Does Multi-Masking Really Work? I Tried It

A few weeks ago, I got an email about a new beauty trend: multi-masking. After reading about what multi-masking means and checking out the pictures, I felt excited. Most beauty trends that I get emailed about end up being super-pricey spa treatments I can't afford or complicated makeup routines I don't really understand (like strobing. Because isn't that basically just highlighting?), but this one was different. Multi-masking looked like something I could actually do, and even better, since I am a beauty product hoarder, something I could do without purchasing anything.

So what is multi-masking? It's basically exactly what it sounds like: using multiple facial masks at one time. Why would you need to do this when you could just use one mask? Because the skin on our face is not created equal. The treatment you need on your cheeks could be very different than the treatment you need on your nose or under your eyes, especially if you have combination skin, which most people have. Multi-masking uses two to three masks that target different skin issues to create a sort of mini facial in the comfort of your own home.

There are mask "recipes" out there that you can follow, but the great thing about multi-masking is that it should be customized. Only you really know your skin, so you should pick what you think you need. For example, I have combination skin. The pores on my nose are pretty awful, my forehead in the T-zone area is always oily, my under eye area is always a little dark, and my cheeks tend to get kind of dry.

This all sounded so intriguing to me that I knew I had to try it myself. I gathered up all of my favorite face masks and started creating little multi-mask recipes based on tutorials I had seen on beauty sites. Then I got ready to experiment — and of course, share everything with all of you. Does multi-masking really work? Is it worth using multiple face masks instead of just one? Or should you stick with your traditional beauty routine? You can only read on to find out...

1. Multi-Mask Number One

For my first multi-masking experience, I decided to try four different kinds of masks based on this tutorial I found on The Beauty Department. I chose two favorites and two new options: Bliss Steep Clean ($55, Amazon), Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask ($45, Amazon), Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask ($56, Amazon), and Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask ($55, Amazon).

The tutorial says to use a deep pore cleansing mask on your t-zone, an energizing mask on your cheeks, a deep cleansing or moisturizing mask on your chin, and an instant oxygen foaming mask under your eyes and any other area left open. So, if you're like, "Um, hi, I don't want to spend this much money on masks you crazy person," you definitely don't have to. Just find masks that fit those descriptions!

I used the Bliss Steep Clean on my t-zone, the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask on my cheeks, the Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask on my chin, and the Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask under my eyes and on my upper forehead. Here is what I looked like:

Hello! So, how did the masks feel? The Bliss Steep Clean, on my t-zone, was really cool. According to the bottle, it's supposed to clean your pores, exfoliate, soften, dissolve dead skin cells, and brighten your skin — all things that need to happen in my t-zone. The cool thing about the mask is that there are two pumps: one for a blue colored mask, and another for yellow. You mix them together to make this lovely green shade. It was cooling and felt pretty awesome.

The Cucumber Gel Mask is one of my favorite masks for summer because it's incredibly refreshing. I keep mine in the fridge so that it's extra cooling. It's hydrating, and I like using it after being out in the sun all day. The Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask is one of my favorite face masks ever. This foaming mask starts off as white foam, and then you watch as it literally dissolves into your skin.

Unfortunately, I messed up a little with this recipe. I didn't realize that the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask would be essentially the same thing as the Brightening Bubbling Mask. So, both of those masks dissolved pretty quickly, leaving me looking like this:

It was a little confusing, because those masks are supposed to be washed off when everything has dissolved, but the other two were supposed to be on for at least 15 minutes, so I wasn't sure which timeline to follow. In the end, I waited 15 minutes, then washed everything off. My skin felt very refreshed and moisturized, and I think it looked brighter too. But did it feel differently than when I usually use just one mask? Uh... I'm not sure.

(Quick side note: I thought about taking before and after pictures of my skin for you guys, but when I did, I realized you really can't see much of a difference with the camera. So, instead of subjecting to you to sort of identical photos of how my skin looked, I thought it might be more helpful to just describe how it felt and looked.)

This combination was definitely fun to put together! And I liked how my skin looked afterward. There were a few things I would change, though, which was perfect, because I was still experimenting a few days later.

2. Multi-Mask Number Two

For my second multi-mask, I decided to use three products, still based on the same tutorial from The Beauty Department. While I liked my first multi-mask recipe, looking back, I probably didn't need a hydrating mask on my chin. So, I went with the same Peter Thomas Roth Brightening Bubbling Mask, Bliss Multi-Face-eted All-In-One Anti-Aging Clay Mask ($50, Amazon), and Meaningful Beauty Cindy Crawford Deep Cleansing Masque ($43 separately by calling 1-877-383-1212 or available at MeaningfulBeauty as part of the 5-piece New Advanced System for $39.95).

I used the Bliss clay mask on my cheeks, the Cindy Crawford mask on my t-zone and chin, and the Brightening Bubbling Mask on my upper forehead and under my eyes. Here's the result:

For some reason, I had a tough time applying these masks. Maybe it's because the Bliss clay mask, while incredibly awesome, is also very thick and clearly very dark. I think I also went up a bit too far, which made it difficult to put the Brighting Bubbling Mask under my eyes. I left it on for 15 minutes.

How did this one feel? Pretty great, honestly. Definitely better than the first multi-masking experiment. The Bliss clay mask was amazing. It truly cleans your skin, leaving it feeling and looking just... better. Smoother, brighter, and not as clogged up. This was my first time trying Cindy Crawford's mask (and beauty line altogether). I was pleasantly surprised at how nice it felt on my t-zone. I liked it so much that I obviously Instagrammed:

End result? I felt like I didn't really need the Brightening Bubbling Mask. While I love that mask, it just felt kind of pointless on these small spots. That aside, I thought this went over pretty well. I used a facial oil after rinsing, went to bed with soft skin, and woke up with soft skin. Success!

3. Multi-Mask Number Three

My third experiment quickly proved to be my favorite one. This time, I used two new masks I hadn't tried before, and one old favorite. I picked SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Masque ($54, Skin Ceuticals), Fresh Rose Face Mask ($62, Sephora), and Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque ($41, Amazon). If you're going the drugstore route, just look for similar ingredients on the label.

The SkinCeuticals mask is supposed to re-establish the water balance in your skin, keeping it healthy and moisturized. The Dermalogica mask is a deep-cleansing clay mask made to purify and refine oily skin, while getting rid of impurities and oil. Lastly, the Fresh Rose Face Mask is a hydrating and toning gel mask meant to moisturize, brighten, and protect.

I based this recipe on this multi-mask tutorial I saw on Instagram:

I liked how simple it was. This is obviously super similar to the tutorial on The Beauty Department, which goes to show that multi-masking is really quite easy to figure out. I used the SkinCeuticals mask under my eyes, the Dermalogica mask on my t-zone and chin, and the Fresh mask on my cheeks and upper forehead. Here's how it turned out:

As you can see, the only mask that really showed up as the Dermalogica mask. Since the other two are gel, this one was sort of boring to look at, especially compared to my second multi-masking (because the Bliss clay mask is such an awesome color). But it's not really about how the mask looks — it's more about how it works. I left it on for 15 minutes.

Despite the visuals, I think this was my favorite combination. The Dermalogica mask felt very refreshing and cleansing. I had been trying a hydrating mask on my chin in the other two experiments, but I think using a cleansing mask was the better choice for me there. The best part was the Fresh Rose mask, which is probably my favorite mask ever. Nothing makes my skin feel softer than this mask does, and it also smells lovely.

When I washed this off, I was thrilled. I felt cleansed and super hydrated. Usually when I rinse a mask off, I feel the urgent need to apply lotion, but not this time. My skin felt ridiculously soft and happy, and later on at night, I felt like it looked bright, radiant, and kind of awesome.

Final Thoughts On Multi-Masking

So, is multi-masking the way to go? While I loved my mask recipes, I have to say that I didn't find a HUGE difference between doing this and only applying one mask. Maybe a lot more is happening under the surface that I'm not quite aware of yet, but I feel like I would have had similar results if I had stuck to one mask. If you notice, in each recipe, I ended up picking a favorite mask and really gushing over that one.

The other disadvantages are small and kind of silly. Applying different masks is a little tough because you have to wash your hands between applications. It's also hard not to mix them together on your face (though that probably matters more for your sweet Instagram photo than the effects on your skin). Most masks also had different time limits. This isn't the biggest deal in the world, but it was just a teensy bit confusing.

Honestly though, I still think multi-masking is pretty cool. After a few days of trying these, my skin looks and feels so much better than it normally does. While I can't say for sure if this is from multi-masking or just from the amount of attention I've given my skin lately, I can say that I love it. And that can't be bad! So, I say, give multi-masking a try. It's worth it!

Images: Jess Booth