Best face masks for pore-busting and skin soothing

Face masks have climbed the skincare ladder. They’ve lifted themselves from sludgy banana-scented goop (the kind we’d cake our faces in at sleepovers), to a high-tech and ultra effective way to dispense our skin with an instant hit of gratification. Chuck one on, and you could be letting yourself in for a boost of luminosity, hydration and pore-refining, with very little input.

Leading experts in the field of skincare have turned to masks as a reactive way to bolt-on the extra ingredients our skin needs at optimal points throughout our week. You might not need to marinate in hyaluronic for 20 minutes every day, but that big work event on Thursday might call for some extra basting come Wednesday night.

As such the options available have become even more targeted and sophisticated. “We already have masks for 11 different body parts [including the eyes, lips and entire face],” says Net-A-Porter’s Global Beauty Director, Newby Hands. “And within these, we have firming masks, hydrating masks, brightening masks, lifting masks – it’s truly a full walk-in wardrobe of masks.”

Ingredients have become more luxurious and concentrated and the delivery mode has seen a metamorphosis. Take The Light Salon’s Hydrogel Face Masks (£42 for 3) for example, which saturates skin in a pumped-up dose of collagen, vitamins, plant extracts, hydrators and antioxidants to deeply quench skin and boost glow. To lock each plush ingredient in, you can even pair it with the Boost Advanced LED Light Therapy Face Mask, one of our favourite LED face masks, for maximum absorption. 

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Then there’s ZitSticka’s Pore Vac (£30), which contains absorbent bentonite clay to suck up impurities,  salicylic acid to dislodge and break apart stubborn congestion, AHAs to ensure the surface level of skin is beautifully smooth and niacinamide to soothe active breakouts and reduce redness. 

The Biocellulose and Rose Gold brightening masks from celebrity-favourite brand 111Skin have made a niche for themselves as the red-carpet hack the A-listers swear by. Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra-Jonas and Bella Hadid are all firm fans of the brand with Priyanka letting slip “it’s the first thing that goes on my face before make-up, and it makes anything I put on after look flawless.” Margot revealed “I put them on before going to work or before getting ready for an event. I keep them in the fridge so it’s refreshing when I wear them. I’m kind of obsessed with them.” Ten to twenty minutes of treating your skin to the good-stuff in these, and even frazzled complexions look notably brighter and fresher.

Meanwhile, Kiehl’s much-loved Avocado-Nourishing Hydration Mask combines proven ingredients like avocado, honey and primrose oil into a face superfood (that also looks smashing on the gram).

And Boots’ website has 14 different categories of masks (including deep-cleansing, clay, sheet and peel-off). Feel Unique has face masks from over 175 brands (with bestsellers hailing from La Roche Posay, The Ordinary and Elemis) and Cult Beauty has 263 results for face masks – and counting.

It’s clear that brands are keen to make the most of a solution that consumers can’t seem to get enough of, but with so much choice it’s difficult to know which to try, so we’ve rounded up our edit of the very best.

Scroll to shop our edit of the best face masks to try now…