Estheticians Weigh in: The 14 Best Face Masks for Sensitive Skin

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If you're the type of person who likes the idea of getting a facial but is afraid of what a mystery formula might do to your delicate complexion, you're in the right place. Today's over-the-counter face masks offer an effective, at-home solution for spa-like skin care treatments, and many are specifically formulated with sensitive skin in mind.

"Look out for anything oat-related, [as well as] aloe, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, and calendula," says licensed skincare expert Lauren LaPaglia, explaining that these ingredients are both hydrating and soothing.

Licensed esthetician Dana Murray of Babe + Beauty recommends steering clear of formulas with alcohol and added fragrance, whether it's synthetic or from a natural source, like essential oils. In addition to the ingredients LaPaglia mentioned, Murray is a fan of green tea, cucumber extract, allantoin, arnica, niacinamide, squalane, and cica (centella asiatica) for those battling dryness, breakouts, eczema, rosacea, or general inflammation.

Scroll down for the best face masks for sensitive skin.

Our Top Picks
This fan-favorite mask boasts a blend of skin-soothing ingredients and hydrating hyaluronic acid.
This affordable mask soothes, nourishes, and reduces redness, making it a top pick for those with dry and reactive skin types.
This drugstore gem soothes, hydrates, and gently exfoliates sensitive skin.
This award-winning luxury formula heals, relieves itchiness, and gently exfoliates.
This beloved formula is packed with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and shea butter.
This gel mask cools inflamed skin while a litany of soothing and healing ingredients calm redness and irritation.
Ideal for fragile skin in need of some TLC, this purifying mask restores balance to the skin barrier.
You can count on this oatmeal-infused mask to moisturize, soothe, and nourish irritated skin to repair the skin barrier.
This creamy concoction of squalane, hyaluronic acid, honey, and aloe soothes and conditions reactive skin.
It has lactic and glycolic acids to provide gentle exfoliation, while watermelon and pumpkin extracts soothe sensitive skin.

Best Overall: SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Mask

SkinCeuticals Phyo Corrective Mask
What We Like
  • Leave-on formula

  • Soothing and cooling

  • Reduces redness

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains fragrance

Murray recommends the Phyto Corrective Masque from the cult-loved brand SkinCeuticals. Flaunting a blend of skin-soothing ingredients, the formula contains all-stars like calming dipeptides, anti-inflammatory botanicals, cooling cucumber extract, and ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid.

The versatile gel can be rinsed off or left on overnight, and you won't have to worry about it stinging or irritating your skin. While it's formulated for sensitive complexions, this brilliant face mask can benefit all skin types.

Active Ingredients: Dipeptides, hyaluronic acid, plant botanicals, cucumber extract | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Budget: Aveeno Soothe Oat Face Mask with Pumpkin Seed Extract

Aveeno Soothe Oat Face Mask with Pumpkin Seed Extract
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Soothing

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

Murray is a fan of Aveeno for sensitive complexions. Formulated for dry, reactive skin types, the brand's Oat Face Mask contains nourishing pumpkin-seed extract, redness-reducing feverfew, and soothing prebiotic oat.

Active Ingredients: Prebiotic oat, pumpkin seed extract, feverfew extract | Skin Type: Dry/sensitive | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Drugstore: Yes to Cucumbers Cooling Jelly Face Mask for Sensitive Skin

Yes to Cucumbers Cooling Jelly Face Mask for Sensitive Skin
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Natural formula

  • Soothing and cooling

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

This drugstore gem contains soothing, calming ingredients like cucumber and aloe, plus redness-reducing and mildly exfoliating willow bark extract. The Cooling Jelly Mask also hydrates the skin with standbys like hyaluronic acid and glycerin.

Active Ingredients: Aloe juice, glycerin, cucumber extract, willow bark extract | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: Eve Lom Rescue Mask

Eve Lom Rescue Mask
What We Like
  • Award-winning formula

  • Reduces redness

  • Good for all skin types

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you can swing the steep price, you might consider investing in Eve Lom's Rescue Mask. This award-winning clay mask is infused with itchiness-relieving and naturally cooling camphor, plus healing honey and finely ground sweet almond seeds for mild exfoliation.

Active Ingredients: Camphor, kaolin clay, glycerin, honey, sweet almond seed | Skin Type: All | Size: 3.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Hydrating: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask

summer fridays jet lag mask
What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Soothing

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If its hydration you're after, your best bet is Summer Fridays' Jet Lag Mask. The beloved formula calls on hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides to deliver much-needed moisture, plus niacinamide and vitamin C for a radiance boost.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, shea butter, niacinamide, ceramides | Skin Type: All | Size: 2.3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Cooling: Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask
What We Like
  • Soothing and cooling

  • Reduces redness

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains dyes

When your inflamed skin craves a cooling sensation, reach for this gel mask. With soothing cucumber, calming chamomile, redness-reducing aloe, healing allantoin, and softening papaya extract, it pulls out all the stops for sensitive complexions.

Active Ingredients: Cucumber extract, chamomile, aloe juice, allantoin | Skin Type: Dry/sensitive | Size: 5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Restorative: Klur Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask

KLUR Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask
What We Like
  • Nourishing

  • Soothing

  • Made with organic ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

It's nice to have a tub of Supreme Seed on hand for when your dermis could use a bit of TLC. Made with fragile skin in mind, this purifying face mask soothes, nourishes, and restores balance to the skin barrier.

Active Ingredients: Aloe juice, green tea, cica, kelp, evening primrose oil | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Reparative: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Instant Oatmeal Mask
What We Like
  • Non-comedogenic

  • Nourishing

  • Hygienic container

What We Don't Like
  • Contains alcohol

If you're facing winter dryness, eczema, sunburn, or wind-chapped skin, you can count on First Aid Beauty to help it heal. This oatmeal-infused mask simultaneously moisturizes, soothes, nourishes, mends, and protects the skin barrier.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, shea butter, sea buckthorn | Skin Type: Dry/sensitive/eczema-prone | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Conditioning: Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask

Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask
What We Like
  • Soothing

  • Fragrance-free

  • Good for all skin types

What We Don't Like
  • Contains alcohol

Glossier's creamy, dreamy Moon Mask conditions the skin with replenishing squalane and hyaluronic acid. What's more, the fragrance-free formula contains earth-sourced moisturizers, plus healing honey and soothing aloe. The result? A calmer, healthier-looking complexion.

Active Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, squalane, shea butter, honey, aloe juice, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 3 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Exfoliating: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask
What We Like
  • Natural formula

  • Soothing

  • Leave-on formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This Byrdie favorite from Glow Recipe provides ever-so-gentle exfoliation with naturally sourced lactic acid and glycolic acid. Thanks to soothing ingredients like watermelon and pumpkin extract, it fosters a glowy complexion without irritating sensitive skin.

Active Ingredients: Lactic acid, glycolic acid, pumpkin extract, watermelon extract, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 2.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Eczema-Prone Skin: Topicals Like Butter Mask Hydrating Mask

Topicals Like Butter Mask Hydrating Mask
What We Like
  • Buttery consistency

  • Supports acid mantle

  • Hygienic container

What We Don't Like
  • Small amount

Eczema can be a real drag. Since the cause isn't always apparent, it's good to have something in your arsenal to address flare-ups. This small but mighty little tube soothes irritation, minimizes redness, nourishes stressed skin, and replenishes the moisture barrier.

Active Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, cica, ceramides | Skin Type: Dry/sensitive/eczema-prone | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Hyperpigmentation: Pholk Beauty GlowUp Mask with Apple + Hibiscus

Pholk Beauty GlowUp Mask with Apple + Hibiscus
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Gently exfoliates

  • Addresses hyperpigmentation

What We Don't Like
  • Requires mixing

When it comes to treating hyperpigmentation, Pholk's GlowUp Mask is just as good as a spa facial. Containing malic acid and oat flour, it gradually clears dark spots and soothes inflamed skin.

Active Ingredients: Malic acid, oat flour, kaolin clay, hibiscus oil | Skin Type: Dry/acne-prone/sensitive | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes 

Best Overnight: CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask

CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
What We Like
  • Leave-on formula

  • Hygienic container

  • Good for all skin types

What We Don't Like
  • Thin consistency

If you want something that works while you get your beauty sleep, your best bet is the Overnight Spa Mask from CosRx. Boasting a blend of rice extract, niacinamide, and allantoin, the fragrance-free formula calms, hydrates, and boosts radiance all at once.

Active Ingredients: Rice extract, allantoin, niacinamide | Skin Type: All | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Sheet Mask: Inna Organic Organic Rose Geranium Soothing Facial Mask

Inna Organic Rose Geranium Soothing Facial Mask
What We Like
  • Made with organic ingredients

  • Soothing

  • Good for all skin types

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Partial to sheet masks? Inna Organic's Rose Geranium Mask has your name on it. Each absorbent cotton sheet is soaked with anti-inflammatory ingredients sensitive complexions crave, like chamomile, aloe, and betula pendula sap.

Active Ingredients: Aloe juice, chamomile, betula pendula sap | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.8 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Masque (view at Amazon) is by far the best face mask for sensitive skin. The professional-grade formula calls on anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe, calm, moisturize, and heal stressed complexions. If you're looking for something a bit more affordable, go with Aveeno's Oat Face Mask (view at Amazon). And if you're in the market for a formula that hydrates without irritation, your best bet is the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask.

What to Look for in a Face Mask for Sensitive Skin

Ingredients

When it comes to skincare for sensitive skin, the most important thing to consider is the ingredients list. According to Murray, people with reactive or inflamed complexions should look for products containing colloidal oatmeal, calendula oil, centella asiatica, niacinamide, aloe vera, squalane, arnica, green tea leaf, cucumber extract, chamomile, allantoin, bisabolol, and marshmallow root.

Application

When shopping around for face masks, you'll want to consider the application. Some formulas are meant to be rinsed off after a few minutes, while others can be left on for hours (or even overnight). Then there are sheet masks, which you place on your face for up to 30 minutes, then rinse off.

Container

Another thing to think about is the container. Many face masks come in small glass jars or plastic tubs. Each time you dip your fingers in, the product is exposed to bacteria, which is a concern for sensitive skin. If you struggle with eczema or have experienced bacterial skin infections in the past, you may want to look for a face mask with a more hygienic container, like a tube or a pump bottle.

FAQ
  • What types of face masks are best for sensitive skin?

    The best face masks for sensitive skin are soothing, cooling, and calming, which is why it's crucial to look for anti-inflammatory ingredients. In addition to minimizing irritation, many formulas provide other benefits like hydration. "If you are able to balance your hydration and redness with sensitive skin, most of your unwanted side effects subside," says LaPaglia.

    Some face masks also offer gentle exfoliation. However, Murray tells Byrdie that "papaya enzymes or polishes with rice powder are a better option" for those sensitive to AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids).

  • What ingredients should you avoid in face masks if you have sensitive skin?

    "While many people are OK using products with synthetic/natural fragrances and essential oils, they can be sensitizing," explains Murray. Additionally, she recommends steering clear of formulas with simple alcohols. "I also would avoid using harsh scrubs that contain large exfoliating granules," she adds.

  • Do face masks for sensitive skin expire?

    Like all skincare products, face masks for sensitive skin will eventually expire. Most last roughly 12 to 24 months after the manufacturing date, though it depends on the formula, container, and what preservatives are used. Look for the PAO (period-after-opening) symbol on the back of the container. The number in the symbol tells you how long it'll last after you open it.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a freelance writer specializing in commerce, self-care, and beauty. For this story, she interviewed two licensed estheticians and researched various formulations, ingredients, and packaging types for face masks. She looked at dozens of products from a myriad of brands and combed through user reviews before landing on her final selections. As someone with a daily skincare routine nearing ten steps, she has tried a handful of products on this list, including Glossier, First Aid Beauty, Glow Recipe, and CosRx. Theresa has been writing for Byrdie since 2020, where she covers skincare, haircare, and makeup.

Meet the Expert

  • Dana Murray is a licensed esthetician, product developer, and beauty blogger. She is the creator of Babe + Beauty, a lifestyle site focusing on wellness and skincare.
  • Lauren LaPaglia (aka "Estie Bestie") is a licensed skincare expert and esthetician. She specializes in vegan and cruelty-free products and offers virtual skincare consultations.
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.
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