Five Masks Under $25 a Cosmetic Chemist Says Really Work

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As consumers embrace health and wellness trends during the pandemic, Cincinnati cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos says she sees clay face masks re-emerging as a popular home treatment to cleanse and purify the skin. “Masks also require 10 minutes or more to dry giving the wearer time to pause and indulge in other self-care activities. The numerous types of formulas, from traditional mud packs to crèmes and gels, along with the incorporation of targeted ingredients allows consumers to customize treatments to their specific needs.” From collagen-boosters to papaya-powered, here are five that Dobos stands by as having the science to back up their skin-perfecting claims.

1 / 5

Origins Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay ($22)

“Kaolin, montmorillonite and bentonite are commonly used clays in face masks. Platelets of clay swell in water and after application to the skin, then that water slowly evaporates as the mask dries creating a tightening sensation and capillary action kicks in, pulling excess oil from the skin. You can easily see the oil spots emerge around pores as clay masks dry. The colors of clay can vary due to differences in the amount of trace minerals where they are mined.”

2 / 5

Oh K! Colour Change Mood Mask ($12)

“Facial massage has mood-boosting physical and psychological impacts. This crème formula contains an ultramarine blue, a synthetic version of the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli, as bright white titanium dioxide in the outer shell of an encapsulated pigment conceals yellow iron oxide (this color is revealed as the product is rubbed into the skin encouraging massage until the mask’s color has fully changed). The mask contains a small amount of menthol which also produces an invigorating, tingling sensation. Although this may be irritating to those with sensitive skin, performing a patch test is recommended as well as monitoring the amount of time left on the skin.”

3 / 5

Bliss Pumpkin Powerhouse Resurfacing & Exfoliating Enzyme Mask ($16)

“A combination of two enzymes, papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapples, exfoliate by helping to break down proteins in old, dead surface skin cells into amino acids that can then be absorbed to promote skin renewal. This product also contains shea butter ethyl esters, a lightweight and faster-absorbing alternative to its heavier counterpart. Lemon peel and rice powders provide some physical exfoliation prior to rinsing. I love the healthy glow I get after using this one.”

4 / 5

Freeman Detoxifying Charcoal + Black Sugar Mud Mask ($5)

“This is a really affordable option, great if you’re like me and indulging in masking much more often these days. Activated charcoal, which is about two times more porous than regular charcoal, binds impurities and oils making it great for combination and oily complexions. You can think of it as a tiny sponge teeming with pores.”

5 / 5

Mario Badescu Brightening Mask With Vitamin C ($22)

“I am a big fan of vitamin C in skin care for its many benefits like boosting collagen and brightening skin tone. The tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate contained in this mask is an oil-soluble form of vitamin C which is much more stable so it doesn’t lose potency over time in the jar.”

 

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