beauty

'I slathered nappy rash cream on my face to see if it plumped my skin.'

Mamamia’s Tried and Tested series is your review of the latest to hit our desks in beauty, health and wellbeing. You won’t find any #sponsored content here, just honest, relatable and independent advice. This week, Mamamia's Senior Health and Beauty Writer trials the 'face basting' skincare technique. 

As Mamamia's designated beauty tester, I put a lot of things on my face. In the name of... science. 10 layers of foundation. Lube. Vaseline. Snail jizz. Look, the list goes on. But you know what my face has really been hankering to try, since forever? Nappy cream, apparently.

And how good, because as I doomscrolling researching new beauty trends, I just so happened come across this skincare technique that involves using LOTS of it. It's called 'face basting' and the results look insanely... good.

Originally posted by dermatologist Dr Shereene Idriss (@shereeneidriss on Instagram), the trend looks like it involves slathering copious amounts of nappy cream on your face before going to bed and waking up with plump, soft skin. 

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Dr Idriss captioned her post; "Face Basting: Using my babies’ diaper rash cream with Zinc Oxide to repair dry, cracked skin overnight! Triple Paste for the win." We love winning.

Honestly, it sounds like a dry-skinned girl's dream (ME. MY DREAM) so, of course I tried it. But before I got into it, I also hit up skin expert and aesthetic practitioner Sarah Hudson from Skin By Sarah Hudson to find out her thoughts. Because if my experience with trying viral beauty trends has taught me anything, it's that a lot of them are really, very bad.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

So, here's what happened when I tried the viral dermatologist trend, and if it's something you should try too.

What is face basting?

Yes, okay. A good place to start? As Hudson told Mamamia, "Face basting is a skincare trend using a zinc oxide nappy rash cream over your face overnight, helping to prevent irritated skin."

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Okay cool. But.. why? "Zinc oxide has excellent wound healing capabilities and helps repair dry, cracked skin," Hudson said.

Now, this actually sounds like it's right up my alley. As I mentioned before (and in every article I've written since 1985), my skin is of the... fickle variety. It's chronically thirsty to a confusing degree, quite sensitive and loves to throw a flake-fuelled tantrum. 

So, I decided to give it a whirl. In Dr Idriss' words, let's get basted.

How did you go with it?

As someone who does not have a baby but does have a face, I skipped off to the pharmacy (sent my husband) and fetched a tub of Sudocrem.

Isn't she cute? Image: Supplied.

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So because I wanted to give the cream a solid chance to sink in (plus, it was like 400 degrees and I didn't want to stick to my pillow), I started my routine when I got home from work. 

Following Dr Idriss' instructions, I cleansed my face as normal but skipped the serums and went straight to the Sudocream, and used enough cream to make myself look like, "Mrs Doubtfire or a magnolia cream cupcake."

Actually, I used... more than enough. In true Erin fashion, I went stupidly hard and it just WOULDN'T RUB IN. 

Here's what I looked like:

Help. Me. Image: Supplied.

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I can almost feel it thought the picture. I just. After leaving it for a while to, er, sink in, I massaged it (again) into my skin and down my neck. And look, it was... better.

Am I glowing yet? Image: Supplied.

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Still felt thick and gross. But it didn't feel too bad by the time I went to bed. Application process aside, when I woke up the next morning, my skin was like... new. It was exactly twenty thousand times softer, smoother and just felt so plump and happy. 

I noticed my fine lines looked softened, my dry patches of skin (primarily on my forehead) felt smooth, and my entire face just looked... healthier. Better?

The verdict.

Look, these viral beauty trends rarely work out well for me, but I gotta say — this one was a goodie. Particularly for someone with dry skin like me. 

While face basting is not something I would do every night (and I'd certainly apply less next time because omg it took years to rub in), I definitely think it's the kind of skincare technique I'd fall back on if my skin is feeling thirsty, dry or irritated — which happens often when your job involves trialling lots of different beauty products.

As Hudson explained, using a zinc oxide-based cream on your skin forms a protective barrier, locking in hydration and moisture — and that's why it's such a good time for thirsty skin. "For dry, sensitive skin, especially those prone to eczema or dermatitis, this may relieve anti-itching and make the skin feel soft and smooth."

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However, the downside to this means that if you're using this technique overnight, your skin can't exfoliate as well as it does naturally. At night, this is crucial — we're supposed to "shed about one billion dead skin cells" while we sleep. So.

This means the technique could "lead to clogging and pimples," especially if you're someone who has oily skin. Sad.

If you're someone with sensitive or irritated skin, Hudson said it may be more suitable for you. "Often these types of creams are mixed with petroleum, which can be beneficial when treating irritated skin," she shared.

However, as I said before — like with similar trends like face slugging, it's not something you'd do every single night. "Long-term use may also interfere with the skin's natural moisturising ability, making the skin drier and prone to irritation," she told me.

In fact, in Hudson's expert opinion, there are a ton of other products on the market that can do the same thing, but better.

"As a skin expert, rather than using an occlusive layer like a nappy rash cream, look for a serum that contains clinical evidence of barrier repair ingredients that reinforce the skin's natural hydration, with ingredients such as lipids and proteins that enforce the skin's natural moisturising layer."

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Read: You really don't need to cover your face in nappy cream if you don't want to.

Hudson also warns that we need to be careful following trends from the northern hemisphere. For example, Australia is in a very different climate to the US right now, so we tend to be facing very different skin concerns.

"The trend of face basting using ultra-thick barrier-protective ingredients is ideally suited to skin exposed to extreme cold outside and drying heating inside," she shared.

"In Australia, we are currently experiencing extreme heat, skin may be dehydrated from air conditioning and lacking in water — but it is not dry from our hot and humid climate."

"Face basting at night may feel protective and luxurious, but for an oily prone skin or for someone who suffers from blackheads and pimples, using this technique with this type of product may only exacerbate oiliness and pimples on the skin."

So, there you have it. If you're keen on testing out the trend, just make sure you have the right skin type — and stick to doing it every now and then rather than every night. Also, don't do it in 40 degree heat — it's really not a good time.

Would your try this viral 'face basting' technique? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Supplied.