How to apply different face masks

Face masks can be effective and help certain skin conditions/different skin types. Using face masks alongside a regular skincare routine can help maintain healthy skin. Face masks can address specific skin concerns, such as dehydrated skin, clogged pores or oily skin and impurities. However, for maximum results, it is crucial to apply them correctly. This section will include guidance on applying different types of face masks correctly.

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Why is it important to apply face masks correctly?

Applying face masks correctly is important to get the most out of a product and the best results. Leaving a face mask on for too long can sometimes strip all the oil from your skin and dry skin out, causing skin irritation. Leaving it on for less time than required can make it ineffective. Knowing how to apply a face mask hygienically and evenly is also important, so you avoid spreading dirt to the face and achieve maximum results.

When is the best time to apply a face mask?

Face masks should be used after cleansing, on a clean face. This is vital, as it ensures you’re not applying a face mask over bacteria and dirt. If you are using an overnight mask, these should be used as the last product in your skincare routine.

face masks

The best way to apply a face mask

How you apply a face mask varies, depending on the type of face mask you use and whether you choose to apply it with a brush or bare hand. However, certain steps are relevant to all types of face masks, which are the following:

  1. Clean your face with a cleanser before using any face mask
  2. Apply the face mask in a thin, even layer
  3. Always read the product instructions on whether you need to massage the product in
  4. Depending on the product instructions, you should leave it on for between five to twenty minutes
  5. Rinse with warm water or peel off, depending on the mask
  6. Follow with a moisturiser

How to apply a face mask with a brush

Applying face masks can sometimes be messy. Using a clean brush can be a good solution for a neater application. A brush can also make it easier to control how much product you are putting on the face. Before applying, you should always ensure the application brush is clean to avoid spreading dirt onto the face. Gently apply the face mask to the face using downwards strokes until the coverage is even.

mud mask

What is the best brush to use for applying a face mask?

You should use a clean brush that is flat and small enough to allow for precise, even coverage. Old or damaged brushes are likely to create less neat coverage.

How to apply a face mask without a brush

Applying a face mask without a brush can be less hygienic; however, there are things you can do to ensure you do it correctly. Firstly, never apply a mask with dirty hands. Applying a face mask on a dirty face or using dirty hands is pointless. Next, gently apply the face mask with your hands, ensuring it is spread evenly across the face. Many face masks will only require a light layer, as it is often the case that a small amount goes a long way. Applying too much of a face mask can sometimes result in dry skin. Applying a face mask in front of a mirror is advised, so that you can pay attention to the coverage.

Here is our guide to applying different types of face masks:

How to apply a gel face mask

Gel masks are often infused with collagen and antioxidants, so they're perfect for intensive skin recovery. When using a gel mask, spread an even amount over your face using your fingertips or a brush. Avoid getting gel masks in your eyes or on your lips.

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How to apply a peel-off face mask

A peel-off face mask is a great solution for clogged pores and dead skin. Peel-off masks nourish and moisturise the skin, as well as exfoliating, removing dead skin and blackheads. In front of a mirror, gently apply the face mask evenly, using a brush or your hands. Leave on the skin for at least fifteen to twenty minutes.

Do you suffer from clogged pores? Read our guide to the best face masks for minimising pores.

How to apply a sheet mask

Firstly, remove the sheet mask from its packaging and unfold it without tearing. Line up the mask with your face shape, eyes, nose, and mouth. Next, gently press the mask to the form of your face until it’s sticking evenly. Ensure you leave it on the approximate length of time stated, which is likely to be anywhere from five to twenty minutes.

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How to apply an activated charcoal or clay mask

A black face mask such as a charcoal, clay or mud mask is ideal for getting rid of dirt and toxins on the skin, helping to treat blackheads. After cleansing, dip your fingertips into the mask, scooping out a quarter-sized amount. Spread the charcoal mask evenly across your face, starting at your upper neck and working your way up to your face. Avoid your lips and eyes.

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How to apply an overnight mask

Sleeping masks work as a barrier and a sealant, trapping in moisture throughout the night. The beneficial ingredients help to keep the skin hydrated. You should apply an overnight mask after completing your normal skincare routine, on a clean face. Smooth the overnight mask in a thin layer over your face as you would with a normal moisturising cream. Avoid your eyes and lips.

How to apply a face mask evenly

To apply a face mask evenly, you should use a mirror so you can see how heavily and whereabouts you’re applying the mask. Ensure you apply the mask everywhere, avoiding the eyes and lips.

Should you apply a face mask before or after a shower?

If you are using a deep cleansing mask such as those made from charcoal, you can achieve a better cleansing experience by using the mask after a shower. Showering before you apply a face mask allows your pores to open up from the warm water and steam, which also prepares your skin for a deeper cleansing experience.

With other types of masks such as a moisturising or hydrating mask, incorporating face masks into your shower routine can be timesaving. If you have drier skin, you may benefit more from applying your mask before taking a shower. This helps to seal in the moisture from your mask and the shower. However, you are unable to see if you have evenly applied the mask in the shower, which can sometimes impact the results.

Can you apply a face mask every day?

It is generally not advised to use a face mask every day; however, most hydrating versions can be used daily. Products with exfoliating, detoxifying or anti-ageing properties should be used more sparingly.

How often should you apply a face mask?

This depends on the type of face mask. Most face masks can be used up to three times a week. However, you should always read the instructions to ensure you don’t use it too often.

Should you apply moisturiser after a face mask?

Experts advise always using a moisturiser or moisturising serum after a face mask. By creating a physical barrier on the skin, facial moisturizer helps prevent water loss and seals in active ingredients. This allows you to see better results and keep the effects of the face mask for longer.

You can shop our range of moisturisers here.

face cream

Common mistakes when applying a face mask

  • Skipping cleansing your skin before using one

Cleansing the skin is a vital stage of applying a facial mask, as it prepares the skin by ensuring it is clean and free from excess dirt.

  • You use a mask without taking your skin type into account.

Before using any face mask, you should always ensure it is the right one for your skin concern or skin type. You can read our guide to choosing the right face mask for your skin type or concern here.

  • You apply a mask with dirty hands.

Even if you think your hands are clean, you should always wash them before applying a face mask. We can have dirt and bacteria on our hands without knowing it, so you should try and prevent spreading it to your face.

  • Using too much of the product.

Often with face masks, a moderate amount is more effective than applying it heavily. Heavy application can be too much for the skin and can cause side effects such as drying.

  • You forget to moisturise after.

Moisturising after is important, particularly if you have used a cleansing or exfoliating mask. Face masks can often dry out the skin a little bit to unclog pores, so moisturising keeps the skin hydrated.

  • You forget to use them consistently.

Instead of using a face mask before an event or special occasion, try and implement them into your skincare routine. Experts recommend using face masks up to three times a week, depending on the mask.

Related content: Choosing face masks for different types of skin