Gifts,  Health & Beauty,  Skincare

Planet-friendly, natural and effective face masks

Have you put your central heating back on yet? I usually try to hold out until November but this year I gave in early during a particularly rainy, cold snap.

It won’t surprise you to hear that home heating plus wintry weather is a double whammy for skin stress, particularly faces. How best to soothe dry, sore and cracked skin? Or perhaps you’re suffering with the opposite problem of oil overload and breakouts?

Today’s post is all about a great face mask option. And I’m not talking about the COVID-19 kind.

Yes, the “other” type of face mask is an easy way to help skin through and also dial up self-care, whatever your skin concerns are right now.

But, sadly, choosing and using a face mask can be an environmental minefield.

The problem with most face masks

Many mainstream face masks come packaged up in single-use plastic pouches that can’t be recycled (except by TerraCycle). Or they come in plastic pots and tubes. Slightly better but still not ideal, especially if any black plastic is used. As mentioned in my previous post, black plastic is pretty much impossible to recycle through UK kerbside collections.

The recent trend for sheet masks has only made the disposal problem worse.

Mainstream sheet masks tend to be made of synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. So the mask itself has to be binned after use, as well as the packaging. Of which there are usually multiple, sticky peel-off tabs as well as the plastic foil-lined outer wrapper. Ugh.

For some time I’ve been thinking there just must be some greener face masks around. Surely, it’s not rocket science?

Natural skin support

As you’ll know already, natural and effective face masks can be made in your own bathroom from a whole host of delicious edible stuff. 

It’s no secret that honey is a great skin soother – just apply to your face, leave for about 20 minutes and then rinse away. Other options are natural yoghurt, mashed avocado, oats, banana and even butternut squash, if you’re feeling seasonal!

A targeted solution

If you’d rather try a more convenient form of “face maintenance”, without nasty chemicals or plastic packaging, I recommend the range of eco-friendly face masks by Wild Sage + Co. 

Wild Sage + Co are a family-run business based in the Wye valley. As well as loads of natural beauty products made from their own home-grown herbs, they produce three face masks:

  • Green clay –  with kelp, cedarwood, lavender and palmarosa (for oily or blemish-prone skin)
  • Rose clay – with rose geranium, cardamon and ylang yang (for dry or normal skin)
  • White clay – pure kaolin with flower extracts and no essential oils (for very sensitive skin)

All three come in powder form packaged in stylish glass bottles with biodegradable labels and aluminium screw top lids.

You can combine any of the masks with yoghurt, honey or apple cider vinegar (ACV) to turbo-charge the effects. Otherwise, just mix with good old H2O.

As with all Wild Sage + Co’s products, the masks are handmade and contain no parabens, SLS, fragrances or artificial colours. They’re also cruelty-free (tested on willing humans).

Preparing the mask

So far I’ve tried the green clay mask. There’s a certain alchemy that comes with preparing the mask which makes the experience more ritualistic and mindful. It really feels like a treat.

The instructions don’t tell you how much powder to use so I tend to use a teaspoon and then gently pour in tiny amounts of liquid (I use ACV) until I get a consistency I like.

It’s best to go easy on the liquid because, a bit like baking with flour and water, too much of one requires more of the other. There’s only so much mask product you can use in one day. If you have an old dropper/pipette to hand, that would be a great way of adding the liquid.

How it feels and after effects

Like many face masks for oily skin, the green clay mask does tingle a bit at first but this usually means it’s working.

If you feel any stinging or pain, wash it off straight away. Otherwise, leave it on for around 10 minutes or until it’s dry. Then just rinse with warm water and a flannel.

After use my skin looks a little pinker. A subtle glow. Nothing scary. The next day it looks fresher and any spots are less sore and inflamed. 

If you’d like to read more about the benefits of clay masks for detoxifying skin and the science behind how they work, take a look at Wild Sage + Co’s interesting blog post here.

As we get through Autumn and into Winter, I’m excited to try the other two options out. The pots give around 10 – 20 uses so are good value.

I use the mask about twice a month. I think once a week would be optimal, depending on your skin.

So, if you’re after some seasonal self-care without harming the planet, check out these masks. I think they’d also make a lovely gift for others. 

Please do let me know what you think in the comments below if you try any of the masks. I’d also love to hear about your experiences with any of Wild Sage + Co’s other products. I can’t wait to try more of them.

Clay face masks, Wild Sage + Co, £12.00 for 30g pot (25g for the White Clay option). For a list of current online and offline stockists, click here. 

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