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Monday, August 31, 2015

Are facial masks worthwhile?

What do masks do? What types of masks are best for each skin type? Are they worthwhile?

What a mask does depends on what kind of mask it is. Hydrating masks help to soften the skin by increasing the amount of moisture on the surface. Cleansing masks generally contain a large percentage of clay(s), which helps to clean out the pores.

I am a proponent of clay masks for almost every skin type. Clay is beneficial for oily or problem skin, helping to soothe infections along with loosening debris held in the pores. For a drier skin type, although a hydrating mask would be fine, clay not only gets the skin clean but helps to step up circulation due to clay’s stimulating effects.

I tell my clients that if they feel they need to use a hydrating mask, what they really need to do is exfoliate. Feeling dry on the surface is usually more a matter of dehydration than oil-dry skin. (See Is Your Skin Truly Dry or Just Thirsty? (link below) to understand the difference between dehydration and true-dry skin.) If you must use a hydrating mask, I recommend simply applying a thick layer of your favorite facial moisturizer as the mask vs. spending extra dollars on a hydrating mask. The two are essentially the same.

When using a clay-based mask, there is one important caveat: You must keep the clay moist the entire time it is on your skin. How?
  • take a spray bottle
  • fill it with clean, filtered water
  • after applying the clay mask, spray your face liberally with the water
  • then spray intermittently for the 15 minutes the mask is on
This keeps the mask moist (you don’t want clay to dry the surface skin out) and makes the mask much easier to remove. If you have your toner in a spray bottle (highly recommended), you can use this instead of water.

For more information on using clay masks see:

Are masks worthwhile? Is having cleaner, healthier-looking skin worth the time it takes to do a mask once or twice a week? I’d say—