How Often Should You Do a Face Mask? 5 Helpful Tips
Not only are face masks a great excuse to pamper yourself, but they can also deliver a seriously potent hit of various nutrients and ingredients to your skin that your day-to-day skincare routine just can’t match. Whether you have a specific skincare concern you’re looking to address or you just want to get your skin glowing for a special event, face masks are a great option.
“Face masks offer a more targeted way to combat those pesky skin concerns.”
Shani Darden, Esthetician
But how do face masks work? And once you find the right ones for your skin, how often should you use them? Let’s break it all down.
What Makes Face Masks Different From Other Products?
If you’re considering using a face mask, it’s probably safe to say you already have some kind of skincare routine going on. Consistently cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting your skin with SPF can go a long way toward clearing and brightening your complexion — and that’s without any additional serums or treatments.
But while consistency is key and that day-to-day routine is important, sometimes you want something to go the extra mile. This is where face masks come in.
Face masks can be applied for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or so. Unlike other products, which you’ll apply, layer, and leave on your skin to absorb, face masks will be washed off after a certain amount of time.
This means that they generally contain ingredients in a stronger concentration than other skincare products so that your skin can benefit from them in the allotted time. This makes face masks great for a quick boost when you just want an extra glow or need a boost of hydration. They can also function as an addition to your routine to help address a new concern without totally overhauling your skincare regimen.
But to get the most out of your face mask, you’ll first have to decide what kind of face mask is right for you and your skin.
How Often Should You Do a Face Mask? Helpful Tips
Now that you understand a little bit more about the wide, wonderful world of face masks and their self-care benefits, let’s talk about how often you should be working them into your routine.
Because many face masks can be time-consuming and may require several minutes to an hour to sit on your skin to sit their best effects. Figuring out how often to use them and how to get the most out of a face mask is important — so let’s discuss some factors you should weigh when deciding how often to apply a face mask.
1. Consider the Ingredients
When deciding how often to do a face mask, think about the ingredients. If it’s a hydratingface mask that’s mostly enriched with soothing, moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, or peptides, you can probably use it frequently without any negative side effects.
If it’s a face mask targeted at busting your breakouts and therefore uses potentially drying or irritating ingredients like AHAs or BHAs, it can be tempting to use it every chance you get. However, moderation is key for active ingredients like these. You’ll want to limit your usage so that you don’t damage your skin’s moisture barrier and worsen the problem.
2. Layering Is Fine — But Don’t Overdo It
You can also use multiple masks on different areas of your face. This is a huge bonus if you have combination skin — you could use a pore-unclogging BHA mask on your oily t-zone and a super hydrating mask on your dry areas.
3. Think About Timing
Because you’re not likely to use your face mask every day, you’ll also want to think about timing when deciding how often (and on what days) to use your mask.
For instance, if you have an AHA mask that leaves your skin glowing and smooth after a brief period of redness, you’ll want to make sure you’re applying that mask the night before a big event rather than an hour before you leave.
Likewise, if you’re using your mask only on certain days, you’ll want to be mindful of the days when you’re more likely to want your skin to have an extra boost.
I love masking on Friday mornings so my skin is bright and ready to go for those after-work plans on Friday. Also, masking on Sunday evening gives me an extra boost of confidence the next morning to start my week.
4. Know Your Skin Type
Of course, there are other considerations here, but determining how often to use a face mask should be related to your skin type. If your skin is super sturdy and nonreactive, then you can probably afford to use even a very active mask on a regular basis. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to limit your usage and potentially build up to more regular applications over time.
5. Balance It With Your Routine
This goes back to our first point about ingredients. You’ll want to be sure that you’re not using a face mask directly before or after other skincare products that contain ingredients that could be reactive with your face mask.
Additionally, some ingredients can affect the pH balance of your skin in such a way as to render other ingredients ineffective. So be sure to either ensure all of your products work together or to space out your application so that there’s time between your face mask and your usual products.
What Kinds of Face Masks Are Available?
You can generally divide face masks into four categories: sheet masks, peel-off masks, rinse-off masks, and hydrogels. While the instinct may be to ask which type of mask is the best, the reality is that all types of masks have different strengths that suit different skin types.
As with many skincare products, the question isn’t which product is the best — it’s which product is the best for your unique skin type.
Sheet masks were originally a K-beauty trend, but they’re becoming increasingly widespread.
They’re exactly what they sound like: single-use masks where the active ingredients are infused into a sheet-like mask that you apply to your face. After waiting the allotted time, you remove the mask, rinse away or rub in any excess product, and you’re good to go.
Peel-off masks can be applied in liquid, cream, or gel form. You’ll smooth them onto your skin (or onto the specific areas you’re looking to treat) and wait. As they dry, they’ll form a solid layer that you can peel off of your skin.
Not only are peel-off masks super satisfying, but they’re often great for oily or breakout-prone skin because they tend to have some gripping power that can more easily pull out blackheads, whiteheads, or other issues related to pore congestion.
Rinse-off masks are masks that you apply for a specified amount of time and then — surprise — rinse off. These are perhaps the most common type of mask, and they come in a wide variety of textures and serve a wide variety of purposes.
The rinse-off factor is perhaps less important when it comes to deciding whether or not this type of mask is right for you, as is the actual makeup of this type of mask. For a wonderful rinse-off mask, I love using my Hydra Prep Gel. Featuring aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to soothe, hydrate, and brighten, this serum can also double as a quick rinse-off mask.
Hydrogel masks are ultra-moisturizing, water-dense versions of your usual sheet mask. They’re composed of thicker, jelly-like components that make them better equipped to retain moisture — which means they’re also better equipped to deliver that hydration to your skin.
They tend to fit more snugly on your face to encourage better penetration. In general, hydrogel masks are perfect if you have dry or combination skin or are looking to combat wintertime dryness with your face mask.
There is one additional type of face mask that we haven’t discussed yet, and it’s one of my favorites: light therapy masks. There are many reasons why you may want to use an LED light therapy mask, including the positive effects that handheld LED devices can have on breakouts and pimples.
It may look like something out of a sci-fi film, but LED light masks have been around for a long time. However, until recently, these devices could only be found in dermatologists’ offices. Now, you can find many at-home options.
LED light masks use light wavelengths to penetrate your skin, affecting change at a molecular level. The color of the light in your mask can determine what effect the mask has on your skin!
Red light is intended to promote circulation and collagen production. Blue light can address acne by attacking blemish-causing bacteria. Yellow light may reduce inflammation and redness, while green light can be used to even out any issue you may have with pigmentation.
My Deesse PRO LED Light Mask is clinically proven to reduce acne and pigmentation and even address visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. It does this by featuring three different light settings, which you can use to target specific skincare concerns.
Because LED light masks are reusable products rather than a finite bottle of product, although they may cost you a little bit more upfront, you’ll be able to benefit from their magic indefinitely, making them a great choice if you want to work a face mask into your routine regularly.
Face masks are a great addition to any skincare routine. But because they’re not standard, everyday products, figuring out how often to use them can be a challenge! But as long as you consider all the factors and choose masks designed for your skin type, the sky’s the limit.