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There’s no denying that masks in general are an excellent way to give your skin a little extra TLC; loaded with active ingredients, they work quickly and effectively addressing any and every kind of complexion concern. And while sheet masks may have been all the rage as of late, mark our words, peel-off masks are poised to be the next big thing.
How do they differ from all of their other counterparts? Most start off as a liquid or gel that gradually transforms into more of a rubbery consistency as it dries, allowing you to ultimately peel it off in one large piece. This simple act of peeling it off can do great things for your skin. Think of how a lint remover works by grabbing and removing all kinds of fuzzies on your clothes; a peel-off mask essentially does the same thing, sticking to all kinds of dead skin cells, gunk, and grime sitting on the surface of your skin, and lifting it off as you remove the mask. An added bonus: Most of these peel-offs tend to be heavy in antioxidants, choice ingredients for anyone and everyone, thanks to their protective and reparative benefits. Here, the top peel-off masks on the market.
Best Overall: Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Peel and Reveal Mask
Who doesn’t want to get multiple benefits from one skincare product? This mask does just that, thanks to a blend of exfoliating glycolic and salicylic acids that help clear out pores, reduce dark spots, and fight fine lines and wrinkles, too. But it doesn’t stop there: Soothing aloe vera extract calms redness and inflammation, while cabernet grapeseed extract packs a hefty dose of antioxidant protection. It’s an ideal pick for any and every kind of skin type, and works in as little as 15 minutes. Pro tip: When removing this mask, peel it off starting at the jawline, moving upward.
Best Budget Option: Freeman Feeling Beautiful Cucumber Facial Peel-Off Mask
This big tube contains multiple uses of the gel formula, which you only need to leave on for five to 10 minutes before peeling off to remove all kinds of impurities. Cucumber extract and aloe soothe and moisturize, and give it its extra refreshing feel, making it a top pick to refresh your skin on hot, muggy days or as an extra pick-me-up on sleepy mornings. And let’s not forget to mention that you get all of this for less than the price of your morning latte.
Best for Clogged Pores: Boscia Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask
Not only does simply peeling this mask off help remove all of the gunk and grime that builds up in your pores, the formula also contains activated charcoal and clay. Both of these ingredients act like magnets, sticking to and pulling out the dirt and oil that can clog pores and lead to blackheads, whiteheads, and breakouts. It’s a great option for all skin types, and has the added benefit of containing vitamin C, too, a powerful antioxidant well-known for its skin-brightening abilities. Clearer, smaller-looking pores and more glowing skin? Yes, please.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Peel-Off Mask
This also contains charcoal to help remove all kinds of impurities and excess oil, making it a great option if you have oily skin in general, whether or not breakouts or involved. But if you are dealing with pesky pimples, this is a great pick since it also contains tomato extract rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient that can also help keep skin clear. This formula earns extra points for being mess-free, thanks to the built-in spatula that makes for especially easy application. Plus, it’s made with 95 percent natural ingredients, is paraben- and phthalate-free, and is not tested on animals.
Best Fast-Acting: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx Peeling Gel
Most peel-off masks are fairly fast-acting to begin with, but when time is really of the essence, reach for this speedy superstar. Slightly different than the other masks in this bunch, all you have to do is apply a thick layer on clean, dry skin, then massage it in a circular motion; it balls up and peels off, taking with it all the stuff that you don’t want sitting on your complexion.
It works so quickly because it exfoliates both physically and chemically. It contains cellulose, a gentle physical exfoliant that helps slough off dead skin cells, plus pineapple and pomegranate enzymes that simultaneously dissolve that dead skin. Because it also touts hydrating glycerin and hyaluronic acid, it leaves your skin looking and feeling smooth, but never tight or stripped.
Best Hydrating: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Modeling Mask
Peel-off masks may generally be known as best for exfoliating or skin-clearing purposes, but this is an especially great moisturizing option. The professional-grade formula features a hyaluronic acid cushion gel that you mix with an activating powder to create a bouncy gel that you spread across your entire complexion. (Pro tip: The thicker you apply it, the easier it will be to remove.)
This two-step process creates an occlusive barrier on the skin that locks in hydration, making your skin look smoother, plumper, and dewier, not to mention also improves the look of pores and wrinkles. So much so that in a consumer study, 97 percent of the participants agreed that their skin felt more hydrated after using this mask just one time.
Best Exfoliating: Aveeno MaxGlow Peel Off Mask
Alpha-hydroxy acids in this gentle, non-comedogenic formula help dissolve dead skin cells to leave your complexion smoother and more radiant. But the brightening and radiance-enhancing benefits don’t stop there; it also contains a soy and kiwi complex to help even out tone and fade discoloration, transforming your skin from dull to glowy. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes, it becomes more transparent as it dries, indicating when it’s time to peel it off. There are also anti-aging and mattifying variants available.
Our writers spent 6 hours researching the most popular stretch mark creams on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 35 different creams overall, screened options from 40 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative) and tested 7 of the creams themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.