Letters I Haven't Written Yet

Skin care for the Insomiac

I’ve always been pretty obsessed with skin care. When I travel, often my creams and solutions weigh more than my actual clothes, to the point that whether I’m going away for a night or a week, often my bag is the same size. But I will say that while I’m not perfect, none of us are, I’m very lucky to have good skin. Part of is genetics, definitely. But also, part of it is that since I was in my 20s, I was obsessive with my skin care routine. I didn’t do a million things, but cleanse – tone – moisturise has been a mantra for at least 20 years. Then, to add to that, you have more intensive treatments, like masks and facials.

Now normally I try to have a good cleansing facial a few times a year. I’d like to have them more, but I don’t have a Hollywood superstar’s budget on beauty products, so I try to be responsible about it. And in the meantime, I manage some deep cleaning at home.

Of course COVID-19 has even put those yearly facials at risk. Here in Switzerland the spas and things are open, but there’s no way I’m taking that risks. The ICUs are overflowing because people are not taking this virus seriously, and I am most certainly not going to end up sick or dead because I want a facial. So, I’ve been quarantine online shopping for skin care products.

Like many people who are interested in skin care, of course I have too many creams to think about, but that doesn’t mean I won’t buy more! You can never have enough masks and creams. And as long as the mister doesn’t mind that three quarters of the bathroom storage space is used by my stuff, it’ll stay that way.

I often do my skin care routine late at night. For some reason, I just can’t get into a sleep cycle like normal individuals, and I am at my most away and productive in the wee hours (this blog, for example, is being written at 3am, after having spent much of the night editing). Tonight, I decided to try and use one of my newer purchases.

I love clay masks, and with this new rush of using sheet masks and single use packets in general, my use of the good old fashioned clay mask fell by the wayside. Which is why I bought Dr Hauschka’s Clarifying Clay mask. First point – this is not an ad. I just bought this online because a friend recommended the brand and I missed using a good clay mask. I find that they not only deep clean but nicely tighten the pores much better than any single use or peel away product. What slowed me down from using it immediately was that it’s actually a jar of powdered clay – you have to mix it with water and then use it. I’m not anything if not a lazy shit, so despite my longing for a good clay mask, the idea of mixing it with water was too annoying, so it sat on the shelf.

I decided to use it tonight. The instructions on the insert say to put two heaped table spoons of clay mask in a bowl, and mix with the same amount of water. I did that, but it came out really runny. If anyone is using this mask, I would suggest using a bit less water actually, and mixing it well. Otherwise the clay is too thin, and it’s difficult to spread on your face without leaking, even with a brush. Sadly, I got the clay all over my favourite and ultra glamorous Harry Potter spedangled pyjamas. Note to self for next time, wear a towel, or just an old t-shirt.

A Queen and her clay mask

Despite my PJ catastrophe and the lack of consistency of the mixture, I got the clay on using a small brush and let it set for 15 minutes. It gets hard and changes colour when it’s ready, so you know exactly when to go and take it off. I then washed it off with a facecloth and lukewarm water.

Unlike the single use masks, even the ones you spread on and wash off (which aren’t bad, just not always as good), this one felt fantastic. My skin felt tighter and cleaner immediately. I could tell it did exactly what it was supposed to do.

Looking Queenly with my giant sheet mask

However, it did leave my skin feeling dry, so I followed up with a hydrating sheet mask – the Diamermine Laboratories Lift + (again, not an ad, just me and my obsessive online shopping), for some extra ant-wrinkle care and extra hydration. The problem I have with these sheet masks is that they’re always too big for my face – so I have the sheet all wrinkled and messy. But that’s s all brands – I guess all the test subjects have gigantic faces and mine just doesn’t fit the mould. I left it on for a good ten minutes, and then took it off. I’ll keep the extra liquid from the mask on my face, letting it absorb quickly. And before I go to sleep (sometime before sunrise), I’ll put on my usual night cream.

I definitely recommend the clay mask. My skin feels so good after it! But as I said above, just watch the mixture, so it’s not too runny. As for the sheet mask, I’ve used better. I don’t know if this one had been sitting around for too long, but I didn’t feel it fed my skin as much as I expect a sheet mask too. It definitely didn’t do any harm though. I have plenty of others, so I’ll try another one in a day or so.

Insomniac Skin Care Success

Header Image Credit: iStock by Getty Images