Face masking has blown up in the beauty world: back in 2010, it was all about sheet masks (and animal-printed sheets in particular), but less than a decade later, we’re seeing masks in crazy colours, experiential features like magnets and thick rubber and luxe ingredients all around. There’s no doubt that the stakes have been upped, and what that means is that there are some seriously cool masks out there that can give you just a little more oomph than your run of the mill pack-on-and-wash-off mask. There’s no time better than the onset of winter’s chill to treat yourself to a mask that will see you through the season, and if you’re looking for the lowdown on what to try right now, look no further.
Tatcha is one of those brands that is infuriating because the surprising efficacy of its products is often matched by a similarly shocking price tag. Not everyone is going to want to spend this much on a face mask, but the Violet-C Radiance Mask ($79) is genuinely replenishing and resurfacing for most skin types; with rough and dull skin types in particular, the blend of seven AHAs and the heavy dose of vitamin C in this creamy mask is excellent at dislodging and removing dead skin and brightening the layer that sits underneath. Its electric purple colour may also inspire many a selfie.
Modelling masks have yet to catch on in North America, but that’s precisely what makes any one of the Ettang Rubber Face Masks ($5) so fun to experiment with: the mask comes in the form of a loose power that you mix with water to form a rubber paste that you apply to your face and let harden, similar to getting your face cast in plaster. It sounds weird, and admittedly, you do have to get the mix very smooth to get the best effects, but for what it’s worth, said effects are immediate and impressive. Best for those with enlarged pores or strong sensitivities, the mask clings to the precise contours of your face, drawing out impurities and helping reduce pores while supplying nutrients for smoother, calmer and cleaner skin.
If anyone is looking to get really futuristic — or, more truthfully, if anyone has really congested or oily skin — Dr. Brandt Skincare’s Magnetight Age Defier ($94) is the ticket for you. The mask combines the age-old wisdom of purity-lifting clay with the utility of magnetic waves for a uniquely effective deep-cleansing treatment that purifies the skin without inflaming it. The iron-infused mask is to be applied thinly onto your face like most masks are, but instead of being washed off, the mask is lifted off by a magnet (that comes with the kit itself): purities attracted to the clay are lifted clean off thanks to the magnetic pull, and over time, skin texture is visibly improved.
Lush’s Fresh Face Masks are always a delight to use, but this season Lush has introduced a new form of masking meant for anyone who hates the tightening sensation associated with most wash-off masks. The brand’s new jelly masks are uniquely formulated with skin-softening, mineral-rich carrageenan as a base instead of clay, meaning that while the treatments still pack quite a punch, they’re non-drying and particularly good for sensitive skin types. A personal favourite in the new range of jelly masks is Bunny Moon ($14), which soothes and softens with a soothing chamomile and honey concoction that (mercifully) doesn’t smell too strong either.
Finally, there’s nothing quite as uplifting as a touch of luxury, and Peter Thomas Roth’s 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask ($99) delivers on all fronts. The rich, emollient gold mask feels and looks luxe, but more importantly, it’s an excellent firming treatment for visibly wrinkled or sagging skin. The 24K gold particles contain ions that stimulate skin cells and increase their metabolism while a rich dose of magnesium in the mask promotes cell repair and barrier function. The addition of caffeine in the mix ensures that skin always looks perky and glowing after a go with this mask, making this lil’ number particularly perfect for a pre-event pick-me-up as well.