How to Apply Face Masks Properly

Facial masks are a beauty staple across all of Asia – but it's not just about frequency of use.

It's true, using a face mask weekly will leave your skin radiant, hydrated and glowing.

However, to truly get the greatest benefit from your SK-II facial mask, you have to know how to use a face mask.

Follow these four simple steps for ideal application and post-mask skincare.

The first step in using a face mask is by beginning your facial treatment with SK-II's Facial Treatment Cleanser to effectively remove impurities and excess oil, leaving skin deeply cleansed and refreshed.

Work up a good lather and gently cleanse by massaging the lather into your skin from the bottom of your face to the top and from the centre outwards. Don't forget to spend a little extra time around your T-zone. Rinse with lukewarm water (not hot!) to keep the pores open.

Follow up your cleanser with our second step for using a face mask which features SK-II's Facial Treatment Clear Lotion to exfoliate dead skin cells and impurities.

Our favourite method is to apply using a cotton pad and sweep this toner from the centre of your face outward. Don't forget your jawline! This effectively prepares your face to receive the full benefits of your face mask.

Apply the SK-II facial mask of your choice, following instructions for the mask you're using. For a luxurious experience, consider SK-II's Facial Treatment Mask, a fan favourite among celebrities and beauty editors alike.

This stretchable, moisturizing face mask is soaked in brightening ingredients that instantly sink into your skin.

Or try SK-II's most award-winning face mask, the Facial Treatment Mask. It's a soft cotton facial mask that's generously soaked with Pitera™ and hydrating ingredients to leave skin luminous. For all SK-II face masks, once you've removed the sheet mask from your face, we recommend massaging the excess liquid into your skin to get the full benefit of the mask.

10 Steps On How To Apply A Face Mask Properly

We all love the idea of taking a break, enjoying a luxurious face mask and reaping their many rewards and benefits while we're at it.

However, it's also highly likely that you're making some common mistakes that will reduce the effectiveness of your face mask.

Take a look at these hints and tips below to ensure you get the most out of your treatment.

Preparing skin

Before you even think about applying a face mask, you should remove all your make-up and exfoliate your face, including the T-zone, brow area and jawline.

This will open and unclog pores, allowing your face mask to penetrate deeper and extract dirt, bacteria and blackheads from the source.

Opening pores

To boost the potential of your face mask, try steaming your skin beforehand to further open pores by taking a hot shower, using a facial steamer, or placing a hot cloth over your face for a few seconds.

Consider micro-needling

Additionally, try micro-needling to add another boost to your face mask. Using an at-home roller such as Nurse Jamie's beauty stamp, £42, will help create micro-channels for ingredients to absorb better by the skin while also promoting collagen production.

Tailor treatment to your skin type

Make sure you pick a face mask to target your specific problem areas and skin issues by assessing your skin thoroughly before choosing one.

This is particularly important if you're going away or are just back from a holiday or if you are coming up to your period and want to tackle hormonal breakouts.


If you're going to attempt multi-masking, make sure that you look at the different recommended timings and apply them in order from longest to shortest application time to avoid messy removal.

Also, try applying face masks using a facial mask brush like the Origins facial brush, $12, which increases the precision of where you apply the face mask as well as reducing the number of bacteria transferring from your hands to your skin.

Layer up

Want to save time and treat different problem areas with more than one mask? No problem, build masks on top of one another to help improve penetration as well as helping seal in the ingredients.

Setting a timer

face mask

Whether you tend to multi-task and get other jobs done while your face mask dries out or get stuck in watching a programme or film, make sure that you set a timer to avoid leaving it on for too long, you'll thank us later.

Closing pores

You've done the prep and mastered the application but don't forget about the post-mask routine.

Closing your pores is an essential part of the process to lock in the healing ingredients from your face mask as well as to avoid any more dirt in your freshly cleaned pores.

Do this by washing off your mask with cold water.


Another way to seal in those luxurious ingredients is by moisturizing. Treat your skin to a gentle massage to promote blood circulation and ingredient absorption.

This will also optimize your skin's hydration with the moisturizer's thirst-quenching ingredients and will allow you to skip the occasional face mask guilt-free, knowing you're still keeping up on your regular skincare routine.

Don't overdo it

Face masks may seem like the ultimate nightly luxury treatment for your skin, but be careful not to layer up too many masks on top of one another as this can cause irritation.

Stick to layering just two at a time and limit yourself to how many you use per week, based on the sensitivity of your skin as well as the strength of the ingredients and formulas in each mask. This will help prevent problem areas from flaring up.

How long should you leave on a clay mask?

Although it is commonly thought to leave a clay mask on your face until it's "bone dry" and cracking to experience the full effects, it's better to remove a clay mask before it's fully dry to prevent dehydrating the skin.

You'll still absorb all the valuable nutrients and benefits even if your face doesn't feel like a crumbling stone! The best way to decide if it's time to remove the mask is to do a simple touch test.

When you start to see it lightening in colour, but it still feels slightly sticky to the touch, wash it off! If you have a stubborn zit, you may use your clay mask as a spot treatment overnight.

After you remove your mask, be sure to follow up with a rebalancing toner and hydrating moisturizer.

How Often Should You Use A Clay Face Mask?

In general, using clay masks 1 - 2 times per week is the best cadence for most skin types. Those with more oily skin can indulge in applying a clay mask up to 3 times a week, but make sure you give your skin a break between treatments to prevent further issues!

People with dry, sensitive skin may want to start using a maks every 10 - 14 days and work up to weekly as long as their skin does not get irritated.

Man wearing three different types of face masks for acne treatment

What Are The Ingredients To Add To Clay Masks For Acne-prone Skin?

The most effective clay masks usually combine high-quality clay with active, moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, anti-inflammatory agents like aloe vera, and exfoliating components such as beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).

Here are some of our favourite clay mask boosters for acne-prone skin:

BHAs: Clay has great absorption power but is weak at exfoliation. Beta hydroxy acids (such as lactic acid) are the perfect ingredient to add to a clay mask for gentle exfoliation without over-drying the skin.

These beta hydroxy acids clear excess sebum and dead skin cells and ultimately help prevent new blackheads and whiteheads.

Retinoids: Added retinoids make weekly mask rituals even more useful. Retinoids are a powerful ingredient that helps enhance skin cell turnover rate, prevent acne breakouts, and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and scars. This can help with brightening the complexion and detoxifying the pores.

How To Use A Clay Mask With Your Acne Treatment

While masks can be a super helpful tool to use in your acne treatment program, they should not be considered a replacement for other topical acne treatments. To effectively treat and prevent acne, it's crucial to commit to a practical, daily topical treatment plan, including active acne treatment ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

In some severe cystic acne or hormonal acne cases, it may also be necessary to add oral therapy such as antibiotics, Accutane, Spironolactone (females only), or hormonal birth control (females only).

However, the right skincare products should provide significant, if not complete, acne treatment for most people within roughly three months of consistent use. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist if you have any questions.

10 Best Clay Masks That Will Keep Pimples And Blackheads Away

If you've had acne-prone and oily skin your whole life, you know the struggle of controlling hyperactive oil glands. You're aware that excess sebum causes pimples. If you find that your usual regimen isn't cutting it anymore, it may be time to use products that deep clean your pores.

Enter clay masks. These pots and tubes are like a mini spa for your face because they draw out the stuck dirt from your complexion and minimize the shine.

That said, we decided to compile some of the best clay masks you can use to help clear blemishes. Keep on scrolling to see our top finds:

L'Oreal Paris Pure-Clay Mask Anti-Pores

This creamy mask works to purify and mattify your face with just one use! It's formulated with three (!!!) kinds of clay (kaolin, montmorillonite, and Moroccan lava) to give your complexion the deep cleanse it needs.

It's also infused with eucalyptus to soothe inflamed, irritated skin.

Human Nature Pollution Defense Face Mask

If you feel that your complexion needs a little help in dislodging gunk, you may add this mask from Human Nature to your regimen.

It has bamboo charcoal to absorb excess oil, bentonite and kaolin clay to tighten skin and refine pores, moringa seed extract to prevent bacteria buildup, and vitamin E and passionfruit seed oil to help delay signs of aging. 

Lush Mask of Magnaminty

Here's a soothing way to end the day: Apply the Lush Mask of Magnaminty all over your face. It has kaolin clay to vacuum out all the dirt and debris from the pores and peppermint oil that gives a soothing, refreshing feel.

It's also infused with ground aduki beans, vanilla, and honey to calm, soothe, and moisturize your skin.

In Her Element Petal Skin Rose Clay Mask

We're pretty proud to have another local option on this list. The In Her Element Petal Skin Rose Clay Mask has rose water and clay to remove all the impurities from your pores and glycolic acid to gently exfoliate your complexion.

It leaves your face with a matte finish that never feels tight or dry.

Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2x

If you need an all-in-one product, the Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask 2x is your best bet.

It provides deep cleaning and gentle exfoliation to remove all the dead skin cells and pore-clogging dirt from your face.

You'll be left with a fresher and brighter-looking complexion!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

It seemed only yesterday when everyone and their mother were lining up to get their tub of the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask.

The initial hype may have died down, but the glowing reviews about this product surely haven't! If you want an ~intense~ deep cleaning for your pores, mix it with apple cider vinegar.

But if you have sensitive skin, you may opt to combine it with water instead.

FRESH Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask

This purifying mask from FRESH is a three-in-one product. It can be used as a mask to decongest pores, spot treatment for pesky zits, and as a cleanser to get rid of dirt and bacteria.

A great skincare investment!

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque

If you consider clogged pores to be a major concern, try this deep cleansing mask from Kiehl's. This product will gently draw out all the oil, dirt, and toxins that may congest your complexion. It will also dramatically minimize the appearance of large pores!

Pixi Glow Mud Mask

Score a glowing and dewy complexion sans the greasiness with the help of the Pixi Glow Mud Mask.

It contains kaolin clay and sea salt to purify your skin. It also has ginseng and aloe vera to keep your skin looking healthy.

Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask EX

Be a little ~boujee~ with your skincare regimen and try out the Sulwhasoo Clarifying Mask EX. It's loaded with luxurious components like jade, honey, and gold to remove dead skin cells and refresh your complexion.

It also has a relaxing Korean red pine and lavender scent to lull you into dreamland (just make sure to wash it off first, though!).