III. Ok: On getting the "^#!@#)($" thing off!
I've never had a problem removing a face mask - and I've done easily 300 + face masks on people ranging in age from 17 months (that was a little scary) to 101 (that was too!)
…Here's the trick:
Given that you remembered the petroleum jelly, and the head band, you shouldn't have a problem.
First, I tell people before they "go under" the plaster 2 things:
"If you feel a little nervous or panicky (very few people have any problem with it at all, but its worth calming potential fears – without making them any bigger by "over doing" the discussion of potential panic attack) -- the mask can be taken off at any time (though it will probably mean ruining the mask so I recommend trying to relax into the fear and see how that goes first)"; and
"When you get ready to take it off, consciously avoid the inclination to get it off quickly, or the natural feeling that it's stuck".
I always encourage the person and talk through the process of taking it off – helping them go slow, helping them realize that it is coming, and sometimes helping release a couple of hairs at the hair line (no big deal).
The mask becomes hard enough to come off (usually it gets a little warm as it sets and is rigid and ready to carefully take off in about 12-15 minutes or less – you can tell and so can the client).
The person under the mask is really the best person to take it off as they can tell what's going on, how they feel, etc.
Start by having your subject move his/her mouth and face around inside the mask once it is set up and rigid (about 12-15 minutes or less);
then untie the head band and slowly begin to rock the two jaw line sides of the mask with both hands;
and gently (slowly) pull the mask down and away from the face.
If you are facilitating, help mainly by encouraging, letting the client know it’s coming off, keeping them from going too fast (often a tendency), and helping to release a hair or two at the hairline if need be (no big deal) – et Voila le masque!
Personal Responsibility & Care:
I will say one more thing about this mask casting process. It really is easy and fun to do (as I said: I’ve done children as young as 17 months, and an old woman as old as 102; I’ve done groups as large as 80, and I’ve made masks of myself alone).
Even so, it is worth noting that you should take responsible care if you’re going to try this process by being sure to read any warnings on product information, fully disclosing and discussing any concerns with clients or in classes, and following basic professional standards of ethics and conduct.
In over 300 mask making episodes, I’ve never once had a problem and it’s always been a real treasured experience for the client and myself. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.
I’m always conscientious and sensitive to unexpected possibilities and to the unique needs or circumstances of each individual. In my experience it’s a marvelous and great life affirming shared experience. I wish you each the same!