Do Facial Masks Work?
The short answer is YES, and they are a great addition to any skin care regimen. The thing to remember is that a mask is a way to deliver active ingredients to your skin. So, the real answer to this question depends on what type of results you want. As a side note, a significant benefit of using masks is that they help your other skin care products work even better!
When using a mask, we have some favorite active ingredients.
All skin types require moisture — this is what humectants bring to your skin. Humectants are cosmetic ingredients that absorb water and help the skin retain moisture. They also play an important role in assisting other ingredients to perform better. Our favorite humectant is sodium hyaluronate. Other popular humectants include vegetable glycerin and sorbitol.
The primary role of a moisturizer is to smooth and soften the skin by increasing its water content and preventing the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface. Our favorite moisturizers are olive squalane and shea butter (we prefer shea butter ethyl esters for their superior performance). Another popular moisturizer is cocoa butter.
The right oils can keep your skin moisturized, smooth, healthy, and glowing. Oils often get a bad rap for clogging pores and leaving an oily residue, and this just is not the case. Many people fear that adding oil to their skin, especially oily skin, will just make it oilier, but the right oil(s) will actually keep you clear by regulating sebum production. There are so many great oils to consider here, so we will just mention some of our favorites: avocado oil, jojoba oil, hemp seed oil, argan oil and safflower oil.
Clays are a common ingredient in masks because they help remove skin cells and have purifying and detoxifying properties that help revive dullness and heal skin. Our favorite clays are kaolin clay and bentonite clay. Other popular clays are French green clay and red clay.
Not to be confused with clays, muds are natural materials typically from freshwater sediments or forests that spread easily — they are rich in fatty acids and provides nourishment — regular use imparts freshness, firmness, and uniformity to the skin. Our favorite mud is Pelavie’s Black Silt from Northern Europe. Other popular muds are volcanic mud and black mud from Canada.
Antioxidants protect skin by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage your skin. They also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and inflammation. Our favorite antioxidants are green tea extract, licorice root extract, vitamin c (we prefer 3-0 ethyl ascorbic acid due to its stability and superior performance). Other popular antioxidants include coffee berry, resveratrol, and grape seed.
Antimicrobials help control the bacteria on the skin's surface and inside the follicles. They are also known to have an anti-inflammatory effect, decreasing the redness and swelling associated with acne. Our favorite antimicrobials for acne are willow bark, turmeric, and apple cider vinegar (we prefer non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar such as Bragg's due to its superior performance). Other popular antimicrobials for acne are baking soda, lemon juice, and coconut oil.