Face masks come in all different colors, consistencies and smells (anyone who's ever used one with apple cider vinegar knows what I'm talking about!). And though every formulation is different, there are some basic guidelines to follow to ensure your skin is getting maximum benefits.
Whether your mask is homemade or store-bought, here are four general tips to stick to when pampering your skin.
1. Apply masks after you shower.
It may seem like a good idea to apply a face mask before you shower so that you can just easily wash it off when you get into the tub (rather than making a mess around your sink.) But waiting until post-shower will benefit your skin so much more. The warm water from your shower will create steam, which will in turn open up your pores. This will soften the dirt already in there, making it easier for the gunk to leave your skin. It also makes your face more susceptible to all the good ingredients in a mask.
2. Use the right tools.
Think paint brushes are only for artists? In that case, it's high time you start thinking about your face as a canvas. To keep your hands goop-free and avoid using kitchen tools during face mask experiments, it's a good idea to buy a simple, soft bristle brush to keep in your medicine cabinet.
Not only will using a paint brush to apply a mask guarantee that most of the product ends up on your face (and not on your palms/fingers/floor), it'll also ensure even application over your face because it's much easier to control how much product you pick up and lay down on your skin. Just remember to wash the brush after every use and make sure it's dry before storing.
3. Wash the mask off with lukewarm water.
We've all been in that situation where we leave a mask on for a little bit too long and it dries into a hard, impossible-to-remove mass of dried clay. So first thing's first: don't leave a mask on too long. You run the risk of the active ingredients getting a little too active with your skin, and also put yourself in the position to have to hack away at your delicate face to remove the product.
When the time does come to wash it off, lukewarm water is key. Cold water won't be effective at breaking down the product, but using water that's too hot will dry out and aggravate your face. Remember that your pores aren't capable of safely withstanding extreme temperatures, so opt for room temperature water when it comes to removing a mask. You can also use a gentle, clean cloth for some extra help if necessary.
4. Apply a toner afterward.
Most people know how important it is to moisturize after using a mask, but adding toner to the mix is an equally important — but often overlooked — step. The right toner will help your skin lock in all the benefits of the mask, which in turn will keep your skin smoother, plumber and younger. Additionally, it'll help whatever moisturizer you use after penetrate deeper.