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9 best face masks

Treat your complexion to some serious TLC with a multi-tasking treatment

Elemis

From anti-ageing, firming and nourishing, to radiance-boosting, purifying and detoxifying, whatever your skin needs, there’s a mask to suit. We tried over 40 brands and these delivered the best results.

1. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Mask: £49.50 for 50ml, Elemis

Unusual in its texture, this mask melts into the skin like a serum or moisturiser, and feels like it’s really doing some good, rather than just sitting on top of the skin. The white clay base removes impurities and deep cleans the pores, while the ingredients lift, firm and smooth. Once rinsed off, the skin felt velvety soft, and our complexion looked refreshed – almost air-brushed, as though we had make-up on already. You can leave it on overnight for an ultra-intensive anti-ageing treatment and simply rinse off in the shower the next morning.

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2. Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask: £20.50 for 60ml, John Lewis

This is a thick, mineral-rich kaolin clay mask that comes out dark grey and feels heavy-duty. If you have blocked pores and a dull complexion in need of revitalisation, wash this one off and your skin will sparkle. The nourishing rose hip and evening primrose hydrate dry skin tones, delivering a plumpness and youthful look to dehydrated skin. It’s certainly one for post-holiday, sun-parched skin. Leave it on until it dries and then wash it off – you can use it on an oily T-zone if that needs more attention. (And as something of a warning: don’t put this on if you have small children in the house – or at least wait until they’re in bed and definitely asleep. Our youngest was horrified when he saw us testing it out). 

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3. Ark Skincare Skin Perfector Hydration Injection Masque: £35 for 75ml, Look Fantastic

This mask is packed with hyaluronic acid (which can hold 1,000 times its own weight in water – great for plumping up dehydrated skin), vitamins to regulate collagen production, fade pigmentations, prevent UV damage and smooth out pores, and it can also be used overnight so there’s minimal time investment. Whether skin is sun-stressed or travel-tired, this will re-boot your healthy glow. Our tester found it refined her pores and made them appear smaller, skin felt smoother and she had a soft, dewy canvas ready for make-up the next morning.

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4. REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask: £28 for 50ml, REN Skincare

This was our saving grace after weeks of testing out masks, and should be your go-to mask if you’re prone to easily irritated, over-sensitised skin. Skin that overreacts needs a soothing, comforting mask that can strengthen the protective barrier, re-establish the natural balance and combat redness and itchiness – and this one does just that. You can use it up to three times a week or just whenever your skin needs rescuing. This product contains no parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrance or colours, silicones or glycols – all of which can cause reactions for irritable, reactive skin. It calmed our skin right down after several days of high colour and inflamed cheeks.

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5. GlamGlow Gravitymud Firming Treatment: £39 for 50g, Boots

In the pot, this white, creamy mask looks slightly metallic but once it’s on the skin, it transforms into a silvery iridescence, almost chrome-like – we’ve never tried anything like it. This particular mask from GlamGlow firms, lifts, tightens and tones face, neck and décolleté. It’s worn for 20 – 30 minutes, and once dry, just peel it off. If gravity has really taken hold, this may not lift things back to where they were decades earlier, but for a good toning, firming exercise, it works a treat. And it seems to even out the colour tones of the skin too, for a more even complexion.

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6. Kiehl’s Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque: £29 for 100ml, Kiehl’s  

You can energise dull, tired skin before a party or night out with this radiance-revealing facial in a jar. Think of it like a disco nap for your skin – apply to clean, damp skin for only five or 10 minutes and then gently slough off the mask. The crushed cranberry seeds act as a mild exfoliant and skin is brightened considerably when dull dead skin cells are removed. And because it leaves your skin feeling so smooth, make-up glides on like a dream.

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7. Bobbi Brown Radiance Boost: £33 for 75ml, Bobbi Brown

If sitting around waiting for a mask to work its magic isn’t your cup of tea, then you’ll like this quick and easy mask – it only takes two or three minutes. Simply apply to damp skin and then gently start buffing when it’s time to remove it. The ultra-fine walnut grains in the mask act as a gentle exfoliant, the absorbent kaolin clay reduces excess oil, while the zingy orange oil gives tired dull skin a little pep talk to liven it up. After just a little buffing and a rinse our skin felt significantly softer and smoother in texture.

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8. Manuka Doctor ApiClear Purifying Facial Peel: £29.99 for 100ml, Manuka Doctor

Anyone with problematic skin should try this mask as it’s packed with blemish-busting, pore-purifying ingredients. The cream needs to be applied fairly thickly, so that once it’s dried (after about 15-20 minutes) it can be peeled off successfully. Not only does it reduce the appearance of pores, tackle blemishes and lift dead skin cells, it also leaves the skin looking plumper and feeling smoother. It certainly worked on some break-outs our tester was trying to get rid of by reducing their redness and drying them out.

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9. Ultrasun Overnight Summer Skin Recovery Mask: £32.30 for 50ml, Escentual

If your skin is sensitive and you’ve over-done it in the sunshine, then this hyaluronic-packed mask is the just the skin saver you need for lacklustre, dehydrated skin. It works wonders at plumping, firming, retaining moisture and boosting your natural glow. This is an overnighter with slow-releasing hyaluronic acid, so time-poor beauty fans don’t need to set aside an evening of pampering, just apply before bed, let it work its magic overnight and simply wash off in the morning. It feels incredibly lightweight and non-greasy – just the same as a normal night moisturiser. The next day, our fine lines did seem to be a little less noticeable and generally our skin felt softer and had more glow.

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The Verdict: Face masks

REN works wonders on high colour, irritable skin, Ark will re-boot your healthy glow, while Trilogy means business when it comes to dull skin, breakouts and blocked pores. But for a healthy, air-brushed radiance with unparalleled anti-ageing results, Elemis wins hands down.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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