scent, simply apply like a nourishing night cream and wake up to hydrated skin the morning after.
2. Bobbi Brown Skin Nourish: £33 for 75ml, John Lewis
Ultra rich and creamy, but amazingly this mask manages to feel incredibly lightweight once applied. It not only repairs the skin's natural moisture barrier, but if used 2-3 times a week skin remains optimally hydrated all the time. And the result? Fine dehydration lines are smoothed out. Collagen boosting ingredients ensure complexions look plumped up and nourished in the short term, but also long term use will help slow down the ticking-clock time bomb of ageing.
3. Ark Skin Perfector Hydration Injection Masque: £35 for 75ml, Ark Skincare
Tired, stressed, or lacking in radiance, this intensively packed multi-vitamin mask quenches thirsty skin and uses vitamin A to combat pigmentation, vitamin C to regulate collagen production and vitamin E to protect against further UV damage. The hyaluronic acid booster drenches skin and provides a 24 hour protection against further water loss. And it suits all skin types – simply adjust your timings; under 30s only 5 minutes, 30s-50s 10 minutes and over 50s 20 minutes. This one is the perfect pick-you-up for tired, lacklustre skin that needs a boost.
4. Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Memory Sleep Mask: £95 for 40ml, Amazon
Based on memory foam technology developed for NASA, this weightless gel (somewhere between jelly and a blancmange) melts into the skin and gives it its bounce back. Rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids it boosts collagen and elastin for a more youthful, firmer complexion and strengthens the skin's defences. The morning after, I simply washed the mask off and my skin felt soft, supple and more elastic, with a definite glow. Eye wateringly expensive for a mask, this is a worthy investment though, as the results are stunning.
5. Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Fresh & Fast Masks: £40 for 14 masks, Debenhams
Inspired by Asian beauty rituals, these easy to use fabric masks mould to the contours of your face.(You will look a lot like Michael Myers from Halloween, so if you have little ones at home, do it after bedtime – no one wants nightmares of mummy's face mask!). Using the special Givenchy Sparkling Water Complex, hydration levels are boosted to their optimum and skin looks smoothed, toned and rested. A good one to use if your skin is still feeling the effects of Christmas party season over-indulgence.
6. Liz Earle Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask: £16 for 50ml, Liz Earle
Calming comfrey soothes irritated stressed skin, nourishing shea and borage seed oil boost moisture and help maintain the skin's natural barrier, while uplifting rose-scented geranium ensures this is a pleasure to use. Apply, sit back and relax for 15 minutes. Responsibly sourced, high quality ingredients, and no animal testing or animal or GM ingredients, if you like your skincare naturally active and ethical, Liz Earle is one of the best brands in the business.
7. The Sanctuary Spa Protect 5 Minute Moisture Boost Mask: £6.67 for 75ml, Boots
When time is not on your side, but you need an intensive and instant shot of moisture, this 5 minute miracle is the answer. Organic shea butter, rose hip seed oil and honey renew and protect parched complexions. Or leave on overnight for the ultimate moisture boost. A fraction of the cost of the premium brands, this mask compares surprisingly well. Two weeks of using it 3 times a week and fine lines did appear a little less obvious and my skin felt more supple than usual. Seriously impressive results from an inexpensive high street brand.
8. Colbert MD Illumino Anti-ageing Brightening Mask: £85 for 5 masks, Space.NK.apothecary
Another slightly terrifying Halloween-inspired mask with an only marginally less terrifying price tag. This hi-tech offering from former Chanel dermatological research consultant and now leading New York dermatologist, is quite astonishing. Not only will it boost moisture levels in thirsty winter skin (and strengthen the skin's natural barrier to prevent further moisture loss), but this is maximum bang for your buck as it'll also combat hyper-pigmentation, dark age spots, skin imperfections, fine lines, wrinkles and blotchiness and rejuvenate tired, damaged skin. Expensive, but worth every penny.
9. When The Last Choice: £7 for one mask, Topshop
Strangely jelly-like and made from coconut juice, this soft soothing mask is infused with a lightweight serum packed with deeply hydrating nutrients that are delivered straight into the skin. No parables, sulphates or phthalates, it's also vegan and gluten-free for natural beauty aficionados and is perfect for sensitive or easily irritated complexions. When your skin needs a drink, but you don't want to break the bank, this is the one for you.
Erno Laszlo's results are astonishingly good (but it comes at a price), Bobbi Brown's lightweight offering really does appear to combat ageing, while Ark's Skin Perfector boosts radiance instantly. But our pick is Origins Drink Up overnight mask for boosting beauty sleep and ensuring you wake up with a plumped up, hydrated complexion that lasts.
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