The Best Face Masks for a Clean, Clear Complexion


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Aug 31, 2023

The Best Face Masks for a Clean, Clear Complexion

There’s a face mask for every purpose. Some will sucks the dirt, grime, and

There's a face mask for every purpose. Some will sucks the dirt, grime, and excess oil from your pores. Others hydrate the skin with vitamins and nutrients to keep it from drying out. Still others focus on exfoliating, dissolving dead skin cells to help unclog pores and brighten your appearance. And some face masks do more than one of those things.

No matter how it gets there, a good face mask deep keeps you looking younger, and makes your skin glow. They work so effectively that they need only be done only once or twice a week, after you cleanse, and then followed by moisturizer or night cream before bed. Luckily, it gives you a good excuse to relax with some hot tea (or a beer, but know that this works counter to your anti-aging strategy here).

Face masks come in different forms. Some are clay creams or just-add-water powders that you shellac onto your face and wash off after ten to fifteen minutes—that's what we’ve focused on here. (You might also see this term applied to sheet masks, a literal mask soaked in serum, and we’ve got picks for those at the bottom.)

If anything, do a mask for this reason: It forces you to slow down, which reduces stress, which in turn probably makes your skin look better. So it's a two-for-one deal.

For the brightest complexion: Tatcha Clarifying Clay Mask, $70

For firm, youthful skin: Valmont Deto2X Pack Oxygenating Bubble Mask, $200

For a nourishing reset: Tata Harper resurfacing mask, $68

For a deep detox: Innisfree Volcanic AHA Pore Clearing Clay Mask, $16

For a soothing remedy against inflammation: Glossier Moon Mask, $24

For spot-checking pimples: Brickell deep-cleaning charcoal mask, $35

For keeping pores clear: Sisley Exfoliating Enzyme Mask, $140

For an instant firm-up: 111Skin 5-Count Y Theorem Bio Cellulose Face Mask, $135

For alert eyes: Superegg Calm Movements Eye & Cheek Mask, $50

For a lightweight peel: Erno Laszlo exfoliating and detoxifying face masks, $70

$70.00, Sephora

This GQ Grooming Award Winner is stuffed with clay, konjac, and volcanic ash to draw out dirt and impurities. It's also really fun to use–starting off green, the warming mask transitions to a pinkish color as it wraps up its job. Who doesn't like a show when they're sprucing up?

$200.00, Saks Fifth Avenue

Detoxify and smooth out stubborn lines and wrinkles with a mask that quite literally feels like a cool gust of air dancing delicately across your skin. Each box comes with a pack of six mask pods, so you can give your money maker a youthful boost whenever, wherever.

$68.00, Sephora

The pulpy texture of this mask feels like you're slathering freshly squeezed fruit all over your face–and you are, exfoliating pomegranate enzymes to be exact. There's also white willow bark extract and pink clay throw in to really help slough off dead skin cells and resurface your glow.

$16.00, Sephora

For less than $20, this clay mask will dig deep into your gunky pores to reveal fresh, smooth skin. The mix of volcanic lava and lactic acid work to purge excess oil and built-up debris without over-stripping. (Clay masks that are too harsh can lead to dehydration—which, ironically, kicks oil production into overdrive—but not this one.)

$24.00, Glossier

If your skin needs a reset it's best to step away from the charcoal, clays, and chemical exfoliants and opt for a mask that's going to be extremely gentle on the face. Glossier's Moon Mask is packed with soothing almond oil, hyaluronic acid, and squalane to boost hydration and leave you with skin that's soft and oh-so-supple.

$35.00, Amazon

This charcoal and clay face mask absorbs any and all impurities in your skin, and is also perfect for one-off spot checks, whenever you get a big honking pimple that needs drying up. It's also enriched with hyaluronic acid, aloe, and vitamin E to hydrate and soothe the skin while also shielding it from toxins. This is a tough product, literally, in that you've got to warm it a bit in your fingers before it smooths onto your face. And that's a good thing, because it firms up nice and taut on the skin, so that you know it's effective as it dries.

$140.00, Nordstrom

Some physical exfoliants are too harsh on the skin, leading to tugging (and worse, micro skin tears) but not this one. Sisley's enzyme mask starts off as a powder (it's finely grated papain, derived from papaya) before turning into a creamy yet lightweight mask once water is added. You only need to keep it on for one minute in order to unlock brighter, smoother skin–a win for those running on insanely tight schedules.

If you’re hunting for face masks, then you can't overlook the somewhat literal masks that you wear on your face like a Halloween costume. Here are two we love, plus one eye mask we use to firm and brighten the ultra sensitive, ultra thin skin around the eyes.

$135.00, Nordstrom

Feeling stressed lately? These lightweight sheet masks replenish antioxidants in the skin while boosting collagen and elastin production for a tighter, brighter face in no time.

$50.00, Soko Glam

Calm Movements is roomier than traditional eye masks, allowing your cheeks to also soak in some of the CICA, tremella mushroom, and vitamin B5 packed into the cooling hydrogel.

$70.00, Amazon

This serum-packed mask from Erno Laszlo reveals an entirely new face when peeled away. Alpha-hydroxy acid gently dissolves dead, peeling skin cells from pores, while kiwi extract boosts collagen production for firmer, more healthy-looking skin. All this goes on while charcoal sucks grime from your pores like a vacuum cleaner, allowing you to reveal a younger-looking complexion in minutes.

Originally Appeared on GQ

For the brightest complexion: For firm, youthful skin: For a nourishing reset: For a deep detox: For a soothing remedy against inflammation: For spot-checking pimples: For keeping pores clear: For an instant firm-up: For alert eyes: For a lightweight peel: