Face masks are awesome. I won’t even back that up with a modifier, like “for some people,” or “if you like them, of course,” because, no, face masks are freaking awesome. And each one of you—yes, you—should be using a face mask of some sort of a daily or weekly basis, because your skin will look like a baby angel’s bottom after consistent use.
But if you’ve never used a face mask, or if the last experience you had was with some clay mask back in high school that left you wildly unimpressed (because, duh, it was probably terrible), then you’re absolutely missing out on a wide world of excellent new mask variations. Gone—or, at least, way less popular—are the basic, one-size-fits-all clay masks that your mom used in the ‘90s. Now, we have gooey masks that transform into rubber, water-based masks that you splash on in the shower, and barrier-forming masks that do damage control while you sleep.
And because choices (and new things) can be overwhelming, I broke down five different types of wildly popular and excellent face masks that you need to try ASAP. Like, today. Or maybe even five minutes ago. Read on to learn more!
Alright, so rubber masks aren’t actually made from the same materials on the bottom of your shoes, but they definitely feel that way by the time they dry. These Korean beauty favorites—a.k.a. “modeling masks”—are basically a home chemistry experiment: You add a bit of water to a cup of powder, rub the goo mixture on your face, wait a few minutes, and boom, a sheet of rubber forms on your skin that you can peel off in one giant, wiggly sheet. Your skin feels temporarily firmer and noticeably clearer, and yes, they’re totally fine for dry, sensitive faces. My favorites: Lindsay Modeling Rubbery Mask, and, for the big spenders, Shangpree Gold Premium Rubber Masks.
Custom clay masks
I’m pretty sure that everyone’s first introduction to clay masks—or face masks in general—was through Queen Helen’s Mint Julep Masque, a green, ridiculously drying clay mask that was a staple at every 7th-grader’s sleepover party. But clay masks have come crazy far since then, after the world realized that not every skin type was, you know, the same. Now, you have multi-masking kits, like Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Trio, which includes a redness-calming clay, a hydrating clay, and a good ol’ oil-controlling clay, that allow you to “spot treat” different problem areas of your face. So if you’ve had bad experiences with clay masks in the past—like your skin has literally flaked off into a pile of dust after three seconds of use—then come back to the fold and try a mask specifically formulated for your skin type.
Another K-beauty favorite, splash masks look like toners, smell like fruit juice, feel like water, and make your skin insanely smooth, thanks to their lactic acid-packed formulas. Right before you step out of the shower, pour half a capful of the liquid into your palm and pat it over your face for ten seconds, then rinse your hands and give your face one more pat-down. That’s it. About 20 seconds of work for silky, wow-it-really-worked skin. And since you don’t fully rinse your face afterward, the oils in the formula (which also help prevent irritation) keep softening skin long after you’ve left the bathroom. I’m genuinely obsessed with the Blithe Patting Splash Mask in Soothing Green Tea, and may or may not have two currently sitting in my shower.
Think of sleep masks as an overnight snuggle buddy for your face. They’re essentially a lightweight version of night creams that you slather—and I mean that literally—on top of everything else, minutes before you head to bed. Their purpose: to seal in all of your skin’s moisture as you sleep, since most of it gets wicked away from your pillow and the air. And like most Korean-beauty favorites, they work insanely well. The Shiseido Ibuki Beauty Sleeping Mask (my personal favorite) is speckled with vitamin C and E capsules to protect and brighten dehydrated skin as you sleep, while L’Oreal Paris Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask uses hyaluronic acid to plump fine lines overnight. Just be aware: The goal of sleep masks is to form a protective barrier over your skin, so most of them will have a slightly sticky, tacky feel after you rub them in. But I promise that the glowy morning results are totally worth it.
Okay, yes, lace masks are basically sheet masks with prettier packaging, but that’s where the awesome part comes in. You know how sheet masks never seem to stay put on your face? Inevitably, the eye holes will slip down to obscure your vision, or the mouth hole starts sinking into your mouth after a few minutes, which is fun. Enter lace masks. Specifically, Dermmovia’s Lace Your Face collection, which have built-in hooks that slide over your ears so the mask stays taut against your skin, plus a longer neck section that wraps around your jaw for a full masking experience. Basically, your head gets wrapped like a lacy burrito. And the design isn’t just a gimmick, either, since each of the serums leave your skin feeling baby soft and smooth after just a few minutes.