We Tested a Bunch of New Face Masks: Find Out Which One Is Best For You

Choices, choices.
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Choices, choices.
Photos: iStock, courtesy

Photos: iStock, courtesy

It's officially fall now, and that means it's time to re-evaluate your skin care routine a little bit. My favorite way to kick off a new season is to find a good face mask. (Yeah, I'm that exciting.)

Seriously, though, there's something so rejuvenating about a mask, and there are a ton of great choices out there. If you spent the summer sweating on a beach slathered with sunscreen, chances are your pores need a little, erm, airing out. A clay mask is your new friend. Or maybe your face dries out like a prune the minute the cold air hits. There are tons of luxe new hydrating masks for that. And for glow seekers, serum-infused cloth face masks—-which have been popular in Asia forever—-are becoming more mainstream in the U.S.

But which to pick? Click through for nine new masks to try now—and our own thorough critique of each one.

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Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask, $130:

Ingredients: Honey, echinacea, meadowfoam seed oil, seabuckthorn oil, shea butter, vitamin E. Primarily a hydrating mask.

Scent: It smells like honey! The scent is a bit stronger than other masks I’ve tried, but it grew on me.

Texture: Creamy and just a tiny bit tacky. It’s not a clay-based mask, so it doesn’t have that dry-down, tightening effect. I sometimes leave it on for an hour at a time before I rinse it off.

Post-Mask: My skin feels unbelievably soft, not greasy, and radiant afterwards and into the next morning. I’ve been using it weekly and it’s one of my favorites this season.

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Clayspray, $59.95:

Ingredients: Red or white clay is the main ingredient, with different additives depending on which formula you choose: pore refining, tightening, glowing, mattifying, brightening. Additives include cardamom seed oil, aloe vera, sweet orange peel oil, and cocoa seed oil.

Scent: Earthy, with the very slightest clean scent.

Texture: The delivery system is pretty unique, though “spray” is kind of misleading. The mask comes in a metal can that actually pumps the product out–the clay is housed in a chamber separately from the propellant so that stays fresh and uncontaminated. You spray your face with mineral water first, then pump the clay–which is thinner than a more traditional clay mask–into your hand and spread it on your face. Once it dries, it tightens significantly. I could almost feel the gunk being pulled out of my pores.

Post-Mask: My face felt tingly and super clean, but just a little dry.

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La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask, $300

Ingredients: Contains caviar extract (hence the price tag), sunflower seed oil, phytic acid and Carica papaya. This mask is best for hydration and rejuvenation.

Scent: Fresh and mildly floral–it’s the same scent as the rest of the Skin Caviar line, if you’re familiar with that.

Texture: It’s really more of a night cream than a mask. The texture is thick, creamy, and luxurious. It absorbs in and you don’t need to rinse it off.

Post-Mask: My skin was like silk the next morning. Just be aware, if your skin is oily at all, it may be too rich for you.

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Glam Glow Supermud Clearing Treatment, $69

Ingredients: Contains a hydroxy acid complex, charcoal, clay, and eucalyptus leaf. It’s meant for “problem” skin including acne, blackheads, and discoloration.

Scent: Minty and refreshing.

Texture: It has a thinner base texture, but is chunkier, like an exfoliator. I judge masks (very unscientifically) by how tingly they are and this one really delivered in that regard. If you have sensitive skin, be careful.

Post-Mask: This is one of Sephora’s best sellers for a reason. After rinsing it off, my pores were definitely less clogged and my face was soft. Despite the extreme tingle, there was no redness or irritation, but I can pretty much put sulfuric acid on my face without side effects. So test a small area first.

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Manuka Doctor Rejuvenating Face Mask, $85

Ingredients: Manuka honey, bee venom (reportedly a fave ingredient of Kate Middleton), rosehip, blackcurrent oil, shea butter, cocoa butter. For hydration and rejuvenation.

Scent: Smells like honey, with an undercurrent of menthol.

Texture: Thick and creamy, but firm in the jar. It goes on smoothly, and tingles for a few minutes. It dries a bit on your face, but not in a crusty way, and washes off easily.

Post-Mask: I am glowing every time I use this mask. It wins as my favorite of the season.

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Pur Minerals Dirty Girl Detoxifying Mudd Masque, $29

Ingredients: Contains Pascalite clay found in Wyoming, cucumber extract, and salicylic acid. For cleaning, exfoliating, and unclogging pores.

Scent: It smells delicious, fresh and clean.

Texture: It’s a smooth, brown liquid mask that dries down with that tightening feeling common to clay masks.

Post-Mask: My face felt thoroughly clean and not at all dry after I rinsed the mask off.

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Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Treatment Mask, $16.99

Ingredients: Vitamin C, fruit and flower extracts, Meant for dark spots, dullness, and uneven skin tone.

Scent: Fresh and a little citrusy.

Texture: It’s a serum-infused cloth mask that contains a “half bottle” (that would be 0.5 oz) of serum. It was a little tricky to unwrap the mask–the edges stuck together, but once on it was cool and hydrating.

Post-Mask: I didn’t notice any obvious change in my various blotchy patches, but my face felt soft and refreshed.

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Amore Pacific Moisture Bound Refreshing Masque, $90

Ingredients: Flower extracts, bamboo extract, ginger. Meant for hydration, de-puffing, and tightening pores.

Scent: Clean and soft.

Texture: This one is a bit of a process to apply. First you open up an ampoule of liquid and apply to your face, then you open the two-piece mask and place it on your face. But the extra work is worth it, because it's a pretty luxurious feeling. The serum absorbed in easily after I removed the mask.

Post-Mask: I used it in the morning after a night of, um, too much wine. My face felt perked up afterwards. I wish I could say the same for my stomach.