There is nothing I love more than coming home from a busy day and putting on a face mask while watching an episode of The Office. While there are a ton of actual skin care benefits to using face masks (and obviously I’ll get to those below!) there is something so relaxing about taking 15 minutes to pamper your skin. It feels like a treat and I look forward to it a few times per week. In the last few months I’ve become face mask OBSESSED, and I had a friend of mine ask if I could do a blog post on face masks. Obviously I said yes, as it’s a topic that I could talk about for far too long 😃
So first, I want to talk about the four types of general face masks there are: clay/mud, gel, cream, and sheet masks. What does each one do?
Cream – this type is mostly for normal to dry skin. These usually come in tube form and feel like you’re putting a thick moisturizer or lotion on your face. They’re heavenly!
Gel – these masks are usually very hydrating and brightening. In my experience, I’ve also found because of their texture they have a cooling effect, so they’re perfect in the morning if you’re puffy or if you want to cool off in the early evening during the hotter months of the year. Gel masks usually help with inflamed skin conditions such as rosacea too thanks to their cooling properties.
Clay/Mud – Probably what you picture when you think of a face mask, clay is usually recommended for oily or acne prone skin. Clay can help unclog pores and help treat problem areas such as the nose, forehead, or chin. It’s wet in texture but then dries on the skin to be a bit more hard as it drags gunk (technical term) out of your pores with it.
Sheet – popular in Korean skincare, sheet masks come individually packaged so they’re perfect for traveling. Sheet masks can have all sorts of benefits from hydrating and brightening your skin, to anti aging or acne clearing benefits depending on the sheet type. They’re a small soft sheet that’s soaked in a variety of hydrators, brighteners and soothers, so it feels like a serum on your skin. I do not wash these off when I take off the sheet mask. Pro tip: take the extra serum in the package and put in on your neck and hands for extra benefits!
Next, I want to talk about some more specialty masks that I find fun:
Peel off masks – If you like seeing all the dirt, oil and junk come out of your face, you will LOVE peel off masks. They usually are a clay or sticky consistency (almost like honey feeling). Simply apply them with your fingers and then wait 10-15 minutes for them to dry. You can then peel them off and it feels like you’re taking off a layer of skin (actually, perhaps you are). It’s highly satisfying (and definitely a little gross!) to see the dead skin cells come off your skin!
Exfoliating masks – Some are chemically exfoliating, and some are physically exfoliating. Chemical exfoliators use glycolic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, or citric acid to chemically remove dead skin cells. I usually don’t leave these on my face for more than a few minutes because I have sensitive skin, but you can always do a test patch to see how your skin reacts. My exfoliating mask of choice would be a physical exfoliator – sugar or salt would be examples of these to physically remove dead skin cells. Even though they’re a bit rough (you want to be gentle!) I love scrubbing my face and knowing my skin will be suuuuuper smooth in a matter of seconds!
Overnight sleeping masks – Especially in the winter when my skin is thirsty af, overnight masks are my JAM. It just feels like you’re putting on a thicker layer of moisturizer before you go to sleep, and when you wake up you have baby soft skin. They’re perfect also if you simply have dry skin any time of the year and are looking for that extra boost of moisture.
Splash Masks – This is supposedly one of the newest trends out of Korea, and while I haven’t tried them yet, they’re supposed to have incredible benefits. The premise is that you can get the same results as you could doing a 20 minute face mask, in 15 seconds in the shower. Seriously. So how do you use it? Simply hop in the shower and wash your hair, shave your legs, scrub your body…whatever your usual routine is. Then take your splash mask and fill half of the cap with the mask liquid. Pat the liquid all over your face for 10-15 seconds, and then do the same thing with your shower water. That’s it! Really, it’s that easy. It’s extremely potent, and apparently Korean pop stars swear by them. So if they’re good enough for them, they’re good enough for me.
Magnetized masks – These magnetic masks are so cool (#SCIENCE) and if you love clay masks, you’ll love these. Fun fact: Cleopatra was a big fan of magnet therapy and it has been used for over 2000 years. Pretty neat, huh? But beyond being cool to watch in action, the electromagnetic interaction zaps up all the gunk on the skin. So yes – you literally remove these face masks WITH A MAGNET! If you haven’t seen how they work, click on one of the products below. Sephora has videos from the brands and they’re addicting to watch. These masks also have all sorts of essences and antioxidants in them which leave your skin brighter looking and smoother feeling.
Sephora masks – Even though these aren’t a “specialty” type of mask, I’m personally a huge fan of the Sephora brand, so I wanted to give them a shoutout because their face masks are legit! They have everything from sheet masks and sleeping masks, to hand and foot masks, and even nose strips and eye or lip masks!
Finally, I leave you with some face mask tips:
- Always wash your face before you put on a mask. Get alllllll of that makeup off, girl!
- Don’t be afraid to use two masks at once, or double up one after another. For example, sometimes I’ll use a clay mask on my nose and chin because that’s where I breakout most, and then use a gel or cream mask on my cheeks and forehead. OR you can use a clay mask all over your face, and then when you wash it off do a sheet mask after to help add some moisture and amazing serums and botanicals back into your skin.
- When you use a clay mask, don’t drag your skin. First, get your hands wet and try to get the mask on your face as wet as possible too. Then, get your washcloth pretty warm (not scalding, not lukewarm) and rub in circles to loosen the hard mask and remove as much as possible. Finally, take any remaining bits off with a cleanser, micellar water (Bioderma is what I use and swear by), makeup remover of choice, etc.
- If possible, do a face mask right after you get out of the shower. The steam from the shower helps to open up your pores, so you’ll get maximum benefits.
- If you’re doing a face mask 2 times per week, try and sync that up with your exfoliating schedule. Hop in the shower, cleanse and exfoliate your skin to remove some of the dead skin cells (thereby allowing all the skincare goodness to absorb into your skin better), and then mask it up as soon as you hop out. Unless you’re doing an exfoliating mask – you don’t want to over-exfoliate and damage your skin.
- Don’t leave your clay or mud masks on for more than 10 minutes. They can dry out your skin so much, that it will cause your skin to create excess oil to re-hydrate itself, causing you to breakout MORE!
I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any questions or if you have more tips to add leave them in the comments below!