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Face Masks: The Ultimate Guide

What’s better than a moisturizing face mask to soothe your dry skin after a day in the sun? How remarkable is the glowing skin you see when you look in the mirror in the morning after using that brightening mask? From hydrating and wrinkle-reducing to deep cleansing and exfoliating, there is nothing quite like a face mask to step up your skincare routine.

The passionate team at Pretty Please is dedicated to helping clients protect, correct, and maintain their natural complexion. Located in the heart of New York City, Pretty Please was founded by New York State licensed esthetician, educator, and makeup and skincare enthusiast, Jennifer Rasa. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, the team at Pretty Please combines its expert knowledge to deliver the best facials, skincare methods, and treatments NY has to offer. Enthusiastic about organically restoring and maintaining their clients’ beautiful skin, there’s no better team to discuss the ins and outs of at-home face masks than the experts at Pretty Please.

Face masks have become a popular staple in skincare and self-care routines for people of all ages. That’s because they don’t just serve as a relaxing treat at the end of a long, hard day. The right masks can tackle key skin concerns, improve chronic conditions, and leave you looking and feeling great. From dryness and dehydration to large pores and acne, read on to learn everything you need to know about face masks. We’ll talk about finding the right mask for your complexion and using it to leave your skin feeling beautiful.

The Benefits of Face Masks

There is no better way to take care of your skin than with a consistent routine that’s catered to your needs. Just as beneficial as serums and moisturizers, face masks are a skincare vehicle jam-packed with benefits. For starters, they deliver highly concentrated actives, vitamins, and nutrients to improve the overall health of your skin. Plus, they’re occlusive, meaning they create a physical barrier that locks in the beneficial ingredients. This allows them to absorb into your skin more efficiently.

Face masks are used intermittently, designed to give your skin an instant boost. Their benefits are numerous but depend mostly on what your skin needs. That’s because you have the advantage of choosing from a wide selection of options that target one or a combination of the following:

• Hydrate and moisturize dry or dehydrated skin

• Shrink and refine large pores

• Improve the skin’s texture

• Absorb excess oil and dirt

• Decongest clogged pores

• Minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

• Enhance elasticity

• Treat acne-prone skin and improve the look of breakouts

• Brighten dark spots

• Reduce redness

Different Types of Face Masks

When it comes to choosing a face mask, the endless options can be overwhelming. Don’t panic! We’ll break down the different types of masks to make the decision process a little less stressful. You’ll be on your way to naturally beautiful skin before you know it.

Before we jump into the different uses of face masks, let’s talk about the different types. Most face masks fall into one of the following categories:

• Sheet masks

• Clay or mud masks

• Cream masks

• Peel-off masks

• Gel masks

• Charcoal Masks

• Exfoliating Masks

• Sleep masks

Let’s take a closer look at each so that you can understand the difference.

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks have been popular for many years, with their origins in South Korea. They are the most versatile category of face masks available because they’re designed for every skin type. While some nourish and treat your whole face, others target specific areas. There are sheet masks on the market for your eyes, lips, feet, nose, and neck, to name a few. The cost of sheet masks can range from low to high. Prices vary depending on the fabric of the mask and the type of ingredients in the serum. They have set the trend in self-care across the world. You can do them with your friends, have a family mask night, or even pick up fun options with a different animal or character faces printed on the fabric.

Clay or Mud Masks

Clay and mud masks have been around for ages. It’s no secret that clay and mud are miracle workers for acne-prone skin. The absorbent, exfoliating, and astringent properties help these masks tackle the root causes of your acne. Additionally, they go on to treat symptoms such as excess oil and inflammation. A significant advantage of clay or mud masks is that they can double as a spot treatment. With just a tiny amount, you can spot-treat smaller areas that are bumpy or congested. Keep in mind that they can be drying, so consider other options if you have dry skin.

Cream Masks

If you have dry or dehydrated skin, cream masks are a heavenly treat. They have the texture of a rich moisturizer. They do wonders for hydrating the skin and bring back the skin’s natural nutrients. Cream masks leave the skin feeling plump, hydrated, and refreshed. They’re an excellent option for mature skin, but can be used by anyone looking to smooth and moisturize dry skin. Like clay or mud masks, cream masks can also be used to spot-treat dry patches.

Peel-Off Masks

Peel-off masks are another option for acne-prone skin. They help refine pores, treat blemishes, and provide a mild exfoliation when you peel them off. Some peel-off masks are like a mini facial! Just be careful when removing this type of mask. You don’t want to cause damage to the skin.

Gel Masks

Gel masks provide significant benefits to dry, dehydrated, inflamed, or irritated skin. They have a lightweight texture and are an excellent option for normal to oily and sensitive skin types. Most gel masks provide a cooling, soothing sensation. Many include astringent ingredients, like raspberries and blackberries, to minimize oil and tighten pores. Others are formulated to soothe and hydrate the skin.

Charcoal Masks

Charcoal masks aren’t exactly a type, but their rise in popularity has awarded them a category of their own. Charcoal masks come in a variety of options, but the common ingredient is activated charcoal. It’s a great choice for oily complexions and acne-prone skin because it detoxifies the skin. You can find activated charcoal in sheet masks, cream masks, peel-off masks, and mud masks.

Exfoliating Masks

Specially formulated to remove dead skin cells and promote your skin’s natural turnover process, exfoliating masks use finely ground particles to polish your skin gently. Exfoliating masks allow you to gently buff away dead skin cells, clearing up your skin’s surface. Keep in mind that using exfoliating masks improperly can lead to skin damage, increased redness, and acne breakouts. That’s why the American Academy of Dermatology suggests you consider your skin type before choosing an exfoliating mask and follow best practices to avoid skin damage.

Sleep Masks

Sleep masks provide the ultimate boost in hydration when you need it most. Whether your skin is feeling dull and dry or the weather is taking its toll, sleep masks are a great way to leave your skin feeling healthy and new.

The Best Way to Use a Face Mask

Now that you understand the different types of face masks let’s talk about how to use them. You don’t want to use them every day. We recommend adding a face mask to your skincare routine once or twice a week. For best results, apply your mask after properly cleaning, toning, and applying a facial essence. By clearing impurities and excess oil, you’re prepping your skin to absorb all the benefits of your mask fully. You should also provide a base layer of hydration to prep your skin for optimal absorption.

Once you’ve prepped your skin, follow these tips to apply your mask properly:

1. Apply Your Mask Evenly

It may be tempting to slather your skin with a thick layer of product, especially with hydrating masks. When it comes to face masks, however, more isn’t necessarily better. Sheet masks are pretty self-explainable and shaped to fit over your face. Other masks only require a quarter-sized amount to deliver results. Be sure to spread your mask in a very thin layer over your entire face. You can even use facial massage techniques to amp up the benefits of your mask.

2. Don’t Forget Your Neck and Décolleté

Believe it or not, a quarter-sized amount should be plenty to cover your neck and décolletage. Don’t forget to care for these parts of your skin. Because they are exposed to environmental stress, these areas show visible signs of aging much earlier than the face. Give these areas a bit of extra attention because they are easily forgotten in daily skincare routines.

3. Let Your Mask Sit for 5-10 Minutes

Pay close attention to the recommended mask duration. Most can be kept on for 10-15 minutes, but the duration varies from mask to mask. Some masks act quickly and should be removed after a short time to avoid irritation; others can be left on as an overnight treatment. Read the directions of your particular product. Set a timer, so you know exactly when to take it off.

4. Remove Masks Gently

Many clients are tempted to scrub off their masks aggressively, which can undo the benefits. Be delicate with your skin. Use lukewarm water and a damp, clean, soft cloth to gently remove the mask.

The Best Face Masks for Your Skin Type

Most face masks are tailored to your skin type or intended to treat specific skin concerns. The best way to find a mask for your unique complexion is to have your skin assessed by a licensed esthetician at Pretty Please.

If you’re looking to get started now, here are our best suggestions for each skin type:

• Normal Skin: Stone Crop Masque

• Combination Skin: Balancing Masque Duo

• Sensitive Skin: Calm Skin Arnica Masque

If you’re looking for masks that treat specific skin concerns and conditions, here are some suggestions:

• Acne-prone skin: Acne Advanced Clarifying Masque

How to Double Benefits by Mixing Face Masks

One of the best ways to harness the benefits of masks is to combine masks focused on your skin type with masks concentrated on your skin problems. Mixologies that layer and blend a variety of treatments help restore your skin to its healthiest, most beautiful state. There are several ways to mix and match your face masks. Here are some tips and tricks from the Pretty Please team that’ll help you whip up your favorite facial treat:


When you apply one mask, then layer another directly on top of it, you can optimize your results. The trick with effectively layering your masks is to choose two options that complement each other. If you layer masks that have opposite effects, you’ll cancel out their benefits. For example, layering a clay mask over a hydrating mask will soak up all the moisturizing effects of the hydrating mask.


Some face masks complement each other so well that you can blend them. When it comes to mixing, it’s best to choose two masks that have the same consistency. For example, two gel masks that compliment each other or two cream masks that complement each other. Simply mix a quarter-sized amount of each mask in your hands with two to three drops of water.


Applying different masks to different areas of the face simultaneously is called multi-masking. This method is useful for combination skin because it allows you to treat multiple skin concerns at once. For example, you can use an oil-control mask on your oily T-Zone and a hydrating mask on dry cheeks.

Our Balancing Masque Duo is made for multi-masking. You’ll see that one side of the jar contains a Charcoal T-Zone purifier that focuses on oil control, refining large pores, and clearing impurities. The other side of the jar contains Pomelo Cheek Treatment. This moisturizes cheeks and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


You can also apply two face masks, one after the other. The process is simple. Apply one mask, remove it after the recommended duration, then apply a second mask immediately after. The best way to get results with this method is to follow up one mask with a second one that’ll provide additional benefits.

Do you have a favorite mask mixology combination? Can you offer advice on tips and tricks that have helped you get better results with your face masks? We love to hear from our clients!


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