Face Masks – A Primer For Beginners

    Face masks for the skin are a staple of any woman’s skincare routine. Look through her medicine cabinet or vanity drawers are you are sure to find a tube or jar of some sort of clay-like looking substance, or perhaps a sticky-looking gel. Or perhaps you’ve seen your spouse, sister, or mother walking around with a green face. What is the point behind this, other than to look like a cracking ancient Roman statue?

    Face masks do indeed serve a purpose! Some masks have specific purposes, while others are more all-purpose. Those sticky looking gel masks are for overall soothing of the skin; they do not really clear out blemishes like the more-popular clay masks, but rather soften and even out the tone of your skin. For this reason they are good to use before dates and other big events. Many contain honey, a touch of citrus and aloe, along with the sticky properties that allow the mask to dry and be peeled off.

    Clay masks are for drawing out blemishes, particularly blackheads. They can be made of a variety of different clay, but French clay (which is green) and kaolin clay are the most common types. Rosemary oil, aloe, menthol and mint are also popular ingredients for these masks. The masks are best applied in the evening before bed, since they can make your skin mildly red after use. n95 mask

    Both masks should be applied to clean, slightly damp skin. They are both ready for removal after 15 to 30 minutes, but can be worn longer (although their benefits tend to plateau at the 30 minute mark, unless the mask is a clay variety containing menthol).

    These two types of masks can be used in conjunction with each other if you wish, but never one right after the other. IT is best to use the clay mask one night, and then the peel-off mask can be used prior to your big event the following day. Be sure to moisturize well after removing both types of masks. Using a moisturizer that contains alpha or beta-hydroxy acid, or retinol, after removing the clay mask will complement the pore-clearing properties of the mask very nicely. These acids can get deeper into your pores, ensuring that dirt that the masks missed is further dispersed.

    Clay masks containing menthol can also be used for spot treatments. If you have a large blemish, then dabbing the menthol-containing clay onto the blemish and leaving it there overnight will aid in decreasing the size of it.

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