You’re probably au fait with slathering on an indulgent face mask, but have you tried a body mask?
The idea is that in exactly the same way you’d treat the skin on your face to a mask designed to purify, exfoliate or hydrate, you can now offer your body some care, too.
Body masks have been a part of beauty rituals for millennia — think mud packs in Turkish baths — and have been a core part of salon and spa treatments for some time.
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 really accelerated the growth of body masks as a home-use product, as the concept of self-care exploded,’ says beauty expert and broadcaster Alison Young.
Of course, part of the appeal of the body masks offered in a spa is that you get to lounge on a heated bed and someone else is cleaning the towels. But even in your own home there’s a huge mental benefit to this indulgent 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) left her skin feeling soft and slightly fragranced
Designed to be used before bed, simply cleanse skin and splash with water, then pat dry and apply. Leave on the skin for ten minutes so the ingredients have time to soften and moisturise, and the essential oils have time to relax the senses.
VERDICT: Lush suggests using this in a warm bath, so before bed one night I applied it to my face, shoulders and anything that wasn’t submerged. The fragrance was a bit sweet for me, but not unpleasant, and the idea is that the valerian and lavender have a soporific effect.
With most of me in the bath, I wasn’t too cold after ten minutes and it was easy for me to rinse it off. My skin was left soft and slightly fragranced — and yes, I slept deliciously well.
BEST FOR: A pre-bed treat. 4/5
Rituals The Ritual of Hammam Body Mud, £9.90, rituals.com
Claire said Rituals The Ritual of Hammam Body Mud (pictured) left her skin very soft for minimal effort
Made with mineral-rich rhassoul clay and eucalyptus, this claims to purify and polish the skin.
Rituals recommends massaging a thin layer on to damp skin and leaving for two minutes before rinsing off.
VERDICT: I liked that I only needed to hang around for a few minutes with this one, so I dared to apply it all over my body. The eucalyptus made it feel invigorating and cooling and the slightly chilly feeling continued after I showered it off. My spa experiences of hammams (steam baths) have been more relaxing than this, but it left my skin very soft for minimal effort.
BEST FOR: A luxurious pep-me-up morning shower. 3/5
Soap N Skin Skin Cashmere Face & 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 yoghurt powders is apparently based on the bridal rituals of Kashmir. Activate it with your favourite (floral) water, mix into a paste and apply to cleansed skin. Leave for five to seven minutes and remove 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 any floral water), the yellowy-orange paste smelled strongly of turmeric. My fears it would turn my skin yellow were unfounded, but I didn’t feel 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 Kopari Pink Souffle Body Mask (pictured) made her skin softer after ten minutes
This is a whipped body mask that’s infused with niacinamide (which promises to help reduce the look of pores), kaolin and bentonite clays (supposed to clarify skin), antioxidant-rich dragon fruit and hydrating coconut oil. Kopari claims 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 the clay would be good for treating spots on the back or chest, but to attack cellulite, you’d want to use it on your thighs and bottom, 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 hanging around for that long with it all over would turn any spots to goose pimples.
BEST FOR: When you’re in hotter climes. 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 her 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 for 15 minutes. Remove with a warm flannel.
VERDICT: This was a breeze as I could sit on the edge of the bath while it dried. It felt cool and tingly when I applied it, and the minty scent continued to feel invigorating. I’m not sure it did much for my cellulite, but it was super refreshing after a long day on my 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 moisturised
This ‘self-heating’ mask supposedly draws out impurities as well as moisturising with cacao butter. Massage it all over to feel the gentle rise in temperature.
VERDICT: This didn’t smell of chocolate, more generic spa product, and it was quite gritty and oily to apply. It has an ingredient that makes it feel warm on the skin, but it’s definitely not warm enough to stand around naked for long. After a few minutes I showered it off, leaving my skin feeling surprisingly well moisturised.
BEST FOR: Dry skin. 3/5