Face masks can play an essential supporting role when you're dealing with dry skin, dehydrated skin, or oily skin and want to do everything possible to help.
Using a face mask as part of your regular skincare routine could be beneficial to your skin—if you're doing it right, that is. Face masks can help address specific skincare concerns (like dullness or oily skin)—plus, they can be a relaxing, spa-like experience. The thing is, there are a few common mistakes you might be making that could be interfering with getting the most out of your face mask. Here, learn everything from how often you should use a face mask, to when to use a face mask, to how to cleanse your face before putting on a face mask.
The question is: Should you use one? And, if so, at what point in your routine, and how do you use the face mask? We've got the answers! Read on to find out all of the above, plus a myriad of other face mask mistakes you should put a stop to ASAP to put together the best skin care regimen for your complexion.
Face masks are one of the trendiest ways to care for your skin today, and for a good reason. Dermatologists say that when used correctly, skin masks can improve your skin in several different ways.
Face masks can help absorb excess oils, open clogged pores, and reduce inflammation. And let's admit it, skin masks also feel luxurious and can be a fun way to give yourself a relaxed spa feeling in your own home.
There are several types of face masks on the market today, and each provides different skin benefits. Some of the most popular mask types include:
These may contain enzymes, antioxidants, and other active ingredients. Dermatologists typically recommend using masks as little as once a week to as much as once a day.
What Face Mask Is Best for My Skin Type?
If you already have a great complexion, a face mask isn't an essential part of your skincare routine; however, even if your facial skin generally looks fantastic, a face mask can still be helpful for those times when skin looks and feels less than optimal.
Regardless of your skin type or concerns, the best face masks are loaded with beneficial ingredients (such as antioxidants, emollients, and humectants), come in opaque, air-restrictive packaging (to prolong stability), and avoid ingredients that are drying or irritating (including denatured alcohol, fragrance, and essential oils.)
Charcoal Masks and Clay Masks for Large, Clogged Pores
Both charcoal and clay have unique absorbent properties, and their gentle drawing action can help dislodge debris from congested pores. A well-formulated charcoal face mask or clay mask will leave your skin shine-free but not dried out. Oil-absorbing face masks can be highly beneficial to excessively oily, clog-prone skin or a shiny T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin).
When shopping for charcoal or clay masks, read their labels closely. Because these masks can feel temporarily "tightening" in use, it's essential to select one that includes emollients and soothing agents. As always, steer clear of common skin irritants, ranging from menthol to alcohol, eucalyptus, mint, and fragrance (both natural and the synthetic fragrance is a problem for skin).
Hydrating Face Masks (aka Overnight or Sleeping Masks)
A "sleeping mask" goal is to lock in hydration and add anti-aging benefits (depending on the formula). Keeping the beneficial ingredients on the skin longer than a traditional rinse-off mask means they have more time to work, making them more effective.
If you have dry skin or oily, combination skin that's dehydrated, a hydrating face mask can help skin hold onto moisture longer. Depending on how dry your skin is, when using an overnight mask, you may find that you don't need to use your regular nighttime moisturizer, but those with dehydrated skin may still want to double up on both.
Brightening Masks for Uneven Skin Tone
Brightening face masks are intended to improve uneven skin tone and bring radiance to a dull complexion. The best of them include potent combinations of effective brightening ingredients, such as arbutin, licorice, bearberry, vitamin C, tranexamic acid, and niacinamide. Brightening masks are excellent for anyone who wants to improve the appearance of uneven skin tone and get a glowing complexion.
How to Apply a Face Mask
The first step in applying your face mask is choosing the right one for your skin type.
Hydrating cream or sheet masks are suitable for dry skin types. Some experts recommend applying masks overnight for maximum hydration.
Clay and Mud-Based.
These are good for oily or mixed skin types.
Enzyme cream or gel masks and bubble masks are suitable for acne-prone skin types.
These are good for sensitive skin types.
Antioxidant cream or gel masks are suitable for hyperpigmented skin types.
Once you've found a mask that works for you, it's time to apply it. You can extend some face masks to your neck. Some shows should also be massaged into your skin to maximize their efficacy.
Prep and Aftercare
Maximize the effects of your face mask by taking care of your skin before and after application.
Before putting a face mask on, you should take care to cleanse your skin. Find a facial cleanser designed for your skin type and use it liberally before applying your face mask. Cleansing can help prepare your skin to absorb the nutrients and active ingredients from the show, maximizing its effectiveness.
Cleanse and exfoliate your skin with a gentle exfoliating scrub. Facial scrub with round particles, like jojoba beads, will roll over the skin and break down and polish away surface dry skin cells. Rinse well and pat the skin dry.
Apply a thin coat of an exfoliating peel and leave on for 3-10 minutes to dissolve dry skin cells. A professional-strength peel uses acids that gently lower the skin's pH to dissolve further and digest cellular buildup to continue a deep exfoliation within the skin for a truly smooth complexion.
Rinse well with cool water and apply a mask appropriate for your skin type. She also suggests rinsing the skin well after taking off the show and using a lightweight moisturizer and cream/gel eye cream like the Vitamin C Brightener.
After removing your face mask, you should moisturize your skin while it's still damp. Choose a moisturizer designed for your skin type, and apply a thin layer after removing your face mask. This can help keep your skin hydrated, maximizing the full effects of your show.
When and How to Use Face Masks
Here's how and when to use a face mask, depending on your skin concerns and type of mask:
Whether it's a clay mask, cream mask, sheet mask, peel-off mask, or another type of face mask, always cleanse your skin first. If the face mask is supposed to be rinsed off, apply it after cleansing but before the rest of your skincare routine.
If the face mask is supposed to be left overnight, apply it as the last step in your nighttime skincare routine. As mentioned above, most leave-on masks are hydrating, so you might be able to skip using your regular nighttime moisturizer—but you'll want to apply the front and your face moisturizer if you have dehydrated skin.
Cream masks come in two main types: rinse-off and peel-off.
- In both cases, you apply the mask in the same way by using your fingertips to apply an even layer of cream over your face.
- Avoid getting the cream on your lips, eyes, and eyebrows.
- Apply a quarter-sized amount of your bubble mask over your face.
- Keep this mask off your eyes and lips.
- Remove the sheet mask from its packaging and unfold it without tearing.
- Line up the show with your face shape, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Gently press the front to the form of your face until it's sticking evenly.
Clay or Mud-Based Mask
- Dip your fingertips into the mask and scoop out a quarter-sized amount.
- Spread evenly across your face, starting at your upper neck and working your way up to your face.
- Avoid your lips and eyes.
- As with a cream mask, when using a gel mask, spread an even amount over your face using your fingertips.
- Avoid getting gel masks in your eyes or on your lips.
- Smooth the mask in a thin layer over your face as you would with regular moisturizing cream.
- Avoid your eyes and lips.
How to Remove a Face Mask
Most masks, except those labelled as overnight, should be worn for no more than 20 minutes at a time. If you wear them longer, they'll begin to dry out and dry out your skin.
- Use lukewarm water and your fingers to rub the mask off your face gently.
- Avoid vigorous rubbing.
- Gently pat your face dry after rinsing it off.
Sheet and Peel-Off Masks
- Gently peel the mask from your face.
- Take your time, and don't pull hard to remove it from your skin.
- Once the show is off, proceed with your regular skincare routine. There's no need to rinse.
- You don't need to rinse or remove overnight masks. When you wake up, proceed with your regular skincare routine.
Face Mask Mistakes You Could Be Making
You Don't Take Your Skin Type or Concerns Into Account.
You choose your facial cleanser and moisturizer based on your skin type and concerns—and that's how you should go about picking a face mask, too. For example, if you have dry skin, a hydrating mask could be a good option, while if you have oily skin, you might want to make a mattifying face mask your go-to. So, don't pick a face mask just because it receives a rave review from your BFF—choose one that suits your skin type.
You Skip Cleansing Your Skin Before Using One
In general, you'll want to apply a face mask to clean dry skin, so make sure to cleanse your skin first and pat dry. Otherwise, you could be layering a face mask on top of all sorts of dirt and bacteria. Use a gentle, no-rinse cleansing option like micellar water to help remove dirt, oil, and traces of makeup.
You Apply With Dirty Hands
Your face must be clean before applying a face mask, but it's also a must to have clean hands. You don't want to transfer oils or bacteria from your hands to your face! So, don't smooth a face mask on with your fingers unless you've given your hands an extra thorough cleansing first. Or, for a hygienic and mess-free way to apply a face mask, try using a flat foundation brush. Then, there's no need to get your hands dirty.
You Use Way Too Much
As with many other skincare products, when it comes to face masks, less is often more. A super-thick layer won't result in a more effective masking session. Typically, you should only need to apply one even layer to your clean, dry skin.
You Don't Customize Sheet Masks.
Have you ever used a sheet mask that didn't quite fit your face? Instead of sucking it up and using the face mask as is, you can make it a better fit. Grab a pair of scissors and snip off any excess, then pop it on as per usual. That way, your sheet mask is likely to slip and slide around your face.
You Only Mask During the Day
It's easy to assume that you have to be awake to use a face mask, but that isn't quite the case. It's indeed true that you shouldn't sleep while wearing a clay mask; other shows are meant to be worn overnight.
You leave it on for Too Long.
We get it: When you put a face mask on, it can be easy to let your thoughts drift—and before you know it, quite a bit of time has passed. Unfortunately, leaving a mask on for an extra long time won't ensure it works better. When it comes to how long to leave a face mask on, always follow the directions on the packaging—and if you think you might forget, set a timer.
You Forget to Moisturize After
After masking, you aren't finished with your skincare routine. You need to follow up with moisturizer; otherwise, masking might result in dry skin. And who wants that? Once you've rinsed off your face mask, apply a lightweight moisturizer.
You Forget to Use Them Consistently
Good news: You don't have to reserve face masks for special occasions! You may often think of a face mask as a treat—and treats aren't exactly meant to be enjoyed every day. That being said, depending on the face mask you decide on, your complexion might benefit from using it more than just every so often. You may even want to consider using one up to three times a week. To answer how often should you use a face mask, check out the directions on the packaging of the face mask of your choosing—it can vary from face mask to face mask—to receive the best results.
You Haven't Tried Multi-Masking.
Who says you have to limit yourself to using just one mask? Go ahead and try multi-masking—i.e., applying different face masks to other areas of your face at the same time— with OVI Deep Cleansing Face Mask. Consider what skin concerns you have, then pick your face masks accordingly.
How Often Can You Use a Face Mask?
You can pretty much use a face mask any time (try to stick with at least once per week), but the nightly ones seem to be a favourite among the pros. A mask treatment at night, the concept of just closing your eyes and letting it do its magic and having a good night's sleep to let the skin benefit further.
Do Clay Face Masks Dry Your Skin?
Reneé says that clay masks tend to dry your skin, and she notices this is a problem when it comes to people using them. The clay ingredient (known as bentonite) is a great ingredient for purifying the pores, but the mask must contain other hydrating ingredients to prevent it from being too drying. If you were to smile after your clay mask has dried, would it crack into a million pieces? If so, then you should avoid that mask.
Does Your Face Mask Make Your Skin Burn While It's On?
Take it off immediately! Never continue using a mask that irritates your skin in any way. Washing the cover off immediately using warm water and a gentle cleanser. Then, apply a soothing skin moisturizer. If you notice a rash or any other skin irritation, contact your dermatologist, as you will most likely need a prescription cream to help resolve the symptoms. Try to determine what the cause of the irritation may be.
The Bottom Line
Face masks have become a popular way to care for the skin on our faces. With so many options out there, all it takes is a bit of research to find the ideal face mask for you. Face masks are an easy, fun, and relaxing way to care for your skin and even be made at home with a few simple ingredients.