Instant Face Masks For Instantly Better Skin?

Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Like many of you, we tend to get a little impatient when it comes to waiting for results from our beauty treatments. We know the best things in life take time, but when skin is in question, we want to see progress now. Forget "slow and steady wins the race."
That's why we've been so intrigued by the new "instant" masks. These potions boast visible results in 10 minutes or less — one tube is even touted as a "one-minute facial." Could our favorite skin-care brands be wising up to the fact that we're as impatient as little kids on their birthdays?
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To see if these are the real deal or plain ol' malarky, we took them for test-drives. Four members of our team slathered on different instant masks — and the outcomes were across the board. Click through to see if these beauty quickies are worth their salt.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Megan McIntyre, beauty director
The Contender: Ren Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

I'm a bit of a face-mask freak: I have a whole wardrobe of masks. I use one about two or three times a week, alternating between clarifying, brightening, and hydrating formulas — depending on what's plaguing my skin on that particular day. My current favorites are May Lindstrom's The Problem Solver (definitely lives up to the name) and Dr. Jart+'s Water Fuse Water-Full Hydrogel Mask.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
This vitamin-C packed mask offers instant results — or so it says — brightening and reviving dull, tired, and lackluster complexions. Thanks to a combination of air travel, sleep deprivation, and a steady diet of red wine and pizza, my skin is all of those things, and then some. Vitamin C is notoriously difficult to stabilize, but this little guy uses a silica-and-glyceride matrix to keep its potent 10% at maximum efficacy. Because of that matrix, it feels a bit like a powdery gel when you apply it — almost like how a primer feels, but grittier. You apply it to dry skin, and then massage in the mask with wet fingers.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The Results:
It was an odd sensation at first. That powdery feel is hard to get used to, because it starts to feel like it's absorbing into the skin, which I'm not used to with masks. I did like the citrus scent, though — very energizing in an aromatherapy kind of way. I also enjoyed that this is an active mask — after I massaged it in with my fingertips, my skin felt more energized and I really felt like I was doing something nice for my complexion.

My skin felt a bit tight after I washed it off, but that's probably because I had it on much longer than the recommended minute, due to the photo shoot. Subsequent tests, at home, led to sensations that were less tight — nothing too uncomfortable or alarming. While it wasn't a radical transformation, I did notice a bit more clarity and a more even skin tone right after use. There was even a minor reduction in redness on some of my post-acne hyperpigmentation. My skin also looked and felt subtly more energized.

If your skin is freaking out and you need a heavy-duty, problem-solving mask, this ain't it. However, as a general-maintenance treatment and all-around morning-skin zhusher, this worked wonderfully. That's something I don't pay enough attention to in my skin-care routine, so I will definitely be adding this into my regular rotation.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Maria Del Russo, beauty writer
The Contender: La Mer The Intensive Revitalizing Mask

I try to incorporate masks into my beauty routine twice a week. I'm a huge fan of Hada Labo Tokyo's sheet masks, Origins' charcoal mask, GlamGlow's SuperMud mask, and Dermalogica's Multivamin Power Recovery Masque. The treatments I typically use aren't "instant," but, being the impatient person I am, I expect them to be. Over time, the results have been incredible, but I'd love to see some differences immediately after I take off my masks. So, this type of product was intriguing to me.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
I was excited to try the La Mer mask, since the brand is known for making luxe products that work. The product claimed that after just eight minutes (which was hilariously specific, if you ask me), your skin would look plumper, brighter, and more revitalized.

I was surprised by the consistency of the mask when I smeared it on. I'm used to mud masks, balm-like masks, and sheet masks with gel-like consistencies. But, La Mer's version was a cream. During the eight minutes I had it on, there was a slight tingling sensation, which was pleasant, not painful. It never fully dried, which I found kind of nice. Instead of feeling tight, my skin felt moisturized under the mask.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The Results:
When I wiped off the mask, my skin was initially very red. I expected this because of the stinging I felt — but my tomato face calmed down after a few minutes. Once it did, I was amazed by how good my skin looked. It looked more even, more hydrated, and plumper. In fact, I looked like I'd just woken up from a blissful nap — something I don't get to experience too often. The results were unlike anything I ever experienced with the other masks in my regimen.

I'd definitely recommend this mask to others, but fair warning: With the La Mer name comes the La Mer price tag. I can't in good conscience wax on about a $160 face mask. But, if you've got the dough, go for it: You won't be disappointed. La Mer's products are pricey for a reason, and this one shows that they can be worth it.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Taylor Bryant, beauty production assistant
The Contender: Bliss Multi-'Face'-Eted All-In One Anti-Aging Clay Mask

As low-maintenance as I may be with my skin-care routine, face masks have always been staples in my rotation. I think they have the potential to really draw out impurities and clear clogged pores — even more than cleansers, toners, or serums. And, they have much longer-lasting effects than other products. (Or, at least, effects that I can see.)
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The mask I tried was from Bliss. It contains glycolic acid, jojoba oil, and pore-cleaning carbon. It claims to "smooth the appearance of lines, even skin's tone and texture, [and] soften, brighten, and even shrink the look of pores." I usually gravitate toward clay masks, because I have oily skin and they help soak up all the oil. So, I was really excited to try this particular one.

The mask didn't feel that different from other clay masks I've tried: It has the same chalky feel, along with a minty, refreshing smell.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The Results:
I felt like my skin was cleaner — not life-changingly cleaner, but I do think this would be a good deep-cleansing mask for a city dweller to add to their weekly routine. You want to get all that extra grime off your skin.

I suggest sticking to the recommended time it says to leave the mask on (5 to 7 minutes), as it's a pain to get off . If left on for too long, it can end up drying out your skin. And, have a washcloth handy — a simple splash of water won't remove the whole thing. I had some clay residue left on my face that took serious scrubbing to get rid of.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
Who: Mi-Anne Chan, beauty intern
The Contender: Nip + Fab Bee Sting Fix Lifting Mask

I have yet to find a moisturizing and radiance-boosting mask that I really love, so I'm always down to try a new mask in hopes of finding "The One." In the winter, I suffer from dehydrated skin that all-too-often results in dreaded flaking. With that burden looming in the not-so-distant future, I was really eager to try this treatment.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The bee venom in this mask is meant to increase circulation, plump and firm the skin, and smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. I'm only 20, so I don't have too many lines to smooth yet — but I was hoping for a plumping and radiance-boosting effect. The mask includes propolis extract, a healing and cleansing ingredient harvested by bees, and is touted for its antioxidant and antiseptic properties.

I was most interested in the ingredient Intensyl, which, according to the label, gives the mask its "3D express lifting effect" — immediately leading to smoother skin. With that in mind, I applied a generous dollop of the mask all over my face and décolletage. It had an immediate cooling effect, and the gel texture felt really luxurious. After a few seconds, I felt a slight tingling. "That must mean it's working!" I thought.
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Photographed by Nicolas Bloise.
The Results:
After about 10 minutes, I rinsed off the mask with warm water. I noticed that my skin did look noticeably plumper. My face also felt hydrated and not the least bit tight. I can't say that I saw any immediate lifting, but my skin felt smoother than it did pre-mask. I'd definitely give this baby another shot.
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