When it comes to my skincare regimen, I’m fiercely loyal. I rarely ever stray from my usual lineup of Cetaphil cleansers and First Aid Beauty moisturizers. In fact, the only things I find myself straying away for are facemasks. I’m someone who lives for luxury, so when I decided to buy the much sought-after SK-II Facial Treatment Mask I was disappointed to see that my face looked no different than when I apply a $7 Dr. Jart+ mask. Sure, my skin still glowed and I was still radiant, but for the price I assumed something life changing would happen to my skin. I only paid $18 for a single mask but if I had bought the whole set for $95 I would have regretted not spending that money on a cheaper mask and maybe few cocktails (because life is made for living).
This got me to thinking: are all face masks the same? Are we spending $100+ on facial treatments and 24K gold masks because we think our skin is better off than if we were to spend $25 on something less flashy? I spent a whole month trying different creams, clays, gels and serum-drenched sheets of varying prices to see for myself if luxury masks are worth the splurge.
Here’s what I found.
Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Mask ($24)
A pack comes with 3 coconut water infused sheet masks and a single mask remarkably costs only $6. *Spoiler Alert* At this price, I got the same results as the Verso mask! But more on that in a moment. My skin’s morning dullness practically wooshed away in under 10 minutes, which left me with more time to sift through my closet, only now with gloriously hydrated, plump, dewy skin.
SKYN Iceland Fresh Start Mask ($39)
Introducing a 10-minute weekly skin treatment, each pack complete with 6 two-part masks. What’s interesting about this mask is not the fact that after just one application I was happy with the results: my skin appeared fresh, taut and glowing masterfulness. Pores be gone! What’s really amusing is the marketing gimmick behind the mask: SKYN, do you really expect me to believe you’re using “13,000-year-old Ice Age Black Mud” as an ingredient? Like, sure. Ok. For all I know they could be using regular backyard mud, but hey, I’d still snap up another 6 sheets with the results I got – that’s the illusion of eight hours sleep per use, my friends.
REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask ($40)
While penning this piece, it was the height of summer in New York. I had been tanning this day and wanted to use something that would calm my redness down to a sunkissed glow. REN’s formula contains white mushroom extract, the secret ingredient they hero for its remarkable skin-calming effect. As an addition, REN products are free from pore-blocking petrochemicals, silicones, synthetic colors, animal ingredients, parabens, and plenty of other nasty things which makes it even more enticing for a natural beauty lover like me. I cleansed before applying and left the solution on for 12-and-a-half minutes with the recommended time being 10-15. After washing off with cold water, my skin was soft and smooth but a little itchy, which might just be my sensitive skin. That said, my redness was noticeably lessened.
Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask ($48)
Are you jetting off to another hemisphere? Did you stay up all night on the dancefloor? Pen in recovery time with Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask. It works for all skin types and you leave it on to work its magic all day. Ingredients include the whole alphabet of vitamins (just kidding only C and E) and a few other powerful ingredients that help to even skin tone and boost moisture levels in your skin. I cleansed in the morning before work, put the mask on and went about my day – easy peasy. My skin looked the same as it does after I put moisturizer on, beautiful and dewy but nothing out of the ordinary…until the unwelcome plot twist reared its head: As the day progressed my skin began to get itchy. This may work on less sensitive skin in need of intense hydration, but it was an overall thumbs down from me.
Verso Deep Hydration Mask ($80)
Verso’s pack comes with 4 face masks, all promising to give my skin the moisture it craves. This was the first gel sheet mask to almost fit over my entire face (an achievement of the lowest calibre). After cleansing, I left on for 20 minutes, which is a long wait for a sheet mask in my opinion, but I went about my morning routine of yes, you guessed it, sifting through my closet in search of the ever-elusive perfect ensemble. The wait was worth it as I was hydrated, glowing, and got compliments throughout the day about how healthy my skin looked! My favorite thus far.
Omorovicza Deep Cleansing Mask ($120)
I came toward the end of my journey with one of the most expensive masks I’ve ever used in my life. Good for all skin types, Omorovicza uses “Hungarian Moor” mud and white clay to refine the skin and minimise the appearance of pores. It has a light smell, a cooling effect when you use it and tightens while drying. I used this mask at night, cleansed before and left on for 15 minutes. Afterward, my skin felt clean and bright but no noticeable difference in my skin the morning after.
Orveda Skin Recovery Mask ($235)
Quite possibly the most expensive mask I will ever use, although I’m open to the more expensive possibilities should they come my way. The mask comes in a jar and I really wish the packaging was decadent as the price suggests. The product itself is quite watery, or as Orveda puts it, “gel-in-oil” texture (fancy). It also comes with a brush for application (oh la la). It’s recommended to apply at night and leave on which is my favorite form of application. Apply, sleep, wake up more beautiful. Not gonna lie, my skin looked amazing the next day. But was it $235 amazing compared to a pharmacy formulation?
It’s my belief that expensive skincare is a luxury, not a necessity. It’s a real results versus money equation. A real ‘if you’ve got it, spend it’ kind of deal. Do you want to splash out or be more mindful with your money? I’ll leave that final part to you.
Words and images, Dakota Butler.