My newest skincare obsession has been the wealth of products and methods the Japanese have to offer. Thanks to the internet, I have been able to try popular Japanese products normally sold only in Japan. It’s all very exciting.
For this post however I would like to introduce you to a remarkable method for which you can use the products you already have in your drawer. It’s called the lotion mask.
The concept is simple. By applying product via thin saturated cotton and leaving it on your skin for 3 to 15 minutes, your skin somehow absorbs the product more deeply into its epidermis than it would if you simply applied to your skin directly. Osmosis perhaps; I’m not sure.
The Japanese have a product category they call lotion which is somewhere in between toner and serum here in the US. This is the consistency you need for this mask. They have products for sale with this consistency, very good ones in fact. But depending on your needs and what you already have in your cabinet, you can create your own by combining your serums with your toner. For example, I would combine my toner in a small bowl with some hyaluronic acid, vitamin c powder, and my serum containing retinol. Maybe even just a little bit of moisturizer to thicken it up a bit. The idea is to have a consistency that is thicker than a toner but thinner than what we would call a lotion here in the United States. It should be much thicker than toner but thin enough to easily pour out of the bowl.
With that said, I understand not everyone is as DIY as I am so a good Japanese lotion I can strongly recommend would be Rohto Hadalabo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion (Moist).
This is a really solid source of hyaluronic acid in the perfect consistency for a lotion mask.
Once you have your lotion figured out, you will need very thin cotton squares like Daisan 5-layer Cotton Facial Cosmetic Pads:
You can see by the picture that the idea is to saturate the cotton pads, peel them apart, and apply the thinnest layer all over your face. Once they are saturated you can actually work with the layers to stretch them out a bit as you apply them. This takes a delicate touch (you can mangle the pads a bit if you stretch them out too much) and a little practice however. Feel free to just simply use more pads until you’re comfortable.
Allow them to sit on your face until the moisture has transferred from the cotton into your skin. The cotton will actually dry out.
Another method that I actually prefer simply because it’s faster is a premade, dry mask. One that I found that works perfectly is a DIY Facial Paper Compress Mask.
They are readily available on Amazon under various names, a simple search will find them for you. They are very easy to use, you drop the tiny little dry disks into a bowl with your lotion mixture and it expands into the mask as it absorbs the liquid. Make sure the mask is fully saturated but not sopping wet. There's a fine line between not enough product and wasting your product that you will figure out with a little practice. Gently pull it apart into the flat mask shape and apply it to your face. Voila, you’ve got an easy breezy lotion mask.
All of the goodness of those ingredients will absorb deeply into your skin, much more deeply than if you applied it directly. After 3 to 15 minutes, peel the mask off and you will find that your skin is plumped and hydrated.
Then apply the rest of your thicker serums and moisturizers as you would normally. As always, follow the thin to thickest rule of thumb. I have a very thin peptide serum that I actually apply separately before the mask. Assuming I were to use just the hyaluronic lotion above, after the mask I would apply my thicker retinol serum and moisturizer. Basically, whatever ingredients I need that are not included in the mask itself.
With regular use over time, I think you will find that your more deeply absorbed ingredients are much more effective and at the very least, you are seeing a major difference in your skins overall hydration.