5 of the Best Drugstore Face Masks for Each Skin Concern

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In our experience, no one will ever say no to testing drugstore makeup. If eyeliner is smooth, inky, opaque, and only $5, most everyone will stock up on it without hesitation. The same goes for the lash-defining mascaras, colorful lipsticks, and high-coverage foundations that line the drugstore aisle. The less they cost, the better, right?

That bargain-hunting spirit doesn't quite extend to drugstore skincare products, though. We've seen beauty buffs hesitate to buy a $10 moisturizer, choosing instead to spend five times that on a high-end formula elsewhere because they're suspicious of the former's efficacy. No judgment—we're guilty of doing that, too. Sometimes the lure of a fancy glass-bottled skincare product is too strong.

Nonetheless, that doesn't mean we should write off drugstore skincare products. In fact, we recommend doing just the opposite because those fluorescent aisles abound with products that are effective, budget-friendly, and worth buying, especially when it comes to face masks. And many of these masks contain the same active ingredients you'll find in their high-end counterparts, such as vitamins C and B3, charcoal, and hyaluronic acid. Whether you're looking for a skin-quenching sheet mask or a pore-refining clay mask, there's one out there for you.

Keep scrolling to see the six best drugstore face masks for every skin concern.

Best Overall: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating 100% Hydrogel Mask

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Made from a unique 100% hydrogel material

  • Contours to your skin

  • Instantly quenches the skin

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

  • Might irritate some skin

First things first: This Neutrogena mask is only $3. That's it. Beyond the affordable price tag, it drenches skin in hydration thanks to the hyaluronic acid it contains. For anyone who doesn't know, hyaluronic acid is a mega-moisturizing molecule that occurs naturally in our bodies. And, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water (if you're interested, here's a bit more about its benefits beyond hydration).

Take it from the reviewers. One writes, "I love this particular face mask by Neutrogena. The hydrogel boosting mask revitalizes and transforms your skin from dull and lifeless, to radiant and glowing. Leaves face so soft and silky, clean and hydrated. One of my absolute favorites."

Benefits: Hydrating and Skin-Quenching | Skin Type: Dry | Dosage: Apply to skin after cleansing and before applying facial serum | Size: 1 oz. | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Pacifica Mattify Prep Face Mask

Pacifica Mattify Prep Face Mask
What We Like
  • Clears oil and clarifies without drying skin

  • Lightweight

  • Brightens skin tone

What We Don't Like
  • Not the best for sensitive skin

Anyone with oily skin knows the struggle. You cleanse, apply makeup, and head out the door. Then, less than an hour later, you need an oil-blotting sheet. Sigh. That's why you might appreciate this vegan sheet mask from Pacifica. It actually mattifies the skin, helping to keep oil at bay and providing lightweight hydration with (you guessed it) hyaluronic acid. As one reviewer put it, this mask is "great [for] daytime before makeup or just alone for a glow without oiliness."

Benefits: Brightens and tones while soothing sensitive skin | Skin Type: Normal | Dosage: Apply to skin after cleansing | Size: 1 pc. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: L'Oréal Paris Pure-Clay Detox & Brighten Face Mask

L'Oréal Pure Clay Detox Mask
What We Like
  • Brightens the skin

  • Included charcoal draws out impurities

  • Fades acne scars

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

For clogged pores, look no further than one of the beauty industry's favorite ingredients: charcoal. It draws out impurities, keeping new breakouts at bay. For only $10, this mask is a Byrdie team favorite. It gets the job done, doesn't ruin our bank accounts, and leaves our skin feeling clean and smooth. Reviewers agree.

Take it from the one who writes, "Maybe it's coincidence…but since using this product my skin is less oily, I have A LOT fewer breakouts, my acne scarring has faded and I've noticed brighter and even skin tone. Honestly, I'm shocked that something that only costs $10 has helped my skin so much. I use it two to three times a week and spot-treat acne. It smells great, too, and leaves my skin feeling so soft. Do yourself a favor and TRY THIS."

Benefits: Detoxifies the skin | Skin Type: Dull | Dosage: Apply to skin in even layer after cleaning and drying skin | Size: 1.7 oz. | Cruelty Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Nugg Youth Boost Antioxidant Gel Mask

Nugg Youth Boost Antioxidant Gel Mask
What We Like
  • Full of natural ingredients

  • Brightens, balances, and calms irritated skin

  • Goes on easy on the skin

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to remove

Key Ingredients

Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) works to improve skin texture by boosting moisture and increasing keratin.

Here's the thing about Nugg face masks. I've seen them hundreds of times throughout my weekly Target trips, but I hadn't tried any until the recommendation by a couple of friends. The single-use packets are convenient and effective, targeting a range of skin concerns, though this one is a personal favorite. The Youth Boost mask contains white tea extract and vitamin B3 to brighten, calm, and balance red, irritated skin.

Benefits: Addresses the signs of aging with antioxidants | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Apply entire content of pod onto clean and dry skin | Size: 0.33 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dull Skin: Yes To Grapefruit Single Use Mud Mask

Yes To Grapefruit Single Use Mud Mask
What We Like
  • Full of antioxidants

  • Made from 95% natural ingredients

  • Gently exfoliates

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to apply

If dullness and hyperpigmentation have you down, reach for a mask with vitamin C, an antioxidant that naturally brightens the skin. We like this grapefruit mud mask, which is perfect for using at home or when traveling (since it's single-use). Vitamin C, grapefruit, and pink kaolin clay work together to brighten, exfoliate, and illuminate. "It helped control my shine and did brighten up my skin. I also noticed that it minimized my pores and evened out my skin. A plus is that it left my skin soft even the day after I used it," wrote one reviewer.

Benefits: Brightens, exfoliates, and illuminates | Skin Type: Dull and Uneven | Dosage: Apply entire content of pod onto clean and dry skin | Size: 0.33 oz. | Cruelty Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

What to Look For in a Drugstore Face Mask

Hyaluronic Acid

It occurs naturally in your body, but adding hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine can have huge benefits. This little molecule can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water and is considered a hydration superstar. Additionally, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban, MD, says that "hyaluronic acid is a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells making them 'plump.'"

Vitamin C

This antioxidant does everything from protecting skin from future damage to helping create a more even skin tone and promoting collagen production. Since we can't produce it on our own you'll have to add vitamin C to your routine—like in a face mask—to reap its benefits.

Vitamin B3

You may have heard of this ingredient under the names niacinamide and nicotinamide. It's used to help treat skin issues including acne and dark spots and can help improve the skin's barrier function. Needless to say, it's the perfect addition to a face mask.


It was popular years ago as an internal ingredient, but charcoal is also excellent at removing impurities from your skin's surface, in addition to inside your body. Experts generally recommend using masks that have charcoal as an ingredient, rather than the harsh peel-off charcoal masks that may be too irritating for some. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Noelani González, MD, FAAD, says that "charcoal masks (either wash off or peel-off) work by drawing out any bacteria, dirt, and oil from the skin to help keep it clean and clear."

  • Are store bought face masks good for you?

    Store-bought face masks are a wise choice to boost up your skincare routine. They can't solve all your problems at once, but they can provide a hit of moisture, remove impurities, and/or help to brighten your skin and give you a healthy glow, depending on the ingredients. Sheet masks are particularly easy to use.

  • Do dermatologists recommend face masks?

    Dermatologists generally agree that the beneficial ingredients in face masks can provide a quick upgrade to your routine. But like all things, moderation is key. Doing them too often can result in over masking, which should be avoided. Use face masks occasionally, not daily.

  • Do V line face masks work?

    These masks are used for face slimming more so than cleansing. They're used on just the lower part of your face, unlike the standard full face mask. They're useful for a temporary improvement in the appearance of your face, particularly through your jaw and chin areas; as for long-term changes, dermatologists say those results are more subtle.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. John HE, Price RD. Perspectives in the selection of hyaluronic acid fillers for facial wrinkles and aging skinPatient Prefer Adherence. 2009;3:225-230.

  2. New item …

    Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of vitamin c in skin healthNutrients. 2017;9(8):866.

  3. Levin J, Momin SB. How much do we really know about our favorite cosmeceutical ingredients? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010;3(2):22-41.

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