News Flash: You’re Doing Face Masks Wrong

Maybe it’s the beauty editor in me, but I like to think of facials as learning experiences. Aestheticians know your skin best after all, so why not glean everything you can from them while they’re massaging, exfoliating, and extracting? Such was the case when I was invited to stop by Gina Mari’s cozy and chic spot in Beverly Hills and experience a signature Circ-Cell facial. Circ-Cell is a luxe line of skincare products that target your skin on a cellular level, going deep beneath the surface to plump, hydrate, and tighten. The facial itself was like being transported to another realm where stress and dark spots didn’t exist, with a mix of hydrating masks, facial massages, and more, wrapped up into an hour of bliss.

As blissed out as I was, I couldn’t help but notice the way my lovely aesthetician Amanda Lucas was applying Circ-Cell’s Red Algae Mask ($70)—a luxe-feeling mask made with Montmorillonite clay that pulls out acidic toxins from your skin—to my face. She wasn’t just spreading; she was massaging it in. In fact, she was really working it into my skin, like you would with a cleanser. Afterwards, I had to ask: Is this the way I’m supposed to be applying all my face masks at home? The short answer: yes.

“The biggest and most important benefit of massaging a mask into your skin is that your skin will be able to absorb more of the key ingredients,” she says. This makes sense—if you apply with a brush or just gently spread the mask on your face, the product only sits on the top, outer-most layer of your skin. “When we massage a mask into the skin, we’re giving it a little help or a head start, and it will end up working better,” she explains. “I like to compare it to applying a layer of moisturizer on your body or face without rubbing it in—we wouldn’t do that with body or face lotion, so we should take the same approach with masks, too. You will get so much more out of your product and a lot more bang for your buck!”

Paradigm shift, much? I don’t know why I’ve been treating face masks in a separate realm from moisturizers and serums—probably because I know I’ll eventually wash it off, but that doesn’t mean I can’t push as many of the active ingredients into my skin as possible while I can. Lucas says to apply an even layer of the mask to your skin with your fingers, then to massage it in with circular motions for at least one minute. Then, you can allow it to set for the recommended amount of time.

This technique works for clay masks, detoxifying masks, and hydrating masks—basically any mask you would normally apply with your fingers or a fan brush should be massaged in. And they say facials are just indulgences…

Do you massage your face masks in? Comment and shop four of our current favorites below!