Skip to content
How to Mask

How to Mask

On the topic of all things masking, I can see why many people get confused as to how to use them, when to use them, and which ones to use. I must clarify that I am not talking about the face masks that we have become so accustomed to during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Face mask irritation and maskne is a topic for another day!


Some of the most common types include:

-         Cream based mask

-         Clay or charcoal mask

-         Serum based mask (sheet mask)

-         Exfoliation mask (chemical/physical)

-         Gel based mask

-         Powder mix mask

Choosing which mask will suite you will come down to your specific skincare concerns. For example, if your main concern is aging, you may benefit from an exfoliation mask with different alpha hydroxy acids, as well as hydrating sheet masks to boost the skin and avoid surface dehydration. A problematic skin may benefit from adding in a detoxification mask that includes clay or charcoal to pull impurities from the skin. There are many masks that are suitable for all skin types and these are often focused mainly on hydrating the skin and not using any form of exfoliation or medicated treatment.


1.      Clay and charcoal masks

Masks that are made up of different clays and charcoals are usually meant for detoxification and light exfoliation of the skin. These types of masks can create amazing shifts in any skin type, but especially an oily/problematic skin. For example, kaolin is an ancient clay that is often used in masks to gently clear congestion without being harsh on the skin’s barrier.

Something to note when using a clay or charcoal mask is to rarely let the mask sit and dry completely. Often times people decide to leave these masks on for far longer than is recommended and when done regularly, this can strip the barrier from natural oils and lead to inflammation and irritation. Use these masks on clean, dry skin and rinse off gently. Follow with serums and moisturizer to restore hydration and moisture in the skin.

2.      Hydrating Masks

Masks that are focused on hydration are often times found in gel, cream, or serum-based forms. These types of masks can be used more regularly than masks that are meant to exfoliate or detox the skin. Hydrating masks can also be left on the skin much longer then a clay or charcoal based one. This is because the mask is aimed at restoring the barrier of the skin and is not stripping. Some hydrating masks are even meant to be left on as an overnight sleeping mask.

3.      Exfoliation or medicated masks

These types of masks are typically meant to treat a skincare condition, whether it be acne, aging, dullness, etc. Often times these types of masks are formulated with alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, enzymes, or physical exfoliators. Similar to clay and charcoal masks, exfoliation masks should be used for only the recommended time. Masks of these nature are often overused in a skincare regime which is unnecessary exfoliation and can lead to a stripped barrier. As a rule of thumb, stick to using these types of masks 1-2x per week depending on the strength and potency of the individual formulation. Use on clean, dry skin and follow up with serums and moisturizer!

Clearly, there are many different masks to choose from and you may end up wanting to own a few different kinds. Masking is a great way to wind down and practice self-care on a regular basis, which is a beautiful thing!

I do recommend reaching out to your skin care specialist if you have any questions or concerns with masking. They can analyze your specific skin type and condition in order to achieve the best results.

Happy Masking!

Sarah Maxwell

Medical Aesthetician
Owner of Max + Well Skincare

Previous article Summer Skin Musts
Next article Benefits of Facial Mist