Beauty Chemistry: The 3-Mask DIY Facial

Sanctuary Spa’s Warming Microbrasion Polish
Origins Clear Improvement Mask
Ling Skin Care

Is your face mask killing you? Lol, no. It’s not. But if it’s a pore-cleansing clay mask that you’re using independently, it’s probably not doing you any favors. This alarming fact was something I learned over the two hours I spent being steamed, massaged, accupressured(?) with Tourmaline, peeled, extracted, and moisturized for the Freaky Friday experience known as the Energy Lift Facial from Ling Skin Care. After which, I kid you not, I saw my 16-year-old self reflected in the mirror. My skin was glowy with that “What are pores?” innocence, my eyes were brighter, and my face had lost any hint of sag. It was kind of insane. The face lift didn’t last long (maybe 48 hours?) but the glow carried on and on and on.

And my facialist told me how to hold on to it for good: give myself an at-home facial once a week, by using not one, but three masks in succession to mimic the once-every-six-weeks in-office facial.

1. Start with an exfoliating mask. Ling’s facial kicks off with her signature Triple Peel Facial—a glycolic peel, papaya enzyme peel, and an acid-free peel, which removes dead skin and draws out impurities. But, in the interest of saving time and money, at home you can stick to a physical exfoliator like Sanctuary Spa’s Warming Microbrasion Polish. It warms the face while you massage in upward circles—Ling suggests giving extra attention to the T-zone. The warming action gives a similar effect as a steam treatment, but for those without a warming mask, simply lay a warm washcloth over your exfoliating mask-covered face and keep it on until the washcloth cools. Then massage the mask in, rinse, and dab your face dry. According to Ling, you can exfoliate with a mask like this as often as every other day, after washing with a simple cleanser.

2. Follow with a pore-refining mask. Ling uses her own signature Herbal Clay Clarifying Mask to detoxify the pores and refine skin's texture, and I like Origins Clear Improvement Mask because it uses charcoal to draw dirt out of pores, absorb excess oil, and improve blood circulation. Leave the mask on for five to 10 minutes. Ling says, "The minute it feels tight, rinse it off." Then towel dry your face. Ling warns against using a pore-refining mask on its own because it will absorb your skin's oil, causing your face to feel dry, and, in turn, overproduce oil in order to compensate. Instead...

3. Finish with a hydrating mask. "You need to replenish your skin with water," says Ling. The humectant, skin-plumping power of Ling's own aloe vera-heavy Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask layered over a mix of Dual Moisture Emulsion (an ultra-hydrating toner) and Moisture Plenish Hydration Solution (a plumping, silky serum) was heavenly. You can wear this mask as long as you'd like, and use it as often as you'd like because, says Ling, "It's just rehydrating your skin. You always need that." Then rinse, towel dry, and re-apply the Dual Moisture Emulsion as a toner, followed by your favorite moisturizer.

Once a week, 30 minutes of Me Time will supply you with totally clean, clear, plumped, toned, and firmed skin. No joke.

—Mackenzie Wagoner

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Chantel

    Awesome post. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Erica Rae Deutsch

    this explains a lot actually. i bought the dr. brandt pore no more mask a while ago and was seriously unimpressed/bummed it didn't work. i'll have to give the three step process a try now.

    quick question though: i've been seeing a lot of posts lately that talk about doubling/tripling up on products and i guess my question is how do you know when enough is enough? i started going to an esthetician because my skin was going berserk and she said my problem was that I was using too many products. i'm a skincare junkie and seeing these posts are sending me into my old, 17 products per day ways!

    • ITGMackenzie

      Hi Erica,

      I think it's about finding the right balance for you, depending on your needs at the time (based on diet, hormones, weather, etc). I used a lot of extra products in the winter, because it was so dry inside and outside it was practically toxic. I just couldn't get enough moisture. But now that it's warming up, my winter regimen is making my face feel clogged. I've been skipping the face oil and going for a lighter cream. There are days when I will just use a gentle milk cleanser and a simple moisturizer, if I feel like I need to purge. That being said, it feels really great to do three masks in a row, which, up until meeting Ling, I would have thought was SO indulgent. It just makes sense to clean out and open up your pores by exfoliating, closing them back up to keep them clean with a pore refiner, and then moisturizing to keep your skin happy. Hope that helps!

      • Inkygrl

        I've read that it's a myth that pores "open" and "close". They can appear bigger or smaller depending on how congested they are, and loosening up the material that is clogging them is obviously beneficial, but they don't actually open and close.

      • The Great Zambini

        That, and I've read that different afflictions of the skin can be signs of distress in other organs and systems of the body. (according to traditional Indigenous and Asian medicine) I think the best thing to keep in mind is that clear skin comes from exercise, diet and nutrients, and skin care regimen, and you'd get less than perfect results if you focused on any one piece of the equation.

  • Caroline

    This is what I typically do, though I've had to cool it with some treatments since starting Retin-A a few months ago.

    • anonymous

      Yes, since I use Retin-A I double check every time to make sure that whatever I plan to use plays nicely with it. It's super important, especially when it comes to chemical or physical exfoliants since the Retin-A does a lot of exfoliation, as well. Since I concentrate my Retin-A application around my nose and chin, sometimes I avoid those areas when I'm using an exfoliating mask.

    • Shara

      Hi! How's Retin-A working for you?
      I started a month ago and my skin feels constantly tight and dry now. I used to have such oily skin! I'm getting a lot of spots too (purging?) but I really don't mind that as much as the dry, peeling patches of skin.

      Do you mind sharing what products you're using? I bought a serum and gel moisturiser with hyaluronic acid last week but they don't seem to be strong enough. I thought about looking for richer creams but I'm worried they might clog my pores since they're already quite acne/clog-prone. Now I'm thinking about either using oils (looking at jojoba, specifically), or getting a hydrating mask.

      I'm kinda nervous because when i google "Retin-A diary" to see other people's progress, it seems like everyone either stops posting after a few weeks, or quit after about 10 weeks because they say the 'purging' just keeps getting worse and they can't handle it anymore.

  • Alice

    What's a good number and a max number of skincare products you would recommend using at one time, including serum, moisturiser, masks etc.

    • ITGMackenzie

      Hi Alice!

      Like I said to Erica (below), it's really about what your skin requires. I have insanely dry skin, so I tend to pile on the moisture. When I do the three-mask treatment, my skin usually feels amazing after, so I follow it by the hydrating toner (just because Ling told me to) and a moisturizer just to seal it all in. On an average day, I cleanse, use a toner, then a serum, and then a moisturizer. If I'm feeling extra dry, I might add oil to my moisturizer. If I'm feeling only a little dry, I might cut the serum and add oil to the moisturizer instead. That being said, we meet amazingly wrinkle-free, beautiful women all the time who might do as little as wash their face with water and use Embryolisse or even coconut oil to moisturize. Skincare requires a certain amount of tailoring for your skin and lifestyle's needs.

    • Amanda

      If you have regular skin and/or don't think you'll keep up with multiple steps, you're fine with just a moisturizer at night and a moisturizer w/ sunscreen during the day. I would say the second most important is an exfoliant which you can get in toner form. Toner and serum you can add if you want or if you have something you want to treat which can be helped by different products (wrinkles, acne, dryness). So anywhere between 1 and 4 products I think is "normal."

      Masks are a bonus if you like them to feel luxurious or if you have something you specifically want to do (absorb oil, brighten, exfoliate, etc.)

  • ohhoney_no

    Great post -- you describe the services provided by one professional, link to her products, and then provide alternatives to keep it from being an advertorial.

    THIS is why I return to this website again and again.

  • B

    I'm currently using Biologique Recherche and I CANNOT RATE THIS ENOUGH!!! It's true! BR is crazy amazing!!! And I agree with the triple mask situation - it works.

    When I do give myself an at home facial, it'll be these steps:
    1. BR Milk Cleanser
    2. BR P50
    3. BR Masque Vivant
    4. Collin Resultime Collagen Gel
    5. Collin Resultime Minute Lifting Mask (layer a hot cloth over & then remove lightly after 10mins)
    6. BR Masque Visolatine, then remove
    7. BR serums (I use extraits tissularis and then oligo proteins)
    8. BR creme placenta

    And then time to chillout!

    • Amanda

      I'm traveling to Paris soon and I'm thinking of buying the P50. About how many euros does it cost?

      Also, do you use the one with or without phenol?

      • B

        Hi, I got mine in the UK for about £50.

        I'm using the one without phenol and am loving it. This will change your life! Also, look into getting a serum - they work so well.

        • andee

          Love the P50 without phenol. It gives you a glow because it has exfoliantes AND niacinamide. I'm in Philly and get fabulous facials with only BR and Valmont products at Rescue Spa. My skin is good, but after a facial there, it is terrific if I do say so myself

          • Amanda

            Nice! niacinamide works really well for my skin so I'm deeeefinitely going to get the one without phenol.

          • Tanya

            Buy all my BR from Rescue Spa they need to come to NYC!!!!

        • Amanda

          Thanks! I think I'm going to get the one without phenol when I go as well.

    • Fraser Muir

      Hey, so glad you love the Resultime Regenerating Collagen Gel and Lifting Minute Mask! The Lifting Minute Mask has been discontinued now but we launched the new Smoothing Resurfacing Mask in November which is a far superior anti-ageing mask :)
      Love Roxie at FMH x (UK distributor for Resultime by Collin Paris)

  • jess

    clarisonic with sukin foaming face cleaner, then aesop parsely seed cleansing mask (its a clay based one) for 15 mintues, wash off with warm water, finish with rosehip oil = baby face.

  • Sheri

    Can you recomend an exfoliating mask to use during the first step?

  • Kaitlin Wright

    Thanks for this! I love the Origins mask and typically follow it up with a hydrating one by Holika Holika, but now I'll add an exfoliant first. Woohoo! Friday is at-home spa night.

  • lisa robb

    Sounds amazing.
    L x

  • The Great Zambini

    I like this information. The cleanser seems too deep to use once a week on my skin (it's still pretty young, thank goodness!). But once a month sounds really beneficial.

  • Ellen

    I am in my 50's , African American woman, combination skin. I decided to add Aztec clay mask, mud mask and pumpkin glycolic mask in my facial routine. Can I use the all in one day or spread them every two -three days?
    I also use Orogold 24k gold deep peel once a week
    Chateau 24k gold Absolute eye cream, daily serum, day moisturize, night moisterizer, Lancome Visionaire eye cream daily
    Gel facial wash, clarasonic facial brush and toner daily
    My eyes are tighten now, no wrinkles or fine lines. I had the dark section under eye and now they are deminishing.


Sanctuary Spa
Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask To Clear Pores
Ling Skincare
Ling Skincare Ginseng Therapy Moisture Mask
Ling New York
Ling Skincare Dual Moisture Emulsion
Cult Beauty Ltd.
Ling Skincare Moisture Plenish Hydration Solution