How Often Should You Use a Face Mask? Here’s What You Need to Know

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If you’ve ever used a good face mask, then you’re probably already well aware of how they can truly transform your skin. Whether you’re dealing with fine lines, dark spots, dull skin, or just about anything else, the right face mask can help. In fact, some skin care masks are so effective that it can be tempting to over-use them. Sadly, this usually causes more harm than good – congested skin and inflammation are common outcomes of over-masking, both of which will make your skin concerns worse.

This makes it so important to understand exactly how often you should use a mask. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this – it all depends on the type of mask you’re using, as well as your skin type.


Benefits of Using a Face Mask

Before we discuss how often you should be masking, let’s first quickly run through the benefits that a face mask can bring. Unlike the majority of skin care products out there that are designed to be used on a daily basis, face masks are formulated to give the skin a deeper boost. They contain a higher concentration of active ingredients, which is how many of them are able to produce instant results.

The exact benefits that you will experience will depend on the ingredients used to create your mask. However, some of the most common reasons to start masking include:

  • An increase in skin moisture levels
  • An improvement in skin texture
  • A reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Enhanced skin elasticity
  • A balanced skin tone with fewer dark spots
  • Reduced sebum production and fewer acne breakouts
  • Softer and smoother skin

Different Types of Face Masks

The type of mask that you use will heavily dictate how often you should apply it. There are now so many different face mask types out there, but let’s take a look at some of the most popular:

Sheet Masks

Woman applying sheet mask

The most versatile type of face mask available, a sheet mask consists of a cotton or microfiber “sheet” designed to be placed over the face. The sheets are pre-soaked in a rich serum solution. When you apply a sheet mask to your face, your skin will absorb all of those ingredients, with the mask physically pushing them deeper into your skin.

Sheet facial masks tend to be pretty inexpensive, and there are formulas out there that are suitable for every skin type. You’ll find sheets that have been soaked in hyaluronic acid and other hydrating ingredients for dry skin, as well as formulas that contain purifying ingredients to soak up excess oils.

The only downside to a sheet facial mask is that they’re usually only available in one size. As you know, one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to the face! Fortunately, these masks are also easy to customize. Use some scissors to snip off any excess parts of the sheet. You can then use those leftovers on other areas of your skin.

Most sheet face masks are designed to be used once or twice a week. For maximum benefits, try applying a serum to your skin before laying your mask over the top of this.

Clay Masks

People have been using clay as a face mask for centuries. Research shows that clay is extremely effective at absorbing excess oil, decongesting the pores, and purifying the skin [1], making it a go-to for those with acne-prone oily skin.

Most clay masks are designed to be used one to three times a week. Those with oily skin or combination skin can use clay masks more often than those with dry or sensitive skin.

One thing to pay attention to is how to apply a face mask made from clay. Place a chickpea-sized amount onto your hand and then apply this to your skin in a thin layer. You should then leave the mask on for 10-15 minutes, but make sure that you don’t overdo it.

Clay masks harden very quickly. Leaving them on for too long will dry out your skin. Your skin will try to overcompensate for this by producing excess oil, leaving your complexion greasier than ever. Ideally, remove your mask before it fully sets and hardens on your skin.

Facial clay mask for skincare

Gel Masks

Gel masks are soothing and refreshing. They deeply hydrate the skin. This makes them a great choice for those with dry skin, but all skin types will benefit from a hydrating mask once in a while!

A gel-based mask is usually infused with moisturizing, antioxidant-rich ingredients, such as aloe vera. They tend to come in a jar, and have a jelly-like consistency. Gel face mask application is easy too – simply apply a small amount of the gel to your skin. You’ll notice that the mask immediately feels cooling. Wait 10-15 minutes before rinsing the mask off.

Exfoliating Masks

Exfoliating masks come in a few different forms. Some will be a solution that you massage into your skin, while others will be more like a peel-off sheet. Either way, they all remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, leaving the face looking bright and clear.

In terms of how often to apply a face mask that exfoliates, think about how often you normally exfoliate your skin. You can then swap your regular exfoliant for an exfoliating mask however often you want. Both target dead skin cells, so they can be used interchangeably in your skin care routine.

Overnight Masks

An overnight mask is usually in cream form – it looks just like a really rich moisturizer. They’re great for replenishing nutrients, with formulas available for every skin concern.

To use an overnight mask, cleanse your skin with your favorite cleanser and a cotton pad, and then pat dry. You should always start off with clean skin before applying a face mask. Then, apply the face mask to your skin and give it a few minutes to absorb before heading to bed. In the morning, rinse your face to remove any face mask residue. You’ll notice that wrinkles soften, pores appear smaller, and your face takes on a plumper and smoother finish.

Happy woman applying face mask overnight

Overnight masks can be used pretty frequently. Many choose to use them up to three times a week, although, if your skin can tolerate it, you could even use it instead of your regular night cream. This would be particularly beneficial for those with dry skin.

What’s Your Skin Type?

Now that we’ve discussed the different face masks out there, along with how often each should be used, it’s time to turn your attention to your skin type.

Those with normal skin will be able to mask most frequently. People with oily skin can also use a face mask three or four times a week. However, don’t use a face mask any more than this – you don’t want to risk clogging up your pores and triggering a breakout.

If you have sensitive or dry skin, you’ll need to be more cautious. If masking is new to you, or you’re trying a new mask for the first time, use a face mask no more than once a week. You can then slowly increase this once you know that your skin can tolerate it. Masking three or four times a week can be really beneficial for dry and sensitive skin, but you need to first make sure that the mask you’re using isn’t going to cause any problems. Those with extremely sensitive skin may want to look into some of the clean beauty face mask products available.

How to Add a Face Mask to Your Skin Care Routine

You should always begin by cleansing and toning your skin. Then, depending on the type of face mask that you’re using, you may want to apply a serum next. This would be a good move for sheet, gel, and overnight masks, but isn’t recommended for exfoliating and clay masks.

Once you’re done with your face mask, follow up with a moisturizer.

The Magic of Multi-Masking

Chances are that the skin concerns you’re dealing with vary on different parts of your face. For example, you may have lines around your eyes, discoloration on your chin, and dry patches on your cheeks. One mask on its own would struggle to address all of these skin care issues together.

A group of women wearing face masks

This is where multi-masking comes in. This clever skin care technique involves using multiple face masks at the same time, but on different areas of your face. You’ll be able to apply a gel mask to plump up the lines around your eyes, an exfoliating mask to target the chin hyperpigmentation, and a sheet or cream mask to nourish your cheeks.


Is it bad to use face masks too often?

Yes. If you use a face mask too often, your pores could end up congested, which would lead to various other skin concerns.

What do I do after a face mask?

You should always follow a face mask up with a moisturizer.


A face mask can really enhance a skin care routine. Granted, they’re not a necessity, but they’re an effective way to gain control over those skin issues you’ve been battling with. Whether your skin care regime is geared towards anti-aging, anti-acne, brightening, or just general nourishment, you’re guaranteed to be able to find several face masks out there that can help.



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About Alina Jumabhoy

With almost 10 years of experience writing for the skincare industry, Alina brings her unique perspective into all of the in-depth reviews and articles she writes.