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3 Types of Facial Masks That Can Benefit Your Skin
by Emily Linehan on April 01, 2021
Updated July 19, 2023
Applying a facial mask at home sounds like a luxurious self-care indulgence. And while it is definitely an act of self-care, did you know that consistently masking can reap tremendous benefits for your skin? Aside from receiving professional treatments, using an appropriate facial mask for your skin type on a regular basis is the ideal way to refresh and renew your skin.
Some mask to hydrate the skin. Some use a clay-based mask to deep pore cleanse the skin. So how do you know which mask is right for you? Since everyone’s skin type and concerns are unique, selecting the right facial mask (or masks) for your skin is important to ensure you get the best results possible.
In general, there are 3 types of facial mask; hydrating masks, clay-based masks, exfoliating masks.
- Generally, in a gel or cream form
- Gives the skin an intense dose of hydration
- Tend to have a cooling and soothing effect on the skin
- Ideal to use post-procedure (chemical peel or laser treatment) or if the skin is compromised from sun exposure
- Can be kept in the refrigerator for an added cooling and anti-inflammatory effect
- Perfect for rehydrating the skin after traveling by airplane when the skin gets dehydrated
- Every skin type can benefit from a hydrating mask
My recommended Hydrating Mask (and one of my fav’s):
Cucumber Cooling Mask to help hydrate, calm and cool the skin.
Clay Based Masks
- Draws out impurities from the skin to provide a deeper cleaning
- Improves skin texture because of its tightening effect on the pore size
- Some have added ingredients to help combat acne breakouts
- Mildly exfoliating to the skin due the keratinolytic properties
- Can be used on oiler areas (like the T-zone) then followed by a hydrating mask on drier areas of the face
- Oily, combination and acne-prone skin will most benefit from a clay mask, but it is great for all skin types when used briefly on the skin (make sure it does not dry on the skin, so it should be applied for only 3 minutes)
My recommended Clay-Based Mask:
Sulfur Refining Mask to draw our impurities and leave the skin feeling clean and refreshed.
- Generally contains enzymes or acids to help exfoliate the top dead skin cells
- While not as strong a chemical peel, exfoliating masks do aid in lightening and brightening the skin
- Best used when the skin is feeling like it needs a little “pick-me-up”
- Perfect for most skin types before a special event to give the skin a gentle glow
My recommended exfoliating mask?
The Pumpkin Enzyme Mask which is formulated with natural pumpkin puree to exfoliate and brighten the skin.
How do I use my facial mask?
The first step to ensure you get the maximum benefits from your facial mask is to start with freshly cleansed skin (otherwise the mask will have to work through any makeup or debris on the skin). Also, icing your face before masking can also create the perfect canvas for the mask to work optimally since icing encourages skin care products to penetrate and work more effectively.
Now it is time to apply the facial mask. While instructions for masks vary, in general, you will want to apply a large grape size amount of the mask to the skin and allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time (typically between 3 minutes for clay-based masks and 15-20 minutes for hydrating and exfoliating masks). Once time is up, remove the mask with lukewarm water and follow with your toner and the rest of your recommended skin routine.
When is the best time to use a mask?
Almost anytime can be a great time! Getting in the habit of using your facial masks regularly will always give you the best result. Clay-based masks are best once a week, but hydrating and exfoliating masks can be used more often. I love to use mine on Sunday nights so that my skin is bright, fresh and ready for the week ahead (of course any day of the week works…just be sure to stay consistent!)
As for other times masking is ideal, here is what I would suggest:
- After traveling, especially on an airplane
- After working out…hydrating masks can help cool and calm the skin quickly
- After spending time outdoors, post-beach, post-pool
- Before a special event
- When you are due for your monthly cycle and you are prone to hormonal breakouts
- When you are shaving your legs or have applied a hair mask in the shower
- When you are soaking in the bathtub (not ideal for 3-minute masks like clay-based masks)
While masking isn’t quite the same as a professional treatment, it is the runner-up! This is why I highly recommend that everyone get in the habit of masking regularly to keep that skin clear, hydrated and glowing.