In a post-pandemic world, the term face mask has taken on a completely different meaning than it once did. And while the type of face mask that prevents disease is undoubtedly important, the face masks that prevent breakouts and collagen loss are equally necessary.
While throwing on a facial mask or peel-off mask and popping open a bottle of wine is a perfect way to end a stressful day of work, it might not be entirely sustainable every single day.
But if you’re as obsessed with cleansing masks as we are, you probably want to use them as much as possible. So, how many times should you wear a face mask? And is it possible to wear them too often? Let’s answer all of your burning questions.
How Do Face Masks Work?
You probably already know the importance of washing and cleansing your face to drive out debris in your pores and keep your skin looking rejuvenated. But do facial masks work differently?
The force that sets face masks apart from traditional cleansers is that they drive ingredients closer and deeper into your skin, which allows the skin to absorb more of the product. And since you wear them for a longer period of time rather than just washing them off right away, they can work deeply and effectively at driving out even the toughest impurities.
Sheet masks (the ones that have the eyes and mouth cut out of them) are popular because they’re easy to use and soothe your skin if it’s sensitive. On the other hand, cream masks are more geared towards specific skin complaints like acne, so these tend to be more effective for clearing up blemishes.
Either way, they both give you an immediate glow and a rejuvenated feel from the moment you take them off. They’re definitely pretty easy to become obsessed with.
How Often Should Face Masks Be Used?
If you ever want to relax, a face mask will do the trick. And when life can be so stressful, it’s normal to want to throw one on every single night. The key to the number of times that you can safely wear a face mask depends on the type of skin you have.
You can typically determine your skin type by just its physical appearance.
First, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. After about 30 minutes, if your skin appears shiny, you probably have oily skin. If it’s tight, flaky, or dull, you probably have dry skin.
And if you only notice shiny oil in your T-zone (forehead and nose), it’s likely combination skin.
If you have oily skin, using a facial cream mask can help to unclog pores and leave your skin feeling light and hydrated. You can enjoy putting on a mask no more than three times a week.
However, if your skin is dry, you’ll need to be a bit more careful. This is because even though face masks can hydrate your skin temporarily, they can dry it out if worn too often.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, it’s best to limit your face masks to one night a week.
For combination skin, it can be a bit trickier to determine best practices. The best way to see how your skin handles a face mask is by starting slow and doing it once a week.
Weather or Not to Wear a Face Mask…
On top of your skin type, the weather and climate are other factors that can determine how often a face mask should be worn.
When the weather is warmer and more humid, your skin will likely develop more oil naturally. It’s wise to use a face mask no more than once a week during warmer months, as over-hydrating your skin can cause it to dry out.
On the flip side, winter months with cold climates typically contribute to drier skin that becomes chapped. When your skin starts to become excessively dry during colder months, you can start using your facial masks multiple times a week.
What Ingredients Should Be in a Face Mask?
In general, going with a face mask that uses natural, sustainable ingredients is the best bet for several reasons.
For one, you’re contributing to the sustainable use of environmental resources. But secondly, ingredients that you can pronounce and recognize tend to be safer on your skin, especially those that are sensitive.
First things first, look for words like “natural,” “sustainable,” or “cruelty-free” on the product packaging. This shows that you won’t be loading heaps of chemicals that you don’t recognize onto your skin while also giving you peace of mind that no living creatures were harmed in the making of it.
Next, look for ingredients that are rich in vitamins and other minerals that will enrich your skin under the surface rather than just improve its appearance.
Finally, do a test run. Anytime you get a new facial cleanser, moisturizer, serum, or mask, you should always start slowly to see how your skin reacts. Put on your face mask once a week to start out, and then gradually increase if your skin can handle it with ease.
If your skin does have a tiny reaction the first few times, don’t worry -- that might be normal. However, if rashes persist or the skin becomes painful, itchy, or super red, you may want to give your dermatologist a call.
How to Put On a Face Mask
As exciting as putting on a face mask, you shouldn’t just throw it on without prepping your skin first. There are just a few simple steps you should take beforehand.
First, wash your hands to remove any oils or bacteria. Then, cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser so that you don’t end up trapping any oils or debris underneath the face mask itself. Remember that face masks are not an alternative to facial cleansing.
Next, you can use a mild exfoliator to lift any dead skin or other impurities. Exfoliation should only be done about once a week, so why not make it the same night you apply your face mask to multitask?
Finally, apply your face mask. While it might feel right to cake on layers of your cream, less is more when it comes to these sorts of products.
Rub on enough so that you’re covering the top layer of skin on your nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead, but don’t feel the need to layer it up.
Allow the mask to sit for about 10-15 minutes before gently and thoroughly rinsing it off. You can even add some cucumber to your eyes to reduce puffiness so that no area of your face goes without some extra attention.
What Are the Benefits of a Face Mask?
It’s easy to want to wear a face mask every day of the week, considering how much they can improve your skin health. If you’re still a bit of a skeptic, here are just a few ways that face masks can amplify your skincare game:
- Helps brighten dark spots and reduces fine lines
- Smooth and soften skin
- Reduce under-eye bags
- Absorb oil and dirt
- Refine pores
- Hydrate the skin
Let’s Face It
Face masks are a relaxing and effective way to reduce the oils, blemishes, and age spots on your face, at least for a temporary period. And while their ability to absorb active ingredients can hydrate your skin right away, frequent use can lead to more harm than good.
In general, oily skin types can wear a face mask upwards of three times a week, whereas dry skin types should keep it at just once every seven days.
If you have combination skin, you can probably get away with wearing it as little as once a week or as much as three times a week -- just do some experimenting to see what works best.
With face masks, there’s something special about saving them for a special night of the week as it gives you something to look forward to. So keep on enjoying the self-care that you deserve.