How Often Should You Really Be Masking? Skin Pros Break It Down

There's one question we ask almost every makeup artist, dermatologist, and celebrity we have the pleasure of meeting: "What's the one thing that has changed your skin?" Nine times out of 10, the interviewee says something we know works wonders for many — religious moisturizing or dedication to SPF, for example. Every now and then, though, we hear something that makes us do a double take. The most recent case? When aesthetician Mary Schook announced that daily masking is the secret to her soft, supple skin.

The concept of daily masking may not seem novel to some, but for those who grew up with the "mask on Sunday nights" mantra, the technique is intriguing, to say the least. "I mask almost every day because I don't have time to invest in a skin-care regimen," says Schook. "I can do it in front of a computer, on the airplane, sitting in my tub, binge-watching on Netflix, or even while I'm working out, depending on the mask — and they can treat many skin issues." Naturally, I gave the method a try.

I started swapping out my serums for a week of clay and moisturizing masks — during a particularly bad skin week, mind you — and definitely saw fewer breakouts and softer skin. I think this is partially thanks to a more targeted approach to what my skin was going through that day, instead of sticking to the same routine like clockwork, which isn't as responsive. That being said, not every mask is safe for daily use and being cognizant of the types of masks you're using is important to avoid stripping the skin of essential natural oils.

However, a word of advice: "I would not recommend masks in conjunction with other serums and creams," says board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. "If you are cocktailing ingredients and don’t know what you’re doing, you may risk irritation. Some ingredients aren’t meant to be mixed together."

That doesn't mean you can't mask daily, though; you just need to do your due diligence and determine which products are right for you on top of the masking, if any. For example, if you need hydration post-masking you may consider a light, Cetaphil-like lotion that's fairly basic instead of one packed with active ingredients. (Pro tip: Dr. Engelman suggests testing out masks once or twice a week and building up gradually as you see fit.)

Alright, alright, we know you want more details already. Ahead, Schook and Dr. Engelman share their favorite masks along with tips on how to become a daily-masking pro.