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One of the little pleasures in life is face masks. There is just something so soothing about pampering and indulging yourself with a face mask, especially after a long day. But how do face masks really work? Sure, it makes you feel relaxed and refreshed but does it really tighten your pores, prevent wrinkles, and grant you eternal youth?

There are also so many types of face masks to choose from such as clay, cream, and sheet varieties, how do we know which works best for our skin? Read on to find out more!

How do face masks actually work?

The answer is not that straightforward as different types of face masks work differently. On top of that, everyone’s skin type is different and it’s important to find the best mask to suit your skin type. Let’s go through the different types of face masks and break it down from there. 

1. Sheet Masks

One of the most popular types of face masks is the sheet mask. It’s easy and convenient to use. All you have to do is slap it on your face after your cleansing routine and leave it on for the designated time. 

How do sheet masks work?
Sheet masks are rich in a liquid substance called “essence”. This essence typically contains substances such as emollients and humectants. These two substances help provide and retain moisture, creating a dewy effect that a lot of us strive for.

An ingredient commonly present in sheet masks hyaluronate acid. I know what you’re thinking, acid?? Hyaluronate acid is actually a natural humectant also found in our cartilage, but its molecular size is too large for absorption. Face masks typically use this ingredient, hydrolysed hyaluronate acid, as the molecules are smaller and can be better absorbed.

Another variant of the ingredient is sodium hyaluronate, the salt of hyaluronate acid, which has a smaller molecule weight and can hold up to 1000 times the water, allowing for better penetration into the skin.

Top Picks:
Naruko Raw Job’s Tears Supercritical CO2 Pore Minimizing & Brightening Mask

From RM32 for 10 pieces

Naruko Raw Job’s Tears face mask provides all the benefits you can ask for in a face mask. It hydrates and brightens the skin, tightens pores, reduces dullness and evens your skin tone. Ingredients such as Pore White and Pearl White formula integrated in this face mask accelerates pore care, smoothens rough and dull skin, creating white, soft and supple skin conditions. It also repairs and soothes the skin after sun exposure because of its soothing and effective night gelly.

Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask

From RM23.50 for 5 pieces

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This triple layer sheet helps deliver the essence to your skin effectively because of its higher absorption rate. What’s more, its ingredients include sodium hyaluronate! It contains freshly squeezed juice from the different types of plants that provide great benefits for our skin, and with 16 options to choose from, you’ll definitely find one to suit your skin type!

Tip: A really neat trick to feeling even more refreshed is to keep your sheet masks in the refrigerator so that it gives a cooling sensation, which is utter bliss in Malaysia’s tropical climate!

2. Clay Masks

Clay masks are more suitable for people with oily skin as they provide a deep cleanse for clogged pores. If you struggle with dry skin, clay masks are probably not for you unless they contain carrier oils, which could help reduce dryness. One good thing about clay masks is that you can choose to target certain areas of your face such as the T-Zone.

How do clay masks work?
Clay masks absorb excess oil from the skin and removes impurities from the skin. Ingredients such as kaolin and bentonite are commonly found in clay masks. Kaolin is a mineral effective in removing dead skin cells and bentonite helps smoothen the skin. As these ingredients absorb impurities from your pores, it’ll help minimise pores over time.

Top picks:
Innisfree Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask

From RM39.90

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A highly popular clay mask and one of Innisfree’s best sellers is the Super Volcanic Pore Clay Mask. This 6 in 1 clay mask shrinks pores, controls sebum, exfoliates, deep cleanses, brightens tone, and cools all at the same time! This mask is recommended for combination to oily skin types. If you’re blemish-prone, this may just be your saving grace!

Elizavecca Carbonated Face Mask

From RM 33

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.19.47 AMIf you’re a beauty junkie, you might have seen images of people with this face mask on. Bubbles will start to form after you put it on, not only cleaning your pores, but inducing a little more fun into your skin care routine! The carbonated water and charcoal cleanses your pores thoroughly, reducing the amount of blackheads.

3. Sleeping Masks

Don’t have time to wait around for 20 minutes while your mask works its magic? Try a sleeping mask! Sleeping masks (or sleeping packs) are different from other face masks as you apply it at the end of your skin care routine. I personally love it because I can just put it on and go to bed without getting up to remove the face mask after I’m already comfortable in bed.

How do sleeping masks work?
They work by keeping your skin moisturised throughout the night so that you wake up feeling super moisturised! And if you’re like me and sleep with the air-cond on, you’ll know how dry your skin can get in the morning. As it is the final step in your night time skin care routine, sleeping masks give your skin a hydration boost by sealing in whatever’s underneath it, allowing it to penetrate your skin better.

Top picks:
Innisfree’s Aloe Revital Sleeping Pack

From RM56

Aloe Sleeping Pack

This is my go-to sleeping mask. The best thing about this face mask is that it’s recommended for all skin types! Aloe vera is known to soothe skin irritation and treat skin dryness. With 74% organic Jeju aloe vera, this sleeping pack is sure to keep your skin hydrated while you sleep! 

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

From RM82

Laneigh Water Sleeping Mask

This face mask may be on the pricier side, but this sleep mask is an international bestseller, with more than 16 million sales made worldwide! What’s so special about this, you ask? Laneige’s unique MOISTURE WRAP™ and SLEEP-TOX™ technology helps lock in moisture overnight, rejuvinating the skin to create a well-rested appearance in the morning. If that’s not enough, it even improves your quality of sleep as it relaxes your mind and body with its aromatic SLEEPSCENT™.

Note: Always remember to listen to your skin! If you feel like a product doesn’t suit your skin, immediately discontinue using the product. Do some research and hopefully, you will finally find ‘the one’ that your skin will thank you for!

*Disclaimer: Results from face masks are highly dependent on each individual and multiple factors including but not limited to skin type, age, gender, use of other products, health history and lifestyle. Prices indicated above are subjected to change.