While it’s absolutely fine to slap homemade treatments on with reckless abandon, you might be surprised to learn that there is a proper way to apply a facial mask. Whether the mask is meant to cleanse, soothe, plump, or pamper, these simple application steps can help make the most of your facial.

Here's the right way to do it:

  1. Start off with bare skin that is free of any makeup or lotions.
  2. Moisten a washcloth with hot water. It should be hot enough to generate steam but not so hot that it will scald your face. Be careful not to burn your skin.
  3. Drape the washcloth over your face. This will help open your pores, prepping your skin for your homemade treatment. Leave your skin damp or pat it dry according to the directions on your treatment.
  4. Scoop the mask into the palm of one hand using a clean spoon or spatula.
  5. Using two fingers, gently spread the mixture onto your face in a slow, circular motion. Avoid your eyes, lips, and nostrils. You can also try applying your masque with a clean paintbrush or makeup brush.
  6. Follow the recipe directions on how long to leave the masque on and how to remove it.

Mask Tips

Most masks can be left on for 15 to 30 minutes. If your mask contains any drying or acidic ingredients like clay or lemon juice,
be careful not to leave it on any longer than 15 minutes.

If you find a homemade mask to be too slippery or wet, try adding a dry ingredient like oatmeal, oat flour, rice bran powder, or adzuki bean powder.

Gentle masks can be used every day, but any recipes that include drying or acidic ingredients like clay or lemon juice should be limited. Strong clays, like French green, green Illite, rhassoul, and multanni mitti (also known as fuller’s earth), should be used once a week at most.

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Excerpted from The Natural Beauty Solution by Mary Helen Leonard. Copyright © 2015 by Mary Helen Leonard and Spring House Press.

Illustration by Chloe Bulpin, mbg creative


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