For as long as I can remember, my ultimate beauty obsession has been masking. I usually whip up my own mask in the kitchen using natural ingredients and then sit back in a state of bliss—all while hoping to turn my skin into a glowing masterpiece.
Not only does masking feel ultra luxurious, but it calms me down in ways that even a glass of wine doesn’t. I’m going to assume for a second that your masking routine is similar: Late night before you turn in, you realize there’s something you were supposed to do. Walk your dog? Schedule that lunch with your college roomate? Call your parents? Oh right, it was to mask. So you go through the motions and you put on your routine mask and go on with what you were doing. Whatever it is you do, you’ve probably been doing the same routine for years.
I am not here to tell you that everything you’ve ever done with masking is wrong.You may be doing a lot of things right, but I am saying it could probably be done better. It sounds confusing, I know—but once you take the mystery out of masking, you can rest assured that your masks are doing your skin a well-deserved favor.
So, I’m breaking down the 7 common mistakes that you may make while masking—and how to fix them. Let’s get into it.
MISTAKE #1: NOT TO CLEANSING YOUR SKIN
Preparation is key. Before you even think about digging into your favorite mask, make sure you thoroughly remove all traces of makeup from your skin to create a clean canvas. If you are spending your time, energy, and hard-earned money on masking, you should make sure you have the most prepped face to first. Want to be a good girl and take it one step further? Remove dead cells the best way by using a gentle exfoliator, like Kate Sommerville’s ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment before masking.
MISTAKE #2: USING TOO MUCH PRODUCT
Have you heard the adage that “less is more”? Well, this philosophy definitely applies to masking because the use of too many masks without adequate rest for the skin can result in irritation. When I was in my teens, I used to layer all of my masks on top of each other, assuming that would result in a “supermask”. Sound familiar? Little did I know, I was actually sensitizing my skin, leaving it red, raw, and exhausted. Fortunately, that is a thing of the past; my limit is now two masks at once or consecutively. For example, you can follow up a clarifying clay mask with a hydrating mask to seal in moisture back into your skin.
MISTAKE #3: APPLYING YOUR MASK WITH FINGERS
One of the easiest ways to mess up with masking is rather simple. It involves dirty hands and is something you can fully control, especially once you bring it to your attention. Oftentimes overlooked, applying your mask with unwashed fingers is a major masking faux-pas because unwashed hands can invite in pore-clogging oils or blemish-causing bacteria onto the stage. And we all know what that means. Not to mention that you will be impacting the ingredients in your adored mask by contaminating it. Okay, with the harsh truth out of the way, what is a smarter alternative? Ever heard of a facial mask brush? A beauty spatula works too. Totally worth the small investment, they will change your masking game and assure that your mask is applied with the utmost cleanliness and precision.
MISTAKE #4: USING THE WRONG MASK FOR YOUR SKIN
Does your girlfriend rave about her charcoal mask, claiming it’s a game changer? It is easy to go out and buy the same mask in hopes that it will serve you the same way, but what if you have radically different skin than your bestie? While she has oily, acne-prone skin, you may have sensitive skin. What works for your skin savvy bestie may not work for you, and turns out picking the wrong mask for your skin can cause some serious damage—anything from severe redness to clogged pores and even pain. Instead of purchasing a face mask because it’s trendy, assess your skin’s needs and natural disposition and find a mask that your skin will benefit from. Have dry skin? Pick a hydrating formula like the one in GLAMGLOW’S Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment. Oily skin? Then, a purifying mask like the Fresh Umbian Clay Purifying mask is perfect. You get the point.
MISTAKE #5: LEAVING YOUR MASK ON FOR TOO LONG
Think leaving on your mask for double the amount will double the benefits? Think again. This habit of yours may actually damage your skin, especially when done regularly. In fact, certain ingredients found in masks may be quite strong and only healthy for your skin in small doses. Highly nourishing, creamy masks or those meant for sensitive skin may be fine, but masks with exfoliating, drying properties like clays or acids can leave your skin out of balance and thirsty for love. According to Allure, the next time you use a clay mask, don’t wait for it to reach the flaky stage before you start rinsing. But why? Well, that can draw out moisture from your skin and leave it parched and irritated. The takeaway is this: follow the instruction label on your mask for proper time guidelines. Your skin will thank you.
MISTAKE #6: NOT APPLYING MOISTURIZER AFTER MASKING
So your mask has run its’ course, been gently removed with lukewarm water, and now you are left with a fresh, radiant face. Wonderful! But you aren’t done just yet. As a matter of fact, post-mask care is of paramount importance. It’s so important that you follow up your mask with the proper toner and moisturizer. We’re currently loving the all-skin types Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner and Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer. If your skin feels extra dry after marking try using a facial oil like ACURE Marula Oil, in lieu of a moisturizer.
MISTAKE #7: KEEPING YOUR MASK ON THE SHELF
This tip may seem like the last of your masking concerns, but using a mask past its’ shelf life is a total masking no-no. And we have a dermatologist’s advice to back us up. “If you have made the mask yourself, it will likely only last a few days. If it’s store bought, you’re looking at a few months,” says Dr. Amy Wechsler. Wechsler also adds that using expired products may result in your skin developing an adverse reaction, especially since masks typically contain a fair amount of active, otherwise stimulating ingredients. So, how can you make use of your masks before they expire? A good way is through incorporating them into your skin-care regimen regularly, utilizing them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, depending on the product’s usage recommendations.