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What should I do after my face mask?
Oily skin in summer is such a struggle. I always try to keep my makeup extremely natural, just a thin layer of bb cream, some powders on top and yet I still feel that my skin is so congested by the end of the day.
Even with dry skin, you can’t escape the sweat and exhaustion of the entire day and it shows on our faces. The pores get clogged, you get blackheads, acne and all the wonderful gifts of summer.
My favorite way of combating these issues is a good old clay mask. They are easy to use and dry clay is relatively much more affordable than those fancy face masks with high price tags and small jar sizes.
As amazing as clay masks are, it’s also super important to do the follow up. Don’t forget these steps for what to do after your face mask.
At a Glance,
What should you do after a face mask?
A face mask is an important part of our skincare, but it’s equally important to follow it up with some steps that will maximize its potential. Follow up with toner, serum and moisturizer.
Should you use toner after a face mask?
Toner is sometimes easily forgotten for no good reason. Yes, always remember to use toner after a face mask. A toner balances out the pH of your skin, purifies your pores and can soothe irritation.
Can you use serum after a face mask?
Serums are packed with super hydrating ingredients and they can be a great addition to your moisturizing routine. For extremely dry skin, layering a serum under cream helps combat dryness much more efficiently.
Do you put moisturizer on after a clay mask?
After toner, serum, the final step is moisturization, we sucked out all the oil from our skin, now it’s time to give some back. Without proper hydration our skin can dry out, become flakey and prone to wrinkles. Hydration can be achieved by a lotion, cream or my favorite, natural oils.
When applied on the skin it acts as a powerful absorbent and clears away excess oil from our pores. It also provides minerals such as silica, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.
One thing I did not know before was that clay minerals when used in sun screens provide excellent protection from the sun by absorbing the highest amount of UV radiations, much more than commonly available sun blocks.
What should your mask routine look like?
Clay masks are very easy to incorporate in our daily skincare as they provide effective detoxification at the end your day removing any trace of sebum and leftover makeup.
I prefer using a dry clay powder and mixing it with other skin loving ingredients. That way I know there are no other nasties creeping into my skin care. Here is a selection of recipes for each type of clay:
You should do a clay mask more than 3 times a week, 1-2 times a week is ideal and varies with your skin type.
You can read our detailed guide on how to use a clay mask for more in depth information.
As clay is a strong absorbent material, it’s important to follow it up with certain steps to help our skin heal and prevent dehydration.
What to do after a clay mask:
First make sure you’re using your clay mask correctly, trust me I did it wrong my entire life and you could be to.
Then comes time to discuss about our options for what we can do next.
1 – Toner
Toners are liquids applied on face for a couple of different reason. According to a Washington DC dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Kazin, “Historically toners were used as a way to balance the pH of the skin after using an alkaline soap product for cleansing”
Normal pH of skin is 4.7 to 5.75 which is acidic and face washes or soaps tend to be more alkaline.
Now toners have evolved with the rest of our skincare and are used for many other skin concerns like:
- Excess oil
I remember using the old clean and clear toner in my teenage years, that sucker stung like the dickens on freshly washed skin with the high amount of alcohol in it. It was supposed to help purify pores and reduce oil production. Now that I think about it, that corrosive level of alcohol was causing a lot of damage my skin.
These days, toners have minimal amount of alcohol if any. They have become a useful in-between step in our routine.
According to a study, a simple skincare routine consisting of cleanser, toner and an OTC acne treatment brought significant improvement in acne and the overall appearance of skin in just 6 weeks.
How to choose a Toner:
As a clay mask is highly alkaline, it’s important to follow it up with a good balancing toner to help maintain your skin’s normal pH level.
My favorite: A toner containing ingredients such as rosewater will also soothe the skin and bring down any irritation caused by cleansing.
Another one of my favorite toner is Witch hazel. It is an extract derived from a plant of the same name. Several studies have shown its anti-inflammatory properties which makes it an ideal choice for post clay mask routine. A deep cleansing process can be irritating for anyone with sensitive skin and witch hazel toners reduces those effects.
Witch hazel also works as an astringent, meaning it causes contraction and tightening. It gives skin a firmer look and reduces the appearance of pores. Sounds like a perfect companion to clay masks, right?
Step 2: Don’t forget the Serum!
The difference between serums and moisturizers is the concentration of ingredients.
Moisturizers are thicker, packed with more fillers then active ingredients while serums are more pure and concentrated forms of the same thing.
In a two week trial on 32 women, combined use of a hydrating serum and cream showed visible improvement in skin texture and softness.
Serums are also lighter in consistency and that makes them ideal for very oily skin which do not require the thicker emollients of a cream.
But serums also cost more than a lotion and you get a much smaller quantity.
So for me it all comes down to needs, serum is not a necessity but they are good to have. This Vitamin C serum has made a world of difference in calming my skintone and balancing redness.
Step 3: Moisturize
Now that we have stripped all the excessive oil and left over makeup off our skin, it’s important to provide ample moisture so that our skin doesn’t over react and produce more oil.
Dry skin also brings about a ton of other problems like patches and those dreadful wrinkles. If anyone of you have been on accutane for acne, you’d know that dry skin is just as hard to handle as oily skin since you’ve now seen the worst of both worlds.
How to choose a moisturizer:
You have several options available here like lotions, creams, oil based or water based serums etc. but for some reason I always incline towards natural options like oils.
You can choose one or the other or layer them together. My skin is always on the extreme side, crusty dry in winters and an oil tycoon in summers. So for me during winter months I need all the help I can get. Using jojoba oil under a thick moisturizing cream like works like a charm.
In summers, I like to keep things light. A heavy cream just congests my skin so I’m good to go with a few drops of oil for overnight hydration and keep my lotions for the morning.
Can you moisturize with oils?
The reason I love using oils is because it’s simple and natural. The long list of unrecognizable ingredients at the back of store bought moisturizing creams makes me uncomfortable and I like to limit their use.
Some of my favorite oils for moisturing are:
- Rosehip oil (amazing for anti aging, avoid if you are acne prone)
- Marula oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Grapeseed oil (this oil I use for my day moisturizer)
In a study done on a number of natural plant based oils, it was found that many of them have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. They help repair broken skin barrier, provide deep hydration and help maintain the moisture level of the skin.
We should never underestimate the benefits of using our skincare products in their intended order.
For me it goes like this:
This is probably the simplest nightly routine which is enough as it incorporates all the essentials without overloading the skin. I have seen improvements in not only my acne but also the overall look of my skin using these simple steps and hopefully you will too.
Our facial clay mask FAQ’s answer a ton of other common questions about how to use your clay mask.
Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologist or medical advice.