You may have read articles about determining your skin type and came away more confused than when you started. While some people have skin that is clearly oily, dry, or normal, many have combination skin or skin that changes its type with the seasons. In addition, you might have oily skin that is prone to rashes, dry skin that is developing wrinkles, or any combination of issues. Multi-masking (that is, using various facial masks to combat different problems) can help you to make the most of your skin type and take control of any issues you’re having.
Mastering the Art of Multi-Masking
Whenever multi-masking, you will want to start with clean skin, so always wash your face with a mild cleanser before applying anything else. After that, the sky’s the limit! In general, multi-masking is done by applying different types of masks to different areas of your face. For example, you might apply a clay mask to your nose and forehead to control oil, an exfoliating mask to your cheeks to combat flaking, and serum under your eyes.
You might also apply a lip mask at the same time. Other times, masks can be layered, but this only works for masks that are light and tend to soak into the skin. You would not apply a mud mask over a peel-off gel mask (or vice versa), for example! You also want to be careful not to mix ingredients that could irritate alone, as when you mix them, they can become even more potent.
If you are new to multi-masking, it is best to apply the different masks to different parts of your face to avoid any issues. Be sure to take note of how long you should leave the mask on. Some ingredients can be irritating if left too long. For example, if you use a mask with bentonite clay for oily skin, you should rinse it off when the bottle says to; leaving it on too long could lead to dryness, which paradoxically leads to even more oil production.
Masks for Oily Skin
If part of your face is oily (often the t-zone, which is the forehead and nose and, in some people, the chin), you might want to use a mask in those areas that can help control the excess sebum production. Again, you could invest in an oily skin face mask for this, or you can make your own. Bentonite clay and activated charcoal are examples of ingredients to look for that can soak up some of that oil and deep-clean your pores.
If you prefer to make your own, there is a wide range of ingredients you could use that you probably have in your kitchen. For example, honey is a good antibacterial agent that can help if you are prone to acne breakouts. Brown sugar makes a good and gentle exfoliant. Yogurt is soothing, and citrus fruits can help cut down bacteria. Oatmeal is another ingredient that can absorb oil while soothing areas where acne might be breaking out.
Masks for Dry Skin
If you have dry skin on other areas of your face (often the cheeks and jawline, as well as between the eyebrows), you might notice flakiness or tightness. When it comes to dry skin, hydration is the name of the game. Adding plenty of moisture back into your dry skin will make it look and feel better. Dry skin face masks containing healthy fats and plant extracts can often be very hydrating. First and foremost, search for one specifically formulated for dry skin. Some ingredients to look for may include (but not limited to):
- Shea butter
- Cocoa butter
- Rosehip oil
- Egg extract
Hyaluronic acid is also good for maintaining hydration and can act as an exfoliant too. Making your own? Avocado is an excellent hydration booster. Honey is soothing, and olive oil helps thirsty, dry skin to feel better. Papaya is great for helping to relieve the dullness caused by dry, flaking skin.
Masks for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive or inflamed skin can take on many different forms, depending on whether it is dry or oily. Oily skin often has acne breakouts, which can feel hot and painful. Dry skin might be more prone to eczema. Any skin can have rosacea or psoriasis, all of which are inflammatory. Then there is your run-of-the-mill sensitive skin, which might feel itchy, tight, inflamed, or painful for any reason or no reason at all.
If you have sensitive or inflamed skin, consider using a soothing and protective face mask once per week at first. Those made with cucumber or aloe vera gel are great for inflammation and redness. You will probably find them cool and soothing; you can keep them in the refrigerator for even more relief. Witch hazel and chamomile are other ingredients that can settle down red and irritated skin.
When looking around your own kitchen, yogurt and oatmeal are soothing and can be used on sensitive skin. The tannic acid in green tea is good for inflamed skin; you can steep the tea bags and either apply the bags themselves or use the tea once it is cooled down. Coconut oil and kefir are other ingredients that you might not have at home, but you can pick them up at your grocery store or health food store and use them on inflamed, sensitive skin.
Remove your mask by rinsing with lukewarm water (after peeling it off if you have used a peel-off mask). Once your face is completely cleared of the mask, you should apply your moisturizer and, if desired, makeup. Moisturizer is an important part of the process, as it will be able to soak into your pores and maintain your skin’s hydration.
Even if you have oily skin, you should moisturize each day. Look for one that is non-comedogenic (will not clog your pores) for best results. Apply masks only once or twice each week unless you have been advised otherwise by your dermatologist or skincare technician. The nice thing about multi-masking is that you have many chances to see what works best, so you will be on your way to a beautiful complexion in no time!