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Should I Apply a Face Mask Before or After Taking a Shower?

Skincare is an integral part of keeping your skin clean, fresh, naturally radiant, and preventing early signs of aging.

One essential part of a skincare routine includes using face masks. However, there’s a common dilemma about when to apply face masks for the best results.

If you’re confused about whether it’s better to apply a face mask before or after getting a shower, you’re not alone.

You’ve probably read conflicting information online about the best time to use a face mask.

However, it’s not necessarily based on your timing, but your skin type and needs and the type of face mask you’re using.

Check out what types of face masks will work best for pre-shower or post-shower skincare routines.

face mask shower

Should You Do a Face Mask Before or After a Shower?

Choosing the right face mask for your skin type and your skin needs can help remove excess oils, promote hydration, brighten the skin, and improve your pores’ appearance.

But does timing when applying your face mask matter?

You need to apply most masks on a freshly washed and clean face to let it work its magic.

It’s why it makes sense to add them around your shower routine, either before or after it. It takes out the necessary step of washing your face before applying the mask.

However, it’s not an easy decision as time is a good thing to consider when adding face masks to your skincare routine.

Applying a mask is time-consuming, especially if you consider the amount of time you’d have to wait to let the mask soak its goodness into your skin.

Whether you apply your face mask before or after showering will primarily depend on three important things.

There is no standard answer on the best time to apply a face mask that works for everybody, but answering these questions will help.

  1. What is your skin type?
  2. What type of face mask are you using?
  3. What skincare goals are you trying to achieve?

Applying Face Masks Before a Shower

As a general rule, you need to wash your face before applying a face mask.

Otherwise, all the nourishment it can provide your skin will only sit on excess oil, dirt, and makeup building up on your face all day.

There are two ways to apply face masks before a shower.

You can wash your face in the sink, use the mask, and allow it to sit on your face as you prepare to hop in the shower.

Another method is to wash your face while already in the shower, apply the mask, and let it sit on your face as you continue with your routine.


  • It is convenient and reduces the waiting time.

  • Ideal if you don’t have a lot of time for an extensive skincare routine.

  • It’s easier to wash off masks after you’re done since you need to rinse off anyway.


  • It’s tricky to apply a mask in the shower unless you have a mirror on hand.

  • The water or steam can interfere with the mask’s setting process.

  • The mask may not sit on your face long enough as showers can only take so long.

This Method Is Best For

Dry skin.

You can benefit more from your mask when applying it before taking a shower if you have dry skin, as some face masks can be drying.

Using it before showering will help seal in moisture from your mask.

Applying Face Masks After a Shower

Since you finished showering, applying the face mask afterward seems not the most convenient.

However, it has its strong points, especially if you want to keep the mask on as long as it needs to sit on your skin.

Some masks may also be massaged into your skin and left on overnight. Applying it after a shower ensures you don’t accidentally rinse the mask away.

You can either apply the face mask right after getting a shower or at a much later time, as long as you wash and clean your face first before putting the mask on.

This method is ideal if you have enough time to unwind and want to incorporate a face mask into your relaxing routine at the end of the day.


  • Showering softens your skin and pores, allowing it to soak the mask faster and more effectively.

  • It works best for deep cleansing as you can give ample time for the mask to cleanse and nourish your skin.


  • It’s not the most convenient option, extending your skincare routine.

This Method is Best For

Oily and combination type of skin.

Leaving some masks on your skin for an hour or even overnight allows for deeper cleansing and more nourishment.

Showering and steaming also have a way of preparing your skin for a much better cleansing treatment.

What Sort of Mask Are You Using?

There are all sorts of face masks designed to give your skin the cleansing, hydration, nourishment, and treatment that it needs.

But before using a face mask, make sure you know what type of masks are best for the skincare goals you want to achieve.

Do you have acne-prone skin? You can take out excess oil from your skin and make it smoother and softer with some clay masks.

Meanwhile, if you think your skin needs a good scrubbing to take off dead cells, a charcoal mask will work great.

These types of masks are not meant to stay on your skin for long. You need to wash them off after 15 to 30 minutes, so it makes more sense to apply them before a shower.

Do you want deep nourishment and brightening treatment for your skin? Your skin will benefit more if you allow sheet masks to stay on for a couple of hours or even overnight.

Overnight masks that are creamier and thicker can also work as your nightly moisturizer, so it’s ideal for applying them after a shower.

How to Apply a Face Mask Properly

Irrespective of what sort of face mask you’re using or whether you’re applying it before or after a shower, there are a few tips to remember to apply your mask correctly.

  • Make sure you always apply the face mask on a freshly clean face. Makeup, oil, and dirt can only block the nourishment and benefits that the mask can give your skin.

  • If you’re using clay, mud, or cream masks, apply them to your skin in a thin and even layer. Less is more when applying face masks.

  • Extend your face mask layer into your neck and lower neckline. However, be careful not to include your lips and eyes.

  • Wait and keep your face mask on based on the product instructions. Drying masks like clay and mud for oily skin usually have a shorter wait time. Meanwhile, for anti-aging and moisturizing masks, you can leave them on for 30 minutes to an hour or even overnight.

  • When rinsing your face mask, always use warm or lukewarm water. Avoid hot water at all costs as it might irritate your skin.

After applying your face mask, you can continue with the rest of your skincare.

In general, the frequency of applying face masks depends on your skin type and needs.

Drying and cleansing masks for oily skin are usually best to use two to three times a week, but anti-aging masks are good enough for once or twice a week.

Hydrating masks, on the other hand, you can use several times or as necessary, unless you have extra sensitive skin.

When Is the Best Time to Do a Face Mask?

Finding the time to apply your favorite face mask is one thing. Knowing the best time to apply the mask is another.

Although pampering yourself with a good facial at home using face masks can be sporadic, you have to at least make the best time from it.

Choosing the ideal time to apply face masks, depending on your skin type, the mask you’re using, and your skincare goal ensures your skin gets the best benefits from the product.

If you have oily skin or when using face masks that need rinsing off afterward, like charcoal, clay, and mud masks, applying them before showering is more convenient.

Meanwhile, if you’re using moisturizing and anti-aging masks, you’re better off leaving them for a couple of hours or overnight, so applying them after showering makes more sense.

Finally, ensure you know the correct way to apply a face mask, whether you are applying them before or after a shower, so you can get the most from your skin care regimen.

Chantelle Farrell

Chantelle is a professional cosmetologist who runs her own skin care clinic Amaranthine Aesthetics. She specializes in anti-aging treatment and natural skin care procedures that restore skin beauty and keep it healthy over time.

As a skin care expert, Chantelle enjoys sharing her advice about reliable skin care products, techniques, and aftercare procedures. She believes that everyone should take care of their body and skin and can do that effectively when armed with proper knowledge.

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