A pre-makeup face mask should do one thing really well — work instantly. And no matter your skin type, the goal is usually the same — a healthy glow. Especially before a big event, “you want to hydrate and pump the skin with ingredients like hyaluronic acid,” explains dermatologist Josh Zeichner, MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “It acts like a sponge to pull in water to the outer skin layer, improving skin radiance and even (temporarily) filling in some fine lines.”
If your skin looks particularly dull, you’ll want to consider a gentle exfoliating mask. “Ingredients like glycolic acid help dissolve connections between dead cells on the skin’s surface so they can be shed,” Dr. Zeichner says, which in turn helps improve skin’s radiance and can help to even skin texture and brighten the complexion. Here, we’ve rounded up the best face masks for glowing skin — instantly! — so that you’ll look lit before your next big date, party or night on the town.
This bestselling gel mask uses naturally-derived beta hydroxy acids from white willow bark and pomegranate enzymes to smooth and soften skin, reduce the appearance of pores, and boost glow. Leave it on for 10-30 minutes (depending on sensitivity) and by the time you head out, your skin will be naturally glowing.
This spa-grade treatment means business, which is why it’s become a fan favorite among industry insiders. With a blend of 25 percent AHA and 2 percent BHA, glycolic, tartaric, citric, lactic, and salicylic acid combine to smooth texture, reduce the appearance of pores, and leave skin (but of course) baby soft. Sensitive skin types: Proceed with caution.
Josh Rosebrook’s two-pronged approach to exfoliation uses finely-gound, round walnut shells for a physical scrub and enzymes from natural ingredients like honey, papaya, neem, and fennel to resurface. Honey, however, is also hydrating and nutrient-rich, and skin is protected with antioxidants from ashwagandha, elderberry, alfalfa, and more. Though you can leave this mask on (after initially massaging it in) for just 10 minutes, or even up to 60, for Rosebrook, the sweet spot is 40 mins.
Don’t let the natural ingredients and 3-5 min time on this one fool you — this enzyme mask delivers impressive results. A 10 percent fruit acid cocktail containing citric, glycolic, tartaric, lactice, and botanically-derived hyaluronic acids is mixed with hydrating and soothing rose and aloe vera. If you’re sensitive, plan to use this mask a good three hours before leaving the house, as it takes some time for the initial (and totally normal) redness to wear off.
There’s a new acid in town, and it’s heaven-sent for those who are more sensitive to stronger, more commonly found skin care ingredients like glycolic acid. Enter: polyhydroxy acids (or, more simply PHAs — hence the punny name.) PHAs don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as others, allowing for a gentler yet still effective resurfacing treatment. But there are other noteworthy ingredients here, too, for a well-rounded at-home facial: Nordic birch sap and chia seed oil hydrate and nourish while pink bentonite clay detoxifies and de-gunks. When you apply this mask, it looks pink and you massage it in until it turns white, wait 15 minutes, and rinse. Voila!
When it comes to face masks for glowing skin, this is an obvious pick. A superfood salad of a beauty product, it uses papaya enzyme to remove dead skin cells, ginger and coffee extracts to promote collagen production, and raspberry plant extract to moisturize and prevent water loss. After about 15 minutes, rinse with cold water to reveal a healthy flush.
This multi-tasking mask is a must-have in any pre-event skin care routine. It addresses three common concerns — redness, dryness, and dullness — to prep and prime skin to perfection. Oats and wild pansies soothe irritation and accelerate recovery, blueberry calms redness, and perhaps most excitingly, mica (aka the main stuff responsible for giving our makeup its shimmer) imparts glow that lasts after the mask is rinsed away.
Tula is known for their probiotic-powered products, and in the Self Care Sunday mask, they come in the form of Kefir, a probiotic-packed fermented milk that has been known for its intensive moisturizing properties since the 1800s. The mask also contains ceramides to boost moisture and apple extract, which is rich is brightening vitamin C. But our pro-tip might be most important of all: Pop this in the fridge before use for a cooling, calming, and deeply nourishing treatment that will leave skin plump, lush, hydrated, and perfectly prepped for makeup.
This creamy, whipped mask cools immediately on application—which feels great, but the unique ingredients are even more impressive. Fermented black tea softens, smooths, and brightens. Lychee seed extract smooths, jicama root juice hydrates, and sake is rich in proteins and amino acids. This spa-smelling mask leaves skin so hydrated that the results are proven to last six hours after rinsing(!).
This face mask is a splurge, yes, but its award-winning formula is the ultimate treat-yourself luxury needed to make event-prep relaxing and fun. In the long-term, powerful black rose extract and Alkekengi Calyx prevent aging and free-radical damage; in the short-term, they majorly plump and hydrate skin. Win-win!
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