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No Masking the Facts! FAQs About Facemasks

Woman applying face maskPicture this: you’re finally taking some relaxation and self-care time you desperately need. You’re lounging on the couch or in your bathtub with your favorite beverage in hand, with calming music filling the room. Of course, you also have a refreshing facemask working its magic on your skin.

As much as we all love them, the simple fact is that face masks are misunderstood. There are people who try a mask once, hate it, and don’t try any others. There are even people who assume that masks are entirely ineffective.

Blasphemous, I know.

Fortunately for you, you have someone before you who loves facemasks in all their glory, so I’m here to answer all your questions.

Do face masks really work?

I’m starting with this one because it’s a biggy, and it’s probably the question I’ve heard most often.

Overall, the answer is yes, face masks do get results – within reason. Spending 20 minutes with clay on your face won’t make you look ten years younger. Heck, even spending 20 minutes in surgery won’t make you look ten years younger.

Proportionate to the amount of time and effort they require, though, face masks can do wonderful things for your skin.

The results all depend on the mask itself. Some are meant to remove blackheads and give your skin a deeper cleansing. Others focus on skin hydration (which happens to be my bread and butter amid this dry winter weather).

Do black masks really hurt that badly to remove?

We’ve all seen those videos: a beauty vlogger, or someone who fits that description very loosely, tries out a black mask to remove blackheads. They apply it and let it thicken, but when they go to remove it, they squeal and jump around from the pain.

First of all, it’s important to realize that black masks work differently than most facemasks. With most masks, you apply the product to your face and you use water to rinse it off after a certain amount of time.

A black mask, on the other hand, seeps into your pores and then solidifies into what feels like a thin sheet of stretchy plastic. When you pull it off your skin, it brings with it any debris and dirt that was inside your pores.

I’ll never claim to have tried every brand of black mask on the planet, but I can tell you this: I’ve tried quite a few brands and never once were any of them painful to remove.

The only pain I’ve had during this process was when I was a bit too free-handed with the mask and got it into my temple hair. So if you want pain-free black head removal, my advice is this: buy a black mask from a reputable skin care brand, and please, pull back your hair before you start.

How often should I use a facemask?

I’d love to be able to lay out the perfect skin care regimen for every person to get the best possible skin. Unfortunately, that’s the downside to all of us being unique and one-of-a-kind individuals: there is no single process that works for everyone.

That’s true with facemasks as well. Your use frequency should depend on the mask itself, how sensitive your skin is, and what your goals are.

Some facemasks, especially exfoliating masks or intensive anti-aging masks tend to be harsher on the skin so you should only use them once per week or so. Others are safe enough to use daily. In most cases, the mask will have some guidance on the label.

Can I use facemasks if I have sensitive skin?

People with sensitive skin are so used to being told “no, this isn’t for you” that sometimes we just jump to that assumption. The good news is that facemasks aren’t out of the question.

Of course, some are gentler on skin than others. It’s always a good idea to do your research and specifically shop for masks geared toward sensitive skin.

As with any other new skin care products, I’d also recommend starting with a test patch in an inconspicuous area. The area under my chin is my personal favorite.

Try any new mask on that test patch to see how your skin reacts. If you don’t see much or any redness, consider that to be a green light.

By far the best news for people with sensitive skin, though, is that there are actually masks that are meant to help your sensitivity. A calming mask can soothe redness and irritation, making your skin just as refreshed as you are when you indulge in a relaxing mask.

Harnessing That Mask Magic

We all know how important it is to do the basics of skin care: makeup removal, cleansing, and moisturizing. You can add as many other steps as you want depending on your goals, but face masks are the only skin products that require you to stop what you’re doing and relax for a few minutes while it works its magic.

There’s something to be said for a product that gives you a reason to take a break from your hectic life and take time for your own refreshment and well-being.

Now that you have all the answers to your burning questions about facemasks, you can go forth and put them to good use for some last-minute pre-holiday skin rehab.