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What is a Purifying Mask?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 21, 2024
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A purifying mask is a facial treatment designed to clean pores, reduce acne and oiliness, and improve the look and texture of the skin. Purifying masks are available as treatments in spas, in pre-made formulas at beauty supply stores, and can be concocted at home with a few basic ingredients. For those with breakout-prone or oily skin, a good purifying mask regimen can help balance the skin and make managing problem facial skin easier.

Preparing the skin for a purifying mask can help improve results and the overall effectiveness of the treatment. At beauty spas, a purifying mask is often given in conjunction with a facial, which may include an initial cleansing treatment and steam treatment to ready the skin for the mask, as well as an application of toner and moisturizer following the mask to prevent dryness. All of these steps are easy to copy at home to improve the effect of the mask.

To properly prepare for a mask, wash the face in warm water to open pores and then pat dry with a towel. A steam treatment can be prepared by filling a bowl with boiling water, then draping a towel over the head and bowl to catch the steam and direct it toward the face. After a few minutes of steaming, pat the face dry and use a mask as directed.

There are many commercially available masks that feature purifying ingredients, such as charcoal, clay, or kaolin. These masks are available at beauty stores, and have the advantage of being easy to apply and having a long shelf life. Those with sensitive skin or allergies may find using a commercial mask problematic, as many contain preservatives, fragrances, and other additives that could actually inflame sensitive skin. For those with serious allergies or a preference for natural ingredients, making a homemade purifying mask may be a good option.

There are hundreds of recipes for making a homemade purifying mask, all featuring ingredients that try to draw out the impurities of the skin and reduce oiliness by using mild astringents. Yogurt, lemon juice, honey, pineapple, and egg yolks are all common ingredients in purifying formulas. A simple search online can lead to dozens of easy recipes, many with usage instructions.

After the mask is removed from the face, be certain to moisturize to prevent over-drying. How often a mask should be used will depend on the formula, but many beauty experts suggest that one mask per week should be sufficient to improve skin. If a mask is working, skin should shortly be less oily and prone to acne, without flaking, tightness, or increased redness.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for BeautyAnswered. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Mae82 — On May 28, 2011

Has anyone had a positive experience with purifying masks helping to reduce the look of acne and oily skin?

I am still prone to breakouts and would really like to find something natural to use on my skin that helps calm it, while not having to dump harsh chemicals on my face to get good results.

I have heard that these masks can also make your skin really dry, which doesn't sound good. I really don't want to trade one extreme for the other. Has anyone found a good lotion for use after the mask that makes your skin feel healthy?

By Sara007 — On May 26, 2011

Does anyone have any great recipes for purifying masks that you could share?

I really prefer to use natural ingredients on my skin and would love to hear about your experiences with making your own masks.

One of my favorite recipes requires 2 good-sized strawberries, a half a teaspoon of honey and four tablespoons of kaolin clay.

You just mash the berries and add honey to it. The last step is to slowly add the clay until you get a chunky peanut butter like texture.

Leave this on until dry then remove. You’ll find your skin feels really nice afterwards and is much smoother. I love how it makes my skin feel.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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