HOW TO: GET THE MOST OUT OF FACE MASKS

Words by Gemma Hirani.

Truth be told, I never really understood why people use face masks. That was until, I guess, my skin decided to wreak absolute havoc. With adulthood came the worst thing I’d ever faced. Acne. My skin was (still is low key) an absolute bitch.

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Thanks to years and years of trial and error, I’ve finally figured out what Google couldn’t. Face masks may seem absolutely useless at the best of times, especially when you’re breaking out like mad and just want a miracle. Like being bitten by a snake, developing spidery – I mean, snaky senses, and being able to shed your skin. However for face masks to work for you, there are things that you need to be doing from before you even purchase one, to how you apply and use them. Whether you have acne, suffer from a few spots here and there, redness, or dull skin, these simple tips will help you boost the effectiveness of face masks for your skin care needs!

Disclaimer: I’m not a skin care expert/dermatologist, so take this advice with a grain of salt. If your skin melts off, I’m not responsible.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT FACE MASK

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While hydrating face masks can make your skin feel like a baby’s bottom, if you’re having a massive break out, that stuff isn’t going to do anything. Same goes with using spot fighting masks for radiance or exfoliating masks for redness. From the get go, it is super important to understand what problems are effecting your skin and then buy a face mask, or masks, to tackle those specific problems accordingly.

For example, skin plagued with acne caused by clogged pores would highly benefit from using deep cleansing pore masks. These are often made out of clay and really work to draw the dirt out of pores. With the dirt, bacteria, oil, and other unwanted crap being removed from within the depths of the skin, you’ll find yourself suffering from less spots. I recommend the ‘Indian Secret Healing Clay Mask’ from Aztec Secret and the ‘Deep Pore Cleansing Mask’ from Kiehl’s. They are both a little on the pricier side, however they last a very long time and are products that work really well at cleansing pores to combat those pesky white/blackheads!

If you’re struggling with dull looking skin, why not try exfoliating and brightening masks to give your skin an extra glow? The exfoliating action gets rid of dead skin cells while brightening masks will make your skin look radiant. I’ve found Skinfood’s ‘Black Sugar Wash Off Mask’ is a great option for getting of dead skin cells and giving your skin a healthy glow. They also sell a ‘Rice Wash Off Mask’ which hits two birds with one stone: it exfoliates and brightens the skin. They are a South Korean brand, so their masks are highly inexpensive. Student friendly AF.

Did I hear you shout out ‘What about dry skin?!??!?!’ (just roll with it please). Hydrating face masks all the way! I’m sure you get the gist by now, right?

CLEANSE YOUR SKIN & OPEN UP THOSE PORES

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The way you apply face masks also changes their level of effectiveness. Before you slather that good stuff all over your face, it’s always recommended (on the packaging of the masks themselves) that you cleanse your face before doing so. It’s easy to forget or ignore directions, but it is super important that your skin is cleansed. By cleansed, I don’t mean splashing your face with water.  Please use a facial cleanser (which also should cater to your skin type) to get rid of dirt from deep within your skin. A layer of crap and dirt mixing in with a face mask is, well, not ideal. It will reduce the effectiveness of it: so don’t forget to cleanse love bugs.

The next step should be to open up your pores. Get a bowl of boiled water and lean over it (not too close) for a good ten minutes. Make sure to let it cool down a bit before you do so, so that you don’t end up burning or damaging your skin. The steam from the boiled water will open the pores. Your pores also open up after a hot shower/bath due to the steam, if you’d prefer a more time efficient way to do so. Now, if you’re wondering why you should do this, fear not! I always offer tedious explanations that may or may not waste 84 years of your life.

If you apply a face mask on your skin with your pores open, it will allow the mask to penetrate the skin deeper than just the surface of it. This way, face masks can actually make a permanent difference to your skin! This is a must for pore cleansing masks, for obvious reasons.

BUILD THEM INTO AND AROUND YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE

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Using a face mask once in a while, if your skin is drop dead flawless, is absolutely fine. But if your skin isn’t in the best condition, you should definitely be using face masks at least once a week. We may think that face masks do not do much for the skin, therefore we tend not to use them often. However it is because we don’t use them often enough that they don’t have the desired effect. Using a mask once a month or once in two months is hardly giving it enough time to do anything to your skin.

Bonus Mask Boosting Tip: try and stick to the same masks or mask every week, because switching up masks will defeat the purpose of giving it time to have an effect on your skin.

I hope these three tips help you get the most out of face masks! As simple as they may seem, it is the simple things that do make the most difference ~

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