The key is application. According to Dakar, most of us are using masks all wrong. "I see a lot of people using masks that are too strong for their skin. An ultra-drying mud or clay mask is not appropriate for most skin types, not even acne. There are much gentler formulations out there that will offer the same results," says Dakar. It's like using the biggest gun in your arsenal to blow away an ant.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, she says some people use masks that are too waxy and oily, which will only clog their pores.
To avoid using products that aren't right for your skin type, Dakar recommends tapping into the dual-mask trend that allows you to target each area of your face with a specific cocktail. A lot of people have dry cheeks and an oily T-zone, says Dakar, so they should layer masks accordingly to create a custom treatment.
Here, the best masks for every skin concern -- to take your complexion to next-level flawlessness.
Image courtesy of: Cliffs Resort
Face Masks for Dry, Dehydrated Skin
Mask Formula: Dakar recommends bringing parched skin back to life with a hydrating mask: "Look for something that will give nourishment and has anti-aging benefits to help plump the skin. Masks rich in antioxidants as well as nourishing oils are perfect," she says.
How to Apply: Before applying any mask, Dakar recommends gently exfoliating the face so the mask's ingredients can better penetrate the skin."For dry skin, apply a soft, hydrating mask to any dry areas on your face -- I like to particularly concentrate on the cheeks, jowls, neck and decolletage."
Try: Skin Inc. Prep & Seal Set, $30, a duo that contains arbutin, a brightening and exfoliating ingredient, while the hydrating mask contains hyaluronic acid for moisture.
Nerd Skincare Super Hydrating Mask, $20: This single-use sheet mask restores the skin's moisture barrier and helps improve elasticity and firmness.
Face Masks for Congested Skin
Mask Formula: Use an antioxidant-rich mask with ingredients like clay for clarifying and lavender for de-stressing, says Sarah Villafranco, MD, creator of Osmia Organics natural beauty line. To make sure your clay mask isn't too harsh, Dakar says to steer clear of black, grainy masks that crack on the skin. Instead, go for ones that contain gentle exfoliating acids, like lactic and citric acids.
How to Apply: Villafranco recommends a multi-step regimen to really de-gunk skin. "[Before applying your mask,] use a clean, very soft washcloth steeped in warm water to steam the pores open and wipe the face clean. Gentle, repeated, upward strokes over the face and neck will provide a mild exfoliation," she says. Spread the mask over your cheeks and T-zone (the most common trouble spots), or simply spot-treat your most congested areas.
Try: GlamGlow YouthMud TingleExfoliate Treatment, $19, a 10-minute mask that draws out impurities with volcanic pumice rock. It also soothes skin with green tea leaf pieces, taking down redness.
Osmia Skincare Detox Exfoliating Mask, $50. Clay and bamboo-activated charcoal powder draw out impurities, while honey and cacao soften the skin.
Image Courtesy of: Raw Guru
Face Masks for Mature Skin
Mask Formula: Though you might not consider a mask for your under-eye area, Dakar says a targeted eye mask is a must. The intensive treatment helps soften the appearance of fine lines.
For the face, anti-aging masks are all about antioxidants and toning ingredients. Green tea formulas reduce ruddiness that appears especially on the cheeks as we age. Tea also fights free radicals and other aging, environmental stressors. Astringent ingredients like rosewater will help tighten enlarged pores gently. Make sure your mask also has plenty of natural oils in it like omega-3s to help nourish and plump your skin. Lactic and hyaluronic acid will gently exfoliate (you can skip harsh scrubs, which irritate thinning skin), getting rid of any dull surface flakes.
How to Apply: Apply an eye patch mask and rest with your eyes closed for five minutes. This quick treatment will help deliver moisturizing oils to crepe-y eye skin, giving a firmer, more youthful look. For the rest of your face, slather on a mask rich in acids and oils. Use an eye mask and a face mask in conjunction for a full-face uplift.
Try: Patchology FlashPatch Eye Gels, $50, which contain medical-grade hydrogen ingredients for maximum moisture. Caffeine boosts circulation and fights environmental agers.
Philosophy Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Lactic Acid Cleanser & Mask, $35, is packed with lactic acids for hydration and gentle exfoliation, plus doubles as a mild cleanser.
Face Masks for Sensitive Skin
Mask Formula: Sensitive skin needs calming and detoxing ingredients to bring it back to its perked-up state. Dakar recommends green tea, which is high in antioxidants and calms redness. Villafranco suggests soothing lavender to refresh stressed skin, as well as avoiding harsh chemicals and alcohol, which could cause irritation.
How to Apply: Spot-treat any redness and congested skin with a soothing mask. Be sure not too leave it on your skin too long, as sensitive skin can be reactive to a mask drying for more than a few minutes.
Try: Erborian Perfect Morning BB Mask, $35, which is packed with Matcha green tea for a soothing, morning-skin refresh.
Fresh Rose Face Mask, $62, contains skin-soothing cucumber and aloe vera, plus rose petals for gentle toning.
Images courtesy of: Daily Perricone and Nuts.com