When you leave a facial your skin is glowing—problem pores addressed, dullness brightened, dryness soothed—glorious, really. Re-creating that magic at home is often fruitless. But that’s because you’re approaching your face mask situation all wrong. If you typically open your drawer of skin-saving goodies, pick up two masks, and waffle between which one will get the pleasure of treating your pores, you’ve made one fateful mistake. “Because most people have a variety of different skin issues, they need to find the answers in more than one mask,” says Sonya Dakar, a skincare expert and the founder of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic. Doubling up on face masks: The idea is so simple, yet it’s a total game changer.
Keep reading to find out the best ways to layer your masks.
First things first: For maximum benefits, you must exfoliate before applying any mask. When layering, the order is also crucial. “Soft masks should always go first, followed by a clay or mud-based mask,” Dakar says. “If you do it in reverse, the soft mask will never be able to properly penetrate.” Which brings us to the two basic types of masks Dakar says you should have in your beauty arsenal. A soft mask, which hydrates, soothes and calms skin, and (like the name implies) does not dry. And a clay or mud-based mask that absorbs impurities and excess oil and clarifies your skin.
When your skin is acting up in more ways than one, it’s difficult to treat it with a single mask. Start with a thin layer of a healing mask all over. “Look for one that has soothing ingredients like chamomile, and hydrating ones, like grapeseed or flax seed oil,” Dakar says. “This will relieve irritated skin, while also adding hydration to dry patches.” Then, follow with a mud-based mask to help absorb oil and eliminate breakouts. Apply the second mask only to the breakout-prone areas. A mud mask alone would be too strong and overwhelming for stressed-out skin. “The first layer of soft mask will help your skin handle a stronger treatment,” Dakar says.
“As people get older, sun damage and decreased skin elasticity can cause pores to dilate, so it’s not uncommon for women to be concerned with enlarged pores,” Dakar says. But pores are only part of the problem, so start with a light application of a moisturising mask. At the same time, apply a slightly thicker layer of a firming mask to the area around the eyes (feel free to apply this mask to your neck and décolletage too). In these soft masks, Dakar says to look for ingredients such as resveratrol and other antioxidants, stem cells and natural essential oils. Follow with a clay mask to tighten pores on your T-zone and other problem areas.
To revive a dull complexion, Dakar says you’ll need a brightening mask with daisy flower or salicylic acid. Apply a thin layer all over, and add a little more to your forehead or any areas you’re especially concerned about. Then, follow it with a clarifying mask. “Apply a thick layer of clay mask to your entire face, adding a little extra to T-zone,” Dakar says. Choose a mineral-rich clay or mud mask with sulfur, salicylic acid or probiotics. “You can add probiotics to your mask—when used topically, they decongest skin and absorb excess oil,” Dakar says.
Want more? These are the best drugstore foundations that guarantee flawless skin.