A “where the heck did that come from?” pimple before date night. Tired eyes before an important Zoom interview. Crusty heels before a last-minute beach weekend. A simple skin dilemma is enough to make a gal just give up and hide under the sheets. But please don't. There’s a mask that’ll give you an almost instant fix.
While beauty masks originated in South Korea and Japan, countries known for their commitment to serious skincare routines, their popularity here at home is at an all-time high. In fact, masking has become so popular in the U.S. that sales have nearly doubled in volume over the past five years, reaching $205 million in 2019.
But why add yet another product to your already perfected routine? Well, simply put, masks are infused with a high concentration of active ingredients. This means they work fast, giving your skin a boost in mere minutes. What's more, there are now masks for pretty much any part of your body that's giving you beauty angst.
Whether you're dealing with a surprise pimple, stressed out and sagging skin, or "mask mouth" (thanks, 2020), your options are endless. But with so many on the market, which ones do you choose? I went back to the place of origin, trying hundreds of different K-Beauty masks, to find the formulas that are most effective for modern day skin concerns. And because I know we can all use a win this year, I'm sharing my top picks below.
For stressed out skin: Pestlo Seed Real Collagen Mask ($21; the beautyspy.com)
If you’ve also been feeling the stress of this year, it's probably showing on your skin—as in it's dry, dull, and overall drab. The Pestlo Seed Real Collagen Mask provides an immediate boost, giving you one less thing to worry about. This super-innovative collagen mask is filled with 100-percent natural seaweed seeds that are stored loose in a little black cup, almost like a snack but for your skin. Simply pour in a little water to activate, shake it up, watch it morph, and then stretch it out over your entire face. The texture is unique, and you can feel the mask working on contact with skin. Packed with collagen, it supports your skin’s elasticity, suppleness, and firmness for a tighter, brighter appearance almost immediately.
For stubborn pimples: Neogen Canadian Clay Pore Stick Mask ($33; thebeautyspy.com)
It's 5 p.m. on a Friday and your significant other or friend calls to say get ready. They snagged a rez at your favorite restaurant that you haven't been to in months. But you glance in the mirror, and there it is—a pesky pimple that wasn’t on your cheek this morning. Before you cancel, grab the Neogen Canadian Clay Pore Stick Mask. Formulated with mud glacial soil extracted from Canadian colloidal clay (a naturally occurring mineral clay) and infused with a patented raw material called SYN-COLL and Collageneer, it helps to remove dead skin cells and pore-clogging impurities. Meanwhile, glutathione reduces inflammation (aka swelling), lightens dark spots, and brighten the skin overall. The unique stick application is even easier to use than a sheet mask, as you rub it directly on affected areas, leave for three to five minutes, and rinse off.
For irritated skin: RE:P Bio Fresh Mask With Real Calming Herbs ($32.00; the beautyspy.com)
Let's face it, our cameras aren't the friendliest when it comes to the way they make our skin look, and there's no hiding blotchiness or redness on a virtual presentation or interview. But with this mask, you can calm irritated skin, stat. Specifically formulated for ultra-sensitive skin, the RE:P Bio Fresh Mask with Calming Herbs is infused with natural, hand-crushed calendula and chamomile flowers to instantly soothe tender complexions. These herbs also provide gentle exfoliating benefits to remove dead skin cells and excess oils while the addition of Kaolin, a gentle mineral clay, draws out impurities and aids in skin recovery.
Trust me, the G9 Pink Blur Hydrogel Eye Patches work wonders on the under-eye area, relieving puff, lessening the look of wrinkles, and lightening dark circles. Not only do the cooling patches feel refreshing on the skin (they remain cold in the container), but they contain extracts from eight antioxidant-rich berries to deliver real results. The brand's G9 Complex defends against the damaging effects of pollution and environmental aggressors to promote a smoother, more refined eye contour, too. Pop them on before a video conference and you'll look wide-awake and well-rested—even when you're not. (Honestly, who is?)
For mask mouth: G9 Skin Rose Hydrogel Lip Patches ($20 for 5; thebeautyspy.com)
Wearing a protective face mask to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is a must, but it does have some side effects, including dry, chapped lips. That's where the G9 Rose Hydrogel Lip Patches come in. At the end of the day, place one over your mouth and sit back. With hydrolyzed collagen, hydrating rose water, and nourishing honey, these gel patches deliver a heavy dose of moisture, strengthen and soften the skin, and temporarily make lips appear fuller. Oh, and did I mention the added bonus of not having to talk to anyone while you wear 'em? Talk about peak self-care.
For neglected strands: Moremo Hair Treatment & Repair 7 Mask ($35; thebeautyspy.com)
Even as salons start to open back up, booking as many appointments as you once were just isn't an option. So at-home hair-care is more important that ever. I am Obsessed (note the capital O) with the Moremo Repair 7 Hair Mask, a powerful, multitasking treatment that helps seven of most common hair problems: dryness, breakage, dullness, split ends, tangles, and lack of moisture and shine. It contains two oils, opuntia ficus-indica extract and adenium obesum leaf extract, and a six-protein complex of ingredients, including milk protein extract, hydrolyzed keratin and collagen, hydrolyzed wheat, corn, and soy proteins. Slather it on for five minutes in the shower, rinse, and voila! Hair is stronger, silkier, and more manageable for DIY blowouts.
For forgotten feet: Orchid Flower Foot Mask ($5; the beautyspy.com)
I mentioned there is a mask for just about every beauty emergency, and that includes your forgotten feet. This is my favorite way to get a pedicure without leaving the couch. Just slip on the pre-soaked "socks" while you’re watching your favorite show and relaxing. They are enriched with, among other ingredients, orchid extract and lactic acid to moisturize dry skin and cracked heels, while glycolic acid and apple extract help break down dead skin cells for feet that have never been so smooth. Seriously, these things tackle the toughest callouses.
So, now you see why I’m obsessed with masks. They’re a quick and easy approach to treating specific issues, plus they’re more affordable than professional treatments. Not to mention, masking makes for great at-home pampering—and we all deserve some more of that!
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About Chelsea Scott: Founder of The Beauty Spy, specializing in Asian beauty products and seen on HSN monthly, is an acclaimed beauty professional with more than 20 years of experience in product development and marketing. She has successfully represented beauty products in various countries for more than a decade, including HSN & TSC Canada. For more, follow her on Instagram, @chelseabeautyspy.
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