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Lauren's Face-Softening Mud Mask

There must be quite a few things a mud mask won't cure, but I don't know many of them.

Sylvia Plath once wrote, "There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them."

How Plath felt about baths is how I feel about mud masks. There's something incredibly soothing about spending a half hour on the evening of a stressful workweek and slathering a thick layer of mud on your face -- better, and lazier, than yoga.

I wasn't a devoted mud mask user until I bought a jar from Sabon on the strong recommendation of a store associate a few years ago. If there are better mud masks out there, I probably won't discover them, because I'm devoted to this one.

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Sabon's mask is made from mud sourced in the Dead Sea, along with allantoin and chamomile extract, the latter of which are natural anti-skin irritants. You'll want to wash your face with warm water and cleanser before putting it on. Although I tend to keep mine on for about 20 minutes (I get distracted easily), Sabon recommends you keep it on for 10 -- about the time it takes to go from a creamy paste to caked mud. You can remove it easily with warm water and a wash cloth.

Afterward, your skin will be softer, smoother and cleaner -- almost as if you'd had a full facial. In my experience it helps prevent breakouts, and I usually feel the good effects for a few days.

Sabon mud mask, $35, available at Sabon.