A Masculine Guide to Face Masks Glow like Hercules.

Man applying face mask

[Feature image by Isabell Winter]

Face masks are for men, too.

Have you ever wanted your skin to be referred to as “glowing?” Maybe you’ve been shaving off hours of sleep or cooped up in front of a screen for too long. Maybe you’re seeing that those fine lines, which used to appear only when you made a face, have become noticeable on their own. Perhaps you just suffered a freak acne breakout and are expected to be on camera, or in front of a hot date, later this week.

What do facial masks do?

Face masks are a quick and intensive treatment that can immediately spruce up your complexion, whether you want to unclog pores, remove dead skin, or diminish the appearance of wrinkles. They’ll give your face a temporary boost. For long-lasting effects, you’ll want to incorporate facial masks into your skincare routine (opens in new window), applying them once a week or daily. They’re an extra step on top of cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and toning.

Skincare researchers have found that although men’s skin tends to be thicker, and their oil glands can be larger, there is no evidence that men need higher concentrations of ingredients than women do in their skincare. So face masks for women are face masks for men.

Types of Face Masks for Men:

How to choose the best face mask based on your skin type and needs. A guide to different skin care masks and feels, and some of their common active ingredients.

Cream Masks

Cream face masks are the standard face mask to hydrate the skin and fight blemishes. They’re like a less aggressive version of the clay masks. Cream masks have a soft, buttery consistency and become more crumbly when try.

face masks for men cream masks inforgraphic

Best For:

Any skin type

Main Benefits:

Hydrates and nourishes
Fights blemishes
Reduces puffiness

Common active ingredients:

Kaolin White Clay (detox and exfoliates)
Vitamin E (reduces fine lines)
Egg protein (tighten pores)

How to use it:

  • Wash face with a cleanser or gentle exfoliator
  • Apply mask by spreading it evenly on face
  • Leave on for X minutes (as specified on directions)
  • Wash off mask with water and cleanser until it is completely removed
  • Moisturize face

How often should you use it:

1-7 times a week. Because cream masks are hydrating, some may be used daily if you have particularly dry skin. But products with exfoliating, detoxifying, or anti-aging properties should not be used more than 1-2 times a week.

Clay Masks

Clay face masks draw out the skin’s impurities and absorb excess oils. They are cool to touch and have a thick, pasty consistency that becomes chalky once dried (as you would expect from clay).

face masks for men clay face mask infographic

Best For:

Oily skin
Acne-prone skin
Dull skin
Blackheads and whiteheads

Main Benefits:

Unclogs pores
Minimizes Pores
Removes dead skin cells
Blackhead removal

Common active ingredients:

Charcoal powder (detox)
Kaolin White Clay (detox and exfoliates)
Bentonite from Volcanic Ash (evens skin tone)
Probiotics (reduce redness and acne)

How to use it:

  • Wash face with a gentle cleanser
  • Apply mask by spreading it evenly on face
  • Leave on for X minutes (as specified on directions)
  • Wash off mask with water and cleanser until it is completely removed
  • Moisturize face

*Beware not to leave the mask on for too long, for it could dry out the skin.

How often should you use it:

1-2 times a week

Peel-Off Masks

Peel-off face masks brighten dull skin by removing dead skin cells. This also gives the face a smoother complexion with more balanced pigmentation. These masks are thick and gloppy when applied and become rubbery and peelable once dried.

face masks for men peel-off masks inforgraphic

Best For:

Dull skin
Uneven skin
Flaky skin

Main Benefits:

Provides radiance
Evens tone
Hydration
Unclogs pores

Common active ingredients:

Vitamins (brightening)
Pineapple Fruit Extract (exfoliant)
Antioxidants (anti-aging)
Aloe (soothes redness)
Charcoal (detox)

How to use it:

Wash face with a gentle cleanser
Apply mask by spreading it evenly on face
Leave on for X minutes (as specified on directions)
Peel off dried mask
Wash off any mask remnants with water or cleanser
Moisturize face

How often should you use it:

1-2 times a week

Sheet Masks

Originating from Korea, sheet masks are face-shaped fabrics saturated with a nutrient-packed serum. These masks feel slimy to touch. Their individual packaging and one-time use make them delightfully convenient.

face masks for men sheet masks infographic

Best For:

Dull skin
Any skin type

Main Benefits:

Radiance
Hydration
Reduces Puffiness
Reduces the appearance of fine lines

Common active ingredients:

Fruit enzymes (brightens)
Vitamin C (brightening)
Caffeine (calms redness)
Cellulose (found in plant cells, moisturizing)
Hyaluronic Acid (moisturizing)

How to use it:

Wash face with a cleanser or gentle exfoliator
Apply mask by placing it on the face and matching the openings for eyes, nose, and mouth
Leave on for X minutes (as specified on directions)
Remove mask cloth and pat in remaining serum, so that the skin absorbs as much as possible

How often should you use it:

1-7 times a week. Because sheet masks are hydrating, they may be used daily. In fact, these masks are perfect for your pre-shaving routine. Sheet masks soften the hair and hair follicles so that the razor won’t irritate your skin as much.

Enzyme Exfoliating Masks

Enzyme exfoliating masks are best for brightening complexion and removing dead skin particles. They often have a creamy or thick consistency.
Many people choose to use homemade exfoliating masks with natural ingredients in order to avoid lab processed chemicals.

face masks for men enzyme exfoliating masks sheet masks

Best For:

Dull, dry skin
Flaky skin

Main Benefits:

Radiance
Evens skin tone

Common active ingredients:

Probiotics (reduce redness and acne)
Fruit Enzymes (exfoliation)
AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) water-soluble acids made from sugary fruits. They help peel away the surface of your skin so that new, more evenly pigmented skin cells may generate and take their place.

Homemade mask recipes include:

Raw Honey
Raw Sugar
Citrus Fruits
Apple Cider Vinegar
Baking Soda
Oatmeal
Yogurt

How to use it:

  • Wash face with a gentle cleanser
  • Apply mask by spreading it evenly on face
  • Leave on for X minutes (as specified on directions)
  • Remove mask with water and cleanser
  • Moisturize face

How often should you use it:

1-2 times a week.

Overnight Masks

Overnight masks, or sleep masks, are used for hydration and locking in the skin’s nutrients. These overnight masks often have a light gel consistency and won’t leave much residue on your pillow.

face masks for men overnight masks infographic

Best For:

Dry skin
Tired complexion
Fine lines

Main Benefits:

Hydration
Radiance

Common active ingredients:

Hyaluronic Acid (moisturizing)
Cucumber (cooling)
Tremella Fuciformis White Jelly Fungus (anti-wrinkle)
Seed oil (protect collagen)
Gold (increases elasticity)

How to use it:

  • Wash face with a cleanser and exfoliator
  • Apply night cream and serums
  • Apply mask by spreading it evenly on face
  • Leave on overnight
  • Wash off in the morning with a gentle cleanser
  • Moisturize face

How often should you use it:

2-7 times a week

*Not ideal for oily or acne-prone skin, since gel masks tend to lock in moisture and oils.

Acne Fighting and Anti-Aging Masks

Anti-aging masks and masks meant to treat acne come in all forms. These defense masks tend to possess harsher chemicals. Retinol, for example, is a derivative of vitamin A that’s highly effective in reversing the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage. This ingredient used in anti-aging cream effectively treats fine lines, but it can burn and cause irritation to the skin. Similarly, salicylic acid is commonly found in acne treatments. It’s effective in temporarily unclogging pores, but it may leave you with dry, red, or peeling skin.

Instead of opting for maks with acne fighting chemicals, we suggest a clay face mask. And for anti-aging benefits, try an overnight hydrating mask.

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