Self-Care with Face Masks

Treat yourself—and your skin—to a mask. There are hundreds of options, but we’ll help you pick the best one for your skin’s needs. Even just once a week, a quick (15 minutes or less!) treatment can work wonders on your complexion. #selfcaresunday

woman wearing face mask

Photo by Paul Westlake

Photo by Paul Westlake

If you’re looking to…

Reduce shine
Clay is the go-to ingredient for absorbing excess oil, says Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. Try: L’Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Purify & Mattify Face Mask, lorealparisusa.com, $13

Minimize the signs of aging
Alpha hydroxy acids remove dead skin cells to bring a glow to your complexion, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. They also speed up collagen production. Try: Skyn Iceland Fresh Start Mask, ulta.com, $39

Protect from pollution
Antioxidants, like green tea, protect skin from free-radical damage caused by pollution and the sun, says Gohara. Try: Innisfree Hydrating Sleeping Mask with Green Tea, us.innisfree.com, $19

Combat dryness
Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge that absorbs water (up to 1,000 times its weight) to plump and hydrate, says Zeichner. Try: Avon Anew Hydra Fusion In-Shower Mask, avon.com, $15 

Reduce redness
Thermal spring water contains minerals that decrease redness and the inflammation that can accompany it, says Zeichner. Try: Eau Thermale Avène Soothing Sheet Mask, aveneusa.com, $9.50

Detoxify skin
Think of charcoal as a vacuum for your face—it sucks out impurities like dirt, oil and makeup, says Gohara. Try: Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal SnapMask Stick, target.com, $16

Brighten a lackluster complexion
Vitamin C reduces hyperpigmentation for a more even skin tone, says Zeichner. Try: Farmacy Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask, farmacybeauty.com, $38

Treat acne Benzoyl peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria to clear up existing breakouts and prevent future ones. Zeichner suggests a low concentration (say, 2.5%) to minimize the risk of irritation. Try: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask, neutrogena.com, $9.50

Quick tips: 

  • Remove most masks with warm water and a soft washcloth.
  • When applying a cream, gel or liquid mask, a thin layer does the trick. Any more wastes product.