The middle of winter is upon us.
Here in Baltimore, it’s currently 16 degrees and VERY dry. As someone who has sensitive, dry skin– I’m not loving it. As soon as the cold, dry weather rolls around my face turns crocodile-esque. It’s dull, it’s scaly, it’s just not cute.
Something that I truly believe helps my skin (and my confidence) at times like these is a good face mask. As a result, I have decided to compile a list of my 11 favorite face masks (I know, I just couldn’t stick to 10). I chose to not rank them because they have different purposes and usefulness based on how my skin is feeling that day. And sticking with my goal of transitioning to more botanical and natural cosmetics, all of these masks are inspired by nature and contain mostly (if not completely) natural ingredients. Each one has a slightly different effect on my skin, but they are all equally wonderful.
Effect: This mask is one of the most satisfying masks I have ever put on my face. It is essentially honey, so it goes on like honey. But then when you massage it onto your skin further (which you are supposed to do) the mask becomes warm and tingly, and turns a seafood green color. This mask if great for getting rid of that dull top layer without drying out the skin. It leaves my skin feeling warm, tingly, and glowing.
Price: $56.00 (I know, I know)
Effect: The Kiehl’s Calendula and Aloe mask is truly one of the most relaxing face masks I have ever done. If you’ve ever used the Fresh Rose Face Mask, it’s similar to that… only better. It leaves my skin so soothed and hydrated that I can literally feel the hydration from within. I cannot recommend this one enough if you have dry skin that just needs a pick-me-up. This is also great for things like sunburn and windburn.
Effect: Because I live in a city, there are lots of things in the air that can clog my pores and leave my skin feeling dull. This mask gently unclogs and refreshes the skin, while giving it the extra moisture that can get stripped out by city fumes. It feels really nice and creamy on the skin, and smells amazing too!
Effect: This is another mask that smells absolutely divine (most of the masks on this list do because many of them include citrus– I love me some glow-inducing Vitamin C!), and also works wonders on my sensitive skin. It gently exfoliates when you wash it off, removing dead skin cells to reveal a fresh layer of bouncy, vibrant skin.
The Shorthand: All-Time Hydration Hero
Effect: If I had to choose one face mask to use for the rest of my life, it would be this one. This mask has literally saved my skin in its time of need more times than I can count. I know that sounds super dramatic, but having painfully dry skin is really awful and can seriously harsh one’s mellow. This mask is also great because can be used like a classic face mask, or can be left on overnight as a sleeping mask. AND in addition to hydrating your skin, it also gives you a nice glow because of its fruity ingredients!
The Shorthand: Acne Slayer
Effect: If you’re familiar with face masks, you have probably used a charcoal mask. The charcoal mask is the go-to for pulling junk out of the pores like a magnet. This mask is the best at doing just that, without completely stripping your skin and leaving your face looking like a naked mole rat. You do have to moisturize almost immediately after using this mask, but it does a really excellent job of pulling imperfections to the surface. I would not, however, recommend using this before a big day. Because the mask pulls imperfections up to the surface and out of the skin, sometimes it can result in a mini breakout for a day or so. No need to worry about this though, better to get it out on your own terms than by surprise, right? But seriously though, this mask destroys blackheads like no other.
The Shorthand: Smoothing Clay Mask
Effect: This one is a really good multitasker, and is also less intense than some of the others. It won’t leave you feeling tingly or warm, but it is a silent warrior. This mask exfoliates the dead cells off your face (gently), while tightening the pores. It is also infused with oils to prevent dry skin. This is a mask I tend to reach for when my skin is angry and needs something, but I can’t figure out what.
The Shorthand: Relaxation Station
Effect: Let me preface this by saying that this mask is not for everyone. If you really want to “feel the burn” with your face masks, Oatifix is not for you. It’s soothing and moisturizing and smells like breakfast. The thick and chunky texture grosses some people out, but your skin will be glad for it, particularly if you have dry, sensitive skin. It is extremely gentle, but still effective with moisturization and soothing.
Effect: Brazened Honey is the first face mask I ever tried from Lush, and to this day is the Lush mask I default to when my skin is freaking out. If you’ve been paying attention, there’s a theme with my mask ride-or-dies: they need to get me the glow without drying my skin out. This one does just that. It is a fairly harsh exfoliator, but the essential oils in the mask prevent your skin from feeling overly tight and painful afterwards. This one is a good reset, but also fights acne.
Effect: Although I am a face mask enthusiast, there are very few masks that leaving your skin “breathing” the way this one does. BB Seaweed is another gentle mask that soothes the skin and uses some sort of sea magic to literally leave your skin feeling like it is breathing afterwards. This ultra-nourishing mask makes me feel like I’ve just had a facial.
Effect: If you’re hungover, sick, or have scurvy (unlikely, ok)– use this. It is packed with Vitamin C and other nutrients that make the surface of the skin look like you’re a Glossier model. I don’t know what kind of fairy dust Fresh puts in this mask, but it smells amazing and instantly perks the skin up for a noticeable flushed glow. This is the most expensive mask on this list, but it is potentially the most instantaneous (plus, it comes in a bunch of different sizes so you don’t have to splurge for the full size).
There you have it, my ride-or-die face masks! As with any cosmetic product, it is important to note that what works well for my skin may not work universally. My skin type is very dry and sensitive, with occasional oiliness in the t-zone. My skin is also not very acne prone, so most of the time I am looking for glowing, hydrated skin rather than acne-blasting masks. What are your favorite masks? I’m always looking for new masks, so if you have one feel free to comment, or reach out on my instagram!