An analysis of the merits of the butt mask. (Because it's 2018, people, and the skin-care obsession can't stop won't stop.)
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I'm a huge proponent of face masks, from charcoal masks to sheet masks to the guaranteed-to-terrify-your-roommate LED light mask. What's not to like, really? They pack a ton of good-for-your-skin benefits into one fun-to-wear package that really lends itself to some solid self-care time. While I'm normally game to try just about anything in the name of better skin (and the world of beauty treatments can be pretty wacky) there's one mask that shocked even me: the Butt Mask.
Nope, this isn't something out of an SNL skit. I first wrote about the butt mask in 2017, when the Nannette de Gaspé Uplift Revealed Tush ($175, dermstore.com) was introduced to the world. The pricey contouring patches contain sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid) along with marine extracts and promise to "re-shape the contours of the buttocks area and optimally accentuate feminine features while restoring firmness, suppleness, and bounce for a visually more sculpted tush in just eight days of intensive (read: an hour at a time) use.
If you're overwhelmed by this information, you're not alone. I mean, call me a skeptic but do we *really* need to start anti-aging our butts, I wondered? Well, that's still up for debate, but the science kind of checks out. "Whether you're treating aging skin on the face, or other areas of your body, the goal is to plump and firm the skin, which these masks do," says New York City–based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. Hyaluronic acid is like a sponge that attracts water to plump dehydrated skin, and the marine collagen in the mask has antioxidant properties, which reduce inflammation and promote skin-firming collagen, he explains.
Now, the butt mask is having a resurgence of sorts, with more affordable options that have me pondering butt masking yet again. BAWDY is one brand leading the charge with four different versions of their plant-based collagen sheet masks ($32, amazon.com): "Shake It" (firming and illuminating), "Slap It" (retexturizing and detoxifying), "Bite It" (hydrating and toning), and "Squeeze It" (brightening and rejuvenating). The marketing is certainly over-the-top millennial (wear for 10 to 15 minutes and you'll be "buttfie" ready, the website states) but the ingredients themselves—including collagen again, but also soothing chamomile, aloe, and blue algae—are all good-for-skin. And at $10 a pop, the cost of entry isn't prohibitive for the average beauty junkie.
There are other versions you can try based on your butt's skin-care needs. Since acne is a common concern (it's especially common for women who exercise and are in sweaty spandex, derms say) there's a mask for that, too. The Massk Butt and Body Acne Charcoal mask ($35, amazon.com) uses bamboo charcoal to help zap oil that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. There's also the Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Body Firming Sheet Mask ($12, amazon.com) which claims to help firm and tone "problem areas" like the thighs, stomach, arms, or butt. (ICYMI, there's now a sheet mask for pretty much every part of your body.)
Bottom line: Your butt is probably fine just the way it is, but if you feel it needs some TLC, it's worth a try. As for the idea that any mask can make your butt look "visibly sculpted"? Thank you, next. "Treatments like this are best used by people with early signs of skin aging, as significant skin changes may require in-office procedures like lasers or injectables to give optimal results," says Dr. Zeichner.
In other words, masks do not equal squats—sorry. If you want a noticeably more sculpted tush without going under the knife, you're likely only going to get it by hitting the gym—or by wearing these leggings.