- Combination skin can benefit from the application of several different types of face masks.
- Multimasking refers to the act of applying different masks to different areas of the face to target the benefit to the specific skin concern.
- DIY recipes are less effective than commercial products.
With combination skin, choosing a face mask can be difficult, as your skin may have multiple issues. However, by being strategic about how you select and apply face masks, you can address multiple issues simultaneously.
The occasional use of a face mask can provide an extra boost to your regular skin care routine by delivering beneficial ingredients to improve your skin’s appearance.
Face masks are extremely versatile. Whatever your skin concerns, there are commercial products or DIY recipes to address it.
What Is Combination Skin?
Combination skin is defined as having an oily T-zone—the forehead, nose and chin—and dryness on the cheeks and jawline. It can be difficult to care for combination skin because products that work on one area of the face are often unsuitable for other areas.
Multimasking for Combination Skin
With combination skin, the two different zones of your face have separate needs. Rather than apply a single mask to your entire face, you can optimize your treatment by using a technique called multimasking.
Multimasking is the application of two masks at the same time: one to the oily T-zone and the other to the drier areas of the face.
By multimasking, you can target the ingredients of each mask directly where they’re needed without wasting the product or prompting unwanted reactions in your skin.
Best Face Masks for Combination Skin
Many types of face masks can be used on combination skin, provided they are applied to the appropriate zones of the face. Depending on what the mask is designed to do, you can apply it either to a specific area or the entire face.
Ingredients to look for
There are several main benefits for using face masks on combination skin: hydration, anti-aging, exfoliation and oil control.
Masks that hydrate your skin without oil or other comedogenic ingredients work well for combination skin because they can be used on the entire face.
Look for masks with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which can help the skin retain elasticity, and glycerin. Both are humectants, meaning they draw moisture toward your skin.
Skin-brightening Vitamin C is a key player in maintaining the overall health of your skin. It can lighten dark spots, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and protect your skin from free radicals.
Anti-inflammatory Vitamin E is another antioxidant that can smooth the texture of your skin. It works more efficiently when paired with Vitamin C, so look for face masks that include both ingredients for an added boost.
Exfoliating sheet masks use gentle acids to remove dead skin cells without any scrubbing. You can use face masks containing glycolic acid or lactic acid on your entire face, as both oily and dry skin can benefit from exfoliation. Glycolic acid has the additional benefit of lightening dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
If applied directly to the T-zone, drying ingredients such as kaolin clay and salicylic acid can draw out or dissolve impurities to control oiliness. Salicylic acid unclogs pores and decreases sebum production, the oil naturally produced in your skin.
Ingredients to avoid
Because combination skin can present with a wide range of issues, there aren’t any specific face mask ingredients you need to avoid; what is important is where you use each ingredient.
Avoid using harsh anti-acne ingredients on the dry parts of your face. Likewise, don’t use thick, occlusive masks on oily areas as they may block pores.
These principles may guide you when purchasing specific types of masks. For instance, masks that are packaged in a tub or tube for targeted application may be more practical than full-face sheet masks.
Types of masks
There are seven types of face masks:
Each type has a different strength: clay and peel-off masks are usually designed to treat blemishes, while gel, cream and sleep masks deliver hydration to tired, dull skin. Charcoal masks are available in many forms, but all work to remove impurities from the skin.
Sheet masks are more versatile, and are designed for every skin type and a wide range of skin concerns.
For those with combination skin, any of these masks may be of benefit to you—provided you apply them strategically to the areas of your face that need those particular benefits.
Summer vs. winter
Combination skin tends to be drier in the winter and oilier in the summer. As a result, you may feel more inclined to use hydrating masks in the winter and oil-controlling, purifying masks such as clay or charcoal in the summer.
DIY Face Mask Recipes for Combination Skin
The following homemade recipes are designed to address the issues commonly associated with combination skin. However, while DIY recipes are popular alternatives to commercial skin care products, there is little scientific evidence to support their efficacy.
Clay mask for combination skin
A bentonite clay mask is highly absorbent and can remove oils, toxins and contaminants from the skin.
When combined with milk, clay is gentle enough to use on combination skin without being too drying. You’ll also receive the added benefit of the lactic acid in the milk – a mild exfoliant.
- 1 tbsp green clay powder (available at health stores and online)
- 1 tbsp milk
- Combine ingredients in a bowl
- Apply the paste to your face, avoiding the under-eye area
- Wait 10–15 minutes or until the mask firms up; rinse with warm water
If you find the mask too drying for your cheeks, you can replace the milk with jojoba or olive oil to use on that area or use the mask exclusively on the T-zone.
Egg white face mask for combination skin with acne
This face mask is intended to tone and tighten acne-prone skin.
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
- Whip the egg white in a small bowl until stiff peaks form
- Add lemon juice and honey; stir
- Apply with a cotton pad or brush
- Wait 15 minutes for the mask to harden; rinse with warm water
While there are no studies that have proven honey’s capacity to fight Propionibacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, honey is well known for its antibacterial properties.
Egg whites are naturally astringent, meaning they contract your skin cells for a tighter, smoother complexion, but this effect is temporary. Additionally, while egg whites do contain vitamins and protein, it’s likely that only a small percentage of those molecules are absorbed into the skin, if at all.
Charcoal face mask for combination skin with blackheads
This peel-off gel mask is designed to draw impurities from the skin. It is best used exclusively on the oily areas of your face.
- 1 tbsp activated charcoal
- 1 tbsp plain gelatin powder
- 1 tbsp water
- Combine the powders in a small bowl
- Add water and stir to form a thick gel
- Apply the gel to your T-zone using a brush
- Allow the mask to dry completely (20–30 minutes) before peeling it off
- Use a washcloth soaked in warm water to remove any remaining gel
While the effects of activated charcoal on the skin have not been studied, its ability to absorb toxins is well documented.
Chamomile, green tea and cucumber face mask for sensitive combination skin
This DIY mask of natural ingredients may help calm inflammation in sensitive skin.
- 1 small peeled cucumber with the seeds removed
- 1 chamomile tea bag
- 1 green tea bag
- 4 oz water
- 1 tbsp plain gelatin
- 1 oz aloe vera gel
- Blend the cucumber and strain; reserve the juice and discard the pulp
- Bring water to boil on the stove; add tea bags and let steep for 10 minutes
- Add gelatin to the tea and stir until dissolved
- Remove from heat; cool for 15–20 minutes
- Combine with cucumber juice and aloe vera
- Apply to face and neck; leave on for 10–20 minutes
- Wash off with warm water
This mask can be stored in the fridge for several days. As with many home remedies, the efficacy of this mask is debatable. In fact, one study concluded that the topical application of aloe vera gel caused skin dehydration, but reduced redness.
Papaya face mask for combination skin with dryness
This face mask is designed to nourish the dry areas of your face.
- 1/2 cup ripe papaya
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp unpasteurized honey
- Mash papaya and thoroughly combine all ingredients
- Apply the mixture to the dry areas of your face
- Leave the mask on for 15 minutes; rinse with warm water
Papaya contains high amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A, both of which support skin health. However, it has not been determined whether these vitamins can be absorbed through the skin.
DIY multimasking for combination skin
The same principles of multimasking apply whether you’re using a commercial or homemade product.
Apply DIY recipes designed for oil control to the T-zone exclusively; richer masks should only be used on the dry areas of the face. Recipes designed to hydrate without adding oil are safe to use on the entire face.
Face masks can supplement your regular skin care routine by addressing a wide range of issues. Because combination skin is prone to a wide range of skin concerns, many types of face masks can be effective in keeping skin looking healthy and fresh.
By multimasking—simultaneously targeting different products at the areas of the face that need them—you can create a customized masking solution that works for your combination skin.
In addition to the large number of commercial masks available, you can also try homemade mask recipes with simple ingredients. However, these DIY masks are usually not as effective as commercial products.
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