The 23 Best Face Masks to Revitalize Your Complexion

When it comes to our skin-care routines, there's no step perhaps more indulgent than doing a face mask. Whether you prefer a deep-cleansing clay mask or a hydrating overnight gel formula, there's no better form of beauty T.L.C. than devoting 20 to 30 minutes to take care of your skin. "[Face masks] are designed to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients to your skin," Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Allure. "Generally speaking, masks are used intermittently to help give your skin a boost when it needs it."

The exact way in which to use a face mask generally depends on the type of mask used, since there are so many options available on the market — and each one has a specific function for overall skin health. "You can get masks for clarifying, brightening, hydrating, soothing, or anti-aging," explains Dr. Claire Wolinsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in NYC. "You should test the ingredients of the mask on your hand first if you have sensitive skin, and always keep it on for the least number of minutes the first time using it." After applying and letting it dry, wash it off with water (or a gentle cleanser if it's an acid-based mask), and apply moisturizer. Wolinsky also suggests not using drying masks more than twice a week at most, but you can use hydrating masks more often if you need to.

And while our desks are continually graced by new product launches on the daily (a tough job, we know, but someone's got to do it), we're taking a step back to spotlight the best face masks that left our complexions brighter, dewier, less congested, and just generally glowed-up.

Here, we've rounded up 23 of our all-time best face masks, including editor favorites, Best of Beauty winners past and present, and dermatologist-approved formulas that deliver every time. Time for a well-deserved self-care moment.

The best facial masks for 2022

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 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.

Beautycounter 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.

Skinceuticals 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.

Hanacure 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.

Skinceuticals 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.

Olay/Amazon 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.

9 DIY Face Mask Recipes to Make Your Skin Glow

Home beauty treatments went from one option to the option during the pandemic. The transition was painful for some (reluctant self-waxers), but it also popularized the DIY face mask—one of the most satisfying (and practical) skin-care options around.

Whether you have access to a spa or salon or not, a homemade face mask using simple ingredients puts the self in self-care. Not only are you taking the time to anoint your face with glow-inducing goop, but you also know where each ingredient came from—your fridge or pantry, selected by the person who knows your skin best: you.

FYI before you DIY:

It’s important to note, however, that just because a mask is simple or has a “natural” label—or the internet told you to do it—doesn’t mean it’s automatically safe for your skin or that your face is going to love it.

“You probably wouldn’t take random pills before vetting how they could affect your body, so you should use that rule of thumb for your skin as well,” Mona Gohara, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine, tells SELF. “The wrong ingredients can make your at-home beauty treatment go sideways fast.”

Dr. Gohara says you should check with a dermatologist if you’re unsure about a specific ingredient, but in general, she advises DIY maskers to avoid: lemon juice and apple cider vinegar (their high acidity can lead to irritation and burning), spices with heavy yellow coloring like turmeric (which can cause discoloration), and cinnamon (a well-known skin irritant).

As for the best DIY-mask ingredients, there’s limited research on using fridge and pantry staples as skincare, but the simple skin helpers below are generally well-tolerated, Ife Rodney, M.D., lead dermatologist at Eternal Dermatology in Columbia, Maryland, tells SELF:

Oatmeal: Colloidal oatmeal (ground-up oats—you can buy it or just blend rolled oats until they turn into flour) can help improve dryness and lock in moisture.1 It also has anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to soothe itchy and/or irritated skin.2

Avocado: It contains high concentrations of fats that can increase skin moisture, as well as vitamin E, an antioxidant that may protect against free-radical damage.3

Honey: A natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory ingredient, honey may reduce redness and irritation.4 It’s also been shown to help with exfoliation and keep skin moisturized.5 Dr. Rodney notes that raw honey is preferred, since it may contain more beneficial properties, including extra antioxidants.6

Green tea: It contains a high concentration of polyphenols, antioxidants that can have an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect.7

Milk and yogurt: They contain lactic acid—a known exfoliator with moisturizing properties, as well as proteins that may calm inflamed skin, says Dr. Gohara.8 9

Aloe: Known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory, moisturizing properties.10

No matter the components of your homemade facial mask, though, you should always do a patch test first, since we all have unique skin that may react differently to certain ingredients, says Dr. Rodney. Here’s how: Apply a small amount of your mask of choice behind your ear, rinse off after 15 minutes, then wait 24 hours to see if you experience any redness or irritation.

Oh, and one last thing: Don’t make a big batch of your DIY mask to save for later. “Once you create a homemade mask, you need to use it immediately,” says Dr. Rodney. “Not only might it quickly begin to lose its effectiveness when exposed to air and light, but, depending on the ingredients, it could also develop bacteria the longer it sits, which could end up clogging your pores and causing acne.” Nope, that’s not what we’re going for here.

Easy DIY face mask recipes you can make at home

Inspired to get creative in the cosmetic kitchen, as it were? We rounded up nine dermatologist-approved DIY mask recipes you can try at home—some from beauty brands and blogs; some straight from the doctors’ mouths. And if you’re still in the why-make-it-when-I-can-buy-it camp, don’t worry. We’ve got options—selected by Dr. Gohara and Dr. Rodney—for you, too.

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  • Maryan Barbara
    Maryan Barbara

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