The Right Way To Use A Face Mask

We all have our daily skin rituals, the routines we do morning and evening to keep our complexions in tip-top shape. Some may stick to the basics, while others go a bit more in-depth, but at the end of the day, it’s all about showing your skin some love. Yet, despite our best efforts, we find we need a little extra help. Enter: the face mask.

They come in all textures and formulations, but one thing they have in common is that they provide an extra treatment for when your skin needs it most. They can be done weekly, monthly, or, in dire circumstances, a few times a week. They’re also an exceptional form of self-care and are beyond easy to do.

That said, there are a lot of options out there, and it can be confusing to know which one is right for you and even how to use a face mask in the first place. Damp skin or dry? 10 minutes or 20? Day or night? Leave on or wash off? So many questions, so little time.

Never fear — we’ve got all the answers you need. Keep reading to learn about the different types of face masks and the best way to use them, plus some Kiehl’s favorites that your skin will love. Self-care Sunday, here you come!

Clay Masks

Perhaps one of the most recognizable of the bunch, Clay masks, are known for their ability to help detoxify, minimize the appearance of pores, and help with blemishes without drying out skin. That’s because this mineral-rich mud is a natural absorber of oil, dirt, and other pore-clogging impurities from skin’s surface. As it dries, it helps draw out grime, as well as absorb excess oil and minimize shine. Amazonian White Clay (aka Kaolin Clay) is widely considered the best for its ability to absorb and help hydrate.

Find It In: Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask

How To Apply: After cleansing, apply a thin layer to damp skin, avoiding the eye area. Let it dry completely (about 10 minutes), then wash off with a warm, wet washcloth. Pat skin dry and continue with your regular routine. This makes for a great morning treatment, as it leaves skin matte and smooth and can help control oil during the day.

Gel Masks

These masks have a gel texture and feel cooling to the touch. Oftentimes they are infused with natural botanicals and have a soothing benefit, making them a great choice for sensitive, easily reactive skin.

Find It In: Kiehl’s Calendula Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask

How To Apply: On clean, dry skin, spread a generous layer onto your skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for five minutes, then rinse with warm water and dry (gently!) with a towel. With its invigorating surge of freshness, we like this one as a morning wake-up product to get your skin feeling energized for the day ahead.

Sleeping Masks

As the name implies, these masks are meant to be used overnight — usually a thick layer is applied, left on for a few minutes, then any excess is tissued off, leaving behind a thin layer. As you sleep, your skin will absorb the formula. Sleeping masks are more than just a night cream — leave-on masks have a hydrating effect and can also deliver more potent anti-aging ingredients.

Find It In: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask

How To Apply: After cleansing, apply a healthy layer of moisturizing face mask onto clean, dry skin. After 10 minutes, tissue off excess — do not rinse. Go to bed and let the Fountain Plant, Glacial Glycoprotein, and Desert Plant Extracts do their skin-barrier renewing, refreshing, and softening thing. Use once a week or twice if you find your skin is on the drier side.

Sheet Masks

At first glance, these have a very intimidating look. But they are some of the easiest to use and most effective masks, once you get the hang of them. Sheet masks are face-shaped sheets of fabric or hydrogel that have been soaked in a concentrated serum, oil, or essence. They adhere to the face and are left on for 10 to 20 minutes. Once removed, there is excess product behind that is meant to be tapped into the skin. The benefit of sheet masks is that, because they adhere to the face, they can "trap" the treatment liquid on the skin so no product evaporates — meaning you get every last, drop on your skin.

Find It In: Kiehl’s Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask

How To Apply: Apply to clean, damp skin. Carefully unfold the sheet mask and remove clear backing, then gently apply the top layer by smoothing outward from center of face. Apply the bottom layer and repeat. Leave mask on for 10 minutes, then peel off both layers and massage any remaining formula into the skin until it is absorbed. Pro tip: There will be excess serum left in the pouch the mask came in — save it to apply the following night and give your skin a renewing boost.

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