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Formulating Facial Masks

Belinda Carli – May 24, 2018

Formualting Facial Masks ‘Masks’ was the most googled personal care search term in the US in 2017 – and with their versatility to every skin type, as well as product form, there is little wonder why!

There are different types of face masks for various skin types available in the market today and it is of great interest to learn how to create them.

So, 'unmask' the 'mask formulations' with this brief formulation guide!

Let's start with the types of mask formulation in cosmetics...

Types of Face Masks and What they Do?


Masks, as we know them today, come as one of 4 main types:

 − Peel off: Applied to the skin, allowed to dry for 30 minutes then peeled off as one continuous sheet. They are ideal to provide a purifying and renewing perception as well as action. They effectively remove the very outer layer of old, dead skin cells when the polymeric network is removed, to reveal fresher skin beneath.

 − Sheet: Sheet masks are the most versatile because they are effective serum formulations with actives added to achieve the product purpose, e.g.:

 − Anti-sebum
 − Whitening
 − Anti-aging

Whatever you desire based on the active chosen! The sheet of the mask helps stabilize the formulation and give it the required structure, so little in the way of stabilizing and structuring ingredients are needed.

Compare this to standard serums or emulsions, which need functional ingredients to build structure and help stabilize their form in a jar or bottle; while a sheet mask is sealed in a sachet ready for application.

 −  Charcoal/clay: These types of masks are essential crème cleansers with the charcoal or clay added. This also helps build the viscosity. While charcoal and clay materials should be purchased suitably treated, they can act as fantastic food sources for micro-organisms. So, good preservation for this product is essential.

The use of charcoal provides detoxifying/purifying benefits to the skin, able to absorb many times its weight in oil. While the type of clay used is selected on the properties the clays will impart to the skin, which is common mineral rich with other qualities specific to the clay and region it comes from (see your Supplier for individual material details).

 − Leave-on: These types of masks are ultra-hydrating crème-gel or cream forms, applied to the skin and left on for 15-30 minutes (or overnight) with the remainder rubbed in after that time. They contain more lipid and humectant content than standard day creams as they are intended to provide more moisture and emolliency than standard creams.

They should NOT absorb easily into the skin, but instead, provide a richer skin feeling that remains on the skin for at least 15 minutes. After that time the wearer can rub in the excess product or leave it overnight, waking to the feeling of a fresh face.


We have also seen gel-types (gel-serums loaded into a gel sheet or substrate), as well as masks for all parts of the body. They all essentially follow the same formulation principles as the above types.

 » Check Out all Commercially Available Ingredients Used to Formulate Masks & Peel-off Products! 


 » Continue reading to learn how to create facial mask formulations!


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