Double masking: could applying two face masks help our varied, combination skin?

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Face masking is fast becoming an unmissable step in our skin care routine but according to this growing trend, to really make the most of a mask, we need to use two. Stylist investigates…

Let’s face it, skincare is really having a moment. Lockdown has given us the perfect chance to start reshuffling our beauty cabinets, whether that’s ticking vitamin c or niacinamide off of your beauty bucket list or even beginning your long awaited (avoided) journey with retinol. Either way, we’re becoming a little more experimental with the products we’re using. 

But, one product in particular has risen through the ranks: the humble face mask. Whether you’re after a glow boost, a pore detox or an acne clear up, there’s a face mask ready and waiting to give it to you. In fact, there’s a formula suited to pretty much every skin concern. And the best part? It’s a non-commital way of testing ingredients and formulas out on your skin.

While you may think just the one mask will do the job — you may have to think again. Skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all topic.

But what if you have more than one skin concern? Or if you have combination skin? Running the risk of sounding far too obvious, things like skin texture, clarity, hydration levels and congestion may vary across your face. You might have combination skin where your cheeks are deyhydrated but you have an oily forehead. Or a congested nose and dry undereyes. So how do you tackle this variation? Introducing, double masking.

It’s the skincare trend that you’ll have no doubt have come across on social media, but what exactly is it? What is the benefit? And how do you put it into practice. Let us show you the ropes…

What is double masking?

It is as self-explanatory as it sounds. Double masking is using two different masks on different areas of your face at the same time. You can actually layer face masks too. It’s usually best to start with a softer textured mask and then layer on a thicker clay or mud mask.

What are the benefits?

Above anything else, double masking lets us treat different concerns on our face at the same time. 

There are a few areas that tend to be the same for the general concensus. “For most of us, our T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) is oilier than our cheeks regardless of our skin type,” says Elemis co-founder, Noella Gabriel. “It’s best to use a clay-based mask here which is clarifying and purifying to help decongest pores. Meanwhile, your cheeks, which can be dry or sensitive, need a moisturising mask to rehydrate and nourish.” 

As for the eye area, we know how delicate the skin here is. “A mask is needed that is gentle enough to treat the delicate skin. Always use a specially formulated mask for this area” says Gabriel.

Can you use more than one face mask a day?

“Yes, if they are being used to target different areas or skin needs of the skin you can use more than one. Dependent on lifestyle challenges each day we may wish to target different areas or concerns on our skin,” Gabriel confirms.

Which are the best types of face masks for each skin type?

Skin types vary and so it’s only natural we use face masks that compliment them. “Clay-based masks are best for oily or combination skin, cream masks for dry or dehydrated skin and all skin types suit gel, exfoliating and resurfacing masks” says Gabriel.

How do you apply two masks?

“You can map out the face according to requirements, then apply a face mask with specific properties to each,” Gabriel explains. 

Which order do you apply face masks?

The order isn’t necessarily too important, but there are some basic guidelines to follow when using face masks. “Always ensure the masks are being applied onto cleansed skin and are left on for their optimum time,” says Gabriel. However, if you’re multi-masking, there is somewhat of an order. “If multi-masking (one after the other) it’s best to start with a cleansing, purifying or exfoliating one first and then go in with a hydrating or smoothing mask second.”

How often should you double mask?

“For maximum results and benefits I would recommend masking 2-3 times a week,” says Gabriel.

The Stylist beauty team have been rummaging through their beauty shelves at home to try out the double masking trend. Here’s the double masking combos they recommend for dry, combination and acne-prone skin.

Stylist’s beauty director, Shannon Peter, tested:

  • Double masking for dry skin

    Double Masking for dry skin

    “I have particularly dry skin, with hereditary dark circles, so when I’m double masking, I team the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask, £22.50, worn all over my face, with the Patchology Eye Revive FlashPatch Eye Gels, £45 for 30 pairs, popped on under the eyes. The Jet Lag mask contains an excellent mix of brightening vitamins, strengthening ceramides and some ever-so-tingly exfoliants courtesy of chestnut extracts which chip away at the dead skin cells causing my dullness. 

    I notice such a big difference after I use it — my skin is softer and I immediately look less tired. And then the eye gels are so wonderfully cooling. No, they don’t make my dark circles disappear (that’s impossible, FYI) but they do make sure the fragile skin around my eyes is plump and well-hydrated, which is a major win in my book.”

Stylist’s senior beauty writer, Hanna Ibraheem, tested:

  • Double masking for combination skin

    Double Masking for combination skin

    “My complexion is the definition of a combination skin type. Before the morning has barely begun, my nose is already covered in a slippery layer of oil. In complete contrast, my cheeks are dry and often flaky. Obviously, this can make it a bit of a nightmare when it comes to a balanced and effective skincare routine, which is why double masking is so great. 

    I slather my t-zone (forehead and nose) in Erno Laszlo’s Pore Cleansing Clay Mask, £45, a clay mask that removes impurities from your pores without drying it out completely. On the rest of my face (cheeks, upper lip and chin), I apply a thick layer of Plenaire’s Skin Frosting, £36. It’s packed with intensive hydrating ingredients that my skin happily drinks up. Both coincidentally pink, both brilliant.”

Stylist’s beauty assistant, Kiran Meeda, tested:

  • Double masking for acne-prone skin

    Double Masking for Acne Prone Blemish Skin

    “When it comes to my acne-prone skin, masks are my saving grace (along with a liquid exfoliator like Paula’s Choice 2% BHA, £28). I slather on The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Clay Mask, £11 two to three times a week onto my cheeks and chin area, where my breakouts and redness seem to reside. The tea tree oil is just potent enough to calm breakouts and reduce their size whilst the creamy clay consistency helps keep my skin hydrated.

    Pairing this with Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask, £35 is a no-brainer. It still contains strong spot-reducing, and may I add almost eye-watering ingredients like camphor, but it’s combined with almond oil and honey to really rehydrate my skin. I’ll usually apply this to the nose and forehead area, which are usually in need of a little hydration hit. While a green mask and a white mask may not make for the chicest colour combination, they really do work together to reduce the size of my spots and level of inflammation.”

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Main image: Pexels

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