There is nothing more sensorially pleasing than the feeling of warmth against icy, wind-whipped skin. Congested pores will also thank you for applying a self-heating face mask
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Even with the best intentions and thoughtfully assembled skincare routine, Scandinavian winters can sap skin of much-needed moisture. Rather than lean on standard-issue cooling sheet masks that felt delicious in a heatwave, winter calls for the polar opposite temperature-wise.
Enter self-heating face masks, which have similar benefits to steaming your skin. First and foremost, any form of heat that you apply to the skin makes pores more pliable in order to dislodge paste-like plugs of oil and dead cells. "Warmth also dilates your blood vessels and increases circulation, which helps to oxygenate the blood and ensure that nutrition reaches the tissues more easily,” adds Lisa Halldén, aesthetician and brand manager at Babor Sweden.
In other words, there's the instant gratification of brighter skin and, in the long run, plumper skin as a result of an uptick in collagen production. Not to mention the cocooning warmth adds an added layer of relaxation when stress levels are running high.
Warmth dilates your blood vessels and increases circulation, which helps to oxygenate the blood and ensure that nutrition reaches the tissues more easily
Lisa Halldén, aesthetician and brand manager at Babor Sweden
But how do self-heating face masks actually work? Put simply: chemistry. They are developed with special ingredients that, when exposed to water, produce an exothermic reaction that instantly generates heat. Zeolite is the most common of these, a naturally-occurring mineral derived from volcanic ash that releases energy as heat upon contact with water. That's why you'll often be instructed to massage these products in with wet fingertips.
Peter Thomas Roth Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Heat Mask is one such mask powered by zeolite. It transforms from a cooling base to an invigorating heat mask in order to increase absorption of its mineral-rich spring water from deep below Hungary’s Carpathian Valley and a host of botanicals including sunflower, apricot, peach, rosehip seed, almond and pomegranate.
Meanwhile, Ole Henriksens' Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub is inspired by the Nordic love-affair with sauna rituals, where steaming skin with heat is followed by a bracing cool sensation. Charged with green tea, volcanic sand, eucalyptus, algae and glycolic acid, this facial scrub heats up on contact with the skin before turning cold to dial down redness and refine pores.
Masks containing bentonite and kaolin clays are renowned for mopping up excess oil and removing impurities. Throw in a self-heating mechanism and pores are shown some serious love. Try Garnier Pure Active Self Heating Clay Mask when skin skews dull with breakouts.
Also good is Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, with warming ginger that transforms from a syrupy texture to a velvety cream when massaged into the skin, delivering a healing blend of antibacterial propolis, amino-acid rich royal jelly to hydrate and antioxidant echinacea extract. Likewise, Pixi In-Shower Steam Facial transforms from a gel into sumptuous warm oil on contact with water to deeply nourish moisture-starved skin with plant-based acacia collagen, a naturally occurring collagen that creates an instant plumping effect.
Self Heating Masks
Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Heat Mask
Peter Thomas Roth
Pore-Balance Facial Sauna Scrub
Pure Active Self Heating Clay Mask
Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask
In-Shower Steam Facial