Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist - Written by Aheli Sen (Fashion and Beauty Expert) on 11th Nov 2020
Using Face masks in your skincare routine. Helpful or Hyped?
From the beginning of our lives, we have always seen our mums, dads and grandparents using different types of natural, homemade face masks that they specially make to slather on before any big event.
The multani mitti mudpack with rose water, orange peels mixed with almond or olive oil, and so many more other homemade packs are pretty popular in our families. Not to mention the tomato anti-tan pack. Sounds delicious, doesn't it? Who initiated the tradition of putting all that on the face?
As fun as these masks are to put, we ask ourselves if they ever work. How do we feel while we use them and after? Do they make a difference, or is it all in our heads?
While saying that, it has to be noted that we can judge if the masks used make a difference or which ones make things only worse.
We have come far ahead from the days when face masks were exclusively made at home. Many skincare brands now make them. Every new face mask format spreads like wildfire across the globe, and the one before that gets discarded out like a cheap plastic bag.
But the main question is this: do face masks work, or are they hyped?
Let us make it simple. The right product that is made well will do wonders for you, while a product not meant for your skin type or a gimmick will obviously, not.
How to make sure that the face mask we are using is meant for us and is also a product that works and is not a gimmick?
There is no hard and fast rule apart from using a face mask to tell if it is a gimmick or not, but that is secondary. First things first, let us realize which kind of mask works for what type of skin.
1. Clay Masks
Clay masks are great to revitalize the skin as they contain many different minerals. There are mainly two types of clay masks out there: kaolin and the other bentonite. Both are wonderful for both oily and acne-prone skin types. Usually, dry skinned people should steer clear from such masks, especially ones that contain carbon, as such components soak up oil, and since dry skin already lacks the minimum level required, it would be rendered further dry.
2. Mud Masks
Mud masks are often confused with clay masks. Mud masks, unlike clay masks, are great for all skin types. Mud masks contain water, and this makes them hydrating.
3. Charcoal Masks
Activated charcoal masks are the thing these days; they are brilliant at removing toxins, dirt, and other impurities from the face.
4. Cream Masks
Cream masks are great for dry skin and normal skin as they impart a lot of hydration to the skin and ensure that the skin has the required oil levels. It makes the skin soft, supple, tight and toned with moisture. It also causes dry skin to get the shine or luster that it usually lacks.
5. Gel Masks
Gel masks are the best for oily and combination skin as they impart hydration but do not leave the skin feeling greasy. Gel masks usually come in varieties that more often than not contain aloe vera and cucumber.
6. Exfoliating Masks
7. Enzyme Masks
Another form of exfoliating face mask is the enzyme mask mainly sourced from fruit enzymes like the papaya or the pineapple.
8. Peel-Off Masks
These have been around for a while now and have always been fun to work with. Peel off masks usually have the property to exfoliate or to prevent acne. Peel off masks is, again, not great for people with dry skin.
9. Sheet Masks
Made in Korea, sheet masks are all the rage. They are great at removing harmful impurities available for all skin types and imparting goodness and hydration to the skin.
10. Overnight or Sleeping Masks
Another Korean made, the overnight sleeping mask is great for people with dry, combination, or normal skin. It imparts hydration deep into the skin and makes the most for our skin out of our sleep.
Now that it has been made clear as to which mask works for which skin type, let us look at certain ingredients usually present in face masks that need to be avoided:
- Fragrances – the added fragrance is sure to break the skin if you have dry, sensitive, oily, or combination skin.
- Alcohol – what happens when we have had too much to drink and not enough water after? Precisely what happens when your face mask contains alcohol. Your skin will suffer from dehydration.
- Dyes – artificial colors are often used; basic dyes are used industrially, which are not suitable for the skin and can cause radical damages.
- Essential oils – they have the same fault as fragrances do and, thus, can cause skin breakouts and irritation.
- Unscented masks – unscented masks tend to have the same properties as fragranced masks. To counter the raw smell of the mask, the fragrance is added to cancel out such smells.
A hovering question about any face mask is when to use, how many times to use, and how long to use it. Well, the answer is yet, again, simple.
Read the how-to-use section on the face mask packaging to help realize how many times to use in a week/a month & for how long to keep them on.
So you have found your dream formula & know how often to apply it.
To make the most of your skincare goals, you need to make the most of the ingredients in your face masks.
Listed below are a few tricks to do just that:
- Always cleanse the skin before and moisturize it after a face mask.
- Thoroughly cleanse and preferably exfoliate to remove dead skin cells before applying any face mask to ensure the best results through deeper penetration.
- Use a good cleanser with a neutral pH and gently rinse with lukewarm water to open up the skin's pores to help skin accept and absorb the same better.
- Dr. Dhingra asks to use a thick, oil-free moisturizer and hyaluronic acid serum after taking off the face mask to minimize any potential damage and irritation and seal in the active ingredients.
- Use consistently and layer as needed
- Use the same mask for at least two months before making up your mind.
- Multiple skin concerns mean multi-masking.
For example, if you find your chin and cheeks need exfoliation, while the T-zone requires some oil control, the best way to go about that would be to use an exfoliating mask for the chin and cheeks, while using a clay mask for the oily t-zone.
- Don't leave a face mask on for too long, lest it is a sleeping mask.
- It is wrong to think that the longer a face mask is left on, the better it works. A formula meant to stay on for 5-10 minutes that have not been removed for an hour could end up in the skin feeling and looking irritated.
- Remember that price never indicates quality. Drugstore masks could be better than the pricey face masks available out there.
- Some masks will work for your skin, and some will not work for your skin. That has quite a little to do with their price & a lot to do with their formulation for a specific skin type.
As is plenty clear from the above article, your diligence in understanding your skin type and using face masks will derive your results. Gimmick products will produce no significant results, and unfortunately, the only way to declare its potency or lack of is by using it. It is also crucial to understand how the face mask in question should be used and religiously stick to it.