Face Masks 101: Benefits, Types And How Often You Should Use One
There’s nothing quite like a face mask to step up your skin care routine. The right mask is not just an indulgent treat – it can also tackle key skin concerns and conditions, from dryness and dehydration to large pores and acne. Read on to learn how often to use a face mask and choose the right one for your unique complexion.
Benefits Of Masking
Just like a serum or moisturizer, a face mask is a skin care vehicle. It delivers highly concentrated actives, vitamins and nutrients to the skin to improve its overall health. The difference: Face masks are occlusive – they create a physical barrier that locks in beneficial ingredients, allowing them to absorb more efficiently.
Face masks are designed to be used intermittently to give your skin an instant boost. Depending on what your skin needs, there is a mask that can do one (or a combination) of the following:
- Hydrate and moisturize dry skin
- Refine large pores
- Improve skin texture
- Absorb excess oil and dirt
- Decongest clogged pores
- Minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Enhance elasticity
- Improve the look of breakouts
- Brighten dark spots
Types Of Face Masks
With so many options out there, how do you choose the right face mask for you? Here’s what you need to know about each type.
Think of the texture of a rich moisturizer – that’s the best way to describe the feel of a cream-based mask. These face masks do wonders for adding moisture and nutrients back into the skin, helping it remain plump and hydrated. Eminence Organics International Educator Brian Goodwin lets us in on a skin care secret: “An insider tip is that most of our cream-based masks can be used as a leave-on treatment.” Cream-based masks like our Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque or our Bamboo Age Corrective Masque are great choices to replenish and smooth dry, dehydrated or aging skin overnight.
Gel masks, on the other hand, have the consistency of a jam or jelly. With their lightweight texture, they are an excellent choice for normal to oily skin types. Many gel masks include astringent ingredients like raspberries and blackberries which minimize oil and tighten pores. Others are formulated with soothing and hydrating ingredients like stone crop and honey which replenish dry and dehydrated skin.
Whichever you choose, you can amplify your results with this skin care tip from Brian: Apply your favorite gel-based mask (our pick is the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Masque) before hopping in the shower to make it an active in-shower treatment.
It’s no secret that clay is a miracle worker for acne-prone skin. With its absorbent, exfoliating and astringent properties, clay tackles the root causes of acne as well as treats ongoing symptoms such as excess oil and inflammation. Pro tip: Did you know a clay mask can double as a spot treatment? Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar recommends using the Acne Advanced Clarifying Masque to spot treat bumpy and congested skin: “It’s nice and creamy in texture, and you literally need a little bit… Just hit those little areas and let it dry.”
Exfoliating masks are formulated to remove dead skin cells and enhance your skin’s natural turnover process. This type of face mask may take the form of a peel which employs alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids to dissolve dead skin cells and clear them from the skin’s surface. Or, it may use finely ground particles like the maize flour in our Rosehip & Maize Exfoliating Masque to gently buff and polish your complexion.
Warming masks contain active spices like paprika and cinnamon that make the skin feel warm. These masks get to work instantly: They cause a tingling sensation and for some masks, the skin may turn bright red. The immediate effects last from 20-60 minutes before revealing a healthy, rosy glow. In the same way that increased energy is a benefit of exercise, invigorating your complexion provides a great workout for your skin.
Note that these masks aren’t for everyone: If you have sensitive skin, you’re better off choosing a cream or gel-based mask that won’t exacerbate your symptoms.
Notably, our Eight Greens Phyto Masque – Hot has been recognized as a 2020 Allure Best Of Beauty Award Winner, within the Clean Beauty category. With our signature hot paprika, as well as a formulation high in phytoestrogens and antioxidants, this mask returns your skin to its youthful glow.
In addition, our Turmeric Energizing Treatment is designed to awaken dull, tired skin and is formulated with turmeric, citrine gemstones and zeolite. You simply add water and activate your treatment into a fluffy mousse bursting with energy.
How Often Should You Use A Face Mask?
Now that you’ve learned the basics, how often should you use a face mask? We recommend adding a face mask to your skin care routine once or twice a week. Masking should follow cleansing, toning and applying a facial essence. These steps clear impurities and excess oil, provide a base layer of hydration and prep your skin to better absorb the benefits of your face mask.
Once you’re ready, follow these tips to apply a face mask properly:
1. Apply Mask Evenly
It may be tempting to slather on an inch-thick layer of product, but more isn’t necessarily better. A quarter-sized amount is plenty to achieve the right results. Natalie advises evenly applying this amount in a “pantyhose-thin” layer over the entire face. Pro tip: Use facial massage techniques to amp up the benefits of this part of your routine!
Remember, Eminence Organics face masks contain concentrated amounts of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. We recommend adding two to three drops of water to your product and warming it between your hands before massaging it into your face – especially if the product is gel-based. This will allow for more slip, easier application and (bonus!) less product waste.
2. Remember To Include Your Neck & Décolleté
That quarter-sized amount is just enough to also include your neck and décolletage. These areas take on the visible signs of age much earlier than the face due to their exposure to environmental stress – and they’re easily forgotten in a skin care routine. Pay these areas a bit of extra attention by including them in your face mask application.
3. Leave On For 5-10 Minutes
Most masks can be kept on for 10 to 15 minutes, but the duration can vary from mask to mask. Some face masks act quickly and can be removed after a short period of time; others can be left on as an overnight treatment to deeply hydrate your skin while you sleep. We always advise reviewing the directions to apply your particular product so you know just the right time to remove it.
4. Remove Gently With A Damp Cloth
Don’t undo the benefits of your face mask by aggressively scrubbing it off. Instead, be delicate with your complexion. Use lukewarm water to gently remove the mask from your face. If you choose to use a washcloth, ensure it’s clean and has soft fibres that won’t irritate your skin.
Watch this video for a step-by-step guide for how to apply a face mask:
How To Mix & Match Your Face Masks
Now, for the fun part. One of our favorite ways to mask is with mixologies that layer and blend a variety of treatments. Here are a few tips and tricks to cocktail your favorite Eminence Organics face masks:
Mask layering involves applying one mask, then layering another one directly over top. The trick with this technique is to choose two face masks that complement each other. If you layer opposing masks (for example, a clay mask over a hydrating mask), you’ll cancel out their benefits (the clay mask will soak up all the moisture from the hydrating mask underneath). Instead, seek out products with ingredients that will work together to optimize your results.
Eminence Organics Product Support Representative Alicia Hawthorne recommends layering the Lime Stimulating Masque over our Rosehip & Maize Exfoliating Masque: “This combination is great for congested skin! And, the Rosehip & Maize Exfoliating Masque contains zinc which will minimize the intensity of the heat you feel from the Lime Stimulating Masque.”
Some face masks complement each other so well that you can blend them together. Simply combine a quarter-sized amount of each mask with two to three drops of water and mix them together between your hands. For this technique, it’s best to choose masks that have the same consistency (for example, gel with gel or cream with cream).
Alicia and Brian both suggest blending the Bamboo Age Corrective Masque and Snow Mushroom & Reishi Mushroom Masque. This blend is particularly beneficial for ultra-dry skin types as the Bamboo Age Corrective Masque enhances the hydrating qualities of the Snow Mushroom & Reishi Mushroom Masque with deeply moisturizing coconut, nutmeg seed and argan oils. Bonus: You get the added benefit of our Natural Retinol Alternative.
Multi-masking involves applying different masks to specific areas of your face at the same time. This allows you to tackle multiple skin concerns at once. For example, if you have combination skin, you may want to choose an oil-control mask that will soak up excess oil from your T-Zone paired with a moisturizing mask that will deeply hydrate dry cheeks.
Our Balancing Masque Duo is made for multi-masking. One side of its split jar contains a Charcoal T-Zone Purifier that clears impurities, controls oil and refines large pores. The other side contains a Pomelo Cheek Treatment which replenishes moisture and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
One After The Other
You can also apply two face masks back-to-back. Simply apply one mask first, remove it and apply the second mask immediately after. For this technique, it’s best to follow up your first mask with one that will provide additional benefits.
The Best Face Mask For Your Skin Type
If you prefer to use one mask at a time, it’s important to choose the right face mask for your skin type and skin concerns. To get your wheels turning, here are our suggestions for each skin type:
And, for particular skin concerns and conditions:
Do you have any favorite mask mixologies? We’d love to hear them! Share them with us in the comments below and join the conversation on social media.
This post was originally published in September, 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.