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Best Facial Masks

Updated October 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 9 Models Considered
  • 5 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 30 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best facial masks

    Last Updated October 2018

    With a host of deep-acting formulations geared toward everything from dry skin to blocked pores, facial masks are a great addition to any skin care regimen. Whether you need to rejuvenate, hydrate, detox, or clarify, there’s a facial mask out there for you.

    But with so many options available, finding the right facial mask can be a daunting task. Luckily, we’re here to help!

    At BestReviews, we’re dedicated to simplifying shopping for you. We purchase, test, and analyze products at our own cost, so you can be sure that all our reviews are 100% free of bias, hype, and marketing jargon. With our handy shopping guides, you can make educated shopping decisions.

    If you’re ready to purchase a facial mask, check out our five favorites in the product matrix above. For everything you need to know to find the best facial mask for your skin type and concerns, keep reading.

    By clearing and conditioning skin, facial masks boost the efficacy of serums, creams, or toners applied afterward.

    Why use a facial mask?

    Absolutely anyone can benefit from using a facial mask. Facial masks are packed with powerful ingredients that target specific issues like dry or oily skin, blocked pores, uneven skin tone, and aging. Depending on your skin type, facial masks can be used to:

    • Remove Buildup and Impurities: Clogged pores can cause pimples and in some cases even infection. Cleansing facial masks absorb oil and lift dead skin cells and dirt from the pores.

    • Hydrate and Nourish: Dry skin often goes hand in hand with tightness and itching. Moisturizing facial masks instantly soothe by quenching thirsty skin with deeply nourishing ingredients.

    • Balance Uneven Skin Tone: Blotches and blemishes can affect any skin type. Some facial masks are enriched with vitamins and natural extracts to lighten dark spots and brighten skin.

    • Fight Wrinkles: Many facial masks are formulated to combat the effects of aging with ingredients like retinol and collagen, which have been shown to firm and plump tired skin.

    • Just Relax: Applying a facial mask means you definitely won’t be going anywhere for at least 10 minutes, so why not pour a glass of wine, put your feet up, and luxuriate?

    EXPERT TIP

    Exfoliating and steaming your skin before applying a facial mask opens up your pores, so they will more readily release dirt and absorb nutrients.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Types of facial masks

    Clay, mud, and charcoal masks

    Perfect for oily and acne-prone skin, these masks naturally draw out impurities and absorb excess oil as they dry. Clay masks are so effective at absorbing excess oil that they do a great job of reducing shine and mattifying skin.

    Cream masks

    Most cream masks are enriched with hydrating emollients to give dry skin a moisture injection.

    To avoid over-drying and potentially damaging skin, it’s best to remove clay masks before they become flaky.

    Peel-off/rubber masks

    These masks tend to be antioxidant-rich. Because they’re peeled off after drying, they effectively remove dead cells and dirt from the skin’s surface.

    Gel masks

    Gel masks are generally water-based and have a cooling effect that works well for sensitive skin in need of hydration and repair.

    All facial masks are different, and it’s important to read the directions carefully before applying one.

    Sheet masks

    If you like the idea of keeping mess to a minimum, consider choosing a sheet mask based on your skin type. Sheet masks are serum-soaked cloth sheets, which lock nutrients into your skin while the sheet is on your face.

    Exfoliating masks

    Exfoliating masks use either mechanical exfoliants like oatmeal to gently rub away debris or hydroxy acids and fruit enzymes to dissolve and slough off dead cells and reveal softer, healthier skin underneath.

    A Treat for Your Skin

    SK-II Facial Treatment Masks are notably expensive, and some people will shy away from them for this reason. But if you’re looking for the ultimate in facial pampering and your skin could use some intense moisturization, this is a product to consider. Users, even those with years of accumulated sun damage, say this mask gives them baby-soft skin for days.

    Facial mask considerations

    Keep these factors in mind to find the most suitable facial mask for your needs.

    Skin type

    Selecting the right facial mask for your skin type is vital to get the results you desire.

    • Oily and Acne-Prone Skin: Choose clay, mud, or charcoal masks to absorb oil and draw out impurities. Avoid masks that are rich in lipids and emollients. Helpful ingredients for oily and acne-prone skin include:

      • Kaolin, bentonite, Rhassoul, French green, and Fuller's Earth clays

      • Mud

      • Activated charcoal

      • Egg whites
         

    • Dry Skin: Hydrating cream and gel masks restore moisture and reduce irritation. Steer clear of drying masks containing clay, mud, or charcoal. Some moisturizing ingredients to look out for are:

      • Glycerin

      • Hyaluronic acid

      • Honey

      • Avocado

      • Vitamin E

    If you have sensitive skin, test a small amount of any new facial mask on your jawline first.

    • Sensitive Skin: Gentle, water-based gel masks and natural botanical options are best. Avoid fragrance, and look for these soothing facial mask ingredients to combat irritation:

      • Hyaluronic acid

      • Coconut oil

      • Chamomile

      • Aloe vera

      • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
         

    • Aging Skin: Mature skin can be prone to moisture loss, and hydrating creams, gels, and sheet facial masks are all good options. Aging skin can benefit from ingredients like:

      • Hyaluronic acid

      • Retinol

      • Collagen

      • Vitamin E

      • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
         

    • Dull Skin and Uneven Skin Tone: Exfoliating masks remove dead skin cells and dirt, and they can work wonders for dull, uneven skin. Useful ingredients include:

      • AHA acids (alpha hydroxy acids)

      • BHA acids (beta hydroxy acids)

      • Fruit enzymes

      • Vitamin C

    Don’t forget to give your neck some attention, too. This area is just as susceptible to the effects of aging, and applying a thin layer of your facial mask here won’t hurt.

    Ease of use

    When using a facial mask in the comfort of your own home, taking a few extra minutes to wash it off isn’t a big deal. Clay masks can be notoriously difficult to get off, especially if they’ve been left on for too long, so they are best kept to home use. Cream and gel masks are relatively easy to rinse off, but take the time to ensure that you’ve removed all traces of the mask to rule out the possibility of clogged pores. Peel-off masks come off easily, but you’ll still need to wash your hands after applying them. For situations like traveling, when effortless application is a must, easy-on, easy-off sheet masks offer unbeatable convenience.

    Rose-Scented Hydration

    This unique gel mask has a pretty rose scent and intense moisturizing properties that satisfy many users but might not be best for acne-prone skin. The manufacturer boasts that the miraculous regenerating properties of rose stem cells are behind the beautiful results, and many users agree.

    How much do facial masks cost?

    The cost of a facial mask usually reflects the quality and number of active ingredients it contains.

    • Budget-Friendly: Inexpensive facial masks generally cost between $10 and $20. While some offer decent fundamental ingredients, don’t expect many skin-enhancing extras.

    • Mid-Range: Mid-range facial masks can be found for around $25 to $60. Many of these masks contain excellent ingredients and yield good results.

    • Expensive: Premium facial masks can be rather pricey, with most ranging between $60 and $150-plus. These masks provide the ultimate indulgence with the highest-quality ingredients.

    When scooping a facial mask out of a jar, it’s best to do so with a spatula or a spoon. Using your fingers can leave behind bacteria, contaminating the entire jar.

    FAQ

    Q. How often can I use a facial mask?
    A.
    While it may be tempting to double up on treatments, using facial masks too often does more harm than good. The type of facial mask, as well as its ingredients, generally determines how often you can safely apply it. In most cases, the following usage guidelines apply:

    • For dry skin, gentle moisturizing masks may be suitable for daily use.

    • Exfoliating, peel-off, and anti-aging masks should generally be limited to once a week.

    • Clay and mud masks can be used once, possibly even twice, a week, depending on the oiliness of your skin.

    • Charcoal masks are more drying than other facial masks. They are best used once every two weeks or even once a month.
       

    Q. Which facial masks are best for combination skin?
    A.
    If you have combination skin, you probably already know that typical skin solutions just don't do the trick. With different zones requiring treatments, your best bet is to use a technique called multi-masking. Using different masks for different areas allows you to tailor the effects to your unique needs. For example, a clay mask can be used on your oily T-zone, while a moisturizing cream mask can be applied to dry patches under your eyes or on the chin to produce even results.

    Q. Can I leave a clay mask on longer for better results?
    A.
    Leaving a facial mask on longer than recommended does not lead to improved results. When left on for too long, drying masks that contain clay or charcoal can cause severe dryness, which may lead to itching and tightness. On the other hand, intensely moisturizing masks that are loaded with oils may end up blocking pores if left on too long. For the best results, always stick to the recommended time frame.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Erica
      Erica
      Writer
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Linsay
      Linsay
      Editor
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer

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