Sure, the best things in life may be free, but skincare costs a whole lot of money.
Between $350 collagen-boosting eye creams, $265 cell-stimulating face creams, and $150 gold-infused face masks–you practically need a small loan just to purchase the skincare basics found in a high-end department store.
While staying inside right now to stop the spread of COVID-19, many of us have some extra time on our hands, and if you're anything like me, you may be using it to show your skin some extra love.
One of the best ways to do so is through the use of a face mask.
Now, we know that the process of pampering your face can sometimes be time-consuming, messy, and pricey.
But whatever your reason is for not incorporating them into your routine, we're here to convince you that using them is never a waste of time.
Face masks can be luxurious, fun, and sometimes completely necessary; and spending just a few minutes with a sheet, cream, clay, or rubbery dough mask (yes, a rubber mask can hold skin-improving ingredients just the same) on your gorgeous face can reintroduce life into your skin and calm down an irritated or fussy complexion.
With all of that said, finding a decent face mask doesn't have to break the bank.
Below, we've offered up 11 skin-savers under $20 (a few of them are even under $10) that can reinvigorate even the most overworked skin without a hefty price tag — or the time commitment.
Consider face masks the ultimate therapy session for your skin.
When your skin is getting all emotional on you, choosing to lash out with unwanted bumps and blackheads, all you need to do is spoil it with a soothing skincare regimen.
And a good face mask is always essential.
Plus, it's a cheap date for your skin.
New and improved face masks come with formulas available for a fraction of the price of some of the spendier options—I'm talking luxury-level ingredients for all of $5.
Of course, some beauty investments are necessary, but you don't have to sacrifice your entire paycheck for a mask to work wonders on your skin.
New drugstore face masks pop up every day with impressive ingredient lists to solve all of your skin woes.
Whether you're looking for hydrating, acne-targeted, glow-boosting, or brightening masks, there's an option for you.
Trust, you're going to want to buy these in bulk and incorporate these gems into your pamper sessions pretty often.
To back up these unbelievably affordable options, we reached out to celebrity dermatologists Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD and Dr. Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology to share the drugstore face masks they recommend to all their patients.
We also threw in a couple of tried-and-true favourites so that you can screenshot this list for your next drugstore run.
So whether you're tragically hungover, a lifelong acne sufferer, or just the victim of a too-strong serum, these masks have you covered.
Fortunately, we're in the golden age of drugstore skincare innovation. These days, your local CVS, Walgreens, or Target is stocked with curated beauty brands and products from all over the world (hello, Korean beauty!).
That means that most nearby drugstores are now chock-full of effective and top-rated skincare products, particularly face masks.
If you've got a skincare woe, your neighbourhood drugstore has got the answer. But don't just take our word for it.
We asked five of the best dermatologists in the biz which masks they always rely on. Here are seven dermatologist-approved face masks you'll swear by, too.
That bargain-hunting spirit doesn't entirely 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.
Face masks are one of those pesky categories of skincare that practically beg us to pull out our credit cards and start swiping with zero abandon.
Not only does packaging seem to get prettier and prettier (conveniently in tandem with our bank accounts getting tinier and tinier), but the benefits, technology, and overall allure of face masks are also increasing at a rapid rate.
Ingredients are getting more exotic, and suddenly, the tempting nature of additions like crushed diamonds, 24-karat gold, exfoliating acids, superfoods—heck, even things like adaptogens and CBD—make forking over $50, $100, or even $200-plus seem like the norm.
But of course, it doesn't have to be.
Sure, there are plenty of heart-stoppingly expensive face masks we love and drool over, but the quality of drugstore beauty offerings has also reached a steep incline in the past few years.
For $25 and under, you can still satisfy your craving for lust-worthy ingredients like volcanic crystals, lavender oils, and manuka honey, but at a fraction of the cost.
We're big fans of customizing your skincare routine, so you're getting the best, most bang-for-your-buck results regarding your skin concerns, and we're here to tell you that there are some best-selling, high-quality drugstore formulas that we recommend (and use!) as beauty editors and that have the sky-scraping reviews to back them up.
So if you're looking to save some extra money this season, we recommend scrolling ahead to peruse 16 of the best drugstore face masks, sorted by skin concern and sealed with their impressive retail rating status.
Nonetheless, that doesn't mean we can write off drugstore skincare products entirely.
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.
Whether you're looking for a skin-quenching sheet mask or a detoxifying clay mask, there's one out there for you.
Drugstore Tightening Mask
OVI Deep Cleansing Face Mask
OVI Deep Cleansing Face Mask is a mineral-rich, age-defying Volcanic Ash facial mask that gently absorbs oil, helping to reduce large-sized pores and eliminate built-up impurities leaving tired and stressed skin feeling energetic, vibrant and whole again.
OVI is a powerful raw detoxifier & cleanser made for stressed and sensitive skin with natural oils and rich nutrients found from volcanic islands worldwide.
✓ Detoxify, tighten and brighten your skin.
✓ Vegan & cruelty-free.
✓ Remove impurities built up in pores.
✓ Natural detoxifier & cleanser.
✓ Assists in spot reducing pimples.
Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask
If acne tends to go hand-in-hand with your holiday merriment (thank you, sweets, alcohol, and sub-par sleep), this two-in-one cleanser and mask just might be your cure-all.
"The active ingredient in this is salicylic acid, which helps to clear pores, remove dead skin, and dry up active pimples," says Morgan Rabach, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of LM Medical. It can be used as a cleanser or left on as a mask for more potency.
Burt's Bees Hydrating Overnight Mask
In the instance of flaky, dry skin, grab this overnight mask with avocado oil for a deeply moisturizing treatment.
Simply apply a layer onto the skin, let it absorb for 10 minutes, then massage in the remaining product before hitting the hay.
According to Patricia Wexler, MD, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist, the result is noticeably more hydrated skin the following morning.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Face Mask
"Hyaluronic acid is like a sponge that binds 1000 times its weight in water," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York.
That means this humble ingredient can do some serious work to relieve parched skin, making it particularly effective during harsh winter months.
That's precisely where this Neutrogena mask comes to save the day, drenching skin in super-hydrating hyaluronic acid.
But beyond its moisturizing abilities, Dr Zeichner also likes that the sheet mask comes in two pieces—a top and bottom—so it can fit well on almost any face.
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 softly and silky, clean and hydrated. One of my absolute favourites."
This isn't your ordinary sheet mask.
The Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Hydrogel Mask is made with a gel-like material soaked in hyaluronic acid for maximum absorption into the skin (meaning, there's no paper involved — it's basically just all product).
In minutes, your skin will feel fully hydrated.
La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Riche Moisturizer
As cold weather approaches, so does the prospect of that tight, stingy feeling that comes with a dehydrated complexion.
Slather on a thick layer of this, and your skin won't succumb to the season's harshness.
Exfoliating face masks can be irritating if used too frequently, so when in doubt, use a gentle option, like this derm-approved mask from the famous French drugstore staple, La Roche-Posay.
The Intense Hyaluronic Acid Mask utilizes fragmented hyaluronic acid and the brand's beloved thermal spring water to hydrate while soothing deeply. For an additional boost of calm, put the mask in the fridge 30 minutes before application.
Cetaphil Pro Dermacontrol Purifying Clay Mask
Cetaphil is the gold standard in gentle skincare, so a dip into the face mask pond was inevitable.
This one is packed with absorbent bentonite clay that will clear out clogged pores without stripping the skin of hydration.
SheaMoisture Clarifying Mud Mask African Black Soap
If your nose is speckled with unwanted black dots, click 'add to cart.' African black soap, a clarifying wonder ingredient, will excavate even the most clogged pores.
Yes To Watermelon Super Fresh Jelly Mask
If you haven't tried adding watermelon into your skincare routine, this is an excellent place to start.
This Watermelon Super Fresh Jelly Mask from Yes To gently exfoliates and brightens it up in just 10 minutes.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque aims to smooth the skin and eliminate acne.
It's formulated with charcoal and kaolin clay, two ingredients that help improve the appearance of your skin's surface while unclogging your pores at the same time.
This mask is a one-way ticket to clear, acne-free skin.
ELF Cosmetics Super Mask
Centella Asiatica (aka cica) is the star ingredient in this mask.
The herb is found in many K-beauty and J-beauty products for its hydrating and soothing properties.
If your skin is stressed out and craving some TLC, the ELF Cosmetics Super Mask is for you.
Garnier SkinActive Glow Boost 2-in-1 Facial Mask and Scrub
This one does it all — it hydrates like a face mask and exfoliates like a scrub.
Just apply Garnier SkinActive's Glow Boost 2-in-1 Facial Mask and Scrub to your skin and leave it on for three minutes; once your timer dings, gently rub the mask in circular motions around your face to activate the apricot seed scrub, leaving skin soft and replenished.
Pacifica Mattify Prep Face Mask
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."
Nugg Youth Boost Antioxidant Gel Mask
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 favourite.
The Youth Boost mask contains white tea extract and vitamin B3 to brighten, calm, and balance red, irritated skin.
Feeling Beautiful Charcoal & Black Sugar Facial Polishing Mask
Exfoliation is the most important thing when it comes to transforming dull, glowless skin, and this drugstore-priced mask is a top seller at Ulta for that reason precisely.
One part scrub, one part mask, features activated charcoal to suck out excess oil and impurities (without removing essential hydration).
In contrast, black sugar gently removes dead skin cells that hinder your chances for radiant skin.
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Intensive Overnight Mask
While it might be on the spendier side for a drugstore face mask, this intense formula from L'Oréal is well worth the extra investment.
Luxurious and hydrating, it boasts a unique Elasti-flex texture, which virtually mimics the skin's natural elasticity and is the first nighttime treatment to combine Pro-Xylane (a super-concentrated ingredient) with botanical extract Centella Asiatica.
It helps to re-firm and tighten facial contours while also diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Pre-Tox Peel Off Mask
For those who don't like sheet masks and don't like the inevitable drippage and mess of creams and gels, this peel-off mask is a game-changer.
It does pretty much everything under the sun to give your complexion some TLC, including but not limited to flooding the skin with protective and preventive antioxidants, gentle exfoliation (thanks AHAs!), and reparative vitamin E.
Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Cleansing Clay Mask
It's likely you haven't thought twice about Clean & Clear since middle school, but Dr. Zeichner is a fan of the brand's Triple Clear Cleansing Clay Mask, especially for acne-prone skin.
The powerhouse in this quick mask is salicylic acid, which works wonders on oil and acne. "It helps remove excess oil and dead cells from the surface of the skin to keep pores clear," he says.
AcneFree Sulphur Face Mask
For those dealing with occasional acne breakouts, try a sulphur mask. "Topical sulphur can help reduce oil and acne-causing bacteria on the skin," says Dr. Chang.
In addition to 3.5 percent sulphur, this $8 option also contains Vitamin C, copper, and zinc to help clear away dead skin cells. It also has a satisfying tingle when applied and changes from an opaque white tint to blue as you massage it into the skin.
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum Boost Sheet Mask
Sometimes skin calls for a major reset, and that's when you should pull out this sheet mask.
This anti-aging sheet mask is packed with hyaluronic acid and anti-wrinkle peptide technology to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while hydrating dry skin.
Bioderma Sensibio Skin Soothing and Moisturizing Mask
We'll admit that French drugstores are chicer than ours stateside, and this is one of their bestsellers.
If you've gone overboard on exfoliating or just feel a little dry, let this soothing formula calm your complexion.
Avene Soothing Sheet Mask (Pack of 5)
This sheet mask is soaked with thermal spring water to rebalance skin and quell redness-causing inflammation. Stick it in the fridge for an at-home spa vibe.
Struggling with clogged pores? Say no more: This detoxifying gem will evacuate the dirt and debris buildup in your pores using non-drying clay and charcoal in under 10 minutes. The results are a smooth, glowing complexion.