Face masks simply are not for everyone. For example, if you are morally opposed to putting delicious-smelling things with strange consistencies on your skin for the sake of beauty, then face masks are not for you. And neither is this article, to be quite honest. However, if you do not fall under that category, then odds are you either need a face mask in your life — or you need more face masks in your life.
Not only can they soothe most of your skin woes (dryness, acne, fine lines, texture, boredom), but they also give you a moment to seriously chill out. Think of them as your 30 minutes of Cool Girl Zen amidst a life of chasing after cabs and late-night cocktails. On top of letting your skin recover from all that stress and pollution, a nice face mask (and preferably a glass of rosé) gives you that little bit of relaxation you’ve probably been craving since Monday.
Coffee does for your skin what it does to your energy levels after a strong cup: brings it back to life! It can soothe puffiness under your eyes and brighten up a lack-luster complexion — plus ground coffee doesn't smell half bad. The best coffee-infused mask I ever tried was actually a very simple at-home recipe. Mix a tablespoon of ground coffee, a tablespoon of oatmeal, and a small amount of honey into plain yogurt, and apply to your face for 30 minutes. You'll feel instant rejuvenation from the coffee and a calming sensation from the yogurt. Or, if you'd rather a store-bought remedy, try leaving on Frank's Creamy Face Scrub as a mask for 15 to 20 minutes and feel the moisturizing properties of the almond, coconut, and grape oils they use.
Sure, sheet masks do make you look like a serial killer for about 30 minutes — so warn your roommates beforehand. But they certainly give you softer skin! Much like the rest of our favorite beauty innovations, sheet masks come from the Asian beauty market. Luckily for us, their popularity has just about exploded so they're easy enough to get your hands on in the States. Even the likes of Olay and Garnier Fructis have caught on to the trend.
"The purpose of these masks is to enable intensive skincare," says SK-II scientist Taro Yamaguchi. "Cloth masks help deliver large amounts of active ingredients onto the skin and, with some cloth technology, push these ingredients deep into the dermis for better results."
Cult favorites include: SK-II Facial Treatment Masks (if you're willing to splurge) and Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask (if you're trying to save). Make sure you apply the mask to a clean, dry face and once you peel it off, rub the excess serum into your skin for some extra moisturizing!
You know how health nuts compulsively have a crystal and a Kombucha tea in their hands? Well, that's because they kind of know what they're talking about. OK, maybe the crystal stuff is bullshit, but it turns out Kombucha (aka black tea ferment) is an advanced antioxidant that prevents wrinkles and makes your face softer and smoother.
When you apply a tea-based face mask, your skin is infused with Vitamins C and E, which rejuvenates the skin and helps rid of all the free radicals from your day-to-day life (here's talking to you, city-dwellers). For the "Is This Over Yet?" mask-wearer, try the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask. Tip: Pop it in the refrigerator over night for an exceedingly refreshing facial experience. An iced tea facial, if you will.
Into The Gloss polled readers for their favorite acne-fighting masks, and Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask was by far the winner — especially “if nothing seems to help anymore.” So if you’re a blemish-prone babe and are looking for some clarity, oddly enough charcoal is the way to go. Activated charcoal acts like a magnet and removes dirt from the deepest depths of your pores. Give it a try and watch those annoying blackheads vanish after a few uses.
Believe it or not, it's possible to be utterly obsessed with beauty and still have absolutely no patience for it. Beauty editor Julie Schott at Elle.com, dedicates only 5 minutes during her cab ride to work to apply makeup — and she looks next-level stunning. So if you're in the market for a new skincare routine, but don't have the time to spare, test out an instant face mask. You'll be done before you can even say, "happy hour."
6. Eye Mask
If you are of the puffy or under-eye circles variety, you might want to give an eye treatment a whirl. Give this mask 15 minutes while getting ready for an event, and odds are you'll get some immediate under-eye relief. Here I tried out Tatcha's Luminous Deep Hydration Revitalizing Eye Mask before a night out (which albeit is a tad slimy to handle), and it gave really quick results in the form of tingly sensations and an immediate decrease in puffiness. Overall, worth the clean-up! Don't forget to apply a light under-eye cream afterward to keep your skin from getting taut; under-eye skin is super thin and sensitive, after all.
Rule number one of clay masks: Never let them dry completely. According to facialist and creator of MV Organic, Sharon McGlinchey, there are three stages of a clay mask.
"There's the damp phase where your skin drinks in the beneficial minerals from the outside. Then you have the start of the dry phase, which exercises your capillaries and stimulates blood flow as the mask cools and contracts. But then there's the dry phase, which draws out moisture from the surface of your skin, causing dehydration and irritation," McGlinchey said.