09/04/2013 05:55 EDT

Behind The Mask: Tissue Masks Explained


You're pretty diligent about your skincare regimen, but have you incorporated cloth facial masks into your routine?

While cleansing twice daily, practicing proper sun protection, and using a moisturizer that suits your skin type is all par for the course, the addition of a cloth facial mask (sometimes referred to as a tissue facial mask) is a worthy and crucial addition to your existing skincare habits.

You may have seen these masks before -- the new Garnier Tissue Mask is a popular example -- and you may have even dismissed them as yet another product promising fantastic results ranging from anti-aging to ultimate hydration. These masks are already a beauty staple in Asia; we’re simply next in line, but it’s never too late to get results like these.

The fabric cloths typically come packaged individually and are soaked in a cocktail of skin-beneficial ingredients in a concentrated form. If the description of the concentration of active ingredients makes tissue masks sounds like a serum, then you would be correct, however, the bonus of a cloth facial mask is that the application of the serum-rich mask to your face will create humidity and warmth beneath the cloth mask. The warmer benefits of this format allows for better penetration of ingredients into your skin, says Dr. Benjamin Barankin, medical director of the Toronto Dermatology Centre. Think of these disposable masks as a convenient way to trap those expensive ingredients against -- and into -- your skin.

But don't assume that simply throwing on a cloth facial mask at any time is good enough. Dr. Barankin says the best way to use them is in the evenings, on freshly cleansed skin, to help ensure the ingredients totally penetrate your skin. "Apply them at night about once a week, and after using this type of mask, I recommend using a moisturizer to better retain the active ingredients in the skin, and to minimize evaporation of these valuable ingredients," he says. In fact (speaking of minimizing the waste of skincare products), if you find that in your facial mask packet there remains some of the serum, don't ditch the packaging; instead, hold onto the package and apply the serum directly to your skin the day after. As for how often to use a cloth mask, follow each mask’s directions, but for many of them, you can use them once or twice a week.

There are several cloth facial masks on the market now, boasting valuable skincare ingredients such as retinol, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid, which makes them quite handy as a way to give the skin a simple but intensive boost. They're particularly helpful for those who have too little time for much pampering -- the comforting cloth masks and the results they offer will make you feel and look as though you've just emerged from the spa, rested and relaxed fresh from a facial.

Now go try one for yourself!