There’s no shortage of face masks lining the shelves of your local store, but seeking out the best formula for your specific skin type can feel a lot like the beauty equivalent of Goldilocks and the Three Bears—one is too drying, another leaves your skin too oily. How many more jars will you have to try until you find one that’s just right? To help take the guesswork out of the skincare aisle, we compiled a list of the most-popular face mask formulas, the differences between each, and how to tell which ones are best for your complexion. Read on to get all the details.
Chances are, the very first face mask you ever used was of the mud family. When your favorite acne-killing treatment just isn’t cutting it, a mud mask will help draw out any excess oil, dirt, as well as general impurities. They’re ideal for oily skin types, but won’t leave your complexion completely parched if it happens to be on the drier side. Available in packs or you can use everybody’s favorite skin treatment- multani matti.
Similar to mud masks, clay masks are also fantastic at removing unwanted oil from your skin and killing acne-causing bacteria, but tend to be slightly more drying, so heed our warning if you need that extra bit of moisture. If excess shine is an issue for you, 10 to 15 minutes wearing clay mask once a week will help to keep it under control.
If you’ve ever wished you had a blackhead strip that could cover your entire face, then a peel-off mask is for you. Available in formulas catering to just about any skin issue imaginable, these masks stimulate circulation to give your complexion a more toned appearance overall. They’re typically lightweight gels that dry to a film-like consistency, so you’ll want to let it dry completely after covering your face to ensure the best results. After all the wet areas have disappeared, grab a corner, then peel the mask off either in one sweep (if possible) or individual sections. The peeling motion clears out anything clogging your pores, so if you’re prone to the occasional black or whitehead, you’ll be seriously satisfied once you’re through.
Consider a cream mask to be your favorite moisturizer working overtime. These ultra-rich formulas are packed with ingredients to soften and hydrate skin, making them ideal for mature, dry, or irritated complexions in particular. Because a little extra time wearing a cream mask can only do good, there isn’t really a set limit to how long you should leave one on, and you can even opt for an overnight version if you’re really going for that Sleeping Beauty vibe.
Like a cream mask, gel formulations are perfect for soothing irritation and raising your moisture levels, but are much more lightweight. The range of issues that can be tackled are vast, spanning from anti-aging to acne, and oily skin types that find cream versions too heavy will love the airy texture. Benefits of a gel mask are pretty comparable to those of a sheet mask without the slipping and sliding of the biocellulose layer, and even better, you’ll clearly get more than one use out of them. Unlike a sheet mask, however, gel formulas will have to be rinsed off, otherwise things can get sticky.