FACE FACTS

facial masks to the rescue

text by Fiona Clarke and Dianne Hunter 

No matter how tired, stressed, broken-out or parched your skin may be, there’s a face mask out there to help. Now with more ways to apply them than ever before—sheet, mud, gel, bubble—face masks have become the foundation of any good skincare routine. Ahead, the dozen essential face mask formulas we recommend.

BLACK ROSE CREAM MASK

This is the reason celebs skin looks so good on the red carpet. A secret staple in every makeup artist’s bag, the coddling, ultra-luxe cream plumps and brightens skin in minutes. It can just be wiped off, not rinsed, before moving on to makeup. SISLEY-PARIS, $162, www.neimanmarcus.com

T.L.C. SUKARI BABYFACIAL

This gentle yet intense exfoliating mask uses acids to dissolve any dead skin cells and reveal softer, brighter, baby-smooth (hence, the name). DRUNK ELEPHANT, $80, www.sephora.com

SUPERMUD ACTIVATED CHARCOAL TREATMENT

The clay mask that could be credited with starting out modern masking craze, this tingling mud formula sucks every atom of gunk out of your pores. It’s ideal for those prone to blackheads and oily t-zones. GLAMGLOW, $59, www.sephora.com

CONCENTRATED RECOVERY FOIL MASK

Imagine all the skin-regenerating and plumping goodness of the ANR serum, packed into an easy-to-use sheet mask. Then imagine that sheet mask with a silver foil backing, so that every drop of the serum goes right into your skin and doesn’t evaporate into the air. That’s the genius of this mask. ESTEE LAUDER, $80, www.nordstrom.com

WATER SLEEPING MASK

Slather this on before bed and you’ll wake up with skin so hydrated, plump, and dewy you’ll be tempted to skip moisturizer. LANEIGE, $25, www.sephora.com

BENEFIANCE RETINOL INTENSIVE REVITALIZING FACE MASK

This anti-aging sheet mask plumps fine lines right away, but the retinol will smooth and brighten skin over time. SHISEIDO, $65, www.neimanmarcus.com

JET LAG MASK

We don’t know how we ever traveled before this mask. The creamy formula hydrates, plumps, gently exfoliates, and saves dry, tried-looking skin in minutes. It’s now a staple in our carry-on bags. SUMMER FRIDAYS, $48, www.sephora.com

RESURFACING MASK

This all-natural exfoliating mask can burn and tingle a bit, so it’s not ideal for sensitive skin But if you can take the heat, you’ll emerge with skin brighter, softer, smoother than you ever thought possible outside of a spa. TATA HARPER, $62, www.saks.com

BRIGHTENING & EXFOLIATING MASK

Some sheet masks clear pores, others brighten, and some gently exfoliate. This mask by Miranda Kerr does all three, all while using only clean, organic, and green ingredients like turmeric. KORA ORGANICS, $48, www.sephora.com

FACIAL TREATMENT MASK

It’s the gold standard in sheet masks for a simple reason: nothing makes your skin glow quicker. SK-II, $135, www.saks.com

MDNA SKIN CHROME CLAY MASK

This magnetic clay mask from superstar Madonna is equal parts crazy-fun to use and effective. Removed with a magnet, it leaves skin looking like you just emerged from a three-hour facial. MDMA, $220, www.barneys.com

LUMINOUS DEEP HYDRATION LIFTING MASK

This mask claims to boost skin’s hydration by up to 200- percent in just 15 minutes. In our own non-scientific study at-home, it’s more like a billion percent since we couldn’t believe just how dewy we were. TATCHA, $95, www.sephora.com