The Best Hydrating Face Masks For Dry Skin, According To A Derm

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

Originally Published: 

If you’re prone to dryness and love pampering your skin with a face mask, you’re in luck: There are plenty of amazing treatments out there designed to nourish and hydrate dry, dehydrated skin. Still, some products are a lot more effective than others, so to figure out what exactly makes one face mask better than another for dry skin, Bustle spoke with Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist practicing in New York City. According to Dr. Garshick, the best hydrating face masks for dry skin contain humectants like hyaluronic acid or glycerin, “Which are ingredients designed to draw moisture in,” she says. “Other key ingredients include ingredients that help to strengthen the skin barrier [like] ceramides and fatty acids and skin-soothing ingredients that also work to retain moisture such as niacinamide. Emollients, such as shea butter, designed to help soften the skin, are also key ingredients to look for in hydrating face masks,” Dr. Garshick explains.

As for what types of ingredients to avoid? “Those with dry or dehydrated skin should avoid any face masks with exfoliating acids, such as salicylic acid, which may lead to dryness or sensitivity. If someone with dry skin is looking for exfoliating acids, it is best to opt for gentle exfoliating ingredients such as lactic acid or mandelic acid, or for polyhydroxy acids.” And if you do insist on exfoliating, be careful not to overdo it — for those prone to dry skin, once a week should be plenty.

Keep in mind that there is a difference between having dry and dehydrated skin, however, the treatment tends to be similar. “There is certainly some overlap in terms of ingredients that can be helpful for those with dry skin and those with dehydrated skin,” says Dr. Garshick, “As while ingredients designed to lock moisture in and strengthen the skin barrier may be particularly important for those with dry skin, and ingredients that help to draw moisture in will be particularly beneficial for those with dehydrated skin, it is still important to boost moisture levels in someone with dry skin, and it is still important to help lock in any moisture in those with dehydrated skin.”

With that in mind, scroll on to shop 17 hydrating face masks that’ll quench your dry skin’s thirst, including several picks from Dr. Garshick and our own team of beauty editors.


Doctor’s Pick: Best For Dry, Sensitive, Irritated Skin

According to Dr. Garshick, “This mask is a great option for those dealing with dry and sensitive skin as the arnica is anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce redness while calming and soothing the skin. It also contains shea butter and glycerin helping to both moisturize and hydrate the skin.”

Relevant review: “This stuff is like a magic eraser for my rosacea and skin redness. I hope it never ever gets discontinued. It’s a miracle.”


Doctor’s Pick: Best Overnight Mask For Brighter, Radiant Skin

“This mask offers a taste of summer all year long as it helps to hydrate using hyaluronic acid and watermelon extract, while simultaneously brightening the skin using gentle alpha-hydroxy acids,” says Dr. Garshick. She continues, “[It] can be used as either an overnight mask or can be rinsed off after 10 minutes.”

Relevant review: “I love this stuff! I have very very dry skin, and this works great! It lasts a long time too, so if you put it on at night your skin still feels soft in the morning.”


Editor’s Pick: Best Hydrating Mask For Dry Skin

Bustle beauty editor Adeline Duff calls Avène’s Soothing Radiance Mask one of her favorite masks of all time. “Think of it as a really rich moisturizer,” she says. “You can use it like a mask and pat it off with a tissue after 20-ish minutes, or however long you want — no need to rinse — or wear it as an overnight sleeping cream. Personally, I like to slather it on before a long flight. It makes the perfect long-wear moisturizer for dry, tired skin. When I’ve arrived at my destination, my usually-dry skin looks restored, and feels smooth and soft.”

Relevant review: “I've been using it as a makeup primer. I have eczema and sensitive skin, so when I wear foundation by itself, my skin gets dry and irritated. After I started wearing makeup over the mask, it has kept my face moist and not irritated. I use other moisturizers to hydrate after washing, but I like using this one primarily as a primer for my foundation.”


Editor’s Pick: The Best Exfoliating Treatment For Dry Skin

Sunday Riley’s cult-classic Good Genes treatment can be used as a daily serum, or as a rinse-off/leave-on mask, depending on your skin type and preferences. It’s a favorite of associate commerce editor Caroline Goldstein, who says, “Lactic acid is the rare chemical exfoliant that’s actually hydrating, so I gave into the Good Genes hype and bought a bottle. Can confirm: The hype is justified. I initially used this as an overnight serum and was shocked to see how clear and glowy my skin looked when I woke up — almost like I’d gotten a professional facial, or like I was under soft-focus lighting. No discomfort here, either — my skin felt just as hydrated as if I’d slathered on a hyaluronic acid serum.”

Relevant review: “This is by far the best lactic acid treatment I’ve ever tried. It’s amazing! I’m already on my third bottle because I can’t find anything that beats it. You’re literally glowing after one use. I’m obsessed!!”


A Versatile Mask That Could Also Be Used As A Day Or Night Cream

I love when masks (or any skin care products) are packaged in tubes. Not only does it help keep the formula nice and fresh, but it eliminates the need for me to dip into the jar with my fingers, so it prevents the product from being contaminated. That’s just one of the reasons this Paula’s Choice mask is so great. Not only is it relatively affordable considering its size, but it’s rich in hydrating ingredients (including several Dr. Garshick recommends) like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and various plant-derived oils. You can use this as an overnight mask, as a rinse-off mask, or, if you love very rich creams, trying using it as your daily moisturizer.

Relevant review: “If you have dry skin then you need this! I was flaking pretty bad on my face and after using this 3 times in a row at night my skin is so hydrated. I use it only once a week now. It’s amazing and a must buy if you want to get rid of dry skin and fast.”


32 Moisturizing Sheet Masks From One Of Japan’s Most Popular Brands

These Japanese sheet masks are a favorite among beauty bloggers worldwide, and that's because they pack a major punch of hydration for a great price: It's not everyday you see a 32-pack of sheet masks. They’re filled with moisture-attracting humectants like hyaluronic acid, which Dr. Garshick recommends, along with brightening ingredients like papaya enzymes to help (gently) encourage skin cell turnover. The packaging is a bit less luxurious than some other sheet masks, since they are individually wrapped and on the thin side, but for the price, these are super worth it.

Relevant review: “I've used face masks before, but I swear this one makes my face the softest and keeps it well hydrated! I've used one of these every single night before bed and it's honestly amazing! This is going to become part of my nightly ritual for SURE!”


A Daily Mask (Or Moisturizer) From A Beloved French Brand

Bioderma recommends using this mask daily for the first week or so, leaving it on for about 10 minutes at a time (after that, they say to use it once or twice a week). That said, you can also leave it on and use it in lieu of moisturizer — it makes a wonderful makeup primer since it contains dimethicone, which helps smooth over rough, flaky patches. However you use it, this glycerin-rich mask will help keep your skin moisturized and soft in both the short and long term.

Relevant review: “I have been suffering with dry winter skin pretty bad this year. One of my cheeks felt like sandpaper. This mask cleared it right up. So moisturizing and soothing. I was very impressed. One of the best moisture masks I’ve tried. Will definitely buy again.”


The Cult-Favorite Cream That Can Be Used As A Mask, Among Other Things

Though not *technically* a mask, Weleda’s cult-classic Skin Food moisturizing cream can absolutely be used as one. Just apply a thick layer and pat or wash it off after however long you want — or if you have really dry skin, leave it on all day (or night) long. There’s really nothing Skin Food can’t do: Victoria Beckham uses it as a moisturizer, makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes uses it as a mask, a primer, and a highlighter (just dab some onto your cheekbones for a shimmer-free glow), and dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss uses it as a lip treatment. It’s an ultra-rich, certified-natural cream that’ll leave your skin much softer and glowier anywhere you apply it. In other words, if you have dry skin, this belongs in every bathroom cabinet.

Relevant review: “The skin equivalent of drinking a jug of cucumber water... Definitely the most moisturizing moisturizer on the market. When I say I have dry skin, I’m talking seriously poor texture, flaking, redness, tightness - but this transformed my skin in a matter of three days after using it as a face mask overnight.”


An Exfoliating Mask That’s Balanced Out By Aloe & Honey

When you have dry skin, you have to be exceptionally careful about the exfoliating products you use, particularly if you have skin that’s sensitive, as well. This pumpkin mask gently exfoliates with glycolic acid and brightens with vitamin C, but because it contains nourishing honey, moisturizing glycerin, and an aloe vera leaf base, it’s much more moisturizing than your average exfoliating mask. This also contains pumpkin puree, which is rich in enzymes that can help gently break down dead skin cells. The result is clear, smooth, glowing skin — and no uncomfortable dryness.

Relevant review: “Greatest mask ever! I have very dry sensitive skin and this mask is awesome. I have recommended it to everyone I know. It gets off all of the dead skin and dry flakes without dehydrating your skin. The first time it only tingled for a minute so I thought it wasn't going to show results, it proved me wrong! Now I leave this mask on for 20 minutes. I can't recommend this enough!”


An Overnight Face Mask That’s Loaded With Hydrating Ingredients

Think of this French pharmacy sleeping mask as a night cream and face mask in one. After just one evening of use, its cocktail of hyaluronic acid and mineral-packed thermal water promises to soften and moisturize dry, dehydrated skin. And since you don't have to wash this one off after a few minutes, it’ll work its magic all night long, while your skin regenerates — so you’ll wake up to a luminous, dewy complexion.

Relevant review: “I use this before bed about four times a week to help keep my skin hydrated as the weather changes. Immediately following application, my face and throat feel so soft and silky. The cream is definitely hydrating for my very dry skin, and it keeps my skin happy. [...] It has a very light smell to it, and it doesn't make me break out or clog pores. The consistency is a light cream- not quite a whipped consistency - but it's very light and soaks right in, leaving my skin wonderfully soft and smooth.”


An Affordable Soothing Mask From A Classic Drugstore Brand

Few ingredients can nourish and repair dry, sensitive, irritated skin more effectively than the colloidal oatmeal found in this hydrating face mask. Leave it on for 10 minutes, wash with warm water, and follow up with moisturizer — colloidal oatmeal, pumpkin seed extract, and feverfew extract are a few of the incredible ingredients you'll find in this dry skin savior. At less than $8 on Amazon, you can’t beat the value, either.

Relevant review: “I really like how refreshed I felt afterwards. It just really felt like all of the grim on my skin had been pulled off. My skin is hydrated and looks brighter too.”


A Set Of 10 Korean Sheet Masks Rich In Skin-Plumping Collagen

This sheet mask, from iconic Korean brand Mediheal, is infused with hydrolyzed collagen and elastin, both of which help improve your skin's texture, make it appear more radiant, and soften dry patches. Apply the mask, leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it and gently pat the remaining essence into your skin. As a major bonus, it comes in a pack of 10, so you'll be stocked for ages.

Relevant review: “I popped these in the fridge to get them nice and cool for use after my shower and oh, I am so in love with them. They felt wonderful on-- cooling without being minty, moist without sliding off and lots of product to soak into my skin. My [skin] looked glowy and hydrated afterwards. I adore these. Worth every single penny.”


A Mask That Both Brightens & Hydrates Dry, Dull Skin

This hydrating face mask features hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and vitamin C to to moisturize, soften, and even out your skin tone all at once. It contains Dr. Garshick’s go-to ingredient for dry and dehydrated skin, hyaluronic acid, while antioxidants offer both immediate (brightening) and long-term (protecting) benefits. There are also plenty of good-for-skin botanicals in here, like spirulina, green tea, grapefruit, and chamomile, as well as skin-pampering allantoin and panthenol.

Relevant review: “After reading the reviews on this I decided to treat myself (even though the price point is fantastic). It arrived yesterday and I used it last night for the first time and I am absolutely hooked. After just one use my skin felt completely transformed...softer, smoother, more hydrated and really glowy. I have a drawer full of masks and serums that I use that disappoint, so this is a welcome change. Highly recommend this and will be buying for friends and family in the future.”


A Fun Hydrating Mask That Looks & Smells Good Enough To Eat

If you’re a little bit extra, reach for this hydrating face mask from K-beauty brand I Dew Care. Though it looks (and smells) like vanilla cake frosting, it’s actually loaded with hydrating ingredients like glacier water, squalane, and hyaluronic acid, as well as cocoa seed butter, which contributes to its rich, creamy, moisturizing feel. It’s a fun and effective mask for at-home spa days with your friends, or whenever you could use a decadent pampering session.

Relevant review: “I Dew Care really outdid theirselves on this mask. It is super hydrating and made my skin feel soft and bouncy, and it also left it with a little glow without a serum. It washed off like a dream and the scent is so good. If you don't like sweet scents I wouldn't recommend, but it smells just like cupcake batter.”


A Soothing & Healing Mask For Inflamed, Acne-Prone Skin

If you’re prone to both dryness and breakouts, this wash-off mask, which contains soothing balsam peru and oatmeal, is designed to curb inflammation and help heal acne without drying out your skin. The formula will stay creamy and won't harden on your skin (hurray for that) and can even aid in reducing redness that can result from dry skin and blemishes, thanks to the zinc oxide in the formula.

Relevant review: “This mask is wonderful! I have extremely sensitive skin and this mask is truly soothing. I use it every morning. It knocks the redness on my skin right down and it keeps my skin clear of blemishes. I highly recommend this product.”


A Luxe Balm Made With A Rich, Shea Butter Base

If you love very rich balms, this COSMEDIX Rescue Intense Hydrating Balm and Mask will become your new skin care savior. The thick formula is made with a shea butter base, which Dr. Garshick recommends as an ingredient for dry skin, while antioxidant-rich botanical extracts contribute to a brighter, glowier complexion. This balm is so rich that it’s capable of repairing extremely dry, cracked skin, whether you apply it on your face, lips, elbows, or cuticles. Use it as a mask, as a spot treatment, or as a leave-on moisturizer.

Relevant review: “I love this product and have used it for years, especially after peels...but really anytime my skin feels particularly dry!”


A Splurge-Worthy Mask To Wake Up To Plump, Dewy Skin

This mask is definitely a splurge — so you'll want to reserve it for when your skin is most in need of a decadent, heavy-duty treatment (or for luxurious at-home spa evenings). From prestige skin care brand Elemis, a favorite of dermatologists and beauty editors alike, the Plumping Pillow Facial Mask is packed with several unique botanical ingredients that are proven to be effective at rehydrating dry skin (like star avensis and Indian night jasmine), as well as the humectant glycerin. Leave it on overnight and wake up to a well-rested, hydrated complexion in the morning.

Relevant review: “My second purchase. This product is a holy grail. I always wakes up in the morning with a glowy face after using it at night.”


Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., F.A.A.D, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City