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, MD, 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 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 21 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.
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