Facial Masks

The Way To Treat Dry, Dehydrated, Sensitive or Oily Skin

facial mask
••• A facial mask can soothe, nourish, hydrate or help clarify the skin. Getty Images/Rachel Weill

A facial mask takes place after cleansing, skin analysis, exfoliation, extractions and massage during a professional facial.  Facial masks treat your particular skin type or condition.  If you're dry or dehydrated, the facial mask should hydrate your skin. If your skin is red or inflamed, the mask should calm and soothe. If your skin is oily and congested, the facial mask can help draw out impurities from the skin.

Facial masks generally stay on your skin for 10-15 minutes and contain ingredients like clay, black moor mud, aloe vera, seaweed, algae, essential oils, massage oils, herbs and vitamins.  After the mask has done its work, the esthetician removes it and completes the facial with application of toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, lip balm and if it's day-time, sunscreen.

One sign of a good facial is when the esthetician stays in the room with you during the facial mask, giving you a scalp massage or some other service that enhances your experience. If she says, "Just lie here, relax and I'll be back in ten minutes", she's basically taking a break at your expense. Don't pay good money to lay there by yourself.

What Can Facial Masks Do For Your Skin?

A face mask is intended to treat your particular skin condition so it's important to choose the right one. If you're using a professional skin care line, the esthetican can usually recommend a facial mask for you to use at home, but sometimes they are for professional use only.

 

Depending on their ingredients, masks can tighten and tone, hydrate, nourish, draw out impurities, help blemishes heal, calm and soothe, and rejuvenate the skin.  

There are a few different types of masks.  Clay masks help draw oil and dirt to the surface of the skin. They contain clay, kaolin or bentonite for their tightening and sebum-absorbing effects.

 Cream masks or gel masks are formulated to hydrate and nourish the skin.  Setting masks harden into a rubbery state and esthetician peels them off at the end. These are cool and refreshing masks, but not that common because they're tricky to work with.

Can I Make My Own Facial Mask?

Absolutely! Fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, honey, and eggs have been used for centuries as home beauty remedies. They are fun to experiment with, and you won't find them in a spa setting because of convenience and sanitation. But use organic ingredients. You don't want to put pesticides on your face.

Here are some of the most common ingredients for a home-made face mask and their benefits:

  • Cucumbers -- Cooling, soothing and healing. The classic at-home eye pad. Or you can peel cucumber and put it in a blender with some other ingredients.
  • Avocado - rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E and oil. A good choice for dry and sensitive skin.
  • Honey - Has hydrating, toning and tightening effects.
  • Papaya - Contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme that dissolves the dead outer layer of the skin. Don't use if your skin is already irritated or sunburned.
  • Eggs - Egg whites tighten and tone the skin.
  • Yogurt - Contains natural lactic acid, which helps exfoliate the skin. It can be used alone as skin softening face mask and is appropriate for all skin types.
  • Potatoes - Use thin slices for oily skin or to reduce under-eye puffiness.
  • Herbs - Herbs and teas such as chamomile (soothing) can be used as ingredients for face masks and compresses.