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How to Apply Face Masks Correctly

Three Parts:Gathering MaterialsPrepping Your SkinApplying the Mask

Face masks are an easy and inexpensive way to perk up your skin and pamper yourself. Different types of masks can be purchased (or made at home) to accomplish many different skin benefits. In order to apply your mask effectively, you will first want to prep your skin, then carefully apply your mask. You will also want to gather the right materials. With just a little effort and time, you can have healthy, glowing skin.

Part 1
Gathering Materials

  1. 1
    Assess your skin. There are many types of masks on the market, and even more that you can make at home. First, look in the mirror and determine what you want your mask to accomplish. Are you aiming to hydrate your skin or to clear up oil? Do you want to get rid of breakouts or are you looking for an anti-aging product? Once you know what kind of mask (or masks) you need, you can find, or make, the right product.[1][2]
  2. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 1
    Prepare your mask. There are two routes you can take when using a mask product: purchasing a store-bought mask, or making a DIY mask at home. If you will be using a store-bought mask, read any preparation instructions and follow them. (Some clay masks, for example, require the addition of water or apple cider vinegar). If you will be using a homemade mask, gather all of your ingredients and follow the recipe.
    • Homemade masks can be made from egg whites, avocado, milk, oatmeal, and many other household products. Find a recipe that works for you.
    • Store-bought masks can be found for all manner of skin ailments and skin types. Read ingredient labels and find a mask that you’d like to use.[3]
  3. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 2
    Get a brush. Face masks are best applied with a soft-bristle brush, such as a paintbrush (normally used for art making) or a tint brush (normally used to apply hair dye). Invest in a brush that you will use for this purpose, and be sure to clean it when you are done.[4]
    • You will also need a bowl for your mask, and possibly a washcloth.
  4. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 3
    Cut some cucumber (optional). You may want to cut two very thin slices of cucumber to place over your eyes. This will relax your eye area and reduce any eye puffiness while your mask works.[5]
    • If you do not have any cucumber at home, slices of raw potato will work as well.[6]
  5. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 4
    Refrigerate your items. Keep all of these things in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. This is especially true if you are using perishable ingredients in your mask, but even if you are using a store-bought mask product, applying it cold can feel great and be good for your skin.[7]
    • For a cooling effect, place face mask in the refrigerator at least one hour prior to application.

Part 2
Prepping Your Skin

  1. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 5
    Wash your face. Before you apply your mask, be sure to cleanse your skin thoroughly. Using warm water and your favorite facial cleanser, remove any makeup, dirt, and oil. Do not apply moisturizer.[8]
  2. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 6
    Exfoliate. If it has been a while since you last exfoliated, it is a good idea to do so before you apply your mask. It removes the dead skin cells and helps your mask absorb better.
    • You can use a store-bough facial scrub, such as St. Ives Apricot Scrub.
    • Alternatively, you can mix a small bit of ground coffee or sugar into your face wash.
    • Apply the product to wet skin, gently scrub, and rinse with warm water.
  3. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 7
    Open your pores. Your mask will do the most good if open up your pores before applying it. The simplest way to do this is to take a hot shower before applying your mask.[9]
    • As an alternative, you can take a washcloth and dip it in hot water (as hot as your face can bear) and cover your face with the washcloth until it cools off.
    • A third option is to hold your face over a bowl of steaming water for 1-2 minutes.

Part 3
Applying the Mask

  1. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 8
    Apply the mask. Using a paintbrush (or another soft-bristled wide brush) apply the mask evenly to your face. If you do not have a brush, make sure your hands are clean before applying the mask. Be sure that the application of the product is even and smooth. Avoid going too close to your eyes or mouth, but don’t forget your neck![10]
  2. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 9
    Set cucumber slices on your eyes (optional). After applying the mask, set cucumber (or potato) slices on your eyes, if you are using them, and relax. You may want to switch off the light. It relaxes you better.[11]
  3. 3
    Set a timer and wait. The length of time you will leave on your mask will vary based on the type of mask you are using, and the type of skin you have. In general, 15 minutes is a good average for most masks. Set a timer for yourself and relax.[12]
    • If using a clay mask, do not wait for the clay to dry. Remove the mask while the clay is still slightly wet.[13]
    • If using a store-bought mask, read the instructions to know how long to leave it on.
  4. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 10
    Remove the mask. After the proper waiting time, use warm water and a washcloth to gently remove the mask. Be sure to gently wipe away the mask from around your hairline and under your chin.[14]
  5. Image titled Apply Face Masks Correctly Step 11
    Follow with a toner and a moisturizer. Use a cotton ball to apply toner to your face and neck. This shrinks your pores and locks in all the benefits of your mask. Finally, apply a bit of your favorite moisturizer.[15]
    • Avoid over-moisturizing, as this will clog your freshly-cleared pores.[16]


  • Splash cold water (not too cold) on your face after removing the mask. It helps close the pores and improve circulation.
  • If you are using a homemade mask, try to prepare a fresh batch every time you are pampering yourself.
  • Include essential oils in your mask for better nourishment.
  • Follow a face mask routine after a manicure so that your nail beds are clean in case you are using your hands.


  • Clay masks should not be allowed to dry completely on the face because they can lead to wrinkles and fine lines. Also, the clay starts to absorb the moisture from the skin as it gets completely dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Your DIY face mask / product
  • Brush / Applicator
  • Washcloth
  • Cucumber / Potato
  • Toner/Moisturizer

Article Info

Categories: Skin Care