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Best face mask: Supercharge your skin for a healthy glow

Jade Vincent Philippa Pearne
24 Feb 2020
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Want to give your skin that perfect glow? There’s no need to book into a spa with these face masks

A DIY face mask is cheaper, easier and far more convenient than having to book a professional facial whenever your skin needs some TLC. What’s more, a home face mask could even be better for your skin. Since you can do it all without stepping outside your front door, there’s no sunblock, no makeup, no pollution and no sweat from your commute.

There’s no compromise either, today’s generation of masks puts the expertise of a professional in your hands. The formulas tend to have a higher concentration of actives than a day cream, for a more focused, specific treatment. Whatever your skin type or concern, there’s a mask for you.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best facial moisturisers

The only catch is that with so many formulations and types to choose from – sheet, cream, peel or scrub? – it’s hard to know where to start, especially taking into account your own skin type, bugbears, application preference and the kind of results you want to see. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of the best face masks out there, as well as a quick-fire buying guide.  

How to buy the best face mask for your skin

How much should I spend?

It depends on the format and ingredients you require. A simple dose of hydration in a sheet mask can cost as little as £2, but if you’re keen to clarify with a high-quality blend of active ingredients, you may need to invest £20 or more on the right one. It’s also worth considering the cost-per-wear when choosing a mask – after all, a sheet mask is a single-use purchase, whereas a 50ml pot could last months.

What kind should I pick?

There is no one suit-all face mask; you need to consider what results you’re looking for, and when or how you’re going to fit it into your week. If you just want an occasional pre-party booster, a sheet mask is a great way to add radiance. If you’re tackling constant breakouts or the early signs of ageing, you’ll want something you can apply at least once a week, so a cream or peel-based solution would be better.

What ingredients should I look for?

If you have oily skin and problem pores or breakouts, a good clay mask can work wonders. A BHA/AHA peel can also be very helpful in removing excess oil and surface debris, and thus brightening dull skin. If you have dry or dehydrated skin, look for hyaluronic acid.

Consider your routine too. If you travel a lot, a sheet mask can be the perfect companion to pop in your handbag, with no mess, no fuss and no rinsing. But if you’re able to put aside a while to luxuriate, a rich cream will provide some much-needed downtime. Remember too that certain peels and exfoliators can bring out some initial redness, so it’s best to book out time in the evening for those.

The best face masks you can buy

1. Kiehl's Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque: Best face mask for oily skin

Price: £26 (125ml) | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners


This clay-based mask from Kiehl's uses skin-soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and oatmeal to gently unclog pores and rebalance oily skin without leaving your face feeling tight and dehydrated. For best results, use this gentle mask twice a week on damp skin for a deep cleanse. Overall, the Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque does a great job at turfing out the nasties lurking deep in congested skin.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners


2. Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask: Best face mask for sensitive skin

Price: £32 (50ml) | Buy now from Feel Unique


Calm and restore balance to stressed out, sensitive skin with this hydrating, soothing blend of Arnica and White Mushroom Extract. It takes just 10-15 minutes, and you can remove it with a cool damp cloth. In the long run, you can expect healthier and happier skin that's less prone to flare-up; it also gives a radiant finish to the skin which is perfect for using before a special occasion. An added bonus: the aromatherapeutic scent of Roman Chamomile makes this the perfect mask for a spot of mindfulness.

3. Murad Pore Extractor Pomegranate Mask: Best mask and scrub double-act

Price: £30 (50ml) | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners


If your skin is looking dull and congested, this mask will offer a deep clean that doesn’t strip your skin, with skin-friendly clays to gently remove excess sebum and tackle blocked pores for a clearer, smoother complexion. Leave it on for 10 minutes, then gently massage into the skin for a scrub to finish. A word of advice? This mask/scrub hybrid is great for buffing away the dead skin and debris that often clogs our pores but acne-prone and sensitive skin may find the formula a little too abrasive.

4. Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Mask: Best face mask for dry skin

Price: £31 (75ml) | Buy now from Feel Unique


With three forms of hyaluronic acid (yes, three!), this mask not only locks in moisture but also helps redensify the deeper layers of tissue by literally filling them with water, so your skin is instantly smoothed from top to bottom. You can wear it for 20 minutes if you have the time to spare, or simply apply before bed and remove with your morning cleanse for an intensive overnight treatment. You'll wake up to hydrated skin that feels plumper and revived.

5. e.l.f. Hydrating Water Sheet Mask: Best hydrating sheet mask

Price: £4.50 | Buy now from Amazon


This paper mask simply unfolds and pops on - what could be easier? It’s enriched with purified water, aloe, coconut, cocoa, vitamin E, and hyaluronic acid to nourish and hydrate the skin. Relax while the ingredients sink in for 15 minutes, then gently pat in any excess. There’s no need to rinse – leave those excellent actives on for as long as possible.

6. Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask: Best brightening face mask for dull skin types

Price: £50 (150ml) | Buy now from Cult Beauty


This mask delivers three levels of exfoliation – enzymatic, physical and chemical – to peel away every dulling dot, leaving you with a brighter, smoother and more radiant look. It’s incredibly active, so do a patch test first, and expect a slight tingle. It gets to work quickly, too, you only need to leave this one on for three to seven minutes before rinsing to notice a difference in your complexion. And don't be put off by the price – this chunky 150ml pot lasts months and will prove to be a worthy investment in your skincare routine.

Buy now from Cult Beauty


7. Annemarie Borlind Anti-aging Cream Mask: Best anti-aging face mask

Price: £50 (50ml) | Buy now from Amazon


This firming, regenerating cream mask uses Szechuan pepper and pistachio tree oil to stimulate cell turnover. Simply apply, wait 10-15 minutes, then massage in the excess; there’s no need to rinse. The appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is instantly reduced - and it feels great!

8. Foreo UFO Smart Mask Treatment: Best face mask device

Price: £249 | Buy now from Amazon


This Foreo Smart device will inject some serious moisture (and excitement) into your skincare routine. Attach a sheet mask to the device and pair with your phone to start a 90-second treatment which combines heating, cooling, T-sonic vibrations and light therapy. All that added technology means the sheet mask's active ingredients will be better absorbed by the skin. Plus, light therapy has been found to help with acne. 

We were impressed with the Make My Day and Call It a Night masks (both £10 for a pack of 7), but with Hydrating, Illuminating and Purifying sheet masks available, there's still plenty to try. Although, these are pricier at £17 a pop (for 6).

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