Winter doesn't care if you're born with Hadid-like genetics or the money to go on fabulous ski vacations: It will hit you with skin that's dry or dull, and sometimes a cruel combination of both. The season's de facto gluttony — an uptick in complexion-compromising sugar, salt, alcohol, and fat intake — doesn't exactly help matters either.
But here's what will: employing a special skin step that, frankly, isn't much different from what an esthetician would do in the treatment room. We're talking about smartly-made
face masks that manage to provide the kind of hydration that typically comes from a spa, but without a costly appointment or having to put on pants.
Ahead, find a dozen ways to override winter's sinister skin intentions, with 10 or so minutes of chill time.
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It pains us to see a $200-plus price tag on a face mask (even if it does come with a luxurious brush made with the
softest charcoal-treated bristles). But after two weeks of consistent use, we've realized that this baby isn't just one-percenter frivolity. The tiniest amount of the springy, gel-in-oil formulation helps skin retain its moisture and, over time, shifted our normally oily complexion to a more balanced state. Orveda
Overnight Skin Recovery Masque, $216.00
Buy – PAID –
Open up the jar of Bliss' new
Mint Chip Mania
™ mask and you'll instantly be transported to one of those super cute vintage ice-cream shops painted floor to ceiling in a pastel hue; the formula looks, feels, and smells like
ice cream. But as much as we love the novelty, what makes this product even more scrumptious is what it does for your skin. Not only is the cooling formula chock-full of nutrients — immediately imparting that covetable
— but it also gently cleanses and brings deep dirt and sebum up to the surface. Plus, it's 100% cruelty-free and free from parabens and other harmful ingredients. Trust: If your pores could talk, they'd thank you.
Mint Chip Mania Mask, $15.00
Most no-rinse masks leave our skin feeling greasy (and linens in need of a wash). Not this bad boy. Any bit of the creamy formula that didn't sink into our skin within 20 minutes disappeared with a quick massage, leaving our desert-ravaged complexion looking as if it hadn't been exposed to arid weather at all.
Honey Moisture Mask With Propolis Extract, $24.00
Like a lot of masks out there, this formula brightened our skin without making it feel tight or irritated. But the scent released upon opening the glass jar is what really registers it high on our self-care meter: One inhale feels like walking inside an upscale tea room. The powdered blend requires a ritualistic preparation (using the included wooden spoon to scoop the fine grind into a dish before mixing it with hydrosol, water, or aloe vera) that feels as relaxing as the mask itself.
Kiss of Royal Tea Hydrating Masque, $65.00
The creamy consistency of this mask morphs into an oil when slathered onto the skin; the change was enough to freak us out — we already have oily and acne-prone skin! — until we realized the line (and this mask) was developed with both acneic and sensitive skin types in mind. Not only did it keep breakouts at bay, but the multi-tasking formula (which can be used as a booster and makeup primer, too) also left our skin incredibly soft.
Maqui Berry Beauty Whip, $68.00
We're the types to do a face mask when on a plane, at work, or as a Halloween costume — pretty much wherever we can get away with it. Of the hundreds we've tried, this may be the most elegant — though it doesn't start off that way. In the jar, the mask's jelly consistency takes some getting used to (you scoop it out in blobs, then spread it on the face).
But the rinse-off experience is so thoughtful: Instead of scrubbing away at a dried paste or splashing gobs of water around in order to remove a filmy layer from the skin, the mask emulsifies with a touch of H20 and is made to be massaged off like a cleanser. The result doesn't just make for a standout masking experience, but bright, illuminated skin with zero redness, tightness, or irritation. Kypris
Glow Philtre, $88.00
After three days in Joshua Tree, Newton's third law of motion was written all over my face: For every enlightening and soul-enriching moment in the desert, there was an equal and opposite moisture-depleting reaction happening to my skin. Surprisingly, the contents of this single packet erased the flakiness around my nose and forehead, thanks to a stay-put sheet mask that was drenched in a serum of hyaluronic acid, peptides, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, and plant stem cells.
Dual Mask: Age-Defying & Firming, $8.00
It's no coincidence this face mask has the consistency of homemade orange marmalade — half of its contents are crushed oranges, lemons, and clementines harvested in the Mediterranean once a year. These food-grade ingredients don't just jazz up toast: They contain alpha hydroxy acids, along with vitamins C, E, and B5 to help boost skin clarity, too. Sure enough, it brightened our complexions without turning into a dried paste that required severe scrubbing (and therefore, unnecessary irritation).
Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask , $62.00
Oily skin types may not need the goopy hydration of overnight and heavy cream masks, but that doesn't mean sulfur and clay-heavy options are quite right in winter either. This brightening mask strikes the perfect balance, merging kaolin and bentonite clay with aloe leaf juice, echinacea, and fruit extracts to pull gunk from the pores and brighten the complexion without sucking skin dry.
But what really sets the creamy formula apart is its hidden self-care component: The mask requires a little massage to do its thing (which pleasingly changes from the palest of lavender to a mint green color as you work your facial muscles). Farmacy
Bright On Massage-Activated Vitamin C Mask, $38.00
We've had the ridiculous fortune of being able to try some outlandishly priced face masks, which felt like a million bucks going onto the skin. This creamy formulation delivered the same level of luxe at a much more manageable price. At first, we were taken by the mask's gorgeous scent and unusually smooth texture. But by the time the mask came off, it was the incredibly smooth texture of our skin that had us amazed.
Peptide 4 Thousand Flower Face Mask, $45.00
One of the most anticipated beauty launches as of late was Peach & Lily, a brand from the same e-commerce site that has brought us some of the best K-beauty products for years. Included in the launch was this high-performance gel mask, which includes proven skin brighteners like 10% hydroxy acids and .5% beta hydroxy acids. Though it has properties we'll love in the summer months (the cooling effect of a gel and tingly sensation of the acids), we find it perfect for winter thanks to the soothing hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and aloe vera in the formula.
Peach and Lily
Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask, $43.00
A bunch of buzzy fruit extracts (including watermelon, plum, and lychee) join forces in this creamy mask geared to hydrate and brighten skin. It can be used as an overnight treatment but we found a 15-minute soak gave our skin added bounce.
Extended Stay Hydrating Mask, $38.00
We've had $450 facial treatments that employ hyaluronic molding masks to quench skin after acid peels. This at-home version goes on in a thick paste, molds to the skin like rubber, then moisturizes and calms redness just like the ones used during in-spa treatments. But there's one major difference: It only costs $12 a pop.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask x 4, $48.00