I've been using a face mask every day for the last 7 years

PHOTO: Pexels

Hello, my name is Dawn and I’m a face mask addict. In fact, I’ve been masking every single day without fail since 2014 (barring extenuating circumstances… like surgery).

This revelation might have gotten me a few curious stares in the past, but daily masking has become an acceptable – and even expected – norm among skincare aficionados in recent years.

My masking journey initially started with a general obsession with Korean beauty back in 2014. This was a few years after the Hallyu wave hit our shores and everyone increasingly binge watched K-dramas, or at least knew someone who did. But beyond enjoying the storylines of these shows, I found myself drawn to the seemingly flawless complexions of the actors and actresses on screen.

As a beauty writer at that time, it didn’t take me long to discover the famed 10-step Korean skincare routine, which includes masking. I also learned about the “one day, one pack” method, which is essentially using one sheet mask a day. I decided to give it a shot, but instead of sticking solely to sheet masks, I rotated among the different face masks in my beauty arsenal.   

In the beginning, I committed to using a face mask daily for a week out of curiosity. But then I saw the results, so I continued for a month, which turned into a year, and after that I just never stopped. My skin looked healthier and had a natural glow to it. I was even getting compliments on my complexion, something which had never happened before this.

The key to daily masking

If you’re wondering if masking daily is fine, don’t worry. Face masks are designed to deliver a concentrated amount of beneficial skincare ingredients to either hydrate, nourish, exfoliate, or deep cleanse your skin in a short amount of time. The key to reaping the maximum benefits from doing so is to vary the type of mask you use daily.

For instance, even if you have an acne-prone complexion, don’t slather on a purifying clay mask a few days in a row as it may be too harsh on skin and cause irritation. Instead, alternate clay masks with hydrating sheet masks, brightening wash-off masks, and so on, depending on what your complexion needs for that day.

As a general rule, I use deep cleansing masks on days when I work out, nourishing sleeping masks on stressful or hectic days, calming or hydrating sheet masks if I’ve been out in the sun, and brightening wash-off masks every other day to maintain a glow. 

The face masks in my weekly masking schedule

In a week, my typical masking schedule looks something like this:

Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque ($54), 1-2 times a week

PHOTO: Kiehl’s

Just as its name suggests, this deep cleansing mask contains a mix of bentonite and Amazonian white clay to draw out impurities and excess oil from your skin. With consistent use, it also helps to slough away dead cells that can clog skin and cause enlarged pores.

This mask has been a staple on my beauty counter for a few years now. What I love most about it is that unlike many other clay masks, this doesn’t sting or make my skin feel overly taut, thanks to the addition of aloe vera and oatmeal extracts in the formula.

I often reach for this mask on days when I’ve completed a sweaty workout, such as a HIIT routine or a run.

Available at kiehls.com.sg, Shopee and Zalora

Sulwhasoo White Ginseng Radiance Refining Mask ($92), 2-3 times a week

PHOTO: Sulwhasoo

I consider this one of my favourite masks and my go-to whenever I need a complexion pick-me-up. It boasts white ginseng as its key ingredient and has a dual-action formula that softens skin and gives it a healthy glow.

One of the best things about this hassle-free mask is that it has been designed for in-shower usage. On days when I use this, I wash my face first thing in the shower before slathering on a thick layer.

The mask has a slightly gooey texture so it won’t run off while you continue shampooing your hair and soaping your body. At the end of your shower, gently massage the formula into your skin for a mild exfoliation before rinsing off with warm water – so convenient!

Available at Sephora, Tangs and Lazada

Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalising Mask ($73), 1-2 times a week

PHOTO: Sulwhasoo

On days where I really want to pamper myself, I double mask by using a sleeping mask after using a clay mask. I love the Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalising Mask for its creamy, non-sticky texture.

Its formula combines a mix of traditional Korean herbs and fruity ingredients like jujube and pomegranate extracts to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and replenish moisture while you sleep.

Available at Sephora, Shopee and Tangs

Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask (from $59), 1-2 times a week

PHOTO: Fresh

My other go-to sleeping mask is the Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask. It features the brand’s black tea complex that’s chock-full of antioxidants and skin-firming peptides.

This anti-ageing overnight mask is said to improve skin elasticity and firmness with frequent use. Personally, my skin always looks glowy and feels bouncier in the mornings after I use this. It’s my hack to looking like I’ve gotten eight hours of shut-eye even when I haven’t.

Available at Sephora, Shopee, Zalora and Tangs

Tip: Sleeping masks tend to have heavier consistencies to deeply nourish skin throughout the night. Feel free to skip night cream on days when you use a sleeping mask if layering both feels too much.

For Beloved One Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Bio-Cellulose Mask (from $63 for 3 sheets), 1-2 times a week

PHOTO: For Beloved One

Sheet masks can come in a variety of materials and are mostly great for hydration and brightening. One of my favourite sheet mask materials? Bio-cellulose sheet masks like the For Beloved One masks.

Bio-cellulose is a natural fibre that’s super thin and has a soft, jelly-like texture. The material allows it to perfectly mould to your face to deliver a concentrated dose of moisture and nutrients.

For Beloved One is one of the most well-known brands in the market for bio-cellulose masks, and with good reason.

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The For Beloved One Flawless Brightening Ethyl Ascorbic Acid Bio-Cellulose Mask was specifically formulated to target pigmentation spots in Asian skin, and let me say that this mask just works. It is on the pricier side but you can expect a visibly more luminous complexion after just one use.

Available at Sephora, Watsons and Shopee

Round Lab 1025 Dokdo Moisture Water Gel Mask ($33 for 5 sheets), 1-2 times a week

PHOTO: Round Lab

For a more pocket-friendly option, try the Dokdo Mask. This has been raved about on Korean consumer beauty app HwaHae for its skin soothing and moisturising properties. Each mask is formulated with coconut water and three different types of hyaluronic acid to give parched skin a moisture boost.

Available at RoundLab and Lazada

Besides the above recommendations, I’ve also enjoyed using the following masks throughout the years.

Other masks I love using

Dr Morita Hyaluronic Acid Essence Mask ($19.80 for 10 sheets)

PHOTO: Dr Morita

This mask was recommended to me by a beauty assistant while I was on holiday in Taiwan a few years ago, and has remained a staple in my rotation ever since.

It contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides to lock in moisture and provide lasting hydration. The best part? Its affordable price point means you’ll be able to use this every other day without breaking the bank.

Available at Watsons and Guardian

Dr Jart+ Cicapair Calming Mask ($32 for 5 sheets)

PHOTO: Dr Jart+

Suitable for sensitive skin, this soothing mask is infused with centella asiatica, an ingredient known for its potent antioxidant properties and ability to reduce inflammation. Reach for this on days you’ve been out in the sun or if you’re suffering from an acne breakout.

Available at Sephora

Skin Inc Pure Deepsea Hydrating Overnight Mask (from $72)

PHOTO: Skin Inc

Gentle enough to be used daily, this moisturising powerhouse is made with nutrient-rich deep-sea water from Japan as its active ingredient. Deep-sea water is said to be rich in essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, and more to repair and nourish skin.

This gel mask is also easily absorbed by skin, and can even be applied to the undereye area. Use it as an overnight mask or wash it off after 30 minutes, depending on your preference.

Available at iloveskininc.com.sg, Sephora, Shopee and Zalora

Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Face Mask (from $35)

PHOTO: Fresh

Give your skin a detox with this mineral-rich clay mask. Italian Umbrian clay helps to draw out impurities and unclog pores without dehydrating skin, while chamomile and lavender extracts replenish hydration and soothe. Use this on your entire face for a deep cleanse or apply it to pesky pimples as a targeted spot treatment.

Available at Sephora and Lazada

My final thoughts about daily masking

Ultimately, different masks work for different people as everyone has unique complexion concerns. The beauty about using a face mask daily is that the process is totally customisable.

Feel free to play around with different masks in your routine to see what works best for you. You can even mix and match your masks by applying a clay mask to unclog your T-zone while using a hydrating mask for the rest of your mien.

Regardless of what you choose, just be sure to mask diligently – your skin will thank you for it. Happy masking!

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This article was first published in Her World Online.