When it comes to skincare, I find that I’m constantly getting lost in the sauce (or in this case, the moisturizer). It seems like beauty fads fade at the same rapid rate at which I discover them; once I wrap my mind around things like beauty foods and face oils, Manuka honey pops up on my Instagram feed and I feel like I’m back at square one.
Still, I have yet to call off my search for products that make my skin sing like Beyoncé in “Love on Top.” I decided to consult the MR team to gain some vital intel on the “It” girl of skincare: masks. Although masks come in a parade of endlessly alluring colors, textures and packages, I quickly learned that finding the one feels like going on a really good date — the kind that keeps you coming back in spite of other appealing options.
If you’re still on the hunt like me, continue below to peruse my findings vis-à-vis Team Man Repeller’s all-time favorite masks.
Recommended by: Crystal, Operations Manager
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I have incredibly dry skin and the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial followed by Drunk Elephant Marula oil is my Holy Grail. I do this mask twice a week: Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve tried a million products and this stuff is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God/Sephora!
Why she loves it: It really does give me the softest, most radiant glow. I love the way it makes my skin look and feel so much that I haven’t even been wearing foundation lately.
Recommended by: Emily, Visual Manager
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I was in Sephora one day, specifically seeking a mask that I could physically peel off. I struggle with acne, blackheads and oily skin (a fantastic combo), so I wanted that satisfaction of peeling it all away. The sales associate recommended this product to me.
Why she loves it: I haven’t been able to find many masks (charcoal specifically) with a satisfactory peel. This one always seems to do the trick! I use it once a month.
Recommended by: Matt, Head of Operations
How he found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I have combination skin, which tends to fluctuate between oily and dry (and double fun: at different times, in different areas). This mask has done wonders in minimizing the appearance of my pores and evening out my skin in general. I use it once per week (as part of my Sunday night routine — one of my favorite parts of the night, second only to Seamless) and I love that you can actually feel it working. There’s something very satisfying about the feeling of mud drying on your face and the subsequent invigoration of washing it off.
Why he loves it: It makes me feel ready to face (get it?) the week ahead and makes my face feel so fresh and so clean, clean.
Recommended by: Leandra, Founder
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I have only had three facials in my life and the feedback at each one has been singular: “Damn girl, your skin is dehydrated as fuq.” Recently, I was recommended Dr. Sturm’s face mask as a way to hydrate my face and initially, I was dubious because I hate masks (they are messy, require that you set aside ~20 minutes at night to do nothing but let your face be covered by what at first feels like goop and then turns to, essentially, chalk, and don’t get me started on the wash-off process), but when I took this one off, I felt like Venus (the Gillette razor, not the mythological goddess).
Why she loves it: Remember what I was saying about not getting me started about the wash-off process with face masks? This one doesn’t have to be washed off! After about 30 minutes, all you have to do is peel it off then sink your cheek into your pillow. I do it twice a week. The one thing I’ll say is that it’s really stupid expensive.
Recommended by: Ashley, Social Media Editor
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I feel like I’ve seen this mask pop up in recommendations and stories for ages now and it has a ton of Amazon reviews. When I was walking past a Ricky’s and saw it in the window, I decided to just pop in and grab a tank of it (it comes in large quantities). It’s a great overall cleansing mask and I love using it on Sundays to round out my week.
Why she loves it: I’ve always bounced around different masks and had yet to find one that I use consistently, until this one. You can truly feel it working; your face gets all stiff like you’re a statue and so not only are you cleaning your skin, but you can take tons of gross clumpy-faced selfies and send them to your friends.
Recommended by: Harling, Fashion Editor
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I received a free sample of this mask, which is how I first got my hands on it. I was already a fan of the brand Consonant beforehand, so I had very high expectations and was not disappointed. I have sensitive, redness-prone skin, and this mask simultaneously hydrates and (ever-so-gently) exfoliates, leaving behind baby-soft smoothness and a subtle glow. I usually avoid clay masks because I’ve often found them to be harsh, but this one is the opposite. I apply it once a week, and my skin is always so happy afterward. I use it for spot treatments sometimes, too.
Why she loves it: I’m really picky about skincare products because my skin is so sensitive but I also like to see RESULTS, which is why this mask has earned a permanent place in my arsenal. It’s gentle and effective at the same time.
Recommended by: Nora Taylor, Managing Editor
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I’ve been using a free sample of this and will be re-upping once it’s all gone. I have sensitive and oily skin. This is great for calming my skin when I feel a breakout coming on.
Why she loves it: I recently switched from treating my skin like it is acne-prone to treating it like it is sensitive and WOW has it made a difference. I’ve read that both Manuka honey and turmeric are good for calming skin and fighting off blemishes, so when I saw this mask I snatched it and it did not disappoint. I used it after a bachelorette weekend where I fully deserved to have my skin freak out on me and this mask helped it keep its cool. Now I use it once a week. It makes my skin feel soft and helps fight redness.
Recommended by: Madeline, Visual Assistant
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: My skin type is normal-to-oily and I always love a good charcoal mask to clean out my oily pores. I stumbled upon these cloud masks after seeing internet hype and now I use them once a week (on Wednesdays!) before bed.
Why she loves it: First of all, this mask BUBBLES like a CLOUD. It’s amazing. You can feel it soothing your skin as it cleanses. I feel like a lot of charcoal masks clean my skin but leave it stripped afterward — this one doesn’t!
Recommended by: Starling, Social Media and Editorial Assistant
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: My sister Rein, goddess of skincare, recommended these to me. They’re good for grossing yourself out; you see how much gunk is unknowingly in your nose pores, but in a pleasing way. I use them once a month.
Why she loves it: It makes my nose feel squeaky clean!
Recommended by: Amelia Diamond, Head of Creative
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I received this mask (I think it’s considered a mask since you leave it on) as a sample last year. I have dry/sensitive acne-prone skin (the acne is more hormonal than “Oh shit, I slept in my makeup again”) so I almost never use face stuff that comes to the office. I stick to my dermatologist-prescribed routine and rarely stray, but this one got me. My skin was looking super dull last summer for a whole variety of reasons. I wanted to look “bright,” and this one had “bright” in the label (I generally do not advise using this as a decision-making strategy). I started applying the mask a week before a wedding and followed the instructions to use two to three nights in a row. It made my skin GLOW.
Why she loves it: I see immediate results. I put it on at night (it smells really good), fall asleep, and in the mornings, look appreciably more well-rested and taken care of and healthy. It’s very satisfying. Because this product is expensive — I plan to buy it when the sample runs out, but still, I want to conserve the sample I do have — I only use it a few days in a row before special events. This is not my every-Sunday-night-when-I’m-kinda-bored-and-stressed-oh-cool-I’ll-do-a-face-mask face mask. This is a last-minute cram session for my skin, essentially. Also, because I use a prescribed Retinol fairly regularly (and this has AHAs + Retinol in it), I definitely don’t want to combine both products and I don’t want to overdo frequency. Chemistry was never my strongest subject. Since I use this mask sparingly, it’s lasted me the year. I think I can probably use it through the summer at this rate.
Recommended by: Elizabeth Tamkin, Market Assistant and Office Coordinator
How she found out about the mask and what it’s good for: I found out about it through samples we received to the office. I technically have combination skin, but it’s also extremely sensitive and gets very, very dry (mostly in the winter, but all seasons). This face mask instantly hydrates (hence the name) and makes me feel less tight.
Why she loves it: I really wish I had a better way to describe the “after” than: my face feels like a baby’s bottom. I use it two to three times a week and typically leave it on for 15 minutes after I shower. It’s not a scary color and just washes right off. I feel soft for about 24 hours!
Collages by Madeline Montoya.