Much like the recent CBD boom, the last few years have seen American skin-care enthusiasts, captivated by esteemed Korean beauty companies, become thoroughly enamored with face masks. Such enthusiasts include my girlfriend (who enjoys the occasional post-shower face mask) and pretty much every other woman I follow on social media, who frequently post photos of themselves lounging around, sporting those pale, ghostly sheet things on their faces (selfies played a huge role in the recent and rapid popularization of face masks in America).
Men also bore witness to the face mask revolution, and many have come to wonder whether they, too, should drape their mugs with these sheets and pastes. “I only ever see girls use them, but I imagine they’re good for your skin,” one redditor writes, before asking whether guys should use them, too (sic). Another redditor professes his robust desire to give face masks a try, but he worries that his parents will think he’s “super feminine or weird” for using such products (sic).
Well, for starters, caring about your skin is neither feminine, nor weird — it’s just basic grooming. In fact, your gender has literally nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not you should be using a face mask. “Anyone with a face can partake in a face mask,” one redditor confirms in the thread mentioned above (sic). “You’re free! Celebrate this with a face mask!”
Dermatologist Anthony Rossi is also a face mask admirer, explaining that there are two main types: “There are sheet masks, which are those sheets you see everyone walking around with, and then there are cream-based masks that peel,” Rossi says.
The sheet masks, he continues, are designed to moisturize the skin, “and they do a pretty good job.” These masks are saturated with some combination of skin-healthy ingredients, like vitamins and sometimes hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin retain moisture, among other good things. When worn for about 15 minutes, or as otherwise directed, those ingredients should work to hydrate your skin. “If you can get guys to use them once a week, that’s great,” Rossi says, adding that even once a month is better than never. “They’re helpful for people who get really irritated after shaving — they lose moisture, so helping to replace that moisture is nice.”
Meanwhile, the paste-like masks, which dry on your face, serve the opposite purpose. “They’re either made out of clay or salicylic acid, and those really help dry out oily skin,” Rossi explains, adding they can also help combat acne by removing dirt and oil trapped deep in your pores. “Salicylic acid penetrates pores really well, because it’s lipophilic, which means it’s fat-soluble.”
Again, these kinds of masks are usually worn for about 15 minutes, but be sure to check the packaging just in case. As for how often you should use them, that depends on your skin type: Extra oily bros might benefit from using these face masks once or twice a week, whereas dudes with more average skin might start by giving them a try on special occasions, then going from there. Either way, be sure to moisturize after removing these masks, since the ingredients have a tendency to dry out the skin.
All of which is to say, face masks are a solid addition to anyone’s grooming routine, regardless of gender. Be sure to tune into my Instagram every Sunday evening from here on out so you can see a sweet pic of my sheet-covered mug while I bask in ultra-hydrated glory.