I am a super duper fan of masking. Whether it's a hydrating mask or a cleansing mask, I do one almost daily.
My newest acquisition is the Peter Thomas Roth Moor Mud Mask. Thank you Ulta points, because this is not cheap! This is a scary blackest opaque black mask with a gel-ish kind of consistency. It never fully dries, which I love, but it isn't the easiest to remove. Removal is easiest in the shower. The results from this mask, though, are outstanding! Rarely do I get this excited about a new product. Not only do I find it has an immediate impact on blackheads (more appropriately and technically called sebaceous filaments), but it's strangely hydrating, and very smoothing. My skin looks like I just had a professional facial after I use this.
If I'm looking for a mask to apply before a special occasion, I go for Elizabeth Arden's Hydrating Mask. It's a smooth, clay consistency and dries to a soft, flexible finish. I can leave it on as long as I want, which makes it great for slapping on in the morning, doing some housework, and then washing it off in the shower. It leaves my skin looking even toned and luminous, and my makeup goes on beautifully afterwards.
I've also written about Aztec's Secret Healing Clay over at The Oil Cleansing Method. You have to be careful with this stuff, as it's super potent, but definitely worth checking out if you have oily skin or are battling acne.
Asian Sheet Masks
I discovered the wonders of these masks last year when I noticed a sudden increase in the mosaic pattern type of wrinkles under my eyes. They didn't solve the under eye problem (shea butter did, though!), but my overall complexion benefitted so much from these it was truly outstanding. Now, the deal with these things is that the more you use them, the better the results. I got so into them that I bought myself one of these so I could wear the same one longer (they dry out within about twenty minutes). You can imagine how thrilled my family was. Anyway, if they fit into your lifestyle, that's wonderful. If not...they're a treat when you want something special or need short term results. Not all sheet masks are created equal and I definitely have some favorites.
My absolute favorite is Shiseido's Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask. This is one that I love to apply at night while watching TV. It comes in two parts, a top and a bottom, so you get a better fit to your face. The results are incredible. Your skin is left moisturized, refined (thanks to the retinol), and and glowing. And the results only get better over night, so when you wake up, your skin is looking miles better than it did the night before. My favorite way to use this mask is to apply after a heavy duty clay mask. I feel like this helps my skin absorb more of the good stuff in the serum formula and I have noticeably better results. Also worth noting is that they have under eye masks in the same formula. I keep these around for a special treat when I don't feel like doing the whole shebang of a facial.
Dead Sea Elements makes a phenomenal sheet mask. I first found these at TJ Maxx, but they are hard to come by. The Dead Sea Spa Treatment Masks can be found on Amazon, too, though. I have a little glass serum bottle that I pour the excess mask serum into for later use. I love it underneath my moisturizer. This mask has one of the best formulations I've found yet for my skin and leaves it soothed and hydrated. It's less moisturizing in the long term than the Shiseido mask, but it's no less beneficial, in my opinion. It dries to a smooth, not tacky, finish, and I always like to seal in the moisture with a light facial oil to make the effects last a bit longer.
A more recent discovery is the Naisture brand sheet masks. So far I've tried the collagen and ginseng masks several times and loved them both. I can't wait to finish these and pick up some more. The sheets are sturdy and hug my face better than any of the others I've tried. The serum can be a little sticky as it dries, but once dried completely, it leaves your skin smooth and hydrated.
Gel Hydration Masks /Sleeping Masks
I've used a few of these masks, but only one stands out as a favorite and that is Laneige's Water Sleeping Mask. I'll apply it after a sheet mask or a serum to seal it all in and add extra hydration before bed. It smells beautiful, feels amazing, and when I wake up in the morning, my skin looks glowing and feels as soft as a baby's bottom. Apparently, now they make a lip sleeping mask, too! I'm going to have to check that one out. I don't like everything from the Laneige brand, but they really hit a home run with this one!