Turns out, when it comes to masking, one really is the loneliest number.
If we had to give a reason why our skin might look dull or lackluster on any given day, we’d happily list every option free of charge, in alphabetical order. Maybe we haven’t been getting enough sleep. Maybe we’re skipping the kale salad this week. Maybe our hormones are acting up. Maybe it’s Tuesday.
That’s about where I was when I stumbled across a genius skincare practice that I, a self-proclaimed skincare junkie, had never actually tried: double masking. Double masking, or mask layering, is when you apply two different masks in tandem, one after the other, letting each mask bestow its benefits in a single sitting. It’s like a rinse-and-repeat, but for your face. Often our skin needs more than one thing addressed, and double masking doesn’t make you choose. The masks should be paired to enhance each other, leaving you with double the reward than if just using one. (For example, if you're detoxing your pores first, you should hydrate second—because there's no extra benefit gained from doubling up on the same type of mask.) Basically, it majorly ups the ante. I was sold.
Not one to mess around, I started with a heavy hitter: the Renée Rouleau Rapid/Peel Duo. Or, as I call it now, the Dream Team. (Buy it here.) What drew me to these masks was the promise of totally detoxed, glowing skin that looks like you’ve hit the reset button. The duo includes two different masks: the Triple Berry Smoothing Peel and the Rapid Response Detox Masque. Together, it’s like a one-two punch right to your pores. After a month-long trial, my completely transformed skin no longer thinks applying two masks is too much to ask.
“Sometimes your skin is in need of more than just clarifying, hydrating, or soothing. When this is the case, double up on masks,” says Renée Rouleau, Austin-based skincare expert and celebrity esthetician. “To lessen clogged pores, tame hormonal breakouts, even out discoloration, and deliver soothing relief to stressed-out skin, use this duo."
First, comes the exfoliant. (Before you panic, don’t worry. This chemical peel doesn’t make your face look like a pizza without the cheese for days after using.) The Triple Berry Smoothing Peel is a professional-strength exfoliant formulated with a blend of antioxidant-rich berries and five skin-smoothing AHAs and BHAs. It gently removes dullness to reveal smoother, younger-looking skin. Think: large pores, discoloration, fine lines, uneven skin tone and texture. It handles them all.
Maybe I wasn’t expecting it to really live up to its name, but upon opening this jar, what looked and smelled like Mama’s homemade raspberry preserves stared back at me, complete with seed-like bits of berries mixed in. I didn’t know if I should spread it on my face or on a piece of toast. Besides a slight tingle upon application, this peel was pain-free and didn’t feel like I was stripping my sensitive skin. Best used only once a week, I’ve used it about four times now and can’t get over how smooth and even my skin looks afterwards.
After the exfoliating stage, comes the detox. This honey-like, shimmery pot of gold is a total game-changer, and I now smear it over my face with reckless abandon at least every other day. (A pore-blasting mask that needs not be thick, mud-like, and ultra-drying? My head was spinning.) This mask is the real finishing touch, the coup de grâce. The anti-inflammatory gel mask coaxes calmer, clearer, and more even-toned skin without drying it out even a wink. Not only do you feel oh-so-luxurious with this quite literally shimmering gold gel on your face, but the healthy glow that comes after you rinse it off is unparalleled among any of the face masks I have ever used.
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After a month of regular double masking, my skin has never looked so good. For someone who battles every category of skin issues, depending on the season or even the day, that’s a pretty sweet gig. It seems like when it comes to masks, one really is the loneliest number. (Glossier offers a rave-reviewed mask duo, featuring its Mega Greens Galaxy Pack and Moisturizing Moon Mask, for those looking to detox and hydrate.) Happy multi-masking!