Pastes may seem like the sort of concoction cooked up in the middle ages – thick, claggy and out of touch with the luxe, featherlight textures that lead the way today.
Look to some of your favourite brands though, and even with every piece of technology available to them, they’ve made the decision to bring back thicker formulas. Turns out, they’re brilliant at delivering top-of-the-range ingredients straight to our skin and are magic at quelling irritation. Over the last couple of years, No7 has released a range of no fewer than four pastes dedicated to hydrating, exfoliating, calming and clearing, while at the end of last year, Liz Earle introduced its soothing Cica paste. I asked the experts why skin pastes are having such a revival.
Why are skin pastes taking off at the moment?
“Pastes aren’t actually a new concept. We have been using them in Dermatology for decades to treat inflammatory skin conditions,” says Dr Anita Sturnham, GP and founder of Decree skincare. “They are typically made of water, oil and powder and the thicker texture makes them a better choice for products that need to be applied thickly and left on the skin as a treatment before removing.”
“They work really hard while we sleep and, they’re multitasking, delivering instant benefits as well as long term results,” adds Liz Earle Lifestyle Ambassador, Sarah Carr.
What benefits do they have over other textures like gels, creams and balms?
“They act as brilliant ‘carriers’ for minerals and detoxifying ingredients, making pastes a popular choice versus gels or balms for this type of product,” explains Dr Anita.
How would you use them? All over? Targeted etc?
This would depend on the paste you’re using. Some are best used all over skin like a face mask. “Use in the evening 2-3 times a week after cleansing and toning and apply a thin layer onto your face, avoiding the eye area,” advises Sarah. Others are better suited to targeted treatments over key areas of concern. For instance blemish pastes are best placed just on top of spots rather than across the whole face.
Any skin concerns they’re best for?
“Pastes work well as mask treatments, for example as your once a week facial mask. They are often formulated using therapeutic clays and these act as great detoxifying delivery systems,” says Dr Anita. “The idea of using a soothing paste after exfoliation is something that I’m a fan off and have been using for years in my clinics,” she adds.
How long should we leave them on for?
“Facial pastes should be left on for a minimum of 10 minutes and maximum of 30 minutes [unless they’re designed to be used overnight],” says Dr Anita, Otherwise it can lead to skin feeling dry after use.