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Facial Masks Basics


Do we really need facial masks?

Well, even the most thorough, comprehensive skincare routines need a little help now and then -- and that's where a weekly mask can come in.

Facial masks can do everything from nix pimples to add moisture to refine texture.

Here, the lowdown on the basic types of masks:

Purifying or Oil-Control Mask

What it does: This type of mask usually contains kaolin, or clay, an ingredient that actually pulls impurities (such as plugs in pores and dirt) from the skin.

Other ingredients commonly found in purifying masks include sulfur and benzoyl peroxide, both acne-fighters.

How to use it: Apply mask to dry, freshly washed skin and allow to dry -- it may begin to feel hard as it does so.

Rinse with warm water.

Tip: If you suffer from blackheads, apply a pore-cleansing strip right after your mask.

You'll be able to extract more plugs.

Best for: Oily, blemish-prone skin

Hydrating Mask

What it does: Masks labeled hydrating do just that: They hydrate, or add moisture, to the skin.

Ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and plant oils actually pull water to the surface of the skin and hold it there.

How to use it: Many hydrating masks come in a gel or cream form.

Apply to clean skin and allow to sit for up to 20 minutes.

Either rinse or tissue off (these masks don't generally harden thanks to their moisturizing ingredients).

Best for: Chronically dry skin

Refining Mask

What it does: Refining masks contain sloughing ingredients, such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, or exfoliating grains.

These ingredients help to whisk away dead skin cells and reveal brighter, flake-free skin.

How to use it: Use depends on the ingredients.

In most cases, apply the mask to clean skin and allow to remain on for 10 to 20 minutes.

If your mask contains physical exfoliants, the package directions may suggest massaging it into skin after you've allowed it to set.

Best for: Flaky, not-too-sensitive skin that's dry or oily. Well, even the most thorough, comprehensive skincare routines need a little help now and then -- and that's where a weekly mask can come in.

Facial masks can do everything from nix pimples to add moisture to refine texture.

Here, the lowdown on the basic types of masks:

Purifying or Oil-Control Mask

What it does: This type of mask usually contains kaolin, or clay, an ingredient that actually pulls impurities (such as plugs in pores and dirt) from the skin.

Other ingredients commonly found in purifying masks include sulfur and benzoyl peroxide, both acne-fighters.

How to use it: Apply mask to dry, freshly washed skin and allow to dry -- it may begin to feel hard as it does so.

Rinse with warm water.

Tip: If you suffer from blackheads, apply a pore-cleansing strip right after your mask.

You'll be able to extract more plugs.

Best for: Oily, blemish-prone skin

Hydrating Mask

What it does: Masks labeled hydrating do just that: They hydrate, or add moisture, to the skin.

Ingredients like aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, and plant oils actually pull water to the surface of the skin and hold it there.

How to use it: Many hydrating masks come in a gel or cream form.

Apply to clean skin and allow to sit for up to 20 minutes.
Either rinse or tissue off (these masks don't generally harden thanks to their moisturizing ingredients).
Best for: Chronically dry skin

Refining Mask

What it does: Refining masks contain sloughing ingredients, such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, or exfoliating grains.

These ingredients help to whisk away dead skin cells and reveal brighter, flake-free skin.

How to use it: Use depends on the ingredients.

In most cases, apply the mask to clean skin and allow to remain on for 10 to 20 minutes.

If your mask contains physical exfoliants, the package directions may suggest massaging it into skin after you've allowed it to set.

Best for: Flaky, not-too-sensitive skin that's dry or oily.
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