I love face masks, but besides a Sunday night when I can luxuriate with a book and a sheet mask, I rarely find the time to sloth around the house slathered in my face mask of choice. It just doesn’t happen. Kiehl’s not only understands what consumers want, but the brand also knows that we are time-poor, which is why it has created the new Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask (£44). You apply it before bed and rinse it off come morning.
The large red pot plays house to a lightly floral-scented concoction that looks like soft, whipped pink Angel Delight. It’s a little more solid to the touch, and a little goes a long way. Honestly, post-cleanse and tone, you only need to slather on a 10 pence–size dollop of this mask, massaging as you go. Use too much and it will pill off the skin. Once it has absorbed, you’re good to go—it won’t transfer onto your bedsheets or pillowcases.
If you’re using this as part of a Sunday night facial routine, you can apply other masks for other concerns, such as an oily T-zone or skin glow, first. Remove or rinse them off as per their individual instructions and apply this as the last step before sleep. If spots are an issue for you, you may worry about applying a face mask and leaving it on all night. For starters, this is lightweight, but I hear you. I was worried too, as I have a spot-prone complexion. It’s noncomedogenic and has been tested on all skin types, so you can be safe in the knowledge that this won’t cause you to break out overnight—I’ve used it quite a few times now and can attest to that.
So what about the key ingredients? I recently put the question to Geoffrey Genesky, scientific director at Kiehl’s: Why hibiscus and ginger leaf? “In formulating our mask, we sought out to identify two natural ingredients with potent activity to boost skin’s firmness and smoothness. The hibiscus extract that we chose is high in protein content and was a perfect fit since background testing on the ingredient revealed that it could provide immediate firming while boosting skin firmness over time with continued use,” he told me.
That’s something I noticed upon waking: My skin looked plumper, a little less world-weary with fewer less visible fine lines (you know, the ones caused by dehydration). I don’t know about you, but when I am shocked awake by my alarm and have to drag myself to the bathroom, my complexion after a measly six hours of sleep often looks as knackered as I feel. This mask conceals that, as it leaves the face looking perkier and more awake—even if you didn’t get your optimum eight hours.
“The ginger leaf extract is rich in polysaccharides and polyphenolic compounds (specifically: flavonoids) and has excellent skin-smoothing efficacy,” says Genesky. For anyone who suffers from textural issues, this will work like that little blur tool on Photoshop IRL to create an almost soft-focus effect on the skin. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference. “Our ginger leaf has been demonstrated to help boost skin’s natural production of hyaluronic acid. This is important because hyaluronic acid is key to skin’s moisturisation and smoothness in surface layers."
For anyone with tired, dehydrated skin, this will impart a much-needed boost to your complexion. It makes a visible difference after one night. But with prolonged use a couple of nights a week, you can expect pillowy-soft, baby skin in no time.