Even at 30, my skin still thinks it’s in its teens most of the time. Typically oily with pores that may just be visible from space, it’s certainly spot-prone. Thanks, genetics.
In my ongoing battle to combat my skin woes, I’ve recently added face masks to my regular skin routine.
I know masks are hardly a new thing and I’ve always enjoyed the odd pamper night with a face mask and a glass of wine (they don’t cancel each other out, right?) but more recently, I’ve been doing a weekly treatment whenever possible.
NB: This post contains affiliate links (marked with *), which means that if you purchase a product via the link, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
In my quest to find the best on the market, I’ve completed the simply arduous task of testing out a whole bunch of different masks so I can give you the low-down on the top pamper products available.
With my problem skin, I’m drawn to masks that aim to clear and minimise pores and control oil, however, I’ve also included some of my favourite gentler masks for cooling, moisturising and brightening skin to cover all bases.
All the masks listed are affordable at just £12 or less, readily available on the high street or online, and all are vegan and cruelty-free.
1. 7th Heaven Dead Sea Mud Pac*
7th Heaven face masks have long been amongst my personal favourites and I’ve tried a whole bunch from this affordable range. For a deep cleanse, I go with the Dead Sea Mud Pac.
The key ingredients of salt, seaweed and lavender cleanse and tighten pores, and control oil and spots. I’m usually allergic to lavender in skincare but thankfully had no reaction this this mask. I just had softer skin with visibly tighter pores.
7th Heaven is approved by the Vegetarian Society, Cruelty Free International and PETA.
2. 7th Heaven Cucumber Peel-Off Mask*
Cucumber is a delightfully calming ingredient so this is a mask I use to refresh and revive my skin after a tough week or a particularly good night out!
Peel-off masks are great if you want a quicker, less messy alternative to a clay mask. This mask peels away dead skin cells and grime, leaving skin soft and smooth.
This mask is super-relaxing and really gentle, so it’s perfect for sensitive skin.
3. Superdrug Orange and Black Lava Exfoliating Mask
If you’re looking for a deep cleanse, the Orange and Black Lava Exfoliating Mask from Superdrug is perfect. It removes dead skin cells to smooth and brighten skin and improves circulation, which is said to reduce skin dryness and wrinkles.
This mask smells amazing and fresh, though be wary if you have sensitive skin as there was a slight burning sensation when applied. Thankfully, there was no red, irritated skin post-mask – just visibly smaller pores and skin that felt squeaky-clean!
The Superdrug own-brand is certified by Cruelty-free International and most of their masks are vegan-friendly.
4. Superdrug Cucumber Cooling Clay Mask
Another favourite cucumber mask is this clay-based option from Superdrug.
Enriched with Dead Sea minerals to draw out skin nasties, this mask left my skin ridiculously soft, and feeling fresh and clean.
It doesn’t do much for pores so is more of a mask to clean and relax skin than to sort out any acne-related issues. If you have sensitive skin, this mask would be great as it’s gentle and soothing.
5. Superdrug Superfruits Exfoliating Mask
Okay, I partly put three Superdrug masks in as they’re usually sold at 3-for-2 but also because their masks are affordable and and their range has something for every skin type.
This berry-filled mask smells like a fruit smoothie. Enriched with raspberry, cranberry and blueberry extracts it exfoliates and clears out pores.
Again, this mask is on the stronger side so perhaps not ideal for very sensitive skin.
6. Lavera Organic Purifying Cleansing Mask
This purifying mask from Lavera was a lot gentler than many masks I tried, yet still gave excellent results.
With Dead Sea salt to cleanse and clay to dry out the oil, my skin was left super-soft and mattified. Mint is great for acne-prone skin as it contains salicylic acid so this is the perfect mask for those prone to breakouts.
Lavera use 100% natural ingredients in their masks, most of which are also certified organic. They are strongly against animal testing and many of their products are Vegan Society approved.
7. Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask*
Paper masks are something I’m quite new to but they are quick to use and almost mess-free, so perfect to use as a swift skin boost before a night out.
Designed to give skin a detox, this mask is enriched with charcoal, tomato, witch hazel, ginger and green tea. It was a little tingly but it didn’t cause redness or irritation.
For me, it doesn’t feel like it gives a truly deep cleanse but my skin did feel cleaner and softer after use. I’d use this mask as more of a quick skin refresher.
The Yes To range is full of natural ingredients and the brand is Leaping Bunny certified.
8. Yes to Grapefruit 2-Step Face Kit: All About Face!
This two-step exfoliating scrub and skin brightening peel is made from 96% natural ingredients including grapefruit and vitamin C to refine pores and even out skin tone.
The exfoliating scrub has really a strong pink grapefruit scent, which is really refreshing. My skin felt squeaky clean after use.
The scent of the peel is a little subtler but still yummy. The peel goes on smoothly and feels quite cooling on the skin.
After use, my skin was ridiculously soft and smooth and my pores felt much tighter. This mask is definitely one I will keep in regular rotation.
This mask is a favourite for when my skin is feeling a bit dull and I want a quick, complexion-brightening treatment.
Made with green clay, kaolin and fruit extracts including avocado and goji berry, this mask not only smells great but it’s really gentle so great for sensitive skin.
I personally don’t find this one particularly effective at sorting out blemishes but it’s relaxing and leaves my skin brighter and smoother.
The Good Things range is packed full of natural ingredients and the brand doesn’t don’t test on animals.
10. Radiant Life Bentonite Indian Healing Clay*
Made from 100% pure Bentonite clay, this mask is a little more work than the others; it comes as a powder which you mix with water in a separate bowl before applying.
The vitamin and mineral-rich clay is said to remove toxins in the skin to help with acne, dry skin and large pores. It’s fragrance-free, which is great for sensitive skin, and although the packaging warns of a tingling sensation and possible red skin after use, I didn’t experience either of those issues. Yay!
As it’s a natural clay mask, it’s quite clumpy and a little messy. However, my skin was left visibly smoother and less oily.
It’s a really large pot so goes a long way and as a bonus, you can use it for body or foot wraps too! The entire range from Radiant Life is natural, organic, vegan and cruelty-free.
11. Sanctuary Spa 5 Minute Thermal Detox Mask
For a deep cleanse, I love Sanctuary Spa’s 5 Minute Thermal Detox from (this one’s my housemate’s fave too!).
The mask self-heats after application to open up your pores for a deep cleanse. It feels kind of weird but it’s not irritating, even on my relatively sensitive skin. After use, my skin feels soft and bright and again is noticeably less oily.
Though the packaging says this mask can be used daily, (ain’t nobody got time for that!) I still found it made a difference to my skin when used just once a week.
Sanctuary Spa state that they do not test on animals. This mask is also available in smaller sachets if you want to test it out before committing to a whole tube.
12. Evolve Radiant Glow Mask (Travel Size)
The most extravagant product in my list, this mask is a bit of a treat. I bought the travel size to keep under my £12 maximum but there’s still multiple applications in the 30ml jar.
This mask smells edible. Seriously. Made from 100% natural ingredients, it smells like delicious mix of chocolate, coconut and vanilla so it’s a bit like applying cake mix to your face… but hopefully healthier!
The mask is a little gritty and sticky when applying due to the coconut shell powder used to exfoliate. However, it rinses off easily and my skin felt lovely and soft after use. If you like this one, you can get a full-size pot* (60ml) for £17.99.
Evolve is entirely vegan and cruelty-free and most of their ingredients are certified organic.
Have I missed your faves? Let me know your go-to face masks below!