When I shared with you my 6 pillars of skincare, I received a few questions – what about masks? What about facial scrubs? Well, the latter is a whole subject for another day, but I wanted to share some thoughts about facial masks.
By way of experiment, a while ago, I undertook a daily masking routine. For about 30 days or more, I would do a facial mask every evening. I used a variety – sheet masks, peel masks, hydration masks, clay masks, sleeping masks etc.
Along the way, I learnt a few things – the principal take away of which is this – I have too many masks! LOL :D But I learnt a few other things too that I thought I’d share :)
Regular Masking helps dehydrated skin
The key benefit I received was better hydrated skin. Facial masks are usually made with a certain level of ingredients that treat and help give skin a little boost, as you leave it on your skin.
When skin is feeling a little dehydrated, what you can do, aside from upping the use of hydration products, is to do a facial mask. You will usually notice results after 3-4 days of regular use of a mask targeted at hydration.
I find that when you put on a facial mask every day, you are delivering an intense boost of hydration, that layers upon itself. This, coupled with a skincare routine that is high in hydration will help your skin maintain its hydration levels throughout the day. If you have dehydrated skin, this will soothe and repair your skin of that problem.
Skin will feel more plump, bouncier, and your makeup will glide on more smoothly.
Masks can help skin look more radiant immediately
No matter what sort of mask you use, you will usually notice that your skin looks radiant and plumped, almost immediately. With a peel mask, or one with Vitamin C, then you may notice the results carry on for a day or two.
If you use a wash-off mask, the act of washing off the product, whatever it is, will naturally result in gentle exfoliation, which then makes your skin look brighter. It is true, no matter what sort of mask you use. If you use a sheet mask, the radiance is usually less pronounced, but because your skin looks plumped and calm from added hydration, it usually looks better.
However, unless you are using a product that is very intense, it is rare that you will notice the results last very long. You may notice that results from facials last longer than an at-home mask. This could be attributed to a few reasons – facial massage, concentration of product, sufficient product application etc.
So, if you have a fancy do coming up, or you want to impress, put on a mask just before the event. Not only does it give you a few minutes to collect yourself and calm down, it also boosts your skin hydration and radiance, so you look perky, and your makeup sits better.
Follow up a clay or peel mask with a hydration mask
I don’t do the multi-masking thing that was so popular at one time – you are supposed to use different masks on different parts of your face. To me, that only works, if you use two types of masks – clay and hydration. And even then, you will neglect to repair your skin after the clay mask.
So what I do on some days is to use 2 different masks. First, a clarifying mask, which could be a clay mask. Or it could be a peel sort of mask (you don’t leave these on very long as it can irritate the skin). Then, I wash it all off, and follow up with a hydration mask, which could take the form of a sheet mask or a wash off mask.
My theory is that your skin can always benefit from more hydration. Second, when you use a clarifying or clay mask, your skin will end up being a little dehydrated, and the hydration mask will help replenish that hydration. Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you don’t need hydration and moisture. You do! Never forget that!
RELATED READING: Is your clay or mud mask too drying for your skin? Try this tip – READ HERE
Not all masks can be used daily
Hydration masks, or masks that target dehydration or moisture can be used daily. Sheet masks can usually be used daily, because the only thing they really do for your skin is hydrate. They are like fast food – great for a quick gratification, but not nourishing in the long run :P
But if you use a peel or clay mask, limit that to once or twice a week, or you may risk over-exfoliating or dehydrating your skin.
If you use basic facial masks for hydration or nourishment, then you could well use it daily or on alternate days, if you prefer. The thing about masking is this – once a week treatment does nothing much for your skin (unless that’s the recommended use e.g. a peel type mask). Like with all skincare, you derive the best benefits from regular use i.e. every two days at least.
How about taking the easy way out with a sleeping mask?
I am a little hesitant to recommend very regular use of a sleeping mask. To me, that really makes people take the easy and lazy way out of a skincare routine. If you use a sleeping mask, as you would a moisturiser, then yes, it will give you better benefits.
This means that you use it after a toner or lotion and a serum. But if you are going to take the easy way out and just use a sleeping mask in place of your full skincare routine, then that’s just being lazy.
Granted, we all have our lazy days. I do too. But it should be the exception, not the norm. So, have your lazy days, when you just slap on a sleeping mask. But don’t let that be your daily routine :)
RELATED READING: This sleeping mask however is very gentle, hydrating and made of natural ingredients to boot – READ HERE
A mask is not a substitute for your skincare routine
After using a mask, should you proceed with your skincare routine as normal?
Yes, you should. A mask is not a substitute for a proper skincare routine. It can be argued that a sleeping mask or overnight mask can be – slap it on after cleansing and go to bed. But I like to think of a sleeping mask as a thick moisturiser instead. Sometimes, I use it on its own. Other times, I apply a serum underneath.
If you use a sheet mask, or a wash-off mask, then proceed with the rest of your skincare routine as per normal.
A mask is not a magic. It may be a treatment product, but it doesn’t take the place of a proper skincare routine :) An exception again, is if the directions tell you to leave it on without anything else on your skin. They have their reasons for advising as such :)
Daily use of facial masks benefits the skin
After 30-odd days of daily masking, I can safely say that I derived benefits from it.
My skin was more plumped, cleaner, clearer and more radiant. Make up goes on more smoothly, I needed less foundation, and there was a noticeable glow to the skin. Perhaps it was a mixture of masks I used. I used a variety so there were sheet masks, clay masks, peel masks, hydration masks, sleeping masks etc in the mix, and I’d switch them up depending on what I last used, and what my skin needed.
But ultimately, it isn’t sustainable as a daily skincare routine for me. Perhaps, if you are very diligent or have the time or can find the time to slot it in as part of your skincare routine, then by all means, you should, because clearly, benefits can be derived.
I also realise that not every one has the luxury of time to put on a facial mask. It really works best when you are relaxed. So, although you can technically put on a mask, and then do housework or read or do other work, you will not experience the best results. I usually put on a mask and watch some TV. It is my “me time”. However, not everyone has this luxury.
If you get home late from work, you don’t really want to spend that extra half an hour when you could hop into bed after a hot shower. If you have a family, then there is even less time to yourself.
Are facial masks necessary in a skincare routine?
I’d say both yes and no. Yes, if you can find the time to do them regularly. Your skin will really benefit most from regular use of a mask. Perhaps 2-3 times a week at minimum for hydration. Maybe 1-2 times a week for a clay or peel mask.
No, if you already find a multi-step skincare routine a hassle, or do not enjoy a long skincare routine. No, if you find that it infringes on time that you’d rather spend doing something else. No, if all you can commit to is 1-2 times a month.
If you fall into the latter category, I think you will benefit better from strengthening your skincare routine and investing in something you can use daily or regularly. Ultimately, it will be regular use of a product that repairs and benefits your skin, not a sporadic, irregular one, no matter if it is a “treatment” and no matter how “pampering” it might feel :)
RELATED READING: Do you have a proper skincare routine? I posit that it isn’t about the products but about having a proper routine – READ HERE
Do you indulge in facial masks?
I do, but I’ve scaled back to 2-3 times a week now. I still derive benefits from using a facial mask, and I still enjoy the process. But daily masking was just getting too intensive for me LOL :D Share your thoughts?