Should I Exfoliate Before I Use My Face Mask?

Should I Exfoliate Before I Use My Face Mask?

If you have ever had a facial, you will know the amount of time and effort there is involved to give you those spa-like results of glowing, baby soft skin. With a professional facial you can expect to have 3 to 4, maybe more steps taken into perfecting the skin, each designed to treat the various layers of the skin. With this in mind it makes you wonder why, when using a at home face mask we sometimes apply it without taking the time to include these extra steps. 

This is when exfoliation before applying a face mask can really up the luxe factor and give your skin the extra TLC you experience during a professional treatment. So today we are going to example why you should exfoliate when using a face mask. 

Should I exfoliate before or after a face mask?

To ensure your skin gets the best form of care from using face masks and other steps in your routine, you should follow some basic rules in skin maintenance. By this we mean to always ensure your skin is completely clear of makeup and cleansed of any bacteria or debris before applying a face mask. By doing this you are preventing any impurities from becoming blocked on the skin by a layer of clay, mud or cream mask. This can usually result in the pores becoming clogged and cause the skin to breakout with spots and blackheads.

When it comes to the added step of exfoliating the skin, it is thought best to do this after cleansing the skin and before applying your face mask. This helps to keep the face clean and removes any remaining traces and build-up of product whilst dead skin cells are sloughed away with the exfoliating particles. You will then find the active ingredients in your chosen face mask can deliver faster and more impressive results to the complexion, leaving it glowing, detoxified and healthy. If you are wanting to find out more about face masks and how the different formulas can benefit the skin, you can check out the previous blog about how often you should use a face mask in your skincare routine.

You should then follow the removal of your face mask with a toner, however, ensure it does not have any AHAs or BHAs in the formula as this can be too much for the skin and cause dryness and breakouts.

Is it ok to use face mask after exfoliating?

This should be absolutely fine as long as you ensure the formula of the face mask does not contain any chemical exfoliates, or other potent ingredients that could cause too much stress for the skin. It is also best to avoid any peel off masks as this could lead to the skin feeling tight and stripped of vital water and sebum levels in the skin. When an imbalance such as this is created the skin usually overcompensates and begins to over-produce sebum to help restore the skin’s natural protective barrier, all of which results in a number of inflammations, from breakouts, redness and flaky dry areas of the skin.

Can you exfoliate and do a mask on the same day?

You can indeed! As previously mentioned, you should only exfoliate the skin before a face mask, if there are no AHAs, BHAs or other chemical exfoliating ingredients included in any of the following steps in your skincare routine.

Skincare routine when exfoliating                                                                                                

  • Remove makeup
  • Cleanse the skin with non-foaming cleanser
  • Exfoliate with physical scrub or cotton pad soaked in chemical exfoliant
  • Apply clay, mud or cream face mask
  • Rinse and remove any residue with floral toner containing no exfoliants
  • Applying hydrating serum
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Daily SPF (AM routine only)

Skincare routine without exfoliating

  • Remove makeup
  • Cleanse the skin with non-foaming cleanser
  • Apply face mask of choice, including peel away formulas
  • Lightly wipe the skin with AHA toner-soaked cotton pad
  • Apply liberal amounts of serum containing hyaluronic acid or niacinamide
  • Eye cream
  • Moisturiser
  • Daily SPF (AM routine only)

To get a better understanding of which routine would best suit you and your skin type, you can give both a try, making note of how your skin feels and looks afterwards. Once you have found the right routine you will find your skin will look better than ever with congested pores cleared, texture feeling and looking smoother and any flare-ups or breakouts notably reduced.

What should I do after wearing a mask?

After using a face mask you should continue with the other steps in your skincare routine. Remembering, of course to include active ingredients that will nourish, protect and rejuvenate the skin by keeping it at its healthiest state.

You will find that the following ingredients should work for your skin type, if you find you have a more dry or sensitive skin type, then it is best to consult your doctor or dermatologist for peace of mind. As always, we strongly suggest you perform a patch test for 24 hours with any new products or ingredients you are adding to your routine for the first time. This will avoid you suffering any skin flare-ups or irritation caused by ingredients that are too potent and harsh for your skin.

Hyaluronic acid


Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic and L-ascorbic acid)

These active ingredients are the most hydrating and nourishing to the face, creating balance and restoring calm back to the outer layer of the skin that can frequently become damaged from exposure to free radicals, such as pollution, UV rays and other environmental stresses. We have linked our dedicated blog posts for you to find out more about all the skin benefits when using the mentioned ingredients.

We hope that today we have answered some of your questions about exfoliating the skin when using a face mask, it feels a shame to not take the extra time to perform an at home spa-like facial after all! If you find yourself giving this a try for yourselves using one of the many Procoal face masks available, then don’t forget to tag us in your face mask selfies on Instagram!


Treat your skin today with one of our best-selling skincare products.


Popular dose of skincare tips, tricks, and ingredient recommendations.

Can You Mix Niacinamide and Glycolic Acid?

We’ve been exploring how to layer and mix your skincare ingredients quite a bit recently here on The Beauty Insiders, and today I intend to carry this on. Not only because these questions occur in ...
May 12, 2021  by  Jessica

What Can You Not Mix with Glycolic Acid?

If like me, you are a big skincare fan, you'd want your daily routine to deliver the best results for your skin. No matter what your skin concern is , there is one ingredient that has gained a lot ...
May 11, 2021  by  Jessica

Can I Use Salicylic Acid with Retinol and Niacinamide?

We’ve been focusing on skin ingredient layering on The Beauty Insiders blog recently, it’s something I enjoy writing about, but you all seem to be gaining more interest in making your skincare deli...
May 6, 2021  by  Jessica

What Can You Not Mix with Retinol?

So, perhaps you’re new to skincare, or fancy stepping your routine up a notch and want to introduce retinol into your daily skincare regime. Only problem is, just what exactly can you use with reti...
May 5, 2021  by  Jessica

Which is Better Squalene or Squalane?

We've discussed before just how overwhelming the skincare industry can be, especially when you consider today’s two ingredients that sound remarkably similar. Not to worry though as I’m here today ...
Apr 28, 2021  by  Jessica

How to Get Rid of a Zit?

It can be tricky in more ways than one when suffering from a breakout, this is mainly due to the fact there are such a large variety of different types of blemishes you can have. Before we dive int...
Apr 27, 2021  by  Jessica

What Do Glycoproteins Do to Skin?

Glyco in science terms means “sugar” and proteins are found floating in and around the membrane cells, so the simple way of explaining what glycoproteins are, is basically proteins with sugar attac...
Apr 26, 2021  by  Jessica

How to Get Rid of Pimples?

Pimples are a problem for anyone, no matter their age. The common problem that is faced by people is why they find a pimple on their skin, what they can do to get rid of it and how to prevent any m...
Apr 23, 2021  by  Jessica

How To Get Rid of Milia

Ever found you have a flare-up of small white bumps that appear around the eyes and cheeks? They may look like whiteheads but are very different, as confusing as it can be there are some ways you c...
Apr 14, 2021  by  Jessica

Is Retinol and Retinoid the Same?

Retinoids carry with them a lot of scientific backing clinically proven to treat frequent breakouts and minimising the appearance of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles. They also carry a touch...
Apr 13, 2021  by  Jessica

What Does a Toner Do?

There aren’t many skincare products that have such a long history as toners with evidence of these scented waters being used in everyday skincare routines dating back to the 1700s. Previously more ...
Apr 8, 2021  by  Jessica

Can You use Salicylic Acid Serum and Niacinamide Together?

Layering skincare products can be a tricky task to tackle, especially with us being so spoilt for choice with potent and high performing skincare ingredients. You may have noticed that teaming thes...
Apr 7, 2021  by  Jessica

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published