Let’s talk face masks, shall we? And no, for once, we don’t mean PPE—we’re bringing it back to those of the skincare variety. If you’ve never dabbled in the glorious world of face masks—sheet or otherwise—now is the time to get curious. There are many reasons they’re so popular with skincare enthusiasts: they’re efficient and some offer immediately noticeable results. Think of them like a facial, without actually spending over an hour with an esthetician. Scroll down for seven recommendations—and if you want to educate yourself on which ones are best for you, keep reading.
Our Top Picks:
- Paula’s Choice Oil-Absorbing Mask ($26)
- Jaxon Lane BRO MASK: Korean Sheet Mask for Men ($28)
- Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay ($15)
- Aesop Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Masque ($55)
- Hetime Anti-Aging and Hydrating Sheet Mask ($8)
- Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask with 10.5% Squalane ($40)
- Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Night Mask with Vitamin C ($48)
Why Should Men Use Face Masks?
The real question is, why not? If you’re going to take care of your skin, daily upkeep is important. But when it comes to a quick fix, face masks are king. Because they stay on the skin for longer periods of time (about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the mask), the active ingredients have the chance to sink in and get to work.
They’re also low-commitment, as many of them should only be used once or twice a week, rather than daily, which makes it easier to fit them into your routine.
What to Look for In Face Masks for Men
Many masks on the market target the unique needs of men—some cool and hydrate post-shave, while other sheet masks are shaped to fit around a bearded face.
When it comes to ingredients, Jan Marini, skincare expert and founder of Jan Marini Skin Research, likes skin resurfacing products for men, “in other words, ingredients that make the skin appear refined, smooth, and reflective,” she says. Men’s dermis tends to be a bit thicker and rougher than women’s, so these resurfacing ingredients are crucial to sloughing off dead skin cells, which in turn prevents clogged pores, a dull appearance, and premature wrinkles.
Marini also suggests focusing on ingredients that address years of incidental sun exposure that leads to lines, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, lactic acid, and glycolic acid.
Sheet Masks vs. Cream/Clay/Gel Masks
Masks typically come in one of two types: sheet masks or cream-, clay-, or gel-based masks. It usually comes down to personal preference, but there are a few differences for determining what’s best for you.
These paper or hydrogel masks affix to the face in one or two pieces. They typically come in a package, pre-soaked in a potent skincare solution, so all you have to do is smooth it onto your face and let it get to work. Sheet masks prevent evaporation and keep the ingredients locked into the skin for better penetration, which makes them an especially good option for hydrating.
Cream, Gel, and Clay Masks
All other face masks come in a tube or jar and are meant to be applied directly to the skin like you would a moisturizer. Though it’s personal preference, these masks feel less claustrophobic than sheet masks and allow more freedom to apply them on specific areas rather than all over the face (if you only get oily on your nose, you might only apply a clay mask to that part of your face). Overnight formulas can also be a great time-saving option, and clay varieties are great for drawing out impurities and unclogging pores.