Few treatments give your skin that fresh from the spa look like a good mask (or as Harper says ‘mask-is’). I think it’s so exciting that in just 20 minutes you can have noticeably better looking skin which is maybe why I have so damn many of them. This is my stock pile of masks from which I grab a selection like a personalized prescription for whatever skin ailment I’m suffering. It’s a mix of natural, luxury, and DIY for all price points. Check out my faves and grab the one that will work best for you.
1. Royal Jelly in Honey $15: After reading about the gazillion health benefits of Royal Jelly, I started taking a capsule of it daily and I bought this little jar for a mask. I found it at Vitamin Cottage, (Whole Foods didn’t have any) so it might take some digging to find but it’s so worth it. I’ve been using it twice a week since I’ve had 2 back to back chemical peels with a 3rd on the way, so gentle products are just what my skin needs to soothe and heal. I find that it does give my skin a glow and calms redness, it’s like a shot of vitamins for the skin.
2. Erno Laszlo Beta Mask $52: This is a straight up breakout mask complete with green clay and that cool, tingly feeling. It’s not harsh but you really want to make sure your skin needs this treatment and isn’t too sensitive. It works to calm inflammation and you can also use it as a spot treatment overnight.
3. Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal, Capsules $7: You should have these sitting around, mask or not. I believe these prevented me from getting the stomach flu that both Mike and Harper had at the same time because charcoal soaks up all sorts of contaminants whether it’s used to treat water, your stomach, or your skin, charcoal has been safely used for years to purify whatever it touches. I wrote about the mask I make using these pills which works so well it actually changes the tone of my skin (maybe because it calms redness and dullness?) The biggest draw back for me is the obvious, it’s so messy and stains your washcloth, and it’s hard to remove. BUT it’s well worth it every so often because it’s natural and gives such amazing results.
4. Priori Replenishing Masque $60: This is perfect when you’re feeling dry and tight and need to refresh your skin with a cooling mask that isn’t clay based. It’s a cream mask rich with vitamins and fruit acids that give a gentle exfoliation and tons of moisture to plump up dehydrated skin and kick out dullness.
5. Éminence Clean Skin Probiotic Masque $54: Éminence is so hard to find but once you do, you’ll be hooked. It’s what my friend and facialist uses, and has for many years. She’s so convinced that it changes skin and preserves its health that she has me buying it too. It’s natural and effective- this mask is a powerful tingly blast that calms breakouts instantly. It’s not a clay mask, it’s creamy because it’s made with yogurt, cucumber, shea butter, and other safe ingredients that soften and heal the skin instead of just drying it out. It’s pricy, but it’s worth it.
6. Vivant Skin Care Algae Soft Mask $30: I got this half price on Hautelook last year and have been so happy with its results. Vivant is a medical grade line specializing in serious skincare that I’ve used on and off for years. This has been my #1 go-to when I want something easy once a week that won’t take forever to scrub off. It’s a creamy clay that feels really calming and refreshing and it’s great for all skin types. It’s in an aloe base with algae and amino acids to stimulate collagen. Simple yet effective.
7. Ole Henriksen Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask $34: Ole sent this one to me a while back when I was just getting more into using an enzyme pre-mask. What does that mean? If you get a facial, you’ll typically have an enzyme put onto your skin first whether it’s fruit based (papaya, berry, pineapple), or something like a glycolic, AHA, or lactic acid. Enzymes break down proteins and will help to dissolve that waxy layer of dead skin so that the rest of the products can be better absorbed. It’s now rare that I only mask without first using an enzyme for about 10 minutes followed by a hot washcloth steam. I’ve found a night and day difference in results when I prep my skin like this first. This mask uses papaya and berry enzymes and looks like a thick gel. It can be used solo and not as a first step before another mask, but that’s the way I feel it works best.
8. Naturopathica Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel $56: Every time I use this I want to eat it- it smells just like cherry pie filling. Naturopathica blends together lactic acid, cherry puree, wine extract, and salicylic for an enzyme treatment that works amazingly well. It brightens and exfoliates after a few minutes so well that you can see your skin glow. This jar is old (I think they sent it to me 2 years ago) but I haven’t had the heart to toss it out. Mostly because that means I might have to buy a new one and it’s expensive for this 1.7oz jar but a safer alternative than other chemical versions.
9. boscia Luminizing Black Mask $34: This is I believe my 4th tube of this peel-off mask and one I’ll always have around. It’s a cult classic for a reason. If you’re looking for a do-it-all mask for all skin types, this is the one for you. I love a peel-off mask because you can see an imprint your skin on the back of it once it’s off. There’s something about seeing what’s been removed from your face that’s so gross but really gratifying.
10. Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay $7: If I haven’t already convinced you to buy this one, you really need to. It’s a giant tub of pure powder clay that you can mix with water or apple cider vinegar for a classic mud mask that sucks out impurities and literally makes your face pulsate. If you take a before and after, you’ll see a brighter complexion I guarantee. It’s pretty amazing stuff and one tub will last years.