Do Masks Exfoliate The Skin?


When consulting with a client, it is important for me to understand their existing skin care routine. Most of the time when I ask an exfoliant is used, I get the reply, “I have a mask that I use occasionally.”

I’m unclear as to how masks get confused with exfoliating products, but they provide two completely different functions. Let me set the story straight on what each can offer your skin:

What is a mask?

Masks are products that are applied to the skin and generally left on for 10-15 minutes. They can be made of oil-absorbing clays, hydrating gels and moisturizing creams, so it’s best to use one that is suited for your skin type

I view masks as an at-home facial that gives a boost to your skin, above and beyond the results of your regular cleanser, toner, and moisturizer routine. See our collection of masks.

Read how to give your skin an at-home facial.

Read why some clay masks are not beneficial to the skin.

What is an exfoliator?

An exfoliator is a product designed to remove surface dry skin cells. There are physical exfoliants (facial scrubs) or chemical exfoliants (acids and enzymes), so it’s best to use one that is suited for your skin type. See our collection of exfoliants.

Read why exfoliation will give you beautiful skin.

Read: How to safely exfoliate with facial scrubs.

It’s a simple as that. Masks and exfoliants have two different functions, but both are essential for healthy, glowing skin!

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

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Renée Rouleau

Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”