When something is off with your skin, a good face mask can put you back on the right track in a matter of minutes. The bigger headache comes with finding the best one for whatever it is that ails you — be it a stress pimple with its own zip code, redness around your nose, a constellation of whiteheads on your cheek, or some combination thereof.
Walk into any store that calls itself a beauty supplier, and you're met with a full aisle of options, from single-use sheets to a jar filled with charcoal that promises to "vacuum pores" and even masking sticks, whatever those are. Click over to Ulta, Sephora, Target, or Amazon, and it's the same deal — just with a lot of scrolling, as opposed to physically picking things up (and, more often than not, putting them back on the shelf again when you realize they're just not quite right).
To make life easier, we're giving you a complete guide to the best, most effective face masks that hit the market this year. There were a lot: Our R29 editors tested almost every single one (with gusto) for this year's Beauty Innovator Awards and came to a unanimous decision on the favorite, which received perfect scores across our varying skin concerns. Catch all the candid reviews, and shop the top four with confidence, ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
1 of 4
"Maybe it's a little too dramatic to say that this face mask has changed my life — but it is the best face mask I've ever used, partly because there's no work to it. The texture and consistency are perfect; it soaks right into my skin and hydrates all the right places. I'll slather it on in the morning right after I get out of the shower, then do my morning routine while my body tries to wake up. After a couple minutes, my skin feels invigorated and looks bright and glowy, and my makeup glides on so smoothly. I will never love another." —Emily Curl, Entertainment Host
2 of 4
"I started using this product during a particularly long string of hot and sticky summer nights. Not only did this mask instantly cool down my face, but after removing it, I immediately felt like my pores were cleaner and tighter. It left me with a glowing complexion that actually lasted through until the next morning. It also smells great — almost minty." —Rachel Lubitz, Senior Beauty Writer
3 of 4
"I know it sounds cliché, but I really consider this mask to be a facial in a bottle. I left it on for 15 minutes, during which I could really feel the tingly exfoliation. After I washed it off, my skin looked and felt both baby-soft and revitalized." —Suzy Berkowitz, EVP of Communications
4 of 4
"I hate doing face masks because they’re laborious, not to mention really freaking messy. But this mask stick eliminated all the usual annoyingness of masking — I never knew just how much I hated dipping my finger into a jar of clay until I didn’t have to. The formula is much thinner than most clay masks, so while it does dry down a little, it doesn’t crack completely on my skin. I barely remembered that I had it on after 10 minutes, and it was easy to rinse using warm water and my favorite Face Halo sponge. The results were glowy and bright, not dry and squeaky clean like most clay treatments." —Jessica Cruel, Deputy Beauty Director