If you get facials regularly, you can use masks between appointments to prolong and maintain the results, says Rachel Marino, spa manager at Equinox East 85th Street in New York City. What’s more, masks are a great way to deal with acute skin issues. “Let’s say you have a breakout but you don’t usually get them, so you don’t have a lot of products for acneic skin,” says Kate Weinberg, Equinox regional spa manager for New York City's East Side. “You can treat that breakout with an at-home mask. Or if you live in a very humid environment, but you travel up to NYC in January and there are heaters and it’s cold, you can pack hydrating masks.”
What's more, just like shampoo and conditioner, your skin care products get less effective over time, so switching it up every now and then with a mask can break the cycle. “Masks can reinvigorate and revitalize your skin and help all of your at-home products work more effectively. Especially the exfoliating masks; your products can work better because they’re not fighting against skin buildup,” says Alli Galecki, Equinox regional spa manager in Chicago.
Here are the masks pros use on themselves and in treatments, plus why you might want to try them.
for soothing hydration: skinceuticals phyto corrective masque
“This is my favorite mask for hydration," Galecki says. "It’s so quenching and the botanicals in the mask are soothing, so if you’re hypersensitive, flushed, over-exfoliated, or irritated from retinol or something else that’s compromising your skin, this really takes the sensitivity right out of it.” The formulation also features hyaluronic acid, a humectant and moisture binder that can hold one thousand times its weight in water, which means it will help your moisturizer work more effectively. That’s why it’s also a great pick for use after advanced treatments like microdermabrasion, laser, or peels.
for a quick skin detox: caudalie instant detox mask
“This is a clay mask, so it really draws impurities and deep-seated dirt out of the skin,” explains Sarah Garland, senior manager of planning for The Spa at Equinox. It’s a quick, five-minute mask, and you can put it in the areas where you feel most clogged (usually nose, chin, forehead), or all over. “It tightens down the pores and preps the skin for makeup beautifully,” Garland adds. “Throw it in your gym bag, put it on, pop into the steam room, and give yourself a little mini treatment. Wipe it off and you’re good to go.”
for luminosity: rodial pink diamond instant face lifting mask
With vitamin C to brighten and even skin tone appearance and diamond powder for a hit of radiance, this mask combats dull, puffy, tired skin. “If you’re going to go out and you want your skin to look amazing with those perfect highlights, this is the mask to do beforehand,” Garland says. “It’s super hydrating and a really luxe, pampering mask.” Plus, it’s a sheet mask so it’s easy to use anytime, anywhere—even in the gym locker room or on a plane. “Masks are amazing for airplane travel,” Garland notes. "It’s so dry that if you prep your skin with a hydrating mask every other day before you get on your flight, then wear a mask on the plane, your skin will be amazing when you arrive.”
for a skin refresh: fresh black tea instant perfecting mask
If you need a little boost the morning after a long night out, this is your mask, Marino says. “It has a velvety, whipped texture and an instant cooling effect," she says. Caffeine is a key ingredient, which helps tighten and smooth skin. "It has antioxidant protection for combatting free radicals, so it’s great for anyone living in a city with air pollution,” Marino adds.
“This is an enzymatic exfoliating mask so it’s very gentle, but it also leaves the skin very hydrated,” Weinberg says. That’s what makes this organic mask an especially ideal option for dry skin, although it’s compatible with all skin types. “It’s great after a treatment like microdermabrasion because it’s going to be able to really refine the skin for a deeper effect,” Weinberg adds. You can also sleep with this mask on, or even wear it outside of the house since it dries clear.
for redness relief: skinceuticals biocellulose restorative masque
This mask is made from biocellulose fibers, which hold more product than the average paper sheet mask, says Ai Takahasi, esthetician at Equinox East 85th Street. That means more active ingredients are delivered directly to your skin, says Takahasi. She recommends this option for removing redness and calming stressed skin, especially after a laser treatment, peel, or post-workout.