Why ‘Multi-Masking’ Is All the Rage in the Beauty World

Sometimes one product just doesn’t cut it.
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Caitlin Miller
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Sometimes one product just doesn’t cut it.
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We’ve all been there: It’s a Friday night. PJs are on, Netflix is queued up, and you have some grand plans set up with your pores. With facial masks as popular as ever, the choices are endless—a seemingly great problem to have when you’re planning an at-home spa night. One mask is designed to target oily skin, another is designed to treat severe dryness, and another tackles aging. But do you really need all of those on your whole face?

Thankfully, multi-masking, a new trend in the skin care world, has made this problem a thing of the past. Customizing your spa night just got much simpler.

What is multi-masking?

Most of us suffer from a range of skin concerns and can’t simply rely on one product to conquer them all. That’s the idea behind the tailor-made facial trend. Multi-masking is just as it sounds: the concept of mixing and matching different facial masks to create a combination mask that targets and treats the skin problems unique to each part of your face.

“Multi-masking is a technique professional skin therapists have long used in treatments because it allows us to give each zone of the face the specific TLC needed when the goal is balancing the total complexion,” explains Jeni Sykes, head of skin care and general manager of Heyday Spa in New York City. Although aestheticians might have been using this trend for years, it’s just now catching fire in the at-home beauty world.

Who needs it?

Really anyone and everyone can benefit from a mask cocktail. “We all know that our skin’s needs vary seasonally, monthly, and sometimes even daily depending on hormonal, stress, and environmental factors,” says Wei Young Brian, founder of WEI Beauty. “Multi-masking is beneficial because it ensures that your skin is getting the necessary treatments it needs quickly and efficiently at the exact moment it is needed.”

Not only does multi-masking treat different facial areas and their specific needs, but the concoction of products conquers these various skin woes all at once. Those pressed on time or those looking to cut down their skin care routine can avoid having to do multiple treatments by doing one multi-mask.

Where do I apply?

When tailoring your mask to your needs, remember that where you apply product depends on your skin’s needs at that given time. “There’s no specific area of the face that will determine what kind of mask it needs most,” Sykes explains. “Instead you’ll want to look at what you see happening on different parts of your face, and select which mask you want to apply in each zone.” If you’re a multi-masking newbie, Sykes suggests keeping it simple and sticking with just two types of masks to start. Not only will this ease you into mixing and masking, but it will keep the price tag down.

In general, some key areas to focus on when masking include the T-zone, i.e. the forehead, nose, and chin, as these spots tend to be more oily with clogged pores; the cheeks, which can often dry out and need hydration; and lastly, any broken-out or blemished areas, which require a localized spot treatment.

What types of masks do I use?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule to multi-masking, as the whole idea behind it is to embrace customization. However, to make your next spa night just a tad easier, our experts prepared a quick cheat sheet to help any beginner master the trend.

1. Where skin is dry, flaky, dull, or red: Opt for a cream or gel mask that’s intended to hydrate, calm, and soothe skin. We like Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask, $45, for its cooling effect and cocktail of skin-pleasing ingredients, such as aloe, cucumber, chamomile, and pineapple.

2. Where skin is oily or congested: Reach for a detoxifying or clarifying clay mask to remove skin impurities. We can’t get enough of Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask, $70, and its velvety, luxe texture.

3. Where skin is breaking out: A spot treatment might be in order. If blemishes are very red and swollen, Sykes suggests reaching for a hydrating mask before anything. “Banishing these [areas] requires banishing the inflammation that’s creating the redness first,” she says. To remove redness and inflammation, try calming the spot with an aloe-based gel mask or a hydrating mask with skin-pleasing antioxidants such as blueberries, she says. For a budget-friendly aloe fix, try Alba Even Advanced Deep Sea Facial Mask, $7, which relies on a signature Marine Complex to neutralize and even out skin’s tone.

4. Where anti-aging is concerned: For most of us, signs of aging are primarily seen around the eyes with fine lines and thin, puffy skin. Combat this particular area with a targeted eye treatment full of hydration and retinol. A highly potent option is Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask, $18, which delivers a high dose of retinol via tiny half-moon patches.

But of course, those who are still too intimidated by the mask game can make it easy on themselves and reach for a pre-curated multi-mask set. WEI skin care offers a Multi-Mask Multitask Mask Collection, $22, complete with the Golden Root Purifying Mud Mask, Kakadu Plum Brightening Sugar Mask, and Manuka Bee Venom Anti-Wrinkle Mask, all of which can be used together in various pairings to target specific needs, Brian says.

No matter which route you take when it comes to your routine, multi-masking is a surefire way to treat your skin in a timely, effective, and personal way.