Whether you have dry, oily or combination skin, masks can help keep your face hydrated and balanced. The ladies from Uncover the Glow share how to do a proper skin test and what masks to try based on your skin type.
Story and photography by Claudia Pfau and Samantha Ramos
Time for a Skin Test
First things first: Do you know your skin type? We suggest you try one of these two skin type tests to find out. You might be surprised by the results!
For the first test, you’ll need an oil blotting paper or a single-ply of a facial tissue. Simply wash your face with a gentle cleanser, pat it dry and leave your skin as is for two hours. Don’t apply a single product during this time! (We want to see how much oil your skin naturally produces.) After the two hours are up, hold the blotting paper to different parts of your face – like your forehead, cheeks, chin and nose.
- If the paper falls off right away, you have dry skin.
- If it sticks a little but still falls off, your skin is normal.
- If it sticks and doesn’t move, you have oily skin.
- If some papers stick and others fall off, you have combination skin.
For the second test, all you have to do is wash your face, pat it dry and take a good, hard look at your pores in the mirror.
- Bigger pores signify oily skin.
- Small, hard-to-see pores signify normal skin.
- Flakes and redness signify dry skin.
- Large pores on your T-zone and flaky skin around your cheeks signify combination skin.
OK, now that you know your skin type, let’s talk about which face masks are best for you!
Best Masks for Dry Skin
Dry skin is crying out for hydration! The most effective hydrators are hyaluronic acid, aloe, glycerin and oils. The key here is balance — apply these frequently enough to keep your skin supple, but not too much to where you clog your pores. We recommend avoiding things that will over-exfoliate and dry out your skin such as salicylic acid or alcohol.
Our go-to face masks for dry skin are the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask and sheet masks. Most sheet masks are deeply hydrating and refreshing. Our favorites are the Farmacy Coconut Gel Sheet Mask and the Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Sheet Mask.
Best Masks for Normal Skin
If you have normal skin, congrats! Not only did you win the skin lottery, but you’re free to have all the fun when it comes to masking. Clay, sheet, gel, cream…you can try them all! If you’re looking for an overall healthy glow, we recommend looking for masks that contain antioxidants like vitamins C and E. You can also benefit from gentle exfoliants like fruit enzymes to keep dead skin cells away.
For a full-blown, “treat yourself” night, start with the Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask and follow up with the Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask. For a one-and-done kind of night, give the Summer Fridays Overtime Mask a try — it’s the perfect balance of hydration and exfoliation.
Best Masks for Acne-Prone Skin
When it comes to acne, it’s best to kill it with kindness. That means, look for effective ingredients that pack a punch but are also gentle on the skin. We recommend masks with AHAs and BHAs such as salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids. These ingredients will help remove excess oil and exfoliate dead skin cells. Also look for natural detoxifiers and anti-inflammatories like chlorophyll and turmeric!
If you’re looking to exfoliate, we recommend using the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial or the Herbivore Blue Tansy mask. For a more natural option, try the Cocokind Chlorophyll Mask and Turmeric Stick. (The stick is great as a targeted spot treatment or layered underneath another mask!)
Best Masks for Oily Skin
For all our oily skin friends out there, we recommend trying charcoal and clay masks. These are great at removing excess sebum, pulling out impurities and mattifying your overall complexion. Also, don’t forget that oily skin is typically a result of lack of moisture! Be sure to always follow up your clay mask with a clean, nourishing moisturizer.
In order to avoid crazy breakouts and clogged pores, we recommend you stay away from heavy, comedogenic oils like coconut, argan and avocado oil.
The Indie Lee Clearing Mask and the Sand & Sky Pink Clay Mask are great options for oily skin! They are both filled with pore minimizing ingredients like bentonite clay, kaolin clay and fruit extracts.
Best Masks for Combination Skin
Combination skin calls for mask cocktails! Being that you likely have an oily T-zone with dry cheeks, you’ll want to treat these areas of your face differently. Avoid applying the same mask all over your face. We recommend red or bentonite clay masks for your oily zones and cream-based masks infused with oils for your dry zones.
Start your mask cocktail by applying a red clay mask, like the First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask, all over your forehead, nose and chin (or wherever you see the most oil!). Next, apply a nourishing mask, like the Farmacy Honey Potion Hydration Mask, all over your cheeks and jawline. Leave both masks on for 15 minutes and rinse.
Best Masks for Aging Skin
Did you know your skin starts to lose elasticity and collagen production in your mid-20s? That’s right, friends! It’s important to start anti-aging skin care routines sooner than later. We recommend focusing on masks that are firming yet hydrating. Look for products infused with oils, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. Stay away from overly drying ingredients like clay, activated charcoal and salicylic acid.
To reduce signs of wrinkles, give the Origins Plantscription Overnight Mask a try. To fight against dark spots, check out the Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask. Both will leave your skin feeling completely rejuvenated!
How Often Should You Mask?
We recommend lathering on your favorite face mask once or twice a week. We’ve seen the best results when we use an exfoliating mask in the middle of the week and a nourishing mask toward the end of the week. This combination helps keep our skin healthy and glowing, no matter what life throws our way!
Claudia Pfau and Samantha Ramos are the besties and skin care gurus behind Uncover the Glow, your go-to place for real reviews on the latest beauty and lifestyle products taking over your feeds. From that trendy serum, to that life-changing mascara, to that workout program all your friends are raving about, they (un)cover it all! They authentically share the good, bad and ugly of product testing, while placing a special emphasis on finding clean alternatives that bring out your inner glow. Visit Uncover the Glow for more!