We’ve got everything you need to know about using face masks the right way, including how and when to use a face mask. Keep reading to learn all about the different types of face masks and how to use them in your skincare routine.
Face masking has become a highly Instagramable skincare favorite, and the foundation of any good skincare routine. Face masks have the power to quickly deliver a potent dose of powerful ingredients and treat nearly any skin condition: from age spots, wrinkles and fine lines, to clogged pores, dryness and dullness.
Face masks are also an essential skincare step in your quest to find out how to get glowing skin. Face masks work by delivering active ingredients to the skin by creating a barrier between your skin and the air around you. So, rather than some of your product evaporating into the air, like what can happen with serums and moisturizers, it has nowhere to go but directly into the skin.
With so many different ingredients and labels promising different benefits, it’s easy to get confused. Your skin type and age are two important factors to consider when deciding on a face mask. Younger, acne-prone skin will have different skincare needs than older, more delicate skin. Specific skin conditions can also play a role in the type of mask you use. Are you experiencing a major break out? Do you have eczema or dermatitis, making your skin more sensitive? In addition to choosing a face mask based on its skincare benefits, there are also several different types of face masks to consider.
Sheet masks are the buzziest of the face masks on the market as of late. Clay masks have been around for ages. An overnight mask is great when your skin needs a little extra attention. A peel-off mask is best for exfoliation, and an eye mask does wonders for puffiness and dark under eye circles. We’ve got everything you need to know about using face masks the right way, including how and when to use a face mask. Keep reading to learn all about the different types of face masks and how to use them in your skincare routine.
Different types of face masks
- Sheet Masks
Sheet masks, like so many other popular K-beauty trends, are having a major moment in the skincare industry. Sheet masks are a great go-to for an instant hit of hydration. A quick fix for dull and dehydrated skin, they're essentially masks in a “sheet” form, made of: fiber, cotton, cellulose, or coconut pulp, with holes cut-out for your eyes, nose and mouth. Sheet masks are saturated with powerful ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin, hydrating, exfoliating and/or brightening your skin for a smooth, glowing complexion.
- Clay Masks
Before sheet masks were a thing, there was the classic clay mask. Clay is a tried and true, ever- popular skincare ingredient when it comes to masking. Clay masks have been used for centuries, since the days of Cleopatra, for their major skincare benefits. In fact, Cleopatra used clay from the Nile river and the Arabian desert as part of her daily beauty ritual, over 1800 years ago. Clay helps to detoxify the skin and draw out impurities and oils from the surface of the skin. Clay masks can unclog pores and decongest your skin, for an instant glowing complexion pick-me-up.
- Overnight Masks
If your nighttime skincare routine is starting to underwhelm you, it might be time to experiment with a new step — one that requires zero extra effort and is easy enough to do in your sleep. An overnight mask works its beauty magic while you sleep, giving the ingredients in the mask more time to do their job and leaving your skin healthy and happy the next morning. Another thing that sets an overnight mask apart from your average mask, is that they're usually made to be a lighter texture, so you can wear them overnight, without creating a mess on your pillowcase.
- Peel-Off Masks
Sick of blackheads and clogged pores? Try a peel-off mask. Using a peel-off mask is an oddly satisfying skincare experience. After slathering one on and letting it dry, you peel it off in one whole piece and pull all of the blackhead-causing dirt and grime right out of your pores. Peel off masks absorb excess oil, exfoliate dead skin, and attract dirt and debris like a magnet. You're left with clearer, brighter, and smoother skin.
- Eye Masks
Makeup and under-eye concealer can only do so much for dark circles and puffy eyes (both visible signs of aging) and that's where under eye masks come in. These convenient, self-sticking patches are your fix for brighter, younger looking eyes in a flash. Just ten or so minutes wearing an eye mask tackles puffiness, dehydration, fine lines, and dark circles (the signs of fatigue and aging). Consider an eye mask when you need to look awake and refreshed — even if you don't feel like it on the inside.
Face Masks per skin type
- The best type of face mask for DRY SKIN.
Unlike some skin woes that can take weeks to turn around, extremely dry skin can be fixed in minutes, with a hydrating sheet mask. You can use a sheet mask any time you need a moisture boost, but don’t leave one on too long. Letting the sheet mask dry on your skin will strip away the moisture you just worked so hard to get in.
- The best type of face mask for OILY SKIN.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, clay masks and peel-off masks are a must. Both masks are great for clearing your skin of toxins, oils, debris, and dirt when you're flaring up or feeling dull. When you go clay, be sure to use a cleansing cream to wash the clay off your face just as it’s drying around the edges of your face, nose, eyes, and lips, and still damp across the cheeks and forehead. When you use a peel-off, follow the indicated directions before doing your mask pull.
- The best type of face mask for NORMAL SKIN.
Most face masks target a specific skin concern. But what if you’re one of those lucky people who have no apparent skin concerns to address? Well that means you can benefit from pretty much any kind of face mask. Play around with different ones until you find your favorite. When it comes to caring for normal skin, your options are more about preference than necessity.
- The best type of face mask for SENSITIVE SKIN.
If you have sensitive skin, stay away from anything drying or potentially irritating — like sulfates, alcohol, and synthetic fragrances. And while botanical ingredients like Tea tree oil and Willow bark are effective at treating breakouts, they can be harsh on particularly sensitive complexions. Look for ingredients like calendula, oatmeal, aloe vera and shea butter, all of which are super-soothing for sensitive skin.
- The best type of face mask for COMBINATION SKIN.
Once again, clay is the face mask star ingredient. There’s a reason mud-masking has been around for centuries. Vitamin and mineral-rich clay is one of the best things you can slather on your skin. A clay mask will detox and minimize pores and shine—without over-drying or clogging pores, making it the obvious face mask choice for combination skin.
- The best type of face mask for AGING SKIN..
Stressed, tired skin, with fine lines and wrinkles calls for an overnight anti-aging face mask featuring ingredients like Gluconolactone and Alpha-glucan yeast to revitalizing skin and reveal a radiant morning complexion. Massage your overnight mask into freshly cleansed skin at bedtime. And don’t forget the eye mask!
When to use a face masks
Using a face mask regularly has its benefits. But what exactly does “regularly” mean? Is it every other day, or once a week? What is the optimum masking frequency?
You can pretty much use a face mask any time, but a good rule of thumb is one to three times a week. When you feel like your skin care routine has hit a plateau, or you need something additional for your skin, go for a face mask. You can use your face mask in the morning or night – it completely depends on your schedule and your personal preferences.
How to use a face mask
Before you even think about applying a face mask, you should cleanse and exfoliate your skin with a gentle exfoliating cleanser. This will open and unclog pores, allowing your face mask to penetrate deeper and extract dirt, bacteria and blackheads, from the source.
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. Make sure you pick a face mask to target your specific problem areas and skin issues, by assessing your skin thoroughly before choosing one.
Apply your face mask using a facial mask brush. Always follow the instructions and guidelines written on the package. Face masks often contain active ingredients, that if left on for a longer time than intended, can give negative results. However, some face masks are pretty flexible in terms of time (like overnight face masks that can be left on for the entire night).