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LESSONS:

CAROLE
RADZIWILL’S
GUIDE TO
MASKING

The writer and former Real Housewife never met a face mask she didn’t want to try. While at home in New York, she’s been evaluating all of them—and is sharing the best with you.


Written ByCAROLE RADZIWILL

Dear Violets:

I live in New York City, a town that seems to be the epicenter of everything both great, and well, not-so-great. To help protect my fellow New Yorkers, I have met all the guidelines of self-isolation: I live alone, I stash small bottles of hand sanitizers around my home, I wear a mask when I am staying six feet away from people in the grocery store, I do not touch my face, and I’ve learned to open the door with my elbows.

In some ways, I’ve been training most of my adult life for quarantining. If you include filming Real Housewives, for the past 15 years I have essentially been WFH (that’s “working from home”; I learned that last week). When I left my career at ABC News to work on a memoir back in 2003, I had only a vague idea of what it would take to write a book. But I did know it would require a lot of takeout food and social distancing. In that way, my life recently has dramatically stayed, well, pretty much the same.

Except, that is, for video chats. I’ve never seen more of my friends, my friend’s friends, their partners, their neighbors, their children, and their pets. Who are some of these people? I don’t know! Virtual strangers’ names and faces pop on and off my HouseParty app at all hours of the day and night. I find myself literally face-to-face with people I know very well, and those I’m meeting for the first time. It is a nonstop FaceTiming, Zoom-ing, Skyping bonanza and there is no glam lighting, no Insta-story filters, no nothing. Just my face filling up the phone screen from my poorly lit bedroom.

Which, naturally, has me thinking about my skin. Face masks, more specifically. I am blissfully surrounded by them right now, but of course, they are all of the hydrating and plumping variety. (I would never think of hoarding the medical-grade ones when there are health-care professionals who need them.) Truly, I love any kind of mask: sheet masks, clay masks, high-tech masks. Masks for under my eyes, for my lips, my neck, and across my chest. Give me a bundle of masks to try, and I will blacklist the losers and bestow praise upon only the glow-givers, line erasers, and skin plumpers that work.

And that is precisely what I’ve done for you below. If you must go out during the day, you can wear a cloth face mask to help keep those around you safer and healthier. Then, at night, reward yourself with a skin-soothing, stress-reducing facial mask. The end benefit is not just a better-looking complexion for your own benefit, but also the satisfaction of being in a video chat without feeling like your pores are shouting louder than everyone else. Anyone wanna HouseParty?

a mask for
every task

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10

This may look like a sheet mask, but I assure you, it is beyond. 111SKIN’s original bio cellulose mask has been updated to be better than ever. It plumps, calms, heals, and brightens—so it makes skin look like you’ve just been to the derm or the spa, even if you’ve just been to the couch.

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Dermatologists use LED light to treat blemishes, redness, and all sorts of other skin issues. This home version is wildly convenient—you wear it for only three minutes at a time—and a brilliant way to surprise people on the other end of your Zoom call.

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Lips deserve a little TLC, too. This drenches them with hydration while enhancing their appearance with a smoother, plumper, more seductive look right away.

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Remember how I mentioned that I like masks for all sorts of body parts? This is what I was talking about. It’s a four-piece set of hydrogels for your face, neck, and décolleté—all the parts that are prone to getting saggy and crepey if you don’t tend to them regularly. The really genius part is that each of the separate pieces targets its body part with a different formula to address its unique needs.

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I love a mask that you can wear to bed, especially when you wake up to a more youthful-looking face. These reusable patches are made of medical-grade silicone, so you just put them on before lights-out time and they’ll plump skin and minimize fine lines while you sleep.

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These genius eye masks are not only deeply hydrating, they also tighten and illuminate. Plus, they feel so soothing, they’ve got a pretty rose-gold tone, and they never slide off.

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This sheet mask is black because of its charcoal, which not only soaks up the random bits of makeup and oil lodged deep within your pores, but also gives off a vaguely kinky Catwoman vibe. So chic.

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There’s a reason these masks are famous around the world: They’re like an instantly hydrating, clarifying facial that just so happens to occur in the comfort of your own home. And since you’re probably not leaving your home anytime soon, you might as well treat yourself.

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You know how some clay masks are thick and gloppy, and then they dry all crackled and make your face look like the floor of the Kalahari desert? This is the opposite of that. Is’s a creamy, dreamy pink blend of two clays that soak up excess oil without zapping your face of the moisture it actually needs.

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I break this one out for emergencies. It’s like an instant facelift that does it all: lifts, plumps, smooths, brightens, and detoxifies. True, when it’s drying, you get a jarring glimpse into what you might look like as an octogenarian. But once the mask comes off, suddenly you look…well, maybe not 21 again, but certainly young enough to be asked for ID at the wine shop.

SHOP CAROLE’s
vanity

The journalist and Real Housewife is a skin care obsessive, who relies on daily acts of self-care to keep her looking and feeling her best. Here, the essentials she always keeps fully stocked.