For a long time, the word "peel" meant one of two things in the beauty world: a) You've spent too much time in the sun sans sunscreen and are now suffering from the not-so-cute consequences, or b) you just got a chemical peel and are now patiently waiting for your brand-new skin to emerge (in the privacy of your bedroom).
Today, thanks to innovative skin-care technology, the word has gained a whole new meaning. Enter:
peel-off masks, which come in a gel-like consistency and solidify after application. Not only are they fun to use, but they deliver incredibly satisfying results. And, whether you’re fighting off a batch of blemishes, suffering from stress-induced blotchiness, or simply want to tame your oily visage, there’s a version that will labor to improve the ailments of your epidermis.
Now, we bet you want to know which one will fix your skin woes. Don’t worry, we’re one step ahead of you. We tapped dermatologist
Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, and celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas for expert tips on choosing the perfect peel-off for your complexion. What are your thoughts on this new crop? Let us know in the comments.
Photo: Via Boscia.
Redness, Inflammation Got the blotchiness blues (or rather, reds)? Dr. Tanzi and Vargas recommend masks with soothing ingredients. “I like this mask because it contains aloe vera, which is an amazing basic ingredient for sensitive skin,” says Vargas. “It also contains sea whip, which really helps to disinflame the face.” Sea whip, a.k.a. Gorgonian extract, aids in calming stressed skin. Bonus: It goes on blue, which is fun.
Cool Blue Calming Mask,
Photo: Via First Aid Beauty.
Oiliness Clay-based masks are key for reducing oil and cleaning pores. “Red clay is great for oily skin because it will help to draw out impurities from the pores,” says Vargas. Also formulated with glycerin and rosemary-leaf oil, this 20-minute mask moisturizes and protects the skin. In short, don’t let the color scare you away: This is a game-changer — even for the most sensitive complexions.
First Aid Beauty
Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay,
This mask has plenty of charcoal in it, which helps to alleviate oily skin and clogged pores.
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, $34, available at Sephora.
Dullness Skin feeling a little blah? This peel-off mask helps to hydrate and clear congestion in a quick 15 minutes. Sure, it gently exfoliates and leaves your skin soft to the touch, but the coolest part? It transforms into a peel-off consistency the moment water touches it — making the removal process downright fun. Belif First Aid Transforming Peel Off Mask, $34, available at Sephora.
Working until midnight calls for a mask like this. Red algae and collagen help plump and retain moisture while cloudberry oil helps you look wide awake — even if you're running on cold brew.
Skyn Iceland Arctic Hydration Rubberizing Mask, $30, available at Skyn Iceland.
If your skin is desperately in need of a wake-up call, this intensely energizing peel off mask will do the trick. Its claim to fame is a potent blend of green tea, ginseng, and vitamin B to help stimulate the skin for a plump, hydrated look. (And who doesn’t need that?)
PÜR Blue Agave Energizing Peel-Off Mask, $26, available at Ulta Beauty.
Unlike most peel-off masks, this one goes on as a smooth, creamy formula that dries to a rubbery finish, much like the
K-beauty modeling rubber mask sets that are all the rage. Bliss Mask A’peel’ Radiance Revealing Rubberizing Mask, $30, available at Ulta Beauty.
What’s more fun than a shimmery peel-off mask named Disco Kitten that leaves skin bright, soft, and perfectly hydrated? Nothing, probably.
Memebox I Dew Care Disco Kitten Mask, $23, available at Ulta.
If you want skin brightening on a budget, this mask gives you a glow for under $3.
Formula 10.0.6 Skin Brightening Peel Mask in Papaya Citrus, $2.24, available at Target.
Photo: Via Neova.
Fine Lines, Large Pores For anti-aging concerns, Dr. Tanzi recommends masks with glycolic and hyaluronic acids, which exfoliate and hydrate. But, make sure to patch-test before using a strong ingredient like glycolic acid. “Some people have very strong allergies to glycolics,” says Vargas. This peel-off also contains calming, soothing botanicals, as well as potent antioxidants and sodium hyaluronate to smooth and brighten.
Serious GlyPeel Peel-Off Mask,
Trade your nose strips for this volcanic clay-packed mask, which zaps blackheads and kills grease.
The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Clay Nose Mask, $8, available at Urban Outfitters.
While this one is mud-based, it's also silver — and it leaves a metallic finish on the skin that's so shiny and futuristic, you'll have a hard time
not staring at yourself for the 20 to 30 minutes it's on for. After the time has passed, peel it off in sheets to reveal firmer, softer skin. It's gentle enough to use multiple times a week and with consistency, you'll begin to see a more even skin tone. Glamglow Gravitymud Firming Treatment, $69, available at Birchbox.
This formula, infused with orange and calcium, is yet another alternative to your ninth grade nose strips. Plus, it's an automatic blackhead zapper.
Raeka Beauty Turmeric Orange Peel Off Mask, $29.50, available at We Are Onyx.
If black and white heads around your nose are your main issue, consider using a two-step pore patch like this one from Dr. Jart+. First, apply the dry mask to wet skin and wait for ten minutes as it dries. Then, carefully peel it off to remove all the gunk from your pores. Finally, place the wet patch over your nose. Once you're done, rub in the witch hazel-, aloe vera-, and tea tree oil-rich formula into your skin.
Dr. Jart+ Pore Master Patch, $35, available at Sephora.
This mask is great for your Sunday night masking — and it'll look chic in your medicine cabinet. If fine lines, wrinkles, or inflammation are any of your concerns, this peel-off mask is a great pick as it's formulated with glycolic and salicylic acid and aloe vera extract.
Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel & Reveal Revitalizing Mask, $36, available at Elizabeth Arden.
Photo: Via Freeman.
Dryness, Irritation Look for soothing, moisturizing ingredients, like cucumber and aloe vera. “I love cucumber as an ingredient because it works universally for all skin types,” says Vargas. “It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s great for irritated skin.” Besides cucumber extract, this mask has aloe vera and vitamin A. The best part? It only takes five to 10 minutes. And, you can use it as often as you like: Throw it on during your morning shower to reveal smooth and hydrated skin.
Feeling Beautiful Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask,
There's a reason our beauty features director is
obsessed with this rubber mask from Dr. Dennis Gross. After mixing the gel and powder, you smooth it on your face and wait for it to set. In one swift motion, lift the dried mask off your face to reveal plumped and happy skin. Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask, $46, available at Dr. Dennis Gross.
Peel-off masks have one downside: It's hard to get every last morsel off. But Yes To created this genius tool that lets you scrape off any leftover charcoal, so you can focus your attention on the next steps of your skin-care routine.
Yes To Charcoal Peeling Mask, $15.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Clogged Pores Dr. Tanzi recommends using glycolic acid- or sulfur-based masks to absorb dirt and debris from congested skin. This clean, all-natural formula contains plenty of sulfur to cleanse the skin of impurities, plus charcoal and eucalyptus for an even fresher face. Diva Stuff Purifying Charcoal & Sulfur Peel Off Gel Mask, $11.99, available at Diva Stuff.
Desperately need to detoxify? This whipped mask is just the thing your skin needs to draw out dirt and debris for a blackhead-free complexion. It starts out as a thick, fluffy mousse and dries to a peel-off mask that gently lifts away dead skin cells, so you could also say it’s double the fun.
NIA Sunday Detox Whipped Clay Peel-Off Mask, $36, available at Ulta Beauty.
Scary name, decidedly less scary results: Another iteration of the made-for-Snapchat black peel-off mask, this mask works triple duty by using amino acids to brighten, enriched minerals to cleanse and purify clogged pores, and powerful peptides to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Rodial Glamoxy Snake Serum Mask, $83, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
A longtime favorite, this peel-off mask got a bit of a facelift this season — and we're so here for it. Thankfully, the formula is exactly the same: an illuminating ginseng and caffeine blend that gives us a burst of energy before starting our day.
Origins GinZing Peel-Off Mask, $27, available at Sephora.
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