Masks are everywhere and purport to do everything—hydrate, tighten, brighten, soothe, soften, fade spots, reduce lines, and de-gunk pores, so which is best for your skin type?
A mask for every face
Masks are back in a big, bold way. Some promise to brighten and lighten skin, while others claim to hydrate dry skin, returning it to its dewy splendor, fill in wrinkles and folds or unclog pores for a blemish-free complexion. Some even work their magic while you sleep. They come at just about every price point and even go beyond the face. “Both sheet masks and regular masks are a vehicle to deliver active cosmeceutical ingredients for anti-aging and skin brightening purposes,” explains New York City dermatologist Melissa K. Levin, MD. The mask theoretically increases penetration of the actives, but she adds: “Not all masks are created equal.” The only way to find the best face mask for you is by looking at ingredients and matching it to your skin conditions.
If you need to hydrate dry, flaky skin
“Masks are faster than facials, you can do it yourself, there’s no downtime, and you can instantly hydrate skin,” says Samantha Murrell, a make-up artist at Barneys New York, who regularly recommends masks to her clients. Hydrating ingredients include hyaluronic acid, aloe, glycerin, and urea, to name a few. Some top-sellers include Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, 111 Skin’s Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask, Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask, and Karuna Hydrating Mask, which is clinically proven to increase hydration by 40 percent. A relative newcomer is the rubber mask, which temporarily seals in the active ingredients so they can work harder on your skin. We like Dr.Jart+ Rubber Mask Hydration Lover, which comes with a hydrating ampoule to apply first. “The effects can be dramatic,” Murrell says. “These are great to use before a big night out.”
If you need to tighten and tone
Other skin care mask ingredients such as vitamin C help replenish collagen, the main structural protein found in skin, and can tighten and tone laxity, Murrell explains. These include Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Power C x 30™ Vitamin C Brightening Sleeping Mask and BioMiracle Collagen Masks. Ingredients like algae, found in Erno Laszlo Firm & Lift Firmarine Hydrogel Mask, can also help skin’s resilience. “If you are looking to really tighten and tone, go for the gold,” she says. Legend tells us that Cleopatra, the Queen of the Nile herself, slept in a gold face mask—and she may have been on to something. Many of today’s masks contain gold, which is said to stimulate collagen, reduce fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and age spots, and increase radiance and luster. Some popular gold masks include Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask, 111 Skin Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask, Golden Door Golden Peel-A-Way Masque, and newcomer Miss Spa 24K Gold Modeling Mask Set. “Gold helps to tighten and firm skin,” Murrell says. “It slows down the depletion of collagen and elastin in the skin.”