How to make a lotion face mask with cotton

I’ve mentioned several times before that I do a lotion mask on my face every day. This is a very popular technique in Japan, and it has really changed how soft and supple my face is. This technique was created by Chizu Saeki, who is a famous skin care expert in Japan. She is also quite old but her skin looks fantastic!

What you need:

  • Japanese toner. Also known as lotion, toner is a critical step in Japanese skin care. Called keshosui (化粧水, “cosmetic water”) in Japanese, you can find it in every single brand of Japanese skin care. Even foreign brands such as Lancome and Chanel have toners (usually several types) marketed for Asia. Please be careful to pick a product that does not contain alcohol! 
  • Cotton that can be separated. These cotton pads were created so that they can be separated into thin sheets. Read on to understand why they need to be separated!  Several brands carry this type of cotton. I like the ones from Muji and Hakugen the most. 
My favorite brand of cotton for this technique
“Hakugen Mekuru Cotton Ookime” 
(Hakugen separated cotton large size)
    Here’s what a pad looks like.

    It is made up of thin sheets of cotton.  This is critical to this technique!
    Alternatively, you can separate cotton by yourself. I’ve found that the more expensive cotton works better for separating.


    Steps:
    1. Dampen the cotton with distilled water and gently squeeze it out. Press the cotton between your hands instead of squeezing in a fist will help maintain the sheets of cotton.

    2. Gently stretch out the cotton. This will help the cotton sheets adhere better to your skin.

    3. Apply toner to the cotton. Make sure that the cotton gets wet, almost to the point of dripping.
    4. Apply each sheet to the face. Here are some face charts to show you how I apply each sheet to my face. This can be adapted to your face shape.


    (Yes, these face charts look ridiculous!)
    Sheet 1 & 2
    Sheet 3
    Sheet 4


    Sheet 5

    5. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes. 
    6. Remove the cotton and continue with your skin care routine 

    Notes: 
    – Be careful not to leave the mask on too long. If the toner starts to evaporate, it may cause your skin to dry out
    – You can modify this based on the shape of your face. This is how I apply the cotton sheets.
    – Each brand of cotton will work differently. As I showed here, Hakugen has 5 sheets in each cotton pad.  Muji has 4 sheets
    – I find that dampening the sheets first makes you waste less toner, but you can skip step 1 if you want. Alternatively, you can just use distilled water for the entire process (This is also very popular in Japan). Make sure not to use tap water!

    This has really, really changed my skin care routine! It has made my skin so much more supple and less prone to breakouts!  I hope you enjoy it as well!

    xoxo, K

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    19 Thoughts on “How to make a lotion face mask with cotton

    1. Yinnie_C on September 13, 2011 at 18:41 said:

      Ooh Thanks for the tips. Do you if Muji does good lotions? Or which are the cheaper ones on the market? (Global etc)

      It’s so hard to find a toner/lotion in UK that doesn’t contain alcohol and isn’t pricy. I’m using the Shiseido softener at the moment and I can’t bear to use it as a mask because it goes down far too quickly.

      Yin x

    2. Jamilla on September 13, 2011 at 20:56 said:

      How refreshing!

    3. I like Muji toners in general.  There are several different types, so it will be fun to figure out which one works best for you.

      In the summer, I use distilled water instead of a toner. It still works.

    4. It’s very hydrating!

    5. musicalfan on September 13, 2011 at 23:32 said:

      I’ve never heard of this method before but it’s interesting!

    6. Luluchinadoll on September 14, 2011 at 02:28 said:

      hmm sounds so refreshing, I could use one right now! Thanks for showing us how it’s done 🙂

    7. this is so cool! ive always wondered about lotion face masks ^^ Thanks K! 

    8. Thanks for a very informative post. I will definitely have to try this. First I need to find layered cotton pads here.

    9. this is a good alternative to sheet masks! I just started using a trial set of skincare that came with a toner, and i think i’ll try this method next time I use it.

    10. This is a great post, K…I love Japanese lotion and lotion masks but I tend to use ready made ones….your method sounds v good but economical…I like reading about chizu saeki too…she has a line of skincare on sale on ANA flights….i was so tempted to buy a set to try!

    11. Ooh, you did the post!  Thanks, K.  Really enjoyed the detailed instructions.  =D  I’ve been doing a sheet mask daily.  Wonder if the results are similar?

    12. I’d guess you would get better results from sheet masks. I find that sheet masks are more hydrating. 

    13. Wow, if you do buy the skincare line, please let me know how it works!

    14. Sheet masks are too rich for me in the summer, and too expensive for me to use everyday, but this is a great way to hydrate the face!

    15. You can also use regular cotton if you can split into thin layers. I can usually do 4 layers but it depends on the brand of cotton.  Cotton is easier to split if you dampen it first, like I showed in the first step.

    16. I hope you try it out!

    17. Hope you try it out!

    18. This method is SUPER popular in Japan!  I hope you try it out!

    19. Yep, I love ’em for the hydration!  😉

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