Ultimate Skincare Guide: Let’s Talk About Face Masks
Face masks. My favorite step in my skincare routine. Not only are they amazing for an at-home spa-like feeling, but they’re also great for your skin. In my last article of the “ultimate skincare guide” I dove into cleansers. I decided to use face masks as the second step of your routine after we cleansed our skin, but that’s not always the case. When you should apply your facemask, depends on the kind of face mask you’re applying. I’m a really big advocate of multi-masking, where you use different masks with each a different purpose once or twice a week. I find that this technique has the best long-term results. But if you think that’s too expensive or it’s just too much work then it isn’t really necessary. You can also use just one mask once a week, or sporadically.
*Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the face masks you should wear outside during the pandemic. I’m talking about skincare face masks, the once you apply and take off to improve your skin.*
Now there are a lot of different face masks out there. I’ve listed the most popular ones below, and I also discuss what skin type they work best for and how and when you should apply them. In my opinion, everyone should use face masks. They are the perfect skin care treatment to help you with almost any skin concern. Depending on which face mask you use, it can help hydrate your skin, remove excess oils and help improve the appearance of your pores.
It’s important to know your skin type, to have the desired effect of your masks. If you haven’t already, find out your skin type with my first article of the ultimate skincare guide “How and Why You Should Define Your Skin Type”!
Sheet masks are probably the best known and most popular face masks out there. You can find them in almost all drugstores and supermarkets. You can even find sheet masks for your feet, lips, and butt. Sheet masks actually are originated in skincare Valhalla, South Korea. The fact that sheet masks are that popular, is probably because they are the most versatile category of face masks out there. Sheet masks are designed for every skin type. There are sheet masks for oily skin, dry skin, dehydrated skin… There are even some sheet masks that allow you to target a specific part of your face or a specific problem.
Most sheet masks leave a lot of excesses, which can function as a serum. That means you best apply this after your double cleanse and toner. Please check the packaging to see how long you should leave your mask on, don’t leave it on any longer than the recommended time! If anything, it’s more harmful to your skin than using no mask. Also, one sheet mask per day is more than enough.
Since there are a lot of different sheet masks out there, be aware you choose those that are good for your skin. A lot of these sheet masks are pretty low cost and contain a lot of harmful ingredients. So be aware of that!
Clay (or mud) masks
Clay masks are part of the purifying masks or cleansing masks, and they are known for clearing your pores and regulate your sebum production. The clay has the power to absorb toxins and remove them from your skin. So, clay masks are perfect for people with acne-prone and oily skin. For people with combination skin, you can apply the clay only on your T-zone for optimal results. If you have really dry skin, these masks are probably not for you, because the clay can be pretty drying.
Since it is pretty drying for your face, use it after your double cleanse (always apply a face mask on clean skin) and before your toner. You can use a clay or mud mask up to three times a week. And just like the sheet masks, check how long you can leave it on. Most of the time it’s no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. It’s also very important you don’t leave it on any longer than that, because it will dry your skin out way too much and is pretty harmful to your face.
If your skin needs a hydration boost, or you have mature skin, cream masks are perfect for you. Cream masks are used to moisturize and soothe dry or irritated skin. They’re also great if you have sensitive skin because they are one of the gentlest masks out there. Cream masks are very comparable with moisturizers. They feel very rich, think richer than a rich moisturizer. They add moisture and nutrients back into your skin and your skin will feel very plump and hydrated after a good cream mask. As I’ve mentioned cream masks are also perfect for mature skin because they reduce fine lines or help fight blemishes.
Apply the masks on dry skin and wash out with warm to lukewarm water. Afterward apply your toner, serum(s), and moisturizer. Some cream masks, though, are meant to be left on all night and function as a sleeping mask.
Just like gel cleansers gel masks have a lightweight texture, which makes them the excellent choice for normal to oily skin types. Most of the time, gel cleansers contain ingredients that minimize oil and tighten pores. Another possibility is that they contain soothing ingredients that leave your skin feeling replenished and hydrated. If your skin needs to recover, gel masks are the way to go for you. Grab towards these if you’re in the mood for a hydration boost. Secret skincare tip: they’re perfect when you’re feeling hungover. Alcohol is known for dehydrating your skin, and this way you restore your skin.
Apply on dry skin and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm to lukewarm water and apply your toner, serum, and moisturizer afterward. I have a second secret tip for you here. If you want to save some product, add two to three drops of water before applying your mask. Not only do you have less product waste, but the formula will also have more slip and the application will be easier.
Peel-off masks are a little more complicated than your average face mask. If not done right, they can be very damaging to your skin. Peel-off masks remove dead skin cells and enhance your skin’s natural turnover process. They contain alpha and beta hydroxy acids that dissolve dead skin cells and clear them from your skin’s surface. A peel-off mask will temporally tighten your skin and stimulate your facial blood supply. If your peel-off mask contains hyaluronic acid or glycerin, they’re great for dry skin. Peel-off masks can also be great for oily skin. They absorb excess oil from your skin, while simultaneously unclogging and purifying your pores without a tight feeling afterward.
I’ve already mentioned it, but please be careful with the application of your peel-off mask. Always follow the application instructions. And, of course, you have to apply a peel-off mask on a clean face. When you peel off your mask, make sure you don’t harm your face’s elasticity. Hold your skin down with your other hand while you take it off. Start with a corner of the mask on your forehead. Pull down gently so that the mask peels off in one piece. Then go to your cheeks, pull the mask towards the center of your face for both sides. Lastly, peel the mask off your skin.
Charcoal masks are not that different from clay masks. Only the main ingredient in clay masks is clay. And the main ingredient of charcoal masks is charcoal. Charcoal masks also have unique absorbent properties, which helps dislodge debris from congested pores.
If you combine the previous charcoal mask with a peel-off mask you get the very famous charcoal peel-off masks. You remember back in, I think, 2017 these had their very own viral moment where people were showing off their blackheads. I’m not a big fan of these, although they look very satisfying, they can be pretty damaging to your face. Long-term use of these could even harm the skin’s natural barrier. That can result in dryness, redness, sensitivity, or breakouts.