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Updated November 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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Buying guide for Best facial detox masks

A facial detox mask can be a skincare game-changer. Masks designed to detoxify the face deliver an intense dose of nourishing, hydrating, or soothing ingredients in a highly concentrated formula. If you want to remove impurities like dirt and oil from your skin, a facial detox mask is an excellent option.

How do these masks work? Each mask is formulated to draw out impurities and promote clean, healthy, refreshed skin. Many detox masks work especially well for acne and blemish-prone skin because they help prevent clogged pores.

Other detox masks help remove pollutants and toxins from the skin to mitigate potential damage caused by UV rays, pollution, and other environmental stressors.

In short, the right facial detox mask can give you clearer, smoother, brighter skin, but how do you know which is best? Before you buy, you'll want to determine your skin type and the formula that would best suit your needs.

facial detox masks
Your face has approximately 20,000 pores, so keeping them clear can be a serious challenge. A facial detox mask can help remove pore-clogging debris and give a brighter, smoother complexion.

How do facial detox masks work?

As mentioned, facial detox masks help clear the skin of impurities, toxins, pollutants, and other harmful substances. These masks can also encourage the skin’s production of collagen and elastin and promote cell turnover. What’s more, some masks create a strong and protective barrier on the skin.

Most detox masks contain ingredients that draw out impurities and other debris to deep-clean the pores. Others help protect against free radical damage and other environmental stressors. Some detox masks also help hydrate and condition the skin.

Choosing the best face mask based on skin type

Some mask formulas will be better for your skin (and your skin concerns) than others. To find the best facial detox mask for you, consider your skin type.

Oily, acne-prone, and combination skin

If your skin is prone to clogged pores and breakouts, choose a facial detox mask that absorbs dirt, oil, makeup, and other impurities. These masks deep-clean the pores so they’re less likely to clog and promote acne.

Some detox masks for acne-prone skin have exfoliating properties as well. These masks help remove dead cells that can clog your pores.

Normal, dry, and mature skin

For skin that doesn’t produce as much oil, it’s not as important to draw impurities from the pores. Instead, opt for a formula that fights free radical damage from exposure to the sun, protects against pollution, and hydrates the skin.

These masks typically help hydrate, brighten, and firm the skin.

facial detox masks
DID YOU KNOW?
Popular detoxifying antioxidants include vitamin C, niacinamide, idebenone, and botanical extracts like berry and pomegranate.
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Choosing a face mask formula

Facial detox masks come in cream, gel, sheet, and powder form.

Cream

Cream masks are the most common type of detox mask. All clay-based masks fall under this category. These masks are fairly easy to apply and typically sit on the skin for 15 to 30 minutes. To remove the mask, rinse your face with warm water.

Gel

Gel masks are another popular formula. They usually have a lighter texture than cream masks, and they need not sit as long on the skin. Many rinse off with warm water, but some gel masks must be peeled away.

Sheet

Sheet masks are usually the easiest masks to use. A paper or fabric mask is cut to the shape of the face and saturated with active ingredients. You place the mask on your face for a certain period of time, and then you throw it away.

A rinse typically isn’t needed after using a sheet mask. Instead, you gently massage the residue into your skin as part of the treatment.

Powder

Powder masks must be mixed with water to form a paste, which you apply to your face. The mask then works like a cream mask. Rinse it off with warm water when finished.

What features should I pay attention to in a facial detox mask?

Ingredients

Facial detox masks must contain high-quality ingredients to remove toxins and impurities from the skin effectively.

Some ingredients to look for in a detox mask include the following:

  • Clay: Clays like kaolin and bentonite are popular ingredients in detox masks for oily and acne-prone skin. The clay absorbs facial oil and deep cleans pores to clear and smooth the skin.
  • Mud: Mud absorbs excess oil and deep-cleans pores. It’s known to have antibacterial properties and to reduce the inflammation associated with acne.
  • Charcoal: Activated charcoal is another common ingredient in detox masks for oily and acne-prone skin. Charcoal absorbs oil, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities to help reduce acne and smooth the skin.
  • Vitamin C and other antioxidants: These ingredients help fight damage from pollution as well as free radical damage. They also stimulate collagen and elastin production.
  • Algae and seaweed: These marine-based ingredients work as antioxidants and contain minerals that detoxify the skin. They can also increase blood flow in the skin to promote a healthy glow.

Packaging

Facial detox sheet masks typically come in single-serve foil packets. They’re extremely easy to use, though this type of packaging produces more waste than other masks.

Cream masks often come in squeeze tubes, making it easy to dispense the right amount. Gel masks usually come in jars, so you must dip your fingers inside to remove the product. Not only is the application messy, but this method can introduce bacteria to the rest of the container if your hands aren’t clean.

Powder masks also come in a jar, though it’s much easier to remove the powder from the vessel without dirtying your hands.

Fragrance

Like many skincare products, some facial detox masks are scented. Unfortunately, synthetic fragrances are potentially irritating, particularly for those with sensitive skin. If you prefer to stay away from artificial fragrances, look for a fragrance-free detox mask or a mask that features only natural fragrances.

Cruelty-free

Some facial detox masks are made by brands that test their products on animals. If you’re uncomfortable using skincare products that undergo animal testing, look for formulas with a cruelty-free label.

The brands behind these products don’t use animal testing on their finished products. You can even find masks from brands that don’t work with suppliers who use animal testing. In this scenario, the individual ingredients found in the masks weren’t tested on animals, either.

Some detox masks are available in trial-size containers, allowing you to test a formula without paying a high price.

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What should you use with a facial detox mask?

Facial cleanser

Before you apply a detox facial mask, it’s essential to use a facial cleanser. Look for a gentle cleanser or one formulated for your skin type to avoid stripping or irritating your complexion.

Facial steamer

If you want to use your detox mask as part of a home facial, consider opening your pores beforehand with a facial steamer. Opt for a model that heats quickly and automatically turns off when it runs out of water.

facial detox masks
DID YOU KNOW?
If you have combination skin, you may only want to apply your detox mask to the t-zone: your forehead, nose, and chin. This area of the face is more likely to get oily and have clogged pores.
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How much do facial detox masks cost?

Inexpensive

The most affordable facial detox masks are usually formulas with a single detoxifying ingredient such as clay, mud, or charcoal. Many masks in this price range feature powder formulas, single-sheet masks, or small containers of cream or gel. They typically cost between $1 and $10.

Mid-range

Mid-range facial detox masks usually contain more than one detoxifying ingredient to deep-clean the skin. Most masks in this price range feature gel or cream formulas or a multi-pack of sheet masks. They generally cost between $12 and $30.

Expensive

The most expensive facial detox masks are often made by high-end and luxury beauty brands. They typically contain two or more detoxifying ingredients. The masks in this price range usually feature a gel or cream formula or multiple sheet masks. They generally cost between $30 and $99.

Tips

  • Start with clean skin. Before applying a detox mask, wash your face to remove surface dirt, oil, and makeup. This allows the ingredients in the mask to penetrate your pores and deep-clean them as thoroughly as possible.
  • Steam your skin before applying the mask. Exposing your skin to warm steam helps open the pores so the detoxifying ingredients work even more effectively. You can take a hot shower, use a facial steamer, or press a warm, wet washcloth to your face to open your pores.
  • Use a face mask brush to apply the mask to acne-prone skin. Using your fingers to apply your detox mask could spread bacteria and worsen your acne.
  • Tone and moisturize your skin after your mask. Toner removes residue left behind and helps restore the skin’s balance, while moisturizer seals in the mask’s ingredients for more noticeable results.
facial detox masks
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results from your detox mask right away. While your skin may feel clean and smooth right away, it can take several applications before you start to see noticeable results.

FAQ

Q. How often should I use a detox facial mask?

A. It depends on the mask’s formula, your skin type, and your skin concerns. Consult the instructions to determine the recommended usage. Note, however, that most masks should only be used once or twice a week.

Q. Should I exfoliate before using a detox facial mask?

A. Exfoliating before applying a face mask can help the ingredients penetrate your skin more easily. Why? The process of exfoliation removes the dead cells from the surface of your skin that might otherwise prevent the mask’s ingredients from absorbing into the skin. You might wish to use a gentle facial scrub to avoid irritating your skin during exfoliation.

Q. Are detox facial masks safe for sensitive skin?

A. As long as you’re not allergic to any of the ingredients in the formula, a detox facial mask should be safe for sensitive skin. However, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before applying the mask all over your face.

Dot a small amount of the mask on an inconspicuous area of the face, such as along your jaw, and leave it on for the prescribed amount of time. Wash it off, and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction. If your skin doesn’t react, you can use the mask all over your face without worrying.

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