The beauty industry is full of whispers that, when repeated enough, become truths. Until recently, I always stuck to the skin law that says masks were meant to be used sparingly, so as not to overload the skin and cause a full-on complexion rebellion.
While this logic has merit when it comes to abrasive scrubs and potent treatments, or those with highly sensitive skin, I've discovered that with masks, more is
actually better. When researching for my last mask story
and closing in on a fast-approaching deadline, I found myself masking two to three times a day. I expected my face to erupt in mutiny, but instead, my skin looked immaculate and felt incredible, like a polished pebble scooped up from the ocean floor.
It’s an extreme example, but the idea of combining mask treatments into "mask cocktails" that answer to different dermal needs (known colloquially as multi-masking) makes fundamental sense, and is quite a common practice in South Korea. For Korean women, masks are less of a rescue product to slap on misbehaving skin and more of a habitual and integrated part of skin-care maintenance. You don't do a mask because your skin is acting up; you do a mask because you want to keep it looking good.
Multi-masking, for those who haven't heard of it yet, is when multiple masks are used simultaneously on different zones of the face to address concerns for those specific areas. I would argue that the term also applies to combined treatments when different masks are used in succession — for example, following up a steam treatment with an Amazonian clay mask to draw out impurities in the pores, and then finishing off with a moisturizing sheet mask to replenish the somewhat drying effects of the clay. The highly customizable practice includes "Point Packs," "splash masks," and other fun, yet effective products. You might not have heard of these yet, but rest assured — they are coming (and quickly) to the U.S.
Read on for your crash course in Korean multi-masking.