Do you love the look and feel of your skin right after you’ve been to your favorite spa? That’s what you can get from the comfort of your couch when you know how to put masks to work for you. There are many variations of masks you can use. From sheet masks, made popular by Japanese skin care and Korean skincare routines, to mud masks, peel offs, wash offs, and more. Here’s an overview of the many types of masks out there, which will give you an idea of what to try the next time you’re feeling adventurous.
Cotton sheet masks
Perhaps this is how you were first introduced to the wonders of Japanese and Korean beauty products. Or you’ve seen so many Instagram pics of girls wearing sheet masks that your curiosity has been sparked. Sheet masks refer to cotton sheets drenched in skin-yummy nutrients. When applied to one’s skin for 15 to 20 minutes, the prolonged contact with the sheet serum allows the hydrating elements to sink past the skin’s surface layer and go to work. Ingredients in sheet mask serums will depend on the stated purpose of the sheet masks. But often you’ll see snail extract, pearl extract, vitamin C, cucumber, yuzu, and more! Sheet masks are perfect for pretty much all skin types because of the wide range available. Choose a mask as you would a serum, as sheet masks are serums on steroids.
Unlike the sheet masks, wash-off masks don’t come in a layer of cotton. Instead, you’ll buy this skin care product in a jar or tub. The consistency will be gel-like, although cream-based wash-off masks do exist. Some wash-off masks have the same application time as sheet masks, others allow you to wear it under makeup. As far as ingredients go, though, you’re looking at the same range as sheet masks provide. So why would someone choose a wash-off mask versus a sheet mask? Good question. A wash-off mask allows you to target specific areas versus an overall facial application. This is helpful for those with combination skin and who want extra hydration for a specific area, such as the eyes, forehead, or cheeks, etc.
Sleep masks and sleep packs
Sleep masks are how they sound…You apply a layer on your skin before bed and then sleep with it on. And you don’t need to worry about residue ruining your sheets because they are made of a gel-like consistency that—after a few minutes—dries, but continues to work on your skin. Your skin soaks up the sleep mask as it would any other serum. Sleep masks are fantastic for mature skin as they target a primary concern of those with aging skin issues: loss of moisture. Because these masks hydrate all night, your skin has a head start in the morning—more time for your make up routine. Ingredients range from carob seed to banana, to fermented ingredients, depending on the sleep mask purpose. Most hydrate, but some focus on brightening or firming, etc.
Peel-off masks and packs
How about a mask that exfoliates and removes dull skin? Peel-off masks have been trending for the past couple of years and consist of a formulation that when dried can be peeled off the skin. Can you get the same exfoliating benefits as a scrub? Probably. But the physical act of “peeling” the mask off is as satisfying as seeing the fresh skin underneath. Say goodbye to those stubborn blackheads around the nose! However, if your skin is sensitive, then you might want to skip this one. At-home peels often contain the same formulations as peels given at a dermatologist’s office but in lower concentrations. Peel-off masks are different from cotton sheet masks, wash-off masks, and sleep masks in that they focus on cleaning out pores, whereas the others focus on providing moisture and healing ingredients to the skin.
Clay masks and mud masks
We’re mentioning these two together because they are often confused with each other. But they serve two different purposes. Clay dries out the skin and for that reason is great for those who are acne-prone. Other benefits include absorbing dirt, tightening sagging, and providing nutrients that get soaked up by your skin when applied. Mud has some of the same benefits as clay, but instead of drying out the skin, it hydrates. Mud mask ingredients range from dead sea minerals to green tea, to honey. Mud is often used to refresh, brighten, soften, and clarify skin. Clay takes a bit longer to dry so aim to leave it on your face for up to 45 minutes. Mud masks can be washed off after 30.
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