The fast and furious rise of speed-masking

Thanks to the increase of Insta-beauty trends, there’s a new, quicker face mask on the scene. And for those of us who don’t have 30 minutes to spare, it’s good news

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By Rebecca Fearn on

Face masks have been a part of our pampering ritual since forever. Most of us will remember applying them (usually those brightly coloured sachets from Boots) at sleepovers as teenagers. And while, over the years, our taste in ingredients and brands has matured, the masking business has boomed.

Why? Look to the multi-billion dollar “K-beauty” industry, whose sheet masks hit the Western beauty scene in 2016 on a mass scale. The search term “Korean face mask” saw a growth of 173 per cent between 2015 and 2016, according to Google’s 2017 Beauty Trend Report, while terms such as “sheet mask” were deemed sustained risers meaning, despite already proving a big hit, their popularity isn’t going anywhere. And original sheet masks have paved the way for other bonkers trends, such as tanning sheet masks (St Tropez), dry sheet masks (Charlotte Tilbury) and foil masks (Estée Lauder). Then came the unlikely stars of 2017, from foaming bubble masks to scary-looking rubber formulas. Korean beauty has become synonymous with fresh, glowing skin, hence the global rise in masking.

In fact, masks have become an effective go-to skincare step for blocked pores, surprise breakouts and dullness. “Nothing gives us instant gratification quite like a face mask,” says Daniel Isaacs, formulation and development director at Medik8. “They flood the skin with nourishing ingredients to instantly boost our complexion and combat pesky skin issues.” With regular use, they’re a great way to maintain the overall condition of our skin. “Use them two to three times,” suggests Pixi’s global director of make-up artistry, Amanda Bell, for “deep cleansing, extra hydration and a quick pick-me-up”. And you can tailor it to you – there’s a different formula to address every specific skincare concern. Clay masks are perfect for sorting breakouts, says Isaacs, “as they absorb excess oil and bacteria”, while sheet masks or overnight formulas add a moisture hit to parched skin due to their targeted delivery of nourishing ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid.

But how often do we actually have a spare 30 minutes to lie back and let a mask do its thing? These days, our busy lifestyles just aren’t conducive to this indulgent style of masking. “Modern masks have to be fast and effective,” says Marcia Kilgore, founder of Beauty Pie. A Sunday-night facial is a luxury on occasion but, on a day-to-day basis, most of us struggle give our skin a boost. The industry has responded by developing formulas that take five minutes or less to act, meaning we can all make time for one.

Speedy masks, the skincare craze of 2018, are already making waves in beauty. The trend allows you to indulge your skin in a timely manner, with nourishing masks you can slather on while brushing your teeth, or two-minute bubbling formulas that target unwelcome spots. These masks are fast (five minutes or less), easy to use (no messy formulas) and just plain practical – exactly what we need when we’re busy. Forget long-winded multi-masking – speedy masks are the modern way to get glowing skin, fast.

5 of the best speedy masks

Best for multi-tasking: Beauty Pie Fruitizyme Five Minute Facial, £7.73 for members

A much-loved mask among beauty editors, this is a seriously purse-friendly option if you become a Beauty Pie member. Containing natural exfoliators – pomegranate enzyme and bamboo powder – apply this all over the face to aid everything, from congested pores to dryness and dullness. How does Marcia describe her dynamic mask? “It’s like the Meryl Streep of face masks – it plays every role beautifully.” Genius.

Time it takes: Five minutes


Best for cleansing city skin: Pixi Glow-O2 Oxygen Mask, £26

Ideal if you live in a big city and don’t have a lot of time, this two-minute mask helps to neutralise the effect pollution can have on our skin (causing sensitivity, dehydration and inflammation) with a cocktail of soothing and protecting antioxidants. Bonus: the bubbling formula is fun and effective.

Time it takes: Two minutes


Best for preventing oiliness: Murad Instamatte Oil-Control Mask, £38

Oily, blemish-prone skin will love this three-minute mattifying mask, which blurs the skin and evens out the look of blemishes. It deeply cleanses and revives with ingredients such as grapefruit extract (known for its oil-fighting properties).

Time it takes: Three minutes


Best for giving instant glow: Sisley Radiant Glow Express Mask, £77

I know – this one comes with a hefty price tag. But if you’re going to splurge, make it this. The unique blend of ultra high quality ingredients, including rosehip and camomile, makes it the ultimate radiance-boosting product. Leave it on for three to five minutes while brushing your teeth in the morning for a perfect, glowy make-up base.  

Time it takes: Three to five minutes


Best to soothe surprise breakouts: Clinique Pep-Start Double Bubble Purifying Mask, £24

Clinique offers its take on bubble masks. If you’ve been waking up to spots, panic not. The bubbling formula lifts away excess debris from the skin and sorts your skin out in an instant (two minutes, to be exact).  

Time it takes: Two minutes


Best for a deep clean: Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask, £10

For an occasional detox, this does the job. The mask is self-heating, to soften skin and loosen pores, which allows the charcoal and kaolin clay to draw out impurities from deep within the skin, while a blend of calming essential oils gently soothes. Apply a generous layer on to your T-zone for a deep clean that will leave your skin feeling lovely and fresh.

Time it takes: Five minutes



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