The last month or so the weather here has been on the range between horrible to atrocious. Hiding in air conditioned spaces is nice, but as the husband and I wanted to make the most of our weekends, go places and visit interesting antique centers (a note to the wise: south-central Jersey leaves a lot to be desired) it meant quite a bit of time in the car and walking around. I've been really really good, using sunscreen, wearing a wide brimmed hat and covering myself with a scarf for some extra protection, so other than the top of my feet which I systematically forget to slater with sun blocks, I've kept my natural pale ash color.
But it doesn't mean that the heat and sun didn't affect my skin. I could tell that no matter how much water I drink, my skin lost moisture and felt sensitive. I also missed a spot when applying sunscreen to my hands and got a little sunburn on my right hand just below the pinky finger. My regular arsenal of moisturizers helped a little, but not enough to make me feel restored, which was why I turned to the heavy duty product: Kanebo Sensai Silky Bronze Bronze Soothing After Sun Mask.
Designed for use after serious sun exposure, the 10 minute mask cools the skin and reduces inflammation. It's supposed to minimize peeling and sustain an even tan, but that's obviously not my thing. What I can tell you is how quickly the mask restores skin suppleness and moisture level. The mask contains some interesting good-for-you ingredients like hyaluronate collagen booster, apricot essence and silk complex in a base solution of mentholated water (that's the instant cooling effect). I used it nightly after returning home and once before going out again in the evening, and could see the results especially after a couple of days- my skin looked rested and healthy with no sign of heat exhaustion.
This Sensai product is an actual mask- a three-layer paper product that is saturated with the liquid solution. You take out the sheet from the individual packet, unfold it and apply carefully smooth it all over the face. It feels a little weird the first time, especially since you need to position it correctly over the eyes, nose and mouth. There are flaps for the eyes which you can use to cover the lids and take a ten minute catnap or lift them, as desired. I cut one of the flaps and used it on my hand and it worked great. Two days later there was no sign of sunburn.
A full pack of the Silky Bronze Bronze Soothing After Sun Mask contains 8 sheets. You're supposed to use them for five consecutive days during your vacation/sun exposure time and then once a week for three more weeks. I've been just using them as needed, making sure not to do that when expecting the UPS guy to ring the doorbell, to avoid an Eyes Without A Face moment (the French horror film, not Billy Idol's song). I find it highly effective and a summer essential.
Kanebo Sensai Silky Bronze Bronze Soothing After Sun Mask ($100 per pack) is available from Bergdorf Goodman. It doesn't currently appear on their website so you'll need to give them a call if you're interested and unable to get there in person. A press sample of the mask was provided by the company for my consideration.