Face masks are without doubt the most indulgent (and effective) way to treat your skin to some serious TLC. Check out our edit your face will love you for...
While we're all for regular facials to sort skin out, we're also partial to a good face mask session at home. Our reasoning for indulging in both? A facial with an expert is a bit like going to see a dental hygienist - they can really work on things we couldn't (and shouldn't) be trying to deal with at home, while masking is a bit like regular brushing: undeniably important, but less aggressive.
So, what should you be buying? The experts are - for once - of the same view on masks, agreeing that key ingredients target specific gripes. Here is your speedy guide:
Exfoliating masks. While regular exfoliation is crucial, doing so with a physical exfoliant if overzealous can damage the skin, so grabbing a mask that contains acids is the best way forward. If you want to get specific, look for AHAs if you find the surface of your skin looks dull, BHAs if you suffer from spots, and fruit acids to help up hydration while also sloughing off dead skin. They'll all leave your skin a more glowing place.
Find the best face mask for your skin type with this quick beauty quiz...
Purifying masks. These are the business if you find you get lots of blackheads and/or spots and usually rely on clay. Kaolin clay is having a moment as it's one of the most gentle varieties and is therefore less likely to suck all the moisture out your skin (which would send skin into overproducing and ultimately make spots worse). Remember that if you have skin that's dry in one area and oily in the other, that you can always just apply your clay where needed.
Hydrating masks. These come in a variety of guises, some containing ingredients that will deeply replenish skin (think hyaluronic acid), and others opting to cosset the surface with a rich blend of oils. Remember to look on the label for the former ('hydration') if you are prone to blockages and the latter ('moisture') if you have surface dryness.
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Brightening masks. Designed to lift pigmentation and render uneven skin less patchy, masks containing ingredients like vitamin C and niacinamide are whizz kids at undoing some - and that bit is important - of the damage. When you're using these, it's vital to make sure you're using an SPF every day as they make the skin photo sensitive.
Anti-Pollution masks. If you live in a city and notice your skin improves every time you leave it, this would be a wise investment. And now's the time to buy one too - they're flooding the market thanks to improvements in tech that will grab the micro-particles of pollution that damage skin. Look for antioxidants to combat environmental damage on the packaging.
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1. Ole Henriksen Power Bright Kit, £40
Thuis 3-part face mask comes in handy travel-friendly pods and are designed to whip off dead skin, treating skin to a serious dose of vitamin C for some seriously bright and glowing skin.
Ole Henriksen | £40
2. Aesop Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque, £33
Containing both clay to purify and vitamin E to hydrate and and strengthen, this mask is a dream if you suffer from spots along with dehydration. Try using it as a cleansing step every other night on problem patches until they've cleared up.
Aesop | £33
3. Malin + Goetz Detox Face Mask, £32
Have congestion and marks from previous bouts of acne? Grab this clever mask - it'll help to keep spots at bay and contains vitamin C to lift discolouration, too.
Malin+Goetz | £32
4. Eve Lom Rescue Mask, £35
This is a one-hit wonder, delivering exfoliation along with some spot-busting clay, antibacterial honey, and a host of ingredients that will strengthen, soften and generally make your skin a happier place.
Eve Lom | £35
5. GlamGlow Youthmud Tinglexfoliate Treatment, £42
They're not lying about the tingle thing - it's hard not to be aware of the sensation while this is on skin. While it's tingling away, it's SERIOUSLY going to work on dullness, whipping away dead skin to reveal luminosity underneath.
Glamglow | £42
6. Elizabeth Arden Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask, £60
This peel-off mask grabs pollution off the skin and infuses it with a cocktail of antioxidants, basically meaning the city has no chance at doing damage if you deploy this one.
7. Chantecaille Hibiscus Smoothing Mask, £75
While the glycolic sloughs off dead skin, the vitamin C will brighten and the fruit and flower extracts soften and hydrate. The perfect pre-party mask.