So you’re all prepped for some pampering. You’ve got your hair all bundled away from your face with a headband and you’ve got your favorite Korean face sheets partially opened, when you suddenly realize, how many minutes did you need to have it on again? You’re in a hurry because all that juicy goodness is about to drip out from its pretty packaging.
That was me three days ago … needing an answer stat. So, here you go…
How Long Should I Leave My Face Mask On?
Most Korean face mask sheets instruct you to leave your mask on between 15 and 20 minutes, and no longer than that.
Leaving your face mask on too long can cause reverse osmosis of your skin and make you more prone to breakouts. To prevent your skin from being stripped of its natural oils and drying out, do not exceed the maximum of 20 minutes.
A good indicator is how moist or dry your face mask is. It’s best to remove it when it’s still slightly damp. A sure sign that you’ve left your mask on too long is when the sheet has become dry already.
What Happens If You Leave It On Too Long?
A face mask is designed to add needed vitamins, nutrients, and moisture back into your skin. However, if you leave it on for an extended amount of time, you can see it start to dry out and turn papery. When this happens, the mask starts to damage your skin.
It starts to strip your skin of the natural oils, and this removes your skin’s natural barrier. It can also cause your skin to break out more because it dries your skin out. You might see more inflammation, and your skin can feel tight.
Another common consequence is your skin can start to itch or flake off, and this can lead to red or scaly patches.
Important Face Mask Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes to your face mask, good preparation is key to getting the most benefits out of it. There are a few things you can do before and after you use your face mask to lock in the nutrients and moisture and a few things you shouldn’t do as well.
DO: Cleanse and Moisturize Before Putting Your Mask On
Don’t put your mask on if your face is dirty or oily. It’s important to give your mask a clean and dry surface to adhere to.
Start by getting your favorite facial scrub and go through your face cleansing routine. (I previously wrote down my personal skin care routine and you can find it HERE. I’m in my forties and people always mistake me for much younger.)
You want to ensure that you get into all of the small creases and areas where oil builds up. Be sure to get around your nose and your forehead well.
Pat your face dry and apply your moisturizer. This will add another layer of protection to your face, and the face mask will lock this moisture into your skin. It’ll help to absorb this layer, and it’ll give you a few extra minutes of protection if you accidentally go over the 20-minute mark.
DO: Wear Sunscreen with Brightening or Whitening Masks
Brightening and whitening masks can make your skin more prone to sunburn. If you use them, make sure that you apply a layer of sunscreen when you’re finished if you plan on going outside or being in the sun. This sunscreen layer can help to prevent damage to the cells, and this can help to prevent premature aging, sun spots, and wrinkles.
DON’T: Fall Asleep With Your Mask On
I always set an alarm when I put on a face mask. I tend to get absorbed with whatever I’m doing so I need a digital reminder.
Don’t pass the time by closing your eyes while seated in your favorite recliner. You’re liable to fall asleep, which is a big NO NO.
TBH, it can be a bit difficult to read a book or listen to music with headphones on because the moist sheet is so big, unwieldy, and drippy. What I usually do is fire up my speakers and put on a favorite playlist. (Sometimes, I take out my flashcards — I’ve been learning a new language — and I flip through those while waiting.)
After your first time with face sheets, you’ll experience just how mobile you can be and go from there.
DON’T: Rinse your face after the 20 minute mark.
Get rid of the mask sheet but not the essence. Essences equate to all good stuff for your skin. Let that sit on your face. In my case, I usually put on a facial mask at night, and then layer on my essences and moisturizer after. Most of my stuff’s light and is easily absorbed by my skin so nothing sits heavy when I go to sleep. I do wake up with a somewhat oily face in the morning but I just do a quick light rinse.
I’m keeping this entry short because most likely, you just really wanted to know how long to leave a face mask on.
I do have a lot more tips to share though owing to years of using Korean face masks. If you want to read more of my tips, just head on over to How To Apply A Korean Face Mask Like A Pro.
Oh and for those who are asking, the face masks I used for the picture on this article are from Innisfree. They’re my current go-to for Korean face masks.
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Author: Mary Lou
In the Before Times, Maru spent vacations traveling and making stops at showrooms to test the latest massage chair models. Nowadays, she’s hunkered down in her small sunlit home dotted with her ever-growing collection of fiddle fig trees, indoor plants, and Himalayan salt lamps. Find her at LinkedIn.