I recently came home from a rough day at work and could not wait to wash my makeup off and get myself into a face mask as quickly as possible. It was at that point that I realized I actually have quite a few face masks that I really enjoy, but have never shared them with you!
Exfoliating masks, both physical and chemical, are definitely my favorite category, but I’ve also got a fantastic hydrating mask and a few clay ones to help me manage my occasionally rebellious skin. These are my top six face masks (and the only ones I currently own).
Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask ($24.00/4oz) – I initially purchased this as an experiment to see if it could replace my beloved Drunk Elephant Lala Retro cream as a much more affordable “dupe”. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for in my night cream, but it’s actually a fantastic leave-on mask that I now absolutely swear by when flying/traveling. It’s a thick cream that can be used daily or as needed, you don’t need to wash it off, and it makes my skin feel so happy. I brought this with me on our big trip to Italy in the fall and it was a serious face-saver for 30 hours of travel and a road trip through half of Italy. I would absolutely repurchase this.
This is definitely my preferred category of face masks and I really enjoy chemical exfoliants for my dehydrated doesn’t-know-what-it-wants skin. Rather than ranking them, I’ve decided to list them in order of experience – if you’re new to chemical exfoliants, please introduce them slowly and don’t immediately jump to a high concentration product you aren’t prepared for! As always, when using chemical exfoliants, please be sure to use them at night and to always wear sun protection.
Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask ($58.00/5oz) – Every time I use this bright orange pumpkin magic, I am always pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy using it and the results. I’ll call them out for the jar packaging, but I’m not really sure of a better delivery system for this slightly chunky in texture mask that has mild doses of both chemical and physical exfoliants. It leaves my skin feeling smooth and refreshed without the added concerns of extreme dryness that can sometimes occur with a higher concentration peel. I find it gentle enough to use pretty regularly, but since I also use more intense masks, I use this one about 3x/month. My first jar lasted me pretty close to a year and I treated myself to a refill over the holidays.
Drunk Elephant TLC Sukari Babyfacial ($80.00/1.69oz) – My second endeavor into exfoliating masks (after over a year of retinoid use and several months of lower concentration AHA products), this mask is one hell of a splurge, but I love it. The pump bottle makes for a more stable product while also making it much easier to use. While such high concentrations of active ingredients can lead to redness of dryness, I do love what masks like this do for my texture and existing acne. It’s smooth to apply, and while it tingles a bit, it’s not at all unpleasant to leave on for the recommended 20 minutes. My skin always feels like a better, younger version of itself afterwards, and I haven’t found it to be overly drying for the 25% AHA / 2% BHA that this cute little bottle is packing. While I love this, because of the price I am not sure I’d repurchase it as soon as I ran out. Maybe once I pay off my student loans…
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution ($7.20/30ml) – This beet red madness is the main reason I’m not likely to repurchase the Drunk Elephant mask. No frills, no fuss, I love the dropper bottle, and I really love the price – it’s less than 1/10th the cost [of the DE Babyfacial]! This is definitely the most intense exfoliating mask I own, and I believe it’s even unavailable for sale in some countries because it’s just such a high concentration of AHA. It doesn’t feel as glamorous to use as the DE Babyfacial, but this 10 minute wonder works just as well. It leaves my skin feeling smooth and regenerated, like it’s finally in the best shape of its life and ready to live it up. I do find it to be just a touch more drying, but the dryness is easy to combat and the results are undeniable. I will certainly repurchase this, but don’t think I’ll need to for quite some time – because it is so strong, I only use it 1-2x/month.
I am not fully on the clay mask hype train, but I do like to dip my face in from time to time. Clay masks are great for oily skin, but also for clogged pores and inflammation which even dry or dehydrated skin can get hammered with sometimes. Since I am one of the dry/dehydrated clay mask users, I usually avoid my driest areas and only apply clay masks where they are most needed (for me, that’s usually my chin and jawline).
DermaDoctor Kakadu C Amethyst Clay Detox Mask ($58.00/1.7oz) – This is the clay mask that got me “into” clay masks. I don’t need to use it often enough to warrant picking up the full size jar, but I have been able to snag the single use packets several times and love them. Also, you can definitely get more than one use out of those packets, but that’s not what makes them so great. This deep purple mask is excellent for helping to clear out congested areas without overly drying or stripping my already forever-dehydrated face. It makes my skin feel refreshed, almost like… my face is taking a deep breath of fresh air. It’s not on super frequent rotation since I really only use it if I have a gnarly breakout, but it’s definitely a mask that I would keep stocked. I hope the individual packets become available for purchase.
Franklin & Whitman Queen Village Face Mask ($24.95/2oz) – Full disclosure, I haven’t actually tried this one yet as it’s a very recent purchase, but I love what this brand is doing, and they’re also from my hometown, so I felt they deserved to be mentioned anyway. They actually offer quite a few clay mask options, but I chose this one because of the dry-skin-friendly ingredients like oatmeal and aloe and skin-clarifying charcoal. I initially thought the price was a bit steep for an indie brand, but the two ounces are actually just the powder; just mix with your liquid of choice to create the mask, which means you get quite a lot of product and you can add whatever else you want to it (like a few drops of a facial oil if you’re worried about dryness). I am also currently testing out their oil-based cleansing serum, which is actually named after the neighborhood where I went to high school, but hopefully won’t break me out like I used to back then.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this, nor were any items provided to me free of charge or in exchange for a review. I receive a one-time referral bonus when you sign up to earn cash back through Ebates using my link. Sephora, Ulta, and DermStore are available for cash back purchases through Ebates.