6 Simple Tips That Will Change The Way You Apply A Face Mask

Contributing writer By Ola Abdelrahman
Contributing writer
Ola Abdelrahman is a contributing writer for mindbodygreen. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
6 Simple Tips That Will Change The Way You Apply A Face Mask

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 six 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 may benefit your skin so much more: The steam from your shower can make the skin more permeable, which means your mask can better penetrate the pores—aka, your face can easily drink up all those good-for-skin ingredients.

The one caveat to mention here is with enzyme masks. Since these exfoliators become more powerful with increased temperature (even small changes in temperature, like one or two degrees, can increase efficacy by 10% to 20%, according to research!), slathering them on in the shower as opposed to post-rinse can amplify their effects.

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2. Chill them in the fridge.

If you have a hydrating, gel-based mask on your hands, try stashing them in the fridge for a few minutes before slathering on. These masks are already cooling in nature, and a chiller temperature only enhances the experience—it's not a necessary to-do by any means, but it does yield a spa-grade experience. Bonus: Try it after a workout for some post-sweat relief.

Just make sure the mask is slightly chilled, as a freezing sensation can shock the skin and potentially cause broken capillaries. A few minutes (like, say, the length of your shower) should do the trick.

3. Use tools to your advantage.

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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, try using a simple, soft bristle brush the next time you want to apply a face mask—a fluffy makeup brush will do, or even a soft painter's brush.

Not only will using a 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—it's much easier to control how much product you pick up and lay down on your skin. That's not to say you absolutely have to use a brush—your fingers are just fine!—but if you're looking for a mess-free, elevated experience, they can help. Just remember to wash the brush after every use and make sure it's dry before storing.

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4. Don't leave it on for too long.

Ever left a mask on for a bit too long to find it dried down into a hard, impossible-to-remove mass of dried clay? Not fun. Not only is the experience potentially painful, but you can also tug and tear at your skin as you hack away at your delicate face to remove the product—which can result in irritation and fine lines down the road.

But let's say you skip the clay mask and stick to a thin, jelly goop. Are you A-OK? Well, if the confection contains exfoliating actives, you may run the risk of said ingredients getting a little too active with your skin and, again, run the risk of irritation. As a general rule: Don't leave the mask on for longer than the recommended time on the packaging, and remove immediately if you think you may be facing a reaction.

5. Wash the mask off with lukewarm water.

When the time does come to wash it off, lukewarm water is key. Read: Using water that's too hot can dry out and aggravate your face. Hot water evaporates faster, and it has the ability to strip the natural oils and lipids from your skin, which can result in cracks and a compromised skin barrier. But don't take that as reason to opt for a freezing cold temp: Cold water won't be effective at breaking down the product, which can lead to residue in your pores.

Extreme temperatures either way can also cause broken capillaries for those with sensitive skin, so opt for room temperature water when it comes to removing a mask. You can also use a gentle, clean cloth (like a muslin cloth) for some extra help if necessary.

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6. Apply a moisturizer afterward.

After you've washed off your mask, don't forget to lock in all those skin-loving ingredients you just slathered on. Apply an occlusive, like a moisturizer or oil, so the hydration stays where you want it—sealed inside your pores, rather than evaporated into thin air.

The takeaway.

Before applying your face mask, use these tips to elevate your masking experience. Some are your basic guidelines, while others are simply ways to make your mask a little more spa-grade—not completely necessary, but can certainly help give your skin some extra love. You deserve it.

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