Here’s all you need to know about face masks in skincare

Clay mask? Sheet mask? Bubble Mask? What's the difference? Let’s start by highlighting the fact that sheet masks shouldn’t replace face masks. Both types of mask help infuse your skin with different properties, taking care of its unique needs. Yes, it might seem like there’s too much out there, and how would you know which mask would work best for you? Let’s dive into the basics of using masks in your skincare routine and outline all the different types out there. Welcome to your 101 on the wondrous world of face masks.


Before we get into it, remember that step one of using face masks in your skincare routine is cleansing your skin. Use your favourite cleanser liberally to help prepare your skin for maximum absorption of the nutrients and active ingredients from the mask.


1. What is the basic difference between a sheet and a face mask?

The idea behind a sheet mask is that the sheet’s material helps trap active ingredients on the skin, ensuring your face receives all the benefits from said ingredients and allowing the product to penetrate the skin even deeper. It’s primarily a hydrator, but there are plenty of sheet masks out there that also provide lift and help prevent blemishes or fine lines. You’ve probably seen terms like hydrogel, bio-cellulose, cupro fibre and microfibre out and about; these types of sheets provide even more juice – or serum – to the skin than cotton does, and are easier to shape to the contours of your face. Face masks usually contain a type of clay in order to dry hard onto the skin, which functions as a slight exfoliation treatment. Think of the sheet mask as a potent, concentrated layer of active ingredients – a much higher concentration –  and the topical face mask as a helpful tool to exfoliate the skin and cleanse on a deeper level.


2. What to look for if I have oily skin?

Well, then your friend is any purifying (clay) mask that contains kaolin clay, salicylic acid or tea tree oil. All three are well known for their ability to deliver beneficial and purifying properties to acne-prone and drawing out excess oil. A nutrient-rich mud like our Charcoal Wonder Mask helps to cleanse congested pores and draw out impurities with a so-called ‘capillary action’, which allows it to naturally absorb sebum and grime from the skin. Salicylic acid, sister to the well-known exfoliating ingredient AHA, works deeper than AHA and can penetrate into the pores to unclog them. The deeper it can get into the skin, the better it can work its magic. Finally, tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic ingredient that helps prevent clogged pores by drawing out oils. 


3. What ingredients work best for anti-ageing effects?

You should look for masks containing restorative complexes and natural antioxidants like vitamin C and E, retinol, and Niacinamide – nature’s best fighters against free radicals and premature signs of ageing. For example, our Glow sheet mask is soaked with an anti-ageing serum that provides a rich infusion of moisture for deeply hydrated and ultra-smooth skin. Or, go for face masks with peptides or ceramides on the ingredient list, as these are well known for their plumping effects and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


4. What should I look for if I want a healthy glow and more radiance?

Vitamin C, kojic acid, ginseng and Niacinamide can help brighten and revitalise your complexion by blocking the overproduction of melanin, reducing dark spots and improving radiance. One other hero for dull-looking skin is the leave-on gentle exfoliating giant that is AHA. By lightly buffing the skin and removing skin cell build-up, AHAs help restore your beautiful glow. If you have our wonderful AHA Glow mask, remember that the trick is to massage the mask into the skin until it turns into a white texture, then you know it’s working!


5. What if I need more hydration?

Hyaluronic acid is very good at holding and pulling water into the skin – just what the doctor ordered for your dry complexion. The Ritual of Namaste Hydrating Bio Cellulose sheet mask is infused with a moisturising serum based on hyaluronic acid, which helps to replenish dehydrated skin with a single mask application and encourages the skin's natural recovery process. Any face mask that contains Niacinamide – or vitamin B3 – is also a great choice if you're looking to boost your moisture levels. Niacinamide produces ceramides, which increases hydration, retains water and keeps the skin barrier strong. For the younger complexions out there, try our ultra-fun The Ritual of Holi rubber mask to give your skin the moisture boost and radiance it deserves. The mix-it-yourself formula (powder and paste) seals in moisture for a glowing complexion; serving as the ultimate skin detox that gently rids your skin of impurities, restores elasticity, and smoothes out its surface.


6. How often should I use a face mask?

Unlike the regular, deeply exfoliating topical masks – which you should only use once or twice a week – sheet masks can be used daily if you like. Deep cleanses or exfoliating treatments will only remove too much of your complexion’s natural oils and create a deficit or unbalance in your skin if used too often. Make sure to wash and cleanse the skin beforehand to allow the face mask’s product to truly sink in.


7. How long should I leave it on?

Make sure to follow the instructions, you don't want to let a sheet mask start to dry because this might actually draw moisture back out from the skin. Don’t wash your face after using a sheet mask but massage the excess product into the skin to not miss out on the benefits of those gorgeous and potent actives. The same applies to your topical face mask. It’s essential to not let a clay mask dry too much. You might think this signifies the mask is done working its magic, but it really just means that the skin underneath the plaster shell is dried out too.


8. What about face mask after-care?

Clay or mud masks do need to be washed off, but you don’t need to use a cleanser. Follow it up with a thin layer of moisturiser designed for your skin type. This can help keep your skin hydrated, maximising the full effects of your mask. The same goes for a sheet mask, you could add even more hydration with a night cream, but the excess product from the sheet already adds a big surge of moisture to your face.


Time to plan your home spa day treatment, enjoy!