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Self-Care at Home: A Guide to Types of Face Masks

BY: Editorial Staff | Feb 21, 2019

When you're staying in, indulge in one of these soothing face masks

Picture this: it's a Sunday evening. Netflix is on deck, and a glass of wine (or whiskey, depending on the week you've had) is waiting. The kids are in bed, the dog has been walked, and it's time for a little self-care. Obviously, you're going to do a face mask while you relax. But which one?

Whether you use them as part of your everyday 10-step skincare routine or only indulge on the rare quiet evening, you should know the differences between each of the types of face masks. Follow our guide to find the perfect one for you.

Mud Mask

What is it? A true mud mask contains soil and minerals. Popular varieties utilize mud from the Dead Sea, which is rich in magnesium, sodium, sulfur, and bromide—minerals that can help improve such skin conditions as psoriasis and acne.

Benefits: hydration, skin healing

Try this: Pure Original Dead Sea Mud Mask ($16.99), or shop similar masks here.

Clay Mask

What is it? A clay mask utilizes clays such as bentonite, kaolin, and french green. The clays come in powder form and turn into a mask when mixed with a liquid. Many consider a bentonite clay mask to be the best option for oil skin—but only when mixed with pure raw apple cider vinegar. Skincare insiders know that by mixing the clay with ACV (instead of water), you make a mask with neutral pH levels that are more friendly to skin. The apple cider vinegar may help fight acne, too

Benefits: Reduces oil

Try this: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($13.99), or shop similar masks here.

Pro tip: Most mud masks on the market simply use the name "mud," but are actually made with clay.

Sheet Mask

What is it? A sheet mask is fabric soaked in serum, with holes cut out for the eyes, nostrils, and mouth. The fabric, which is meant to be worn for 15–20 minutes, creates a physical barrier that prevents the serum from evaporating from the face before the skin can drink it up.

Benefits: Depends on the serum, but most are designed to hydrate and soothe skin

Try this: 11-piece Tonymoly I'm Real Korean sheet mask set ($17.99), or shop similar masks here.

Charcoal Mask

What is it? A charcoal face mask can come in many forms, from powder in a jar to sheet mask, but no matter what form it takes, it will contain activated charcoal powder. This powder is thought to attract impurities like dirt and oil. When the charcoal is blended with clay, it's basically the equivalent of giving oil a one-two punch followed by a flying roundhouse kick.

Benefits: Reduces oil, clears dirt out of pores

Try this: clariSEA Deep-Pore Detox Activated Charcoal Exfoliating Mask ($12.99), or shop similar masks here.

Sleeping Mask/Sleeping Pack

What is it? A sleeping mask, also called a sleeping pack, hydrates skin while you sleep so you can wake up to a glowing complexion. This leave-on mask generally comes in cream form.

Benefits: Hydrates, plumps up skin, fights fine lines

Try this: Lancôme Énergie de Vie The Overnight Recovery Sleeping Mask ($51.95), or shop similar masks here.

Peel-Off Face Mask

What is it? A peel-off face mask is simply a mask that you peel off your face when it dries. While the peeling doesn't really do anything for your skin apart from some minor exfoliation, the mask's ingredients can still be beneficial. Plus, slowly peeling away the hardened mask is extremely satisfying.

Benefits: Depends on the formulation, but all have a mild exfoliating effect

Try this: Shills Deep Cleansing Purifying Peel-Off Face Mask ($13.99), or shop similar masks here.

24K Gold Mask

What is it? A gold mask can take many forms, but the most popular gold masks are sheet masks.

Benefits: May reduce inflammation and brighten skin; more testing needs to be done on gold skincare to say for sure if gold has any benefits.

Try this: European Diamond Indulgence Luxury Gold Face Mask ($38.99 for 6), or shop similar masks here.

Carbonated Bubble Mask

What is it? A bubble mask is a mask that bubbles up on the skin. When it reacts with the air, it transforms from a cream into bubbles, which theoretically help push the mask's ingredients further into the skin. The best thing about it, though, is how fun it is to use. It's basically the adult version of putting on a soap-bubble beard while bathing.

Benefits: Bubbles may help ingredients penetrate the skin and clear out pores

Try this: E5 Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($12.99), or shop similar masks here.

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