Best Face Masks for Cleansing, Exfoliating & Hydrating


Today’s face masks for your skin can help deep-clean the gunk out of your pores, remove dark spots or fine lines, dissolve dead skin cells and prevent acne, or thoroughly nourish the layers of your skin. But where do you fit them into your regular grooming routine? Try to Incorporate them into your weekly regimens in order to put your best face forward—even if it’s hiding behind a physical mask half the time. In the very least, it’s an investment in your skin’s health, and a big step towards building an effective, long-term anti-aging plan. Here are some of the best kinds of face masks in a variety of categories, as well as how they should fit into your regimen. We’ve picked our favorite product in each category, too.

Best Moisturizing Sheet Mask: HETIME Revitalizing and Hydrating Sheet Mask (Pack of 4)

Sheet masks are typically used for deep nourishment, and are most often lathered in serum. That serum seeps into all three layers of your skin, pumping and plumping it full of vitamins and nutrients that work to hydrate and restore. Sheet masks are best done before bed, since you can magnify their benefits by syncing the serum absorption with your body’s regenerative sleep cycle. Best of all, after peeling the mask away upon completion, you can collect the excess serum from the sheet and massage it into your hands, neck, and any dry patches of skin. Assuming you follow an already baseline skincare regimen (with twice-daily cleansing and moisturizing), then a once-weekly rotation of these sheet masks will work wonders on your skin without being wasteful. You can also deploy them ad hoc for moments of deep hydration despair.


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Best Exfoliating Mask: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

Exfoliating masks are often presented as enzyme masks or peels. In essence, they dissolve dead skin cells and resurface the skin, which is to say that they allow the healthiest, brightest skin cells to present themselves, and ensure that they enjoy as much time at the surface of your skin before being replaced by new cells, as opposed to the dead skin cells that leave skin looking dull, on top of clogging pores and causing breakouts. By exfoliating your skin once a week with an exfoliating mask, rather than a physical scrub, you will take the shortest and healthiest route towards reducing dark spots, fine lines, rough patches of skin, and more. Follow each brand’s instructions closely, however, because many exfoliating and resurfacing formulas need to be flushed away after 5-10 minutes. It’s best to do them once a week before bed, followed by a nourishing night mask of some sort, to help everything recover before you wake up.


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Best Overnight Repair Mask: Madeca Derma Revitalizing Cream

Similar to a serum-packed sheet mask, an overnight repair mask also delivers tons of nourishment to your skin cells. They’re typically dense creams or balms, and they sit atop the skin to help firm, hydrate, and restore it while you sleep. Look for healing, restorative ingredients in order to find a great overnight product. You can use them daily, or as needed, depending on the severity of your skin’s needs.


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Best Deep-Cleansing Mask: Maapilim Facial Mud Mask

You probably know this mask well: It’s the kind you spread on your face like peanut butter (though it’s usually a charcoal or mud/clay formula that cooperates much better than PB). The ingredients in these cleansing masks suck out all the excess grime, sebum, and toxins in your pores, as they tighten and dry on your skin. Typically, after 15-20 minutes, they’ve done their deed and you can rinse them away before applying hydrating and nourishing products like serums and moisturizers. (Or masks with those same functions.) Do a cleansing mask once a week after your evening face wash, and follow directions closely. Anything more than that is unnecessary and may dry out the skin, thus causing more damage than good. Used sparingly, these cleansing masks are huge movers when it comes to clear skin. They also work as terrific spot-healers, whenever you have a deep-seated pimple that needs drying out.


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Best Peel-Off Mask: Golden Door Gold Peel-A-Way Masque

Peel-off masks can both exfoliate and cleanse the skin. They tighten to your face much like a cleansing mask, but they can be peeled away in one fell swoop. The best ones often have ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids to dissolve dead surface cells, as well as hydrating and defensive ingredients that keep skin both looking healthy and shield it against pollution. They’re best used once a week, but shouldn’t be used alongside an exfoliating peel or enzyme mask. You may use them in tandem with a weekly cleansing mask, but it’s best to spread them out a few days apart. Do peel-off masks before bed, after cleansing, and before a nourishing product that stimulates repair and restoration.


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Best Leave-On Winter Mask: MUDMASKY Winter Mask

A leave-on daytime mask is more or less a nutrient-dense moisturizer. They can often be used as night-time moisturizers/masks as well, but are especially great to use when the temperature drops. That’s because they proactively shield you from the cold, dry winter air, and preserve the skin’s hydration levels on the most trying of days. You can use them either daily or at night, any time of year. Winter masks do that best of all, especially when you need them most.


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