All About Beauty Masks

Stroll down any drugstore aisle, and you'll find beauty masks that promise everything from intense hydration to clearing your complexion. They can be effective, whether you buy them or make them from everyday ingredients.

What Beauty Masks Do

Beauty masks give your skin an intense treatment in a 10-30 minute period of time. Based on their composition, most masks are designed to do one or more of the following:

  • Exfoliate
  • Hydrate/Moisturize
  • Clean and Remove Toxins/Blemishes

Most masks are applied as a gooey compound that will harden on your face. This hardening helps improve your skin's blood circulation, which is why your face tends to glow after removing the mask.  

Choosing the Right One for You

Whether you decide to buy or make your own beauty mask, it's important to choose the right formula because the wrong one can irritate or over-dry your skin. Just as with any other treatment, you should spot test a mask for any allergic reaction before applying to your whole face. Masks usually break down into the following categories:

  • Mud and Clay masks absorb excess oil and tighten the skin
  • Gel and Green Tea masks exfoliate skin and are good choices for sensitive skin
  • Honey, glycerin, or oil-based masks are good for dry skin
  • Masks containing tea tree oil, zinc, guggul, or brewer's yeast can help clear up acne-prone skin

Making a Home Mask

Store-bought masks can be pricey, and you can get the similar results by creating your own masks at home. Recipes for these abound, but here are some recommended ingredients by skin type:

  • Oily or Acne-Prone Skin: Eggs, milk of magnesia, clay, mud, mint, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, brewer's yeast, zinc
  • Dry Skin: Almond or olive oil, lavender, jasmine, castor oil, cedarwood
  • Sensitive Skin: Yogurt, milk, cucumber, chamomile, geranium, rosewood

Tips for Using Beauty Masks

  • Wash your face before applying
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how long to leave the mask on your face. For homemade masks, don't exceed 30 minutes.
  • Avoid your eye area, but be sure to apply the mask to your neck
  • When using a hardening mask,  keep your face as still as possible after applying
  • Don't apply a mask more than once a week
  • Be careful when combining masks with other treatments  so you don't over-dry, add too much oil, or irritate your skin