I am a big fan of facial masks—I own four different ones for different skincare concerns.
Most people do not see the best results these great skincare products can offer simply because they use them incorrectly. Highly misunderstood, and often overlooked, facial masks can really make a difference in the over all health of the skin.
Here is my step by step guide to using masks:
One mask is not enough.
The skin changes everyday and while basic skincare is standard masks are specific treatment. You may need extra hydration one week and more exfoliation the next. Masks need to be suited to what is happening on the skin at the very moment of use. To be prepared you should have a hydrating mask, clarifying mask and exfoliating mask on hand at all times.
Weekly use is important.
Masks really need to be applied once per week—less than that and there is no point really in using one and more often than that and they can actually over stimulate the skin causing more problems. Choose a specific day and use a mask on that same day every week. like Wednesdays—it seems to be a day I can reserve because I have almost no social engagements on a Wednesday night and I always seem to get out of the office early. Pick a night that works for you and be consistent.
Prep and post
In order for the mask to work the skin must be washed and manually exfoliated prior to application. After the mask is removed moisturizer should be applied immediately.
Masks take time to work. 30 minutes is ideal, regardless of what the instructions say, the longer you can leave a mask the better it will work. Too long and it irritates the skin. The 30 minute mark is the best to see optimal results.
While the magazine layouts always show a face with mask applied so thick it looks like cake frosting this is actually so misleading. Masks should be applied in a very thin layer, transparent actually. The reason is two-fold—the products are highly active so you don't need lots and anything you wash off is really just product waste. There should be almost nothing to remove after the 30 minute application period. Here is a tip—my most commonly used mask is a hydrating treatment. I use it about 3 times a month, it is a 60 mL tube and I have had the same tube since January—that is how little should be applied.
Masks take time to work and it is important the skin be in a state of calm—when wearing a mask do not run all over the house trying to get chores done—sit, relax and allow the 30 minutes to expire without interruption. When you are calm the skin is calm and in the best possible physical state to utilize the mask. One note—wearing a mask while in the bathtub is not a good idea. The more humid the skin the less the mask penetrates.