You probably know about putting on a great face mask, but have you tried a body mask?
The idea is that in exactly the same way you would treat the skin on your face with a mask designed to purify, exfoliate or moisturize, you can now give your body some care too.
Body masks have been part of beauty rituals for millennia — think mud wraps in Turkish baths — and have been a staple of salon and spa treatments for quite some time now.
Claire Coleman puts six of the best body masks to the test, following their increased popularity as the concept of self-care exploded (file image)
“But lockdown accelerated the growth of body masks as a home-use product as the concept of self-care exploded,” said beauty expert and presenter Alison Young.
Of course, part of the appeal of the body masks offered at a spa is that you can lounge on a heated bed and have someone else clean the towels. But even in your own home, there is a huge mental benefit to this delicious treat. We test six of the best. . .
Lush Beauty Sleep Face and Body Mask, £13, lush.com
Claire said Lush Beauty Sleep Face and Body Mask (pictured) made her skin feel soft and lightly perfumed
Designed to be used at bedtime, simply cleanse skin and sprinkle with water, then pat dry and apply. Leave on for ten minutes to allow the ingredients to soften and moisturize and the essential oils to relax the senses.
VERDICT: Lush suggests using this in a warm bath, so one night before bed, I applied it to my face, shoulders, and anything that wasn’t submerged. The scent was a little sweet for me, but not off-putting, and the idea is that the valerian and lavender have a sleep-inducing effect.
With most of me in the bath, I wasn’t too cold after ten minutes and was able to rinse it off easily. My skin was soft and lightly perfumed – and yes, I slept wonderfully well.
BEST FOR: A treat before bed. 4/5
Rituals The Ritual of Hammam Body Mud, £9.90, rituals.com
Claire said Rituals The Ritual of Hammam Body Mud (pictured) made her skin really soft for minimal effort
Made with mineral-rich rhassoul clay and eucalyptus, this purports to purify and polish the skin.
Rituals recommends massaging a thin layer onto damp skin and leaving it on for two minutes before rinsing.
VERDICT: I liked that I only had to hang around with this for a few minutes, so I dared to apply it all over my body. The eucalyptus made it feel invigorating and cooling and kept the slightly chilly feeling after I showered it. My spa experiences with hammams (steam baths) were more relaxing than this, but it made my skin very soft for minimal effort.
BEST FOR: A luxurious invigorating morning shower. 3/5
Soap N Skin Skin Cashmere Face and Body Mask, £35, soapnskin.com
Claire said Soap N Skin Skin Cashmere Face & Body Mask (pictured) smelled strongly of turmeric when she added water
This formulation of chickpea flour, turmeric root, sandalwood, rose and yogurt powders is apparently based on the bridal rituals of Kashmir. Activate it with your favorite (floral) water, mix into a paste and apply to cleansed skin. Leave it on for five to seven minutes and then remove it with a warm cloth before it dries. Rinse with plenty of fresh water.
VERDICT: I wasn’t a fan. When I added water (I didn’t have floral water), the yellow-orange paste smelled strongly of turmeric. My fear that my skin would turn yellow was unfounded, but I didn’t feel like it gave me the radiant glow it promised.
BEST FOR: Natural fans. 2/5
Kopari Pink Souffle Body Mask, £32, koparibeauty.co.uk
Claire said that Kopari Pink Souffle Body Mask (pictured) made her skin softer after ten minutes
This is a whipped body mask infused with niacinamide (which promises to help reduce the appearance of pores), kaolin and bentonite clay (believed to brighten skin), antioxidant-rich dragon fruit, and moisturizing coconut oil. Kopari claims that this can soothe body acne, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and refine skin tone.
VERDICT: While the company suggests spreading this fruity cream all over or using it as a spot treatment, the ingredients are confusing.
The niacinamide and clay would be good for treating blemishes on the back or chest, but to tackle cellulite you might want to use it on your thighs and buttocks, which don’t tend to be oily. It feels like it’s trying to be a jack of all trades.
I tried it on my stomach to see if it can improve skin tone and texture. After ten minutes, my skin was definitely softer, but if I hung around with it that long, all the spots would turn to goosebumps.
BEST FOR: If you are in warmer regions. 2/5
Margaret Dabbs Black Leg Masque, £45, margaretdabbs.co.uk
Claire said Margaret Dabbs Black Leg Masque (pictured) was refreshing after a long day on the feet
From the queen of manicures and pedicures comes a charcoal mask that claims to help fight water retention, cellulite and inflammation. Apply a thin layer from the feet to the top of the thighs and leave on for 15 minutes. Remove with a warm flannel.
VERDICT: This was a breeze as I could sit on the edge of the tub while it dried. It felt cool and tingly when I applied it, and the minty scent remained invigorating. Not sure if it did much for my cellulite, but it was super refreshing after a long day on the feet.
BEST FOR: Tired legs. 4/5
Rabot 1745 Cacao & Kaolin Clay Thermal Body Mask, £14.95, hotelchocolat.com
Ckaure said Rabot 1745 Cacao & Kaolin Clay Thermal Body Mask (pictured) left her skin feeling surprisingly well hydrated
This ‘self-heating’ mask is said to remove impurities and moisturize with cocoa butter. Massage it all over to feel the gentle temperature rise.
VERDICT: This didn’t smell like chocolate, more generic spa product, and it was quite gritty and greasy to apply. It has an ingredient that makes it feel warm on the skin, but it’s definitely not warm enough to hang out naked for long. After a few minutes, I showered it off, leaving my skin feeling surprisingly well hydrated.
BEST FOR: Dry skin. 3/5