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How to Use a Face Mask: 10 Mistakes You Should Stop Making

The game is changed when you learn how to mask correctly.
May 29, 2023

Using a face mask as part of your regular skin care routine could be beneficial for your skin — that is, if you’re using it correctly. Face masks can address specific skin care concerns such as dullness or excess oil, and they can make for a great self-care experience. But, there are a few common mistakes you may be making that could be interfering with you getting the most out of your face mask. 

Ahead, we’re answering the question — how often should I use a face mask? — by sharing common face mask mistakes to avoid, when to use a face mask in your routine and how to use a face mask the right way. 

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1. You Don’t Tailor Your Mask to Your Skin Type 

Chances are, you pick a face serum based on your unique skin type and concerns — and that’s exactly how you should go about picking a face mask, too. Don’t go for any face mask just because you’ve heard people talking about it, choose one that suits your skin type for the best results. 

Hydrating Masks

If you have dry skin, a hydrating, overnight mask, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Overnight Mask can minimize the appearance of dry patches while boosting radiance. This one includes a blend of retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to visibly reduce wrinkles, firm and brighten skin, while boosting resilience and radiance.

Clay Masks

If you have oily skin, you might want to make a mattifying face mask, like the L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask your go-to. The formula contains purifying charcoal to detox the skin of dirt, oils, pollution and build-up that can lead to clogged pores and dullness.

2. You Apply Your Face Mask to Unwashed Skin

You’ll always want to apply a face mask to clean, dry skin, so make sure to cleanse your skin first and pat it dry before you reach for your mask. Otherwise, you could be layering a face mask on top of dirt and bacteria, which can lead to congestion and irritation. If you’re wondering if you should wash your face after a face mask, focus on rinsing the skin clean —  you shouldn’t need soap. 

3. You Apply Your Mask With Dirty Hands

It’s so important that your face is clean before applying a face mask, but it’s also just as important to have clean hands. You don’t want to transfer oils or bacteria from your hands to your face, so, don’t smooth a face mask on with your fingers unless you’ve given your hands an extra thorough cleansing first. For a hygienic and mess-free way to apply a face mask, try using a flat spatula or a face cleanser brush — which some will argue is the best way to apply a face mask.

4. You Use Too Much Product

As with many other skin care products, when it comes to face masks, less is often more. A super thick layer won’t result in a more effective masking session because it’s more important to get a thin, even layer of product. Overall, it’s good practice to follow the directions on the package of the specific mask you’re using because for some masks, the directions may recommend applying a dime-sized dollop, and for others, it may be a quarter-sized amount.

5. You Don’t Trim Your Sheet Masks

More often than not, sheet masks won't perfectly fit the shape of your face. Instead of using the face mask as is, you can make it a better fit to avoid bubbles or uncovered areas on your skin by grabbing a pair of scissors and snipping off any excess. 

6. You Only Mask While You’re Awake

It’s easy to assume that you have to be awake to use a face mask, but that isn’t quite the case. While you shouldn’t snooze while wearing a clay mask, there are other masks that are meant to be worn overnight. If you want to work on your complexion while you’re getting your beauty sleep, try using the aforementioned L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Overnight Mask. When you wake up, the skin feels hydrated and soft, which is sure to make for a more pleasant morning.

7. You Leave Your Mask on for Too Long 

Alternatively, if a mask isn’t meant to be worn overnight, be mindful of that. It can be easy to let your thoughts drift during a self-care moment — and before you know it, quite a bit of time has passed after you’ve applied your face mask. 

Unfortunately, leaving a mask on for an extended time won’t ensure it works better. In fact, if the mask has active ingredients, like alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs), leaving it on too long can lead to irritation. Always follow the time instructions on the packaging and if you think you might forget, set a timer on your phone.

8. You Don’t Moisturize After Masking 

Moisturizer is just such an important step in every skin care routine. We can’t stress enough how essential it is that you don’t skip it, especially after masking. Remember that masks usually provide an extra boost to your skin, but they don’t always replace other steps in your routine. Once you’ve rinsed off your face mask, apply a lightweight moisturizer, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic Acid + Ceramides Line-Plumping Water Cream to soothe the skin and lock in moisture.

9. You Don’t Use Face Masks Regularly 

You don’t have to reserve face masks for special occasions. Depending on which one you’re enjoying, your complexion might benefit from using it a few times a week. There’s no set number for how often you can use a face mask because it will vary from formula to formula. Always check the directions on the packaging to inform your answer.

10. You Haven’t Tried Multi-Masking 

If you’re limiting yourself to using one mask at a time, you may want to rethink that. Multi-masking — applying different face masks to different areas of your face at the same time — allows you to address the nuanced skin care needs throughout your complexion. 

Consider what skin concerns you have, then pick your face masks accordingly. For example, if you have combination skin, apply a clay mask to your oily T-zone, and a hydrating mask to any dry areas you might have. This way you’re getting more customized results out of your skin pampering session. 

Next: How to Use the Age Perfect Cell Renewal System In Your Day and Nighttime Skin Care Routines

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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