As someone who spends enough at Sephora to be a VIB Rouge member by February each year, I not even going to try to deny that I have a near-pathological love of beauty products. That said, I hadn’t been that into face masks until this past year. Slathering your face in a sticky, colored paste seemed high maintenance – even for me! – and just a process that was over the top. It’s something I was pretty sure they only did in my favorite sitcoms and 1920’s Hollywood movies while drinking wine in a bathrobe. But, when we did the remodel last year though, all that changed. My living, working, and sleeping space had been effectively reduced to our bedroom so I needed some way to signify it was relaxing time that didn’t rely on my environment. I was sent a sample face mask in a Sephora order and, just like that, I tried it and was hooked. Now I apply a face mask almost daily while I make a smoothie and get ready to get into the shower but an evening ritual would also be lovely if that fits better into your schedule. My skin feels and looks better since I started masking and it’s just plain indulgent! I’ve listed my top five favorites below, for a variety of skin conditions in both the spend and splurge category. And of course, as you might expect from me, all these face masks contain only natural, non-toxic ingredients.
IF YOUR SKIN IS TIRED: Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask ($58)
I hoarded free samples of this mask for months, using tiny bits at a time until I finally caved and purchased a jar. It’s undoubtedly a splurge but I promise it’s well worth it. This mask is incredibly gentle and would be ideal for a variety of skin types. My skin glows when I take this mask off and that’s not praise that I heap on lightly. All of Tata Harper’s products are natural, all ingredients are grown on their farm in Vermont, and all manufacturing is done in Vermont as well. It’s a brand that you love to support and a product that you’ll love even more.
IF YOUR SKIN IS OILY: Origins Retexturing Mask with Rose Clay ($26)
This is one where you just know it’s working as soon as you put it on. You can feel it tightening on your skin and I swear I can tell the mask is actively drawing oil and guck out of my pores. There are little beads in the mask that exfoliate as you apply and it has many of the same skin-clearing properties that clay masks contain. Plus, it smells delicious and it’s pink!
IF YOUR SKIN IS DRY: K&K Beach Clay Masque ($9)
This mask smells absolutely heavenly and leaves my skin well nourished and moisturized like nothing else I’ve tried. It performs much better than some masks in the $50-100 range and is a complete steal at less than ten dollars!
IF YOUR SKIN IS BREAKING OUT: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Deep Pore Cleansing ($10)
This tub is the most natural option on this list and is dirt cheap (heh, get it, because its only ingredient is basically dirt). For ten dollars you get a giant tub – I’ve been using it weekly for over 6 months and have used less than 20%. To partake in the ritual, you simply mix the clay with water or apple cider vinegar, cover your face with a thick coat of the plaster, and wait for it to dry. Even using apple cider vinegar the smell is not bad, promise! After 20-30 minutes, rinse it off and reveal skin that’s a bit pink and looks alive, for lack of a more elegant term. I notice a nearly immediate shrinking of any problem spots and find it’s the perfect mask to throw on when you feel a breakout beginning to emerge.
IF YOUR SKIN IS DULL: Ole Hendriksen Power Bright ($55)
Confession: this is another brand that I hoard samples from and they are offered so frequently that I’ve actually never bought this mask – I just get three free samples of it each time I order from Sephora (pro tip for ya!). It’s a three-step system that includes an exfoliate rub, a clear brightening mask, and an opaque refreshing layer to finish it off. Again, this is a mask where you will see instant and noticeable results. It’s full of vitamin C so it smells and tastes like oranges, but more important, it acts as a refresher for tired, dull skin. My cheeks are always flushed and my skin brighter when I’m done.
Enjoy and happy masking!