Most clients want to look forever young, having healthy and glowing skin even as they age. Professionals can use a variety of masks to minimize their clients’ fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or even acne. Facial masks can quickly help combat signs of aging and are formulated to treat various skin imperfections. They have been around for decades and are considered a staple in a facial routine.
Facial masks should be suited the client’s skin type and concerns. Application of a facial mask is typically the last step in the facial routine. After the facial massage is complete, a facial mask is applied. Each mask contains specific beneficial ingredients to help tone, hydrate, brighten, draw out impurities from the pores, and calm or soothe inflammation.
There are a variety of masks available in the market: gel, hydrogel, jelly, cream, clay, sheet, collagen, and peel-off. Each have specific formulations to treat various skin conditions. To bolster the effectiveness of the mask, a steamer can be used prior to or during mask application to help open pores and maximize penetration of mask ingredients.1 Be sure to consult with the client prior to scheduling a facial, in order to best determine which mask is suitable to treat their skin condition(s).
Gel masks contain antioxidants that are designed to hydrate and nourish normal to dry skin types, as well as sensitive skin. Because of their naturally cool temperature, gel masks are used to soothe redness and irritation.3 Some gel masks can be peeled off with little to no residue once they dry. Others can be removed using a warm, wet washcloth.
A popular type of mask used in many spas, hydro jelly masks are formulated from a gel texture (often bio-cellulose) to provide incredible soothing effects and hydration.2 They also contain beneficial nutrients to help boost collagen production and rejuvenate dull skin. They benefit all skin types, especially those with dry or mature skin as they help treat fine lines and wrinkles.4
Jelly masks are very popular with skin care professionals. There are different jelly masks that treat a variety of skin conditions, making this mask a great option for every skin type. Jelly masks have to be mixed with distilled water or an activator to create a jelly-like consistency. After it is applied, it will harden but remain pliable. After 10 to 20 minutes, the peel can be easily removed in one piece, leaving a smooth skin texture. Therefore, jelly masks can be the perfect complement to calm skin post-laser treatments, facials, waxing services, or extractions.
Cream masks are formulated for dry to mature skin types. Many cream-based masks contain moisturizing ingredients such as plant oils, ceramides, and shea butter. Other beneficial hydrating ingredients found in cream masks include hyaluronic acid and collagen peptides, both of which are crucial to help maintain the skin’s elasticity.
Cream masks can also help plump skin by adding oil-free moisture (water) to dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin can be a temporary condition that may develop from environmental factors, poor diet, improper skin care, or stress. Water-based products that include hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides help replenish and add oil-free moisture to dehydrated skin. The use of cream masks can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Like collagen, hyaluronic acid is naturally found within the body.
Clay masks are ideal for oily to combination prone skin. They help draw out impurities, such as dirt and oil, to the surface of the skin as the mask dries and tightens. Clay masks usually contain clay, kaolin, bentonite, or silica to help absorb excess oils in the skin. Some clay masks can have an antibacterial effect, which is useful for acne-prone skin.3
Clay masks should be applied with a fan brush on the face, neck, and décolleté area, while avoiding under the eyes and lips. They should be set for about 10 minutes and removed with a warm, wet towel or cotton pads.7
Sheet masks are the perfect way to treat all skin types. Each sheet mask is specifically targeted to treat various skin conditions such as dryness, acne, fine lines, or hyperpigmentation. According to Orgaid.com, “Sheet masks are face-shaped sheet fabrics soaked in nutrition-packed solution called serum. The sheet is made up of variety of materials including papers, fibers, or gel types.”5
Sheet masks are usually applied for about 20 to 30 minutes. They are single-use products that do not require a rinse to remove. Their main purpose isn’t to exfoliate the skin, but simply to nurture it.
Collagen masks are a great option for sensitive or dehydrated skin. They help stimulate collagen production and minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen masks come as collagen strips that are applied to the skin to provide a strong moisturizing effect. An article on Estheticianedu.org states, “The collagen strips are moistened with water (often combined with essential oils and herbs) to activate the collagen and adhere the strips to the skin. The mask is then peeled off after about 30 minutes.” 6
Peel-off masks are great for those with oily and acne-prone skin. They feel moist when they are first applied but dry to a thick rubber-like consistency. Once dry, the mask can be easily peeled off. Peel-off masks contain acids (like glycolic and salicylic acid), which are beneficial in exfoliating dead skin cells and treating blackheads by drawing out debris from the pores. Also, certain peel-off masks contain hydrating ingredients, with humectants such as dimethicone and glycerin, to help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
These eight common facial mask types can be useful for each client presented in the spa. Based on skin type, skin needs, and benefits, professionals should educate themselves on the reasons and purposes these masks can treat clients effectively.
1 “Collagen Mask.” The DERM Review. Sep 2018. https://thedermreview.com/collagen-mask.
2 Rosie, Narasaki. “Here’s Why Hydrogel Sheet Masks Are the Best.” totalbeauty.
3 “How to Choose the Best Facial Mask for Your Skin.” Max My Looks.
4 Patti Rizzi. “What Are Hydrojelly Facial Masks?” Fabriq.
5 “Top 10 Facts You Need to Know About Sheet Masks.” Orgaid.
6 “Applying Masks in Your Esthetician Practice (Ampoules, Contour, Oatmeal, Oxygen,
Thermal, Paraffin, and More).” EstheticianEDU.org. https://www.estheticianedu.org/masks.
7 Gerson, Joel, Janet D’Angelo, Sallie Deitz, and Shelley Lotz. Milady’s Standard Esthetics
Fundamentals. Clifton Park, NY: Milady, 2013.
Zaina Hamdan received her aesthetics license in 2011. She previously worked as a freelance makeup artist for brides and special events. She also has been researching and broadening her knowledge of skin care for the past decade. Hamdan’s goal is to share beauty tips with everyone. She currently has a skin care and beauty website with various social media handles to educate and inspire women to feel more confident in their own skin. Hamdan’s blog consists of general skin care topics, and shares her honest skin care tips. Hamdan’s work can be found on her website www.doseofglamour.com and through her Instagram @thedoseofglamour.