There are literally thousands of masks on the market. Endless options for all skin types and all skin conditions. So where to begin?
Masks were traditionally a quick fix or an extra boost, normally used once a week to help possibly fix whatever issue you had.
These days they're much more sophisticated and can be left on overnight, used as a 15 minute quick fix, or used under moisturisers during the day if you so desire.
So what type of mask works best for which skin? More in-depth reviews will follow but for now the briefest of overviews:
The original and most well-known type of mask, clay is traditionally used for deep cleaning, decongesting, in general it's the one you grab when you feel a bit dirty, like you need a really good clean.
oily, combination, blackheads, breakouts, dull
Check the ingredients for magnesium and avoid if you're sensitive - it can be very stimulating.
These are either bead-based (I don't recommend microbead masks, I'm talking about silica/jojoba etc), enzyme or acid-based and are used to resurface the skin, slough off dead skin cells, turnover the stratum corneum (15-20 layers of dead, flattened, skin cells) a little quicker to give you smooth skin.
dull, flaky, sallow, dry, dehydrated
sensitive, easily reactive
Moisturising masks are usually used last and add oil-based moisture to the skin. They're the perfect mask to sleep in if you're older and contain things like shea butter and oils.
older, premature ageing, mature, dry,
oily, combination, acne-prone
This is more a sub-category but worth a mention as a lot of the hydrating/moisturising masks use 'anti-ageing' as their main focus. These will contain peptides and other trademark name ingredients, some of which you will never have heard of, some of which you will.
older, mature skins, skins worried about signs of ageing
You're 21 (under 30) and just want a quick clay mask. Save your pennies.
These are generally water, glycerin and hyaluronic acid based, amongst others. They work great as a quick boost for all skins but work especially well for:
dehydrated, dry, dull, - basically a one-size fits all mask
literally anyone can use these masks - when in doubt, buy hydrating
Ah sheet masks. Or as you may have come to think of them: bandwagon masks (maybe that's just me). Not since the dawn of face wipes has a trend hit so quickly, and so hard. Everyone is doing a sheet mask. These gained their popularity in the Far East and show no signs of going away.
forcing you to sit still/lie down for a while - and the benefits of the ingredients obviously..
You're very sensitive. Or at least check the ingredients as sheet masks can be heavy on fragrance and alcohol. Not all, but quite a few.