Toni’s Comprehensive Guide to Face Masks

Welcome back to Tantalizingly Tasteful! A while back, I promised I’d review some face masks and it just never happened…


So without further adieu, I am pleased to introduce… *drum roll please*

Face Mask Guide Banner

Before I get started reviewing some masks, I want to explain how the guide is organized. I’m going to be sorting the masks by type, not by brand. This is because I am partial to particular types of face masks and formulas, not necessarily brand names. I will, however, share the names of the different brands and formulas I’ve used, as well as where you can find them if you want to try them, too.

Each type of mask will also receive a rating from me, measured by a Toni face mask face like the one below:


The highest rating will be five Toni face mask faces, while the lowest will be one.

I’m going to start with my least favorite type of face mask and work towards my favorite for no other reason but to save the best for last!

Lastly, I just want to make a note that all of my ratings are (obviously) based off of my own opinions and experiences. I do not have sensitive skin, nor is my skin prone to breakouts, so keep in mind that your experiences may be different based on your skin type!

So with all of that explained, let’s get to some reviews!


RATING: facemask

egg white peel off
Just one peel-off mask I’ve tried… Keep reading to learn more!

This may be a very unpopular opinion, but I can’t stand peel-off masks. There, I said it. Even though they’re all the rage on the Internet, I’ve never really seen results from peel-off masks.

Most brands promise that their masks will pull dirt and blackheads out of your skin, but use after use, I never see a difference. I never even see anything on the mask once I’ve pulled it off. My blackheads have stayed intact (which I theorize might be because my pores aren’t opened up enough for anything to actually be removed by anything) and, to be quite honest, my skin feels just about the same afterward.

Plus, application and removal are a total pain. At the beginning, I end up with face mask down my arm, on my chest, all over the sink… and God forbid you accidentally get some in your eyebrow! Yeah, that’s gonna hurt when you take it off. Forget about trying to peel the whole thing off in one go, too. Mine almost always break into a million pieces, making the process unnecessarily long and tedious.

All in all, I’m tired of trying peel-off masks. Definitely my least favorite type of mask.

Some formulas that I’ve tried:

  • Mistine Egg White Peel Off Mask, $10.50 at Amazon// This was probably my favorite peel-off mask. It goes on clear, which is cool, but still, results were minimal.
  • Freeman Beauty Sweet Tea & Lemon Peel Away Clay Mask, $4.29 at Ulta// Even though I’m usually a bigger fan of clay masks (I’ll get to those soon), this peel away mask was meant to pull gunk out of my pores and it just didn’t. Its only claim to fame was the fact that it looked like I had peanut butter on my face and my friend Alyssa tried to ban me from using it in our suite at school.
  • Daiso Japan Charcoal Peel Off Mask, $5.90 at Amazon// I was so excited to try a charcoal peel-off mask because people rave about them all the time, but I was really disappointed with the results. Nothing got pulled out and my face felt that same as it did before I applied the mask. Bummer. The only fun part was that it was pretty easy to pull off in one piece, so I was left essentially with a mold of my face. That was pretty cool.
  • Freeman Beauty Pomegranate Facial Revealing Peel-Off Mask, $4.29 at Ulta// This mask was super hard to put on (you need hella mask to actually ensure it peels off) and equally as hard to take off and still no results. Not worth.


RATING: facemask

sheet mask pack

Sheet masks have also been all the rage lately, but so far, I’m just not loving them. Sure, they’re great for when you’re in a pinch or just don’t have the time to dedicate to applying and removing another type of mask, but my experiences with sheet masks just haven’t blown me away.

They’re cold to the touch and actually pretty slimy. It almost feels like slapping a piece of bologna or ham on your face. The ones that I’ve used have actually smelled pretty good, but the results were minimal. My face did look slightly refreshed, but the masks left a kind of sticky, slimy residue, even after I rubbed the residual oils on. That leftover film really kept me from falling in love with sheet masks.

That being said, I’ve only tried one brand of sheet masks so far, so maybe I just haven’t tried the right one yet. I’ll keep testing them out, so fingers crossed for me! Make sure to recommend your fave to me, too, so you can point me in the right direction!

Update, Sept. 23, 2018: I finally tried a sheet mask that I love! The mask I tried was from Pacifica, which is one of my fave beauty brands. This one was thin and not as slimy (I’ll get into more details below!) which made it much more enjoyable than other sheet masks I’ve tried. Sheet masks are still not my favorite face mask formula, just because I don’t see a ton of results, but I think they’re really useful in a bind or while getting ready to go out. They’re definitely less of a time commitment than other types of mask, but I would definitely recommend looking for a thinner mask because it just feels better on the face.

Some formulas that I’ve tried:

  • Dermal Collagen Essence Full Face Facial Mask Sheet, Set of 16, $10.59 at Amazon// So far, I’ve only tried the Olive and Rose essence masks and the Rose one was better by far. It smelled amazing and wasn’t as sticky as the Olive, but it still didn’t blow me away.
  • Pacifica Disobey Time Rose & Peptide Facial Mask, $4.00 at Pacifica// Like I said above, this mask was a lot thinner than the other sheet masks I’ve tried, which actually made it feel more comfortable on my face. It molded quite well to my face and even had cute little hearts as the eye holes which made it really fun. I kept the mask on for 15 minutes and could feel it drying out by the minute, which was probably a good thing because it meant the essences were leaving the mask and absorbing into the skin. My skin looked glowy afterward, but was still a bit sticky. Even so, I definitely would recommend the mask and would use it again.


RATING: facemask facemask

bubbling oxygen mask
Yes, this is technically a sheet mask, but keep reading to see why I’m putting it in its very own category!

Bubble masks are actually pretty cool. They start off normal in the package, but once they’re on your face and exposed to oxygen, they start to form bubbles that start cover your entire face.

I really loved the way it felt– it was tingly, but in the best way possible! Soon enough, the bubbles took over my entire face and started to even drip down my face onto my chin and chest, so I wouldn’t exactly call this the cleanest face mask.

All of that being said, I wasn’t blown away by the mask’s results. It may have felt nice on, but my skin looked and felt only a little bit better than it did before the mask went on. Even so, the feeling and results were just enough for me to rank bubble masks above regular sheet masks.

Some formulas I’ve used:

  • Miss Spa Recover and Refine Oxygenating Bubble Facial Sheet Mask, $3.99 at Target// I decided to try this out one day while I was shaving my legs and, like I said above, I liked the way it felt, but before I knew it, I couldn’t see because of the bubbles!


RATING: facemask facemask facemask

Keep reading to get the recipe for this DIY coffee mask!

I really enjoy caffeine masks because they’re refreshing and rejuvenating. Basically, the caffeine wakes up your skin just like it does when you drink it.

There are so many different types, too, but even so, I thought caffeine masks should have their own category because they have their own particular refreshing qualities.

One caffeine mask that I tried was a DIY coffee mask meant to decrease the size of eye bags, which you might’ve seen me review on my Instagram stories. The other was a green coffee and berry exfoliating mud mask that combined the properties of both a facial scrub and a face mask.

Both of these masks smelled amazing and actually had pretty great results (especially the DIY one when it came to fixing my puffy under-eyes), but they were also super messy, which kept me from giving a higher rating.

Some formulas I’ve tried:

  • DIY Coffee Mask, recipe from Pinterest// I tried this mask because my friend Rebecca requested I try a DIY caffeine mask specifically for puffy eyes. The recipe calls for one tablespoon of organic coffee (I used Folger’s instant coffee even though it’s not organic just because I had it lying around), one tablespoon of honey or aloe vera gel (I used Olaxer’s Natural Aloe Vera Gel) and one tablespoon of vitamin E oil (I used JASON Vitamin E 5,000 IU All Over Body Nourishment Oil). The recipe says to mix it up, apply a thick layer under your eyes and then take it off after 15-20 minutes. I decided instead to put it on my whole face because why not? I was really happy with the way my skin felt (and even smelled!) afterward, but the clean up was really a pain in the neck. The mask got all over my clothes, arms, sink and counter. Still kind of worth it, though.
  • Formula 10.0.6 Be Berry Bright Exfoliating Mud Mask, $6.99 at Ulta// This was my go-to mask for a very long time, mostly because it was the only mask I had with me at school. It smells and feels amazing, but the biggest downfall is that it’s a hassle to remove and clean up.


RATING: facemask facemask facemask facemask

apricot face mask
I promise ths mask doesn’t look as orange as it looks on the box!

I find mud and clay masks to be very similar (and honestly, sometimes hard to decipher), so I decided to lump them together in one category. The first mask I ever used (which I’ll list below!) was a mud mask.

Mud and clay masks also come in different types. Some are meant to wash off, but some are peel-off (like the Sweet Tea & Lemon one I listed under peel-off).

Either way, I tend to really like the way mud and clay masks feel on my face. They’re usually pretty thick and very smooth. Most of them smell pretty good, too. And I’m almost always thrilled with the results. My face is glowing and my skin is smooth to the touch. What else is there to ask for?

Oh, yeah. An easy clean up. You can probably see that’s a big trend for me. Mud masks are so hard to clean up. I always end up covered in watered-down face mask gunk. Not exactly fun.

My only other complaint is that they often take longer to dry than the bottle prescribes, so I have to sit around with the mask on my face for longer than I originally planned. It’s much easier to remove the mask once it’s dry, so I just wait it out.

Overall, the positives of mud and clay masks really outweigh the negatives, so I still highly recommend them.

Some formulas I’ve tried:

  • Global Beauty Care Apricot Wash-Off Mask, $12.95 at Amazon// This has been one of my all-time favorite masks. It smells and feels great and I love the way my skin looks afterwards. The apricot has a very calming effect on my skin. The one thing I will say about this mask is that when I got it, it was $4.99 at Harmon Discount, and I’m really not convinced that it’s worth $12.95, but it seems like this particular formula is no longer being sold anywhere else.
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Mask, $14.45 at Ulta// I borrowed this mask from my cousin Yanna when we had a girls’ night once and I was really impressed by it. I knew that tea tree oil has amazing skin care qualities, but I had never actually used a tea tree oil mask. It definitely tingled (which is normal for tea tree oil). I’d equate it to the tingle you get in your mouth after using really minty toothpaste. The mask also went on super smooth and came off fairly easily (at least in comparison to other mud and clay masks I’ve used). I was also really happy with how alert and refreshed my skin looked.
  • Global Beauty Care Charcoal Wash-Off Mask, $4.99 at Harmon Discount// This is the very first mask I ever used. I remember when I first wanted to try a face mask, I went to Harmon Discount and my friend Grant, who worked there at the time, told me that this one was pretty popular. I tried it and really liked the way it went on and how it felt when I took it off. This mask, though, is probably the messiest mask I’ve used by far. Needless to say, there was residual charcoal everywhere. I still use it, though. In fact, I’ve probably bought it three or four more times since my initial purchase.
  • Freeman Beauty Charcoal Mud Mask, $1.99 at Ulta// I got this mask as a free sample from Her Campus Stony Brook and was so excited to try it because I’ve used Freeman Beauty masks before. It was so smooth going on, though I did have to keep it on longer than the package said because it just didn’t dry in 15 minutes. I was happy enough with the results, but this mask was also a pain to remove. Maybe it’s just a charcoal thing? I would use the mask again, but I still like the Global Beauty Care charcoal mask better.


RATING: facemask facemask facemask facemask facemask

gel masks

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about gel masks when I first tried them, but I ended up falling totally in love with them. They definitely feel a little funny and squishy, and it’s really trippy at first to see a clear face mask, but they feel pretty cool on your face.

They’re also super easy to take off your face! Finally!! I was thrilled with the easy clean up, which made me love it immediately. And the icing on the cake? My skin actually really felt and looked amazing. I love these masks. End of story.

Some formulas I’ve used:

  •  Global Beauty Care Premium Anti-Aging, Moisturizing, Pore Refining Gel Face Mask with Applicator, $12.99 at Amazon// I love Global Beauty Care and this set is no exception. So far, I’ve only tried the Moisturizing one, but like I said, I really loved the end result, plus it was so easy to put on with the applicator and it was simple to remove! Love this mask!


RATING: facemask facemask facemask facemask facemask

water gel mask
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I love this mask! Keep reading to see why.

So, here we are. We’ve reached my absolute favorite type of mask, the epitome of skin care, the leave-on mask. Ah yes, a face mask that you don’t have to wash off. Does it get any better than that?

I’ve tried two types of leave-on masks: a gel mask and a sleeping mask.

The two formulas are a little different, but they fall under the same category because you don’t have to worry about removing them.

The gel mask is my favorite in this category because it completely absorbs into your skin in about 20 to 30 minutes. It’s great for a quick refresh and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth, not tacky like you might expect.

The sleeping masks are awesome, too, because you put them on right before you go to bed, then shut your eyes and let them work their magic. When you wake up in the morning, the only thing that’s left is smooth skin. No residue on your body or pillows.

Seriously, I can’t hype up these leave-on masks enough. I’ve been so happy with how they feel, how they make my skin look and, of course, how there’s no clean up necessary! If you were going to only try one type of face mask from this list, I really hope it’s this one, because leave-on masks really require little work and leave your skin looking and feeling amazing.

Some formulas I’ve tried:

  • Freeman Beauty Hydrating Cactus & Cloudberry Water Gel Mask, $4.29 at Ulta// I just bought this mask and let me tell you, it’s already my new fave. It smells amazing and absorbs into the skin so fast. My skin was glowing when I was done. I was so happy!
  • Yes to Cucumbers Calming Sleeping Mask, $0.82 at Ulta, and Yes to Grapefruit Grapefruit Brightening Sleeping Mask, $2.99 at CVS// These sleeping masks are the bomb. Though they go one white, kind of like a cream, they don’t leave any residue on your skin or on your bed when you wake up in the morning. And they both smell so good! The cucumber one was so relaxing and really calmed down my skin. The grapefruit one had more of a tingle, which is to be expected with citrus, and made my skin look so awake the following morning. Also, Yes to’s sleeping masks come in these super easy to use satchels that are super mess-free. It’s a win-win.

And that’s all, folks! I will continue to update the guide as I try more face masks, so make sure to follow me on social media to be alerted when I do so. Let me know what you think of the guide, what face masks you try, and what you want to see from me next. I’d love to review more products and to try some of your product recommendations!




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