With more sophisticated ingredients and formulations than ever before, facial masks (the beauty ones!) can help to combat signs of skin ageing and fatigue – and give you a glow – from the comfort of home. We applied a bunch of face masks in the name of research.
Face masks reviewed by the Expat Living team
#1 Liquid Masque By Philocali, $129
First of all, where has this product been all my life? I have only one word for it: amazing! This three-in-one magic bottle is what all women need to have.
Liquid Masque By Philocali lifts, brightens and moisturises all in one. If you’re a busy lady and don’t have time for a skincare routine, just use four squirts of this spray, massage your face a little, let it dry and you’re ready to party! I’ve been using it for a month now, and the bottle is still not empty. And my skin feels more hydrated and brighter.
This product is rinse-free and forms a natural collagen film to protect your skin and rejuvenate your complexion, giving a healthy-looking glow. I really love this product and I will definitely continue to use it.
– Susan Knudsen-Pickles
#2 Dr Belter’s AquaSilk Treatment Set, $65 (pack of 4 face masks)
The AquaSilk treatment comprises three steps and products to peel, lift and moisturise. First is a little rough pad (mini glove) with AHA to buff the top dry layer. Then there’s a hyaluronic fleece mask (paper thin) and finally the serum. It comes in a great little slim pack to take on a business trip (whenever that may be…). Or just to chill while you watch TV!
The treatment prevents hyperpigmentation and photoageing, and supports cell regeneration, so I think regular use would be good. It has won awards for best aftersun care too. Both the mask and the serum contain hyaluronic acid, which is always useful for shifting the dullness. I’ve used three now, and my skin feels softer and clearer, though nothing too dramatic. It’s made with 95 to 100 percent natural ingredients and is free of parabens, mineral oils and silicone oils.
– Rebecca Bisset
#3 Beetox Dusk Luxury Lifting Face Mask by The Honey Collection, $72.90
I’m not the most diligent person when it comes to facial care (soap and coconut oil will do!) but I love 15 minutes of devotion time after a long day once in a while. However, having sensitive skin, I have to be cautious of what I use.
This is the first time I’ve tried The Honey Collection brand and I really like that the products are all-natural and free of artificial fragrance and colours. The lifting face mask is made with bee venom, which encourages blood flow and is an essential ingredient to plump the skin and stimulate collagen; it apparently has a lot of hype among celebrities right now. It also contains rosehip oil, which is known to fight fine lines, and Manuka honey, which nourishes the skin – and I’m in desperate need of both of those effects!
I applied a generous amount, and I expected a bit of irritation from the bee venom, but my face felt calm, relaxed and deeply hydrated. It doesn’t leave the skin dry or feeling tight, so you can skip your night cream.
Overall, I’m very happy and would definitely recommend it to those with sensitive skin who favour natural products. The only question is: is it really cruelty-free?
– Judit Lim
#4 DrGL Restore Gel Mask, $68
The DrGL Restore Gel Mask is a great all-rounder – a soothing mask that can be doubled up as a daily moisturiser, perfect for keeping to that regular skincare regime.
For a daily moisturiser, a tiny drop of the gel can be massaged in, leaving the skin feeling soft and silky. It’s not sticky at all. I don’t wear foundation so I love that this gives a soft and dewy glow. The hydration is lasting and I didn’t feel my skin drying out at all during the day.
As a mask, it’s the ideal skin restorer and perfect after a day in the sun or after a face treatment due to the mild ingredients it has to protect and repair. I put mine into the fridge as recommended and then use six pumps for a thicker layer, leaving it on for up to 30 minutes. I wipe off the excess gel afterwards and massage the rest in.
– Jacqui Young
#5 Bio Cellulose Healing Mask by Pisces Wellness, $96.30 for a box of 5
I use sheet masks episodically, more because it’s fun doing them and I feel that they help soothe my skin when it feels tired and dehydrated. I tried this Korean Healing Mask the morning after some weekend celebrations when my skin felt very dehydrated and in need of some nourishing.
The mask comes in two different layers, so the sheet doesn’t stick to itself which I like. It’s formulated from organic coconut fibre and is a bit thicker than other masks I’ve tried, yet it moulds to your skin really nicely. No specific ingredient stands out, it has a pretty generic smell and the consistency is quite watery. I left it on for about 20 minutes, but found it hadn’t really absorbed into the skin a lot. The mask is quite wet and there was lots of excess that I rubbed into my skin and on my neck. My skin felt firm and toned afterwards, not plumped up.
If you have dry and sensitive skin, you would probably find this mask not hydrating enough but it does leave your skin tighter and nicely refreshed. It would be a good idea to keep the mask in the fridge to get the cold as well as the regenerative properties. I will do this next time.
– Karin Galley
#6 Kenzoki Restful Dream Night Mask, $159
I’m such a fan of night masks, and this is no exception. Made by Kenzo, it comes in packaging that’s very Japanese Zen, with an image of a simple lotus flower (extracts of which are in the product). The scent is mild but beautifully fragrant, and very relaxing when applied at night. It’s in quite a wide shallow tub with a thick whipped-cream texture in a pale shade of pink. The first time I tried it, I scooped up too much and ended up rubbing it off during the night like a peel-off mask! Then I read the instructions and used just a thin layer and it was much better. I feel that these overnight masks often create a protective barrier as well, which is nice when sleeping in aircon, but it does need to be washed off in the morning.
It feels very rich but I use it every other night and don’t get any breakouts. It is promoted for all skin types and helps with anti-ageing, dullness and skin texture. Filled with natural products like mallow and lotus flower and antioxidants, as well as calming oat extracts, this is paraben- and sulphate-free, so it’s good for my sensitive skin.
The instructions are to use it for a month to see results, I think a lot of the positive results will be around getting a relaxing night’s sleep with the Zen fragrance and the bedtime ritual!
– Danielle Rossetti
#7 Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial, $60
I’ve only had this product for a week but I’m really enjoying it already. I’m such a fan of everything else in this range, including the toner and moisturiser, so I had no doubts this would impress me too. It simply smells delicious and has a yoghurt-like texture that’s unusual for a clay mask. I think the big bonus of this mask is that it’s made not only to tighten your pores but to keep your skin hydrated. You can feel the difference as soon as you put it on; it’s cooling and never fully dries within the five minutes. With other clay masks, my skin becomes mildly irritated and can’t move by the time I wash the mask off. With this, my skin instantly feels soft.
This has got to be one of the quickest masks you can do, with just a two-to-five-minute time frame. But that’s because it’s packed with loads of goodies like BHA and PHA, blueberry seed powder and hyaluronic acid. I do love a chemical exfoliate and the results I’ve had so far are really promising. I can’t wait to use it more on blackheads and dry skin.
If you need any more assurance, the product has a 4.5 rating on Sephora – how’s that for a glowing review?
– Michaela Bisset
This article first appeared in the January 2022 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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