A few months back, I stumbled down a YouTube blackhole that that started with a manicure tutorial and ended with a video of someone getting a face massage.
Somewhere along the way I stumbled across ASMR – which is a fascinating, weird, then fascinating again YouTube thing.
Anyway, so this chick was getting a face massage and then it turned into a mini spa facial and I was like, this is the level of luxury to which I aspire. I’ve never had a professional facial – anytime I get any sort of spa/pampering gift card, I get a massage. But I’m in my 30s now, and all the celebs on Insta are always going on and on about their “skincare routine” and like more than 50% of the stuff you can buy at Sephora isn’t even makeup, it’s lotions and masks and ointments and all this BORING stuff that honestly I’ve never even looked at, because, again: boring.
You know what’s not boring? All the nail polish at the front of the store. If you want me to see something, make me walk through it to get to the nail polish.
Okay, so. I’m not about to go drop $50 on a facial or $200 on a little tub of something that has the word “water” in the name. WATER IS FREE, PEOPLE.
But what I am willing to do is spend $5 on a ton of those sheet facemasks they sell at Wal-Mart. (Yes, I purchased all those masks in the header picture.) Sure, I should probably actually start seriously thinking about wrinkles and crow’s feet and eleven lines – WHICH IS A TERM I LITERALLY JUST LEARNED LAST WEEK AND NOW I’M FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT’S WAY LESS FUN THAN IT SOUNDS… But this sheet mask looks like a panda, and that’s good enough for me.
MY FAVORITE FACE MASKS
All classy ladies on a budget are familiar with this under $5 drugstore classic.
- Pro: This is easily the most effective mask on this list.
- Con: You will find green spots around your hairline, in your hair, under your chin, and on your earlobes for the next 24 hours.
- Pro again: But does that really matter if it just inspires you to listen to the Wicked soundtrack all day?
2. Anything by Freeman
Available in everything from clay and mud masks to peel-off gel masks, all smelling wonderful and looking colorful.
- Pro: Variety under $5
- Con: You’ll want to buy them all and then use them all at once for a face paint/face mask collage≥
- Pro: Also available in serial killer peel-off form, which is fun if you like to sneak up behind your roommate and give them a heart attack.
3. Bubble masks
Okay, y’all, these things make bubbles on your face. And they’re “oxygenating” or whatever, which is apparently good, but the point is, they form a one-inch thick layer of tiny bubbles on your face and you feel so cool.
- Pro: Instead of just applying the mask and letting it dry, you actually feel it tingling on your skin the whole time.
- Con: As a result, you are 100% guaranteed to leave it on your face like 2 hours longer than the suggested 15 minutes, which probably ultimately does more harm than good.
4. Sheet masks
There’s 452,000 different variations of these, none of which have large enough holes for my eyes. (Does this mean my nose sticks out too far? My eyes are too sunken in? I CAME OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME AND I’M HONESTLY FEELING SO ATTACKED RIGHT NOW.) It’s just a sheet soaked in something that makes your skin feel all soft and your nose feel cold. You can get them in solid white, colors (like black for charcoal, gold, etc.), and patterns like panda or zebra. Kind of like how Biore strips started as plain white, and now they have like Marvel and Lisa Frank-branded ones. (Okay, I know that’s an exaggeration, but can you imagine!?)
- Pro: Available everywhere. And now that every cosmetics line has caught on to this trend, some are really great. Like the Garnier Moisture Bombs.
- Con: Now that everyone has caught on to this trend, some are not that great. Like this 16-pack I got from Amazon for $9.49. They’re all fine, but I’m fairly certain every single type of the 16 varieties was the exact same formula. Also, there were a few kinda scary varieties…What the heck is in a Syn-ake sheet mask!?
- Pro: Look! You’re a panda!
5. Anything gold
There’s a ton of masks in every single style (bubble, powder, sheet, liquid, etc.) that offer a gold variety. Get them. They leave a little, tiny bit of gold residue on your face, which basically made me realize why people are super into highlighters.
- Pro: Built-in highlighter.
- Con: I mean, you may not want to walk around with a faint gold sheen covering your entire face that eventually accumulates around your hairline, circling your face in a halo of excess product.
- Pro: You’ve just started a new trend. #fashion
A FEW QUESTIONS ABOUT FACE MASKS
- What is activated charcoal? Why is it everywhere? Who decided that rubbing the stuff you grill burgers with on your face was a good idea? Who tried that first? Can you “deactivate” other things?
- Regarding the masks that you have to make yourself – like, you buy the powder and you add your own water and then apply the paste to your face: Yeah, does anyone actually get a smooth consistency with those? Ever? You know how sometimes when you mix pancake batter, it’s a bunch of batter with chunks of unmixed powder floating in there? That’s what these masks are like.
- What do varieties like syn-ake, “white,” and snail mean on the cheap overseas sheet masks I bought mean? Will I lighten my skin if I use white? Is this actually snail slithery goo grossness? I mean, I know it’s probably not, but… I can’t stop thinking that it is.
FACE MASKS I’D LIKE TO TRY
- THAT MAGNET ONE. Have y’all seen this? Where you put it on your face and then run a magnet over it and it pulls the mask out of your pores like you’re one giant Wooly Willy? It’s kind of like a Biore pore strip for your entire face that NASA invented. I’m super on board with trying that one, but I’m just waiting another few months until like Covergirl comes out with a $8 version of it, since right now I’m fairly certain it’s only available to celebrities and BuzzFeed writers.
2. The gel patches that actresses are always wearing around their eyes and smile lines – ANOTHER PHRASE I JUST LEARNED – in the makeup trailer. I’ve looked them up – they have ones that promise to eliminate wrinkles using collagen and all this stuff which sounds amazing, as does the $150-200 price tag. HIT ME UP, ULTA! I’LL GIVE ALL YOUR MASKS AMAZING REVIEWS.
3. That pink Australian clay everyone swears by, just because I’m a sucker for advertising and it’s all over Instagram. Also, anything involving Himalayan salt for the same reason, although I’m inclined to believe that they probably don’t make salt face masks. But I’m serious about the Australian one, because Australia invented the Hemsworths, so I trust them with beauty secrets.
4. One of those light masks that is like a healthy tanning bed for your face.