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For many people, taking care of their skin is a top priority. One way people do that? Face masks. In fact, “masking” became the most Googled beauty trend in 2017 and continues to dominate the beauty industry.
Skin goes through many changes throughout a lifetime and can develop multiple areas of concern. Figuring out how to target all of those concerns can be overwhelming.
Did you know you can target different areas of the face through a technique called multi-masking? No more having to choose between hydrating the skin or treating acne — you can have the best of both worlds.
Keep reading below to find out how this process works and how it can get your skin glowing in no time.
“[Multi-masking is] applying different masks with specific ingredients to different areas of the skin,” says Priti Patel, an aesthetician and the owner of Le Petite Spa in Charlotte, NC. “Someone with acne can apply an acne mask to one spot and a hydrating mask in other areas.”
Essentially, multi-masking is used to target all the needs of the face at once, adds Jensen Fleisher, an aesthetician at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Charlotte, NC.
It all depends on the condition and type of skin, according to McKenna Edwards, an aesthetician at Palestra Boutique Spa in Charlotte, NC.
For example, if someone has oily or acne-prone skin, they can use a soothing and clarifying mask to control the oiliness and breakouts on their skin.
This technique can be beneficial for anyone, Fleisher says. However, it’s important to seek a professional skin consultation with an aesthetician or dermatologist to get to know your skin type and condition (if you have one).
All three aestheticians we interviewed advise to start with a clean face. Patel says it’s ideal to cleanse the skin twice from the forehead to the neck.
Steps for multi-masking
- Cleanse your skin (twice is recommended).
- Apply a toner.
- Exfoliate. “1 to 2 times per week depending on the type of exfoliant,” Fleisher says.
- Use a cosmetic roller.
- Apply a small amount of one mask to the portion of your face in need of its specific qualities.
- Repeat with other masks on different areas of your skin.
- Leave each mask on for the time directed on the package.
- Wipe each mask off after the recommended amount of time for each has passed.
- Once you remove all masks, use a steam towel if possible.
- Apply your regular evening routine (such as serum and moisturizer).
Microneedling is recommended before multi-masking, but it’s best done by a professional instead of using at-home kits.
“I recommend getting microneedling done by a professional [who] has a pen that’s
Fleisher recommends not layering different masks on top of each other, because they won’t work the same.
“You don’t usually have to apply the entire mask around the face,” Edwards says. “Masks are usually left on the face for about 10 minutes,” she adds.
Multi-masking is best done in the evening.
“Your circadian rhythm is different at night than it is during the day, so your body is going to respond to product a little differently,” Fleisher says. (Plus, it’s a fun, soothing way to wind down in the evening.)
Read the ingredients when purchasing any skin care product.
According to Edwards, “if a reaction happens, the skin isn’t reacting well to an ingredient. Rinse immediately.”
Prevent side effects when multi-masking
- Use trial and error to figure out what your skin likes and dislikes.
- Choose quality products.
- Get a skin consultation from a professional. “If your skin is diagnosed correctly, you shouldn’t experience side effects,” Patel says.
“If you apply the wrong type of mask on the wrong area of the face, it can have a multitude of side effects,” Fleisher says. For example, “applying a hydrating mask to an oily face can clog pores.”
“Get to know your skin type before going out and purchasing your products. Seek advice from a professional aesthetician, and let them recommend products for you,” Patel says.
Find out what products and ingredients work well with your skin. It may help to talk with a skin professional.
When looking for an exfoliant, Edwards recommends chemical exfoliants rather than scrubs. She suggests the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. She also recommends products that contain hyaluronic acid, which helps with dehydration, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Fleisher recommends products by Dermalogica, which are mostly plant-based. Specifically, she recommends the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque. This mask contains vitamins A, C, and E, plus linoleic acid to help restore skin and minimize signs of aging.
However, if you work in the sun often, she recommends not using this mask.
Rules of thumb for multi-masking
- Use a facial mask 1 to 3 times per week.
- Don’t use a detox mask every day.
- Go to a professional for microneedling.
- Don’t use anything too oily. (This may cause breakouts and clog pores.)
- Try multi-masking on self-care Sundays.
- Use a quarter-sized amount of product.
Patel recommends the masks below:
When multi-masking, apply different types of masks on different areas to treat different skin concerns.
Look for masks with hyaluronic, linoleic acid, and vitamins A, C, and E. These ingredients help with dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles, and dull skin.
However, “be very careful with the information you find on the internet. Just because it worked for [someone else, it doesn’t mean it’ll] work for you,” Fleisher says.
Talk with a professional to find out what your skin type is and if you have any skin conditions. They can also help recommend products.
Naomi Tellez-Duran is an associate market editor for Healthline. She graduated from Queens University of Charlotte in December 2020. When she’s not writing, you can find her vetting brands and products. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and dog, Tank.