Buying skin care without knowing what you’re looking for is like going into battle unarmed—never a good idea. Face masks, in particular, can be a tough call because there are so many of them on the market, all claiming to do very different, very impressive things. Who even knows who you can trust around here?
To assuage some of the (still-inevitable) confusion, we mined seven of the most popular, best-rated face masks based on reviews from Reddit, Makeup Alley, Sephora, and Ulta. One single testament alone won’t do; each of these options has many a review attesting to its quality. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to trying them all yourself (aside from actually trying them all yourself, of course).
Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque ($47)
A clear winner in the realm of acne-fighting treatments, this sulfur-rich (10-percent!) clay mask is perfect for oily, breakout-prone skin. "This product works for my cystic acne," says one Makeup Alley member—which is no easy feat. A Sephora commenter adds, "It definitely dries up the breakout quickly without over-drying and leaving flaky patches."
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($5.09)
If the reviews are any indication, this classic cheapo go-to still holds up. Reddit users swear by mixing the powder up with a little apple cider vinegar to shrink pores and zap breakouts, and a Makeup Alley commenter says, "It's the best mask I've ever used." Very convincing, unlike the text on the back of the jar that says "FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE!"
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask ($34)
This mask is seriously popular—there doesn't seem to be a review out there that isn't glowing. Its versatility, in particular, makes it a keeper, as it can be used as both a daytime moisturizer or overnight. "My face feels more hydrated, and I see an improved texture," says a Makeup Alley reviewer. "This has been a dream," a Sephora commenter adds. "I put it on at night after washing my face and my skin heals."
Lancôme Pure Empreinte Masque ($35)
"I have used many clay masks over the years, but I keep coming back to this one," a Makeup Alley member shared of this five-minute purifying facial, which guarantees a "clean sweep." Seems about right: Ulta commenters agree, with one proclaiming, "This is the best clay mask."
Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask ($9.39)
This affordable pick makes some pretty serious claims—it purports to contain a negative electrical charge that acts like a magnet to draw impurities out of the pores. But what's the real verdict? One Reddit member says that the key is to use it as a spot treatment, and a Makeup Alley commenter says that you can see the oil being pulled out just a few minutes after you apply the mask. So satisfying.
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores ($26)
Tried and true: This mask will suck the life out of your pores, and that's a good thing. Reddit users refer to it as "the bomb," which makes sense, considering it packs activated charcoal and clay all into one formula. One Sephora commenter described her skin as "instantly smoother and brighter," with an all-around improvement in blackheads, pores, and texture.
Freeman Mint & Lemon Clay Mask ($4.29)
Believe it or not, people cannot get enough of these affordable clay masks, which you'll find at nearly any drugstore. The mint-and-lemon version is particularly popular, with one Makeup Alley reviewer saying, "I am in love with this mask." Another adds, "This is my go-to clay mask. It lessens breakouts, controls oil, and makes my skin smooth."