The Beauty of Masks

Chances are once a week, your night-time routine looks like this ……  cleanse/remove makeup, tone, exfoliate and smooth on your favourite face mask.

Devotees of beauty love their mask’s rejuvenation benefits, their all-in TLC factor and their relaxation effect.  Like a mini facial at home, to leave skin all dewy and supple, masks are the power plus remedy for skin issues with one to suit every skin type … mature, dry, sensitive or oily.

Masks come in all forms today .. sheet masks, clay masks, mud masks, peel off masks, overnight masks …. masks to clarify, to nourish, to repair, to firm .… you get the picture.

The concept of applying face masks is nothing new, in fact, their origins stretch way, way back, thanks to our goddesses of youth and beauty.

Beauty lovers in Egypt used clay for their masks.  One of the most famous of beauty pioneers, Cleopatra, applied a mask of dead sea mud to draw out impurities and maintain her complexion and egg whites to tighten and give her skin a youthful glow.

In ancient Rome, beauty notables used oils and honey and moved to basil juice, vinegar, goose fat, snail ashes and other rather bizarre ingredients, all thought to possess healing properties.

In India, the origin of the mask is believed to date back some 5,000 years.  It was those embracing the holistic lifestyle of Ayurveda, who created face and body masks called ‘Ubtan’, which historians consider as one of the first cosmetic products.

Ubtan mask ingredients did change with the seasons, however, they always included fresh herbs, plants like aloe vera, roots such as turmeric and also flowers.  Prepared according to skin type to improve the skin’s appearance they also served and contributed to skin health.

These masks then became the ritual choice for women before religious ceremonies, festivals and weddings.

Yang Guifei, from the Tang Dynasty, known as one of the four ancient beauties of China, mixed water with ground minerals like pearl, rare jadeite, tea leaves, ginger root and lotus flower with natural rose water for a brightening effect.  Mung beans, crushed tea, mint leaves and rice water were used to reduce wrinkles and dark circles.

In ancient Rome, beauty notables used oils and honey and moved to basil juice, vinegar, goose fat, snail ashes and other rather bizarre ingredients, all thought to possess healing properties.

European woman in Medieval times worked hard and resorted to wild and risky combinations and methods, to maintain their porcelain complexions.   These included applying leeches to their faces and concoctions prepared with calf or hare blood to reduce dark patches and freckles.

Women vying for the ‘fairest complexion in the land’ in Victorian England used lead and vinegar, with disastrous results and ruthless skin issues.

In earliest South America, avocadoes were used to keep skin soft and supple and in Africa palm oil for a fair complexion.

In 1875, Madame Helen Rowley of Ohio in the USA created and patented her Toilet Mask, soft and flexible and made of pliable rubber.  She designed it to be worn during sleeping hours to beautify, bleach and preserve the complexion.

In search of the perfect beauty mask, many women followed Madame Rowley with their own creations.

What stands out and remains to this day is the all-Ayurvedic, Ubtan. And, there’s more to share with you.

Some background:

In Ayurveda, ‘lepam’ means the application of herbal pastes which are called ‘kalka’ and ‘mukha’ means face.  So, in essence, it’s the application of a herbal paste to the face.

Traditionally, some herbal pastes are used both internally (medicinally) and externally, ie for the body or the face.

Our Masks are prepared according to tradition, a holistic, authentic approach and formulated to time tested methods, steeped in the ancient Ayurvedic practice.    They feature only natural and organically grown ingredients to improve the health and balance of the skin and leave it glowing.

We have a large selection of herbal masks which are in very fine powder form and ready-made masks.  Both feature different combinations of minutely ground and/or crushed herbs, flowers, grains and seeds to address specific skin conditions, skin types and skin issues, ie oily, pigmented, dry, anti-ageing.

The Masks in powder form are designed to be freshly mixed (at time of use/treatment) with water, milk or yoghurt, applied to the face, neck and decollete and are incorporated into a salon facial or spa treatment.  They include Thermo-Herbal Face Lift, Enzime, Skin Rejuvenator and Veg Peel.

Our ready-made Masks, for more convenient at-home use, are also suited to specific skin types, conditions and skin issues.  These Masks can be used alone or mixed with fruits or vegetables.

Here are just a few.

Mango Butter Face Mask, for drier and pigmented complexions, is like a smoothie for the face.  Hydrating and nourishing, the key ingredient of Mango rich in enzymes and high in vitamins C and E soothes, nurtures and leaves the skin supple.  Added Sacred Lotus Seeds deeply hydrate and take care of dry, flaky patches in addition to soothing Honey to boost elasticity, Indian Barberry and Conch Shell.  It can be used alone or ‘go traditional’ and add finely grated potato, cucumber or carrot.

Treating acne and blemishes, the Clove Acne Mask keeps breakouts at bay, its deep cleansing properties draw out impurities while minimising irritations, regulating oil production and balancing oilier conditions. Clove has powerful antiseptic qualities and helps heal breakouts.   On the menu for this mask is Ashwaghanda Root for its astringent and rejuvenative properties.

Returning a verve to the skin, our Pearl Mask contains finely ground Pearl Ash known to strengthen cell structure, address pigmentation issues, lighten tone and refine skin texture.  It’s rich in calcium and valuable minerals and also helps minimise pores, revive lack lustre skin, reduce redness and address lines and wrinkles.  In addition, it contains antioxidant and rich Jamun Fruit, a great remedy for scarring, blemishes and dark spots, Sandalwood and Wheatgerm, a rich source of Vitamin E and cooling Lotus.  Its dual action of lightening and cooling ingredients makes this the ideal mask for sun related pigmentation.

Now you have a run-down and some background on the fascinating Ubtan (masks) traditional to Ayurveda.

Something more to share with you and that’s the care of your ready to go masks.  After using, be sure to secure the cap and store in a cool, dry place.  Should it get a little dry, we have an easy fix.  To keep it moist and extend its life, add a little rosewater or food grade aloe juice and mix well, it will bounce back and be a breeze to apply.

Happy Masking!