Cleopatra’s beauty routine wasn’t far off from that of today’s women.
The Queen of Egypt was rumored to use face masks with ingredients like eggs, gold, honey and olive oil to maintain her radiant glow. Look around any major beauty retailer today, and you’ll see a robust selection of mass-produced face masks, some of which even include those same ingredients Cleopatra preferred.
In recent years, consumers have shown a major uptick in interest in the products, embracing face masks as part of their regular beauty and skin care routines.
“Most people can actually benefit from them,” says Dr. Jennifer Mueller, a dermatologist at the Dermatology Associates of Lancaster. “They just haven’t been using them until recently.”
Women in particular are driving the market. A September report by NPD group, formerly called the National Purchase Diary, maintains 30 percent of women today are using face masks, resulting in a 39 percent increase in sales of face masks by prestige, or higher-priced, brands.
While some face masks can cost upwards of $100, there are many options available under $10, some of which are made in Lancaster.
Face masks come in four basic varieties, as outlined by Sephora Pro Artist Dina Nikocevic. They are mud masks, peel-off masks, sleeping masks and sheet masks. Some sheet masks cover the entire face, while others target specific areas, like the area under eyes or lips.
Mud masks are cream-like mixtures that are applied directly to the face, and after being kept on for a specified amount of time, are washed off with water. Peel-off masks are applied the same way, but are gently peeled off the face when they dry. Sleeping masks are intended to be left on overnight, and sheet masks are thin, tissue-like material soaked in a serum.
Nikocevic says sheet masks are a great place to start.
“Sheet masks are great for beginners,” Nikocevic wrote in an email. “They’re easy to use, fast-acting and require no rinsing.”
Melissa Lyons, owner of Lancaster skin care boutique Melinessence, offers powdered masks that are used by adding water, milk or yogurt to create a paste. She warns against using tap water, which she says can have harmful bacteria that could trigger more skin issues.