The Best Face Masks In The Biz

Mask on.

It occurred to me last month that “face masking” is probably my number one favourite hobby. Let me set the scene: I was on a sub-par date at a fancy cocktail bar, when, during a uncomfortably long lapse in conversation, my date asked how I liked to spend my time outside of work. I paused as three little images popped into my head: a bottle of wine, my laptop playing an episode of reality TV, and my face swaddled by a sheet mask. Oh, you know, I mostly spend my evenings cooking, reading or watching documentaries, I lied through my red wine-stained teeth. Given my interest in him (zero), it’s curious that I painted this false, pseudo-sophisticated picture of myself. But, c‘est la vie, I’m now here to set the record straight.

I love everything about face masks. I love the initial research phase (a.k.a loitering in the depths of Mecca and Sephora, getting the DL on each community member’s views on different masks). I love the ritual of getting in my schleppiest clothes, firing up an episode of Love Island, and pouring myself a generous glass of wine, or plopping into the bath with nothing but my favourite candle and my own thoughts to keep me company. I love the selfies they produce (mostly a bit scary or awkward, and not at all like the ones I’ve spied on cute girl’s Instagram’s). I love that this sybaritic form of escapism leads to plump, happy skin, and I love exchanging testimonials with friends with the type of enthusiasm usually reserved for things like Christmas and finding leftovers in the fridge when a hangover is threatening to end your life.

I used the following four metrics as a base for my ~research~ into the best face masks in the biz: Worth Your Dime, Instagram-Worthy, Luminosity Factor, and Fun Factor. With those quantifiers behind me, I set off to spend a month indulging my favourite hobby**, only to emerge with the most comprehensive guide to face masks you ever did see. From my face to yours, happy masking friends!

**Carmen is a diehard Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay fan, so I passed the mic over to her for that review.

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SKYN ICELAND
Arctic Hydration Rubberizing Mask With Vitamin C

Luminosity Factor: 5/5
I used this in tandem with my Nu Face (who dis) pal, so it’s hard to speak to the exact effect it had on my skin. Or rather, how much I can truly credit it with making my skin look the best it has since the last time I had an LED facial (highly recommend). I’m a new convert to the old Vitamin C club, but now that I’ve arrived, I’m not going anywhere. My complexion looked insanely even, and I felt bright, refreshed, and as if youth were finally on my side.

I’d recently joked to my housemate that the aforementioned date made my complexion dull (it’s probably be more accurately attributed to a lack of sleep and sugary cocktails), but this little bad boy remedied that situation right up, and it kind of looked like my face had taken a six-week vacation, or had the luminosity filter slapped on it in real time.

Worth Your Dime: 4/5
Three masks for $44 is on the pricier side of things (hence the score 4), but if you are looking to treat yo’ self, it’s def worth every penny. (And treat yo’ self you should.)

Fun Factor: 4/5
Don’t get me wrong, the arrival of these made for a very exciting evening in my household. My housemate and I felt like scientists mixing together the gel base with the treatment powder and painting it onto our faces, and we were LOL’ng at our reflections for longer than most mature adults should. The only reason it gets a 4 is because little gloops of the mask ran onto my shirt before it set, but maybe that speaks more to my inability to sit still for 5 minutes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Instagram-Worthy: 2.5/5
I now realise this metric is kiiiind of subjective, because who am I to say what kind of vibe you’re going for on your ‘gram? But, for the sake of this exercise, let’s just imagine we all want to lean into that sleek, chic and cute aesthetic, favoured by people like x and x. This will not get you there. Rather, as I began to apply it to my face, I was kind of reminded of the goopy Goosebumps font. Not so pretty. Gross and cool, tho.

Overall: 4/5

Indian Healing Clay

Luminosity Factor: 5/5
Don’t be alarmed if your face is bright red where the mask has been once you wash it off—this is the mask working its magic. “Feel your face pulsate” is how they put it on the packaging. Thirty smol minutes later, you’ll be amazed at how pure and lush your skin looks. This deep pore cleanser helps do-away with blackheads and will leave your skin looking super fresh and supple. Plus it’s 100% natural!

Worth Your Dime: 5/5
So, so cheap. So, sooo worth it.

Fun Factor: 5/5
This one’s fun fo sho. Mix a small part of the clay powder with water or Apple Cider Vinegar (my preference) and use a brush to paint it on. As it starts to dry, you’ll literally feel like you could take up residence in the sculpture section at your local art gallery. Let it be known, you won’t be able to have a conversation because it sets so hard, but don’t let that put you off— the results are worth it!

Instagram-Worthy: 2.5/5
This mask isn’t so Instagram-worthy, but if you’re in it for results then I can’t recommend this enough (plus, 17,434 Amazon customers can’t be wrong, right?!)

Overall: 4.5/5

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MECCA MAX
Kiss And Tell Lip Plumping Mask

Luminosity Factor: 3/5
I can’t say that my lips were plumper after using, but they did feel nice and moisturised, and my lipstick slid on ever so smoothly after using. I’d liken this to your fave nourishing lip balm.

Worth Your Dime: 5/5
I’ve ordered smoothies that cost way more than this. For $7, I think it’s definitely worth your time, and your dime.

Fun Factor: 5/5
I’d never dabbled in the world of lip masks prior to this, so that alone was enough to award it a straight five outta five. Despite the below score re: Instagram, it was extremely fun sending a bunch of lel ~new lip~ pics to friends who did not ask for them.

Instagram-Worthy: 2/5
Maybe it’s just me and my inability to capture my best angles, but the selfies that came from this were truly scary. No bueno for Instagram (unless it’s for your story, and you are in the market for scared reacts/lols.)  

Overall: 3.75/5

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CHARLOTTE TILBURRY
Goddess Skin Clay Mask 

Luminosity Factor: 5/5
Goddess baby skin I was promised, and goddess baby skin I received. As a rule, I tend to shy away from clay masks, as my face has tendencies to look/feel like the Sahara desert, and I find they further exacerbate this cracked texture. I made an exception with this, as countless people have suggested I give it a whirl, and let’s just say that I am forever glad I did. 

Worth Your Dime: 4/5
The mask is fairly expenno, but given that the bottle will last you a super long time if you’re averaging one to two masks a week, it’s still pretty good ~bang for your buck~.

Fun Factor: 3/5
It’s not not fun, but I can’t say that the act of applying this truly great mask was mind-shattering.

Instagram-Worthy: 4/5
This mask shoots like a dream when paired with cute accessories—like a fluffy beach towel wrapped around your head or a scrunchie worn in a half-up ‘do. Instagram feeds are significantly enriched when Charlotte Tilbury-enhanced selfies are in them. 

Overall: 4/5

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LUSH
Don’t Look At Me Face Mask

Luminosity Factor: 3.5/5
This mask is as smooth on the skin as Sade’s vocals are to your ears, and I looked (and felt) super rejuvenated after using it. It was the nice kind of tingly, and all 18 ingredients (including things like silken tofu and murumuru butter) came together to soothe my oft-sensitive skin, whilst also making me look hella ~vibrant~.

Worth Your Dime: 5/5
Lush’s prices are very easy on the pocket. Hot tip: they’re made fresh, so make sure to use yours within 3 weeks!

Fun Factor: 5/5
The vibrant blue colour gets me errry time, and my nose is very thankful for the lemon-y fresh scent the mask emanates. I also love a good exfoliating/tingly feeling, and this provided on those fronts, too.

Instagram-Worthy: 4/5
Despite the name suggesting otherwise, I was all LOOK AT ME, INSTAGRAM after using this, because who doesn’t want to show their audience (however modest) how much they look like a cute smurf?

Overall: 4.5/5

Words, @madw0n
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