When you can't get a facial or don't have the budget for a spa appointment, skincare masks are a great alternative to maintain your skin. And even if you do get facials regularly, why not treat yourself in between with at-home mask treatments? Depending on your skin needs, masks can deliver an extra boost of hydration, a quick detox, help exfoliate your skin and so much more. Just ask Christina Nalbone, nurse practitioner and director of clinical education and operations at Ever/Body, a New York dermatology clinic.
So, why use skincare masks? "The function of skincare face masks is to create an environment where active ingredients can penetrate and treat the skin. Choosing the product with the correct targeted ingredients for any skin concerns you might have is essential," says Nalbone. For this reason, Nalbone recommends picking a focus area when it comes to your skin needs and then look for that targeted focus or ingredient when you shop for a mask. "For example, if you have dry skin, hyaluronic acid may help your skin become more hydrated," says Nalbone.
Below, Nalbone shares a few of her favorite masks for dry skin, acne and more. This list is curated based on research, reviews, top sellers at websites like Sephora and Amazon and some are personally tested.
Drunk Elephant Baby Facial is one of my favorite exfoliating mask treatments. Even though I have sensitive skin, my face can handle the chemical exfoliants that power this mask and leave your skin feeling as smooth as a baby's after just 20 minutes. Baby Facial is powered by AHA and glycolic acids, which help exfoliate and refine your skin.
Tip: If you've never used chemical exfoliants before or have sensitive skin and are prone to redness, I recommend leaving the mask on for less than 20 minutes, and slowly work your way up. Applying a good oil or moisturizer after washing off the mask helps, too.
This is my go-to mask when I feel like my skin needs a good detox or if my skin is breaking out. I like it because even though it dries out on top of your skin, when you rinse it off your skin feels smooth and soft -- not all tight and overly dry. It contains kaolin clay and activated charcoal to help with oil and congestion, plus salicylic and lactic acids to help exfoliate.
If you struggle with acne and/or oily skin, this mask from SkinCeuticals comes highly recommended by Nalbone. "For acne prone skin, clay masks are a great choice. I use SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask which is deep pore cleansing, which is especially good for maskne," Nalbone says. Sometimes clay can dry out the skin, so Nalbone recommends using a good water-based moisturizer after the mask.
The Hanacure Facial Mask is one of the most hyped face masks out there -- it also looks pretty scary when you put it on thanks to the way it tightens as it dries on your skin. The mask comes with a serum that you have to mix with the mask with the included brush before applying to your skin. Hanacure's "Octolift" technology reacts with carbon dioxide in the air to give your skin a "face lift." The mask is pretty pricey ($29 for one treatment with the brush included) but people have raved in the reviews about seeing a serious difference in their skin even after using it once.
If you have super-sensitive skin, get skin treatments often or maybe spend a lot of time out in the sun and want quick relief, this mask is a go-to for Nalbone. "It's a thick green gel mask with soothing botanicals -- I keep it in the fridge and apply when my skin gets red and irritated. I do a lot of intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) and I also apply it after as a soothing agent post-treatment for my patients," she says.
This gel mask from Olay is not the typical face mask -- you don't have to rinse it off but can leave it on overnight. With over 2,500 reviews and a solid four-star rating on Amazon, it's a solid choice if you're looking for extra moisture for under $20. The mask contains hydrating Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin B3. It's also oil-free, so if you are prone to breakouts, this product can work for your skin, too.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.