It's understandable why face masks are such a ubiquitous beauty treatment: They're one of easiest ways to give your skin a quick boost. Whether it's one you snagged at Lush or one you mashed up in your kitchen, there are also a ton of face mask mistakes that prevent your mask from working to the best of its abilities.
It's totally fair that your skincare game hasn't changed a lot since middle school sleepovers — I mean, you squeeze goop out of a tube, slather it all over your face, take a selfie, add the hashtag #treatyoself, and you're good. How hard is it to mess that up? Not so hard, as it turns out.
Picking the wrong mask, accidentally picking up bacteria (the bad kind), leaving it on for too long, and not using enough of the mask are some common mistakes that can lead to more breakouts or drying out your skin. No thank you. While these bad little habits don't necessarily negate the effects of a good DIY face mask or do any harm to your skin, changing your ways can help give them a little helping hand and added efficacy.
Here's what not to do to make sure you're getting the most out of your face masks.
1. Using Only One Mask
The #multimasking trend is one of the newest Instagram beauty phenomenons, but the founder of Artifact Skin Company, Narae Kim, told me it's also a fix for one of the biggest mistakes people make when they treat their skin.
"Our skin is ever changing with our mood, climate and many other factors, that is why it's hard to turn to just one mask," says Kim in an email to Bustle. "Make it into a two-step process, pair up a clay/exfoliating mask with a hydrating mask. Or spot-treat your problem areas, use the mask on your stubborn T-zone. The clay/exfoliating mask will pull out the impurities from your pores while the hydrating mask restores the moisture back into your skin."
2. Applying Masks With Your Fingers
Who knows where have those hands have been? Well, you know. Applying a mask with your unwashed hands is one of the easiest ways to introduce pore-clogging oils or blemish-causing bacteria right to your face. According to Marie Claire, There are plenty of general reasons not to touch your face, and germs are pretty high up there. Using a brush (which, by the way, don't have to be expensive at all — try this option) also allows for more even and precise application, which actually means you're probably using less product. Pass that brush.
3. Picking The Wrong Kind Of Mask
The store was out of hydrating masks, so you just grabbed a clay mask — that's totally cool, right? Not so much. Chemists go to all that trouble of coming up with different formulations for a reason; what works for one kind of skin could spell disaster for another. Picking the wrong formula for your skin could cause serious dryness, serious pore clog-age, or literal pain. If you have sensitive skin, use a sensitive formula; if you have dry skin, use a hydrating formula; and so on. Facemasks made with bananas or eggs are great for dry skin, according to Reader's Digest, while masks made with witch hazel or oatmeal are great for oily skin, according to Real Simple.
4. Leaving Your Mask On For Too Long
I always figured that the longer you keep on a face mask, the more work it's able to do and the more benefits your skin is getting. Makes sense to me! Only, not so much. This is especially true for masks with ingredients that can be drying, like clay or acids, and can actually do more damage to your skin than good. According to Allure, it's important to make sure to rinse off a clay mask properly before it gets to the flaky stage to protect your skin.
5. Scooping Out The Mask With Your Fingers
While applying a mask with your fingers isn't the end of the world (as long as their clean), scooping it out of the jar with your fingers might be the end of your mask. Think about it: Your masks likely live in your warm, humid bathroom, which is a breeding ground for bacteria, according to Beautylish. This means you'd either have to throw out a product before its time or may unwittingly be putting bacteria on your face. No thanks on both counts. Use a special scoop or spatula or a freshly washed and disinfected spoon to keep the germies at bay.
See, it's pretty easy to prevent making damaging skin mistakes when using a face mask. With some easy little tweaks, you'l come away from your next at-home facial treatment with a little extra glow and no extra breakouts.