The Best Drugstore Face Mask – 2018 Reviews & Top Picks

In our commitment to help you find the best drugstore products, we’ve reviewed 5 of the best drugstore face mask products. The facial masks in this list were carefully picked based on their effectiveness in cleansing and hydrating your skin. We believe these products deserve a permanent place in your beauty arsenal.

When you’re busy or are on a budget, the last thing that you’ll think about is going to your favorite facialist to have a much-deserved facial treatment.

But when you’ve got no time and even less money, there’s one way to get that spa-like feeling at home, and that’s through the use of a good old drugstore face mask.

It’s easy to get swayed by the trendiest brands when they’re churning out pricier masks with special or exotic ingredients (think snail mucus).

But when it comes to effectivity, often, our mom’s (or even our grandmother’s) favorite mud-like formula from the corner drugstore will do just fine to clean our pores and give it that back-from-the-spa glow.

Here’s our list of the top 5 best drugstore face masks.


Quick Overview: The Top 5 Best Drugstore Face Masks

OUR TOP #1 PICK - Making it to the top of our list of the best drugstore face mask is Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay. This pore cleansing formula can be prepared in different ways to give you the deepest clean.

OUR TOP #2 PICK - Number two on our list is St. Ives Nourished & Smooth Face Scrub and Mask. We love it because it can be used as a scrub and a mask, and it gently cleans and moisturizes the skin.

OUR TOP #3 PICK - Our third pick, L’Oreal Paris Skin Care Pure Clay Mask in Detox and Brighten revives dull, tired skin and gives it a glowing look.

OUR TOP #4 PICK - Our next entry is a classic face mask that has been a favorite for decades. Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque deep cleans pores to give you a healthy looking complexion.

OUR TOP #5 PICK - Last but not the least is Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask. It has a blend of exfoliating and oil-absorbing ingredients that leaves you with soft, fresh skin.

Why Should You Use a Facial Mask?

When people think about face masks, what comes to mind is images of women lolling about in a spa, or a bunch of teenage girls trying different beauty treatments at a sleepover.

While some may think that using a mask is unnecessary to keep one’s skin smooth and healthy, that extra 10 to 20 minutes spent using the right face mask may do wonders for your complexion.

A face mask is one of many beauty products that you never knew you needed until you see the benefits.

For one thing, it can absorb excess oil, deep clean pores, and prevent the occurrence of pimples. Some masks can even calm acne prone or irritated skin.

Other face masks deeply hydrate skin and added moisture might result in fewer lines and wrinkles over time.

Some masks exfoliate and stimulate blood circulation, and you’re left with softer, smoother, and brighter skin. Other masks can even lighten skin if they contain whitening ingredients.

Finally, one of the best reasons why you should use a face mask is that it’s very relaxing.

Some masks include essential oils that can be rejuvenating and calming, so just sitting still, breathing in the scent of refreshing oils while waiting for the mask to work its magic can be a great stress reliever.

How to Choose The Best Drugstore Face Mask for You

Walking down the aisles of your favorite drugstore can be an overwhelming experience when you’re trying to find a product that suits your needs.

With the many different kinds of facial masks available, it can be quite challenging to pick the right one for your skin.

The first thing you have to do is to consider your skin type. If you’ve got oily skin, pick a mask that addresses that problem. Most masks that are made to prevent acne are also good for oily skin.

These masks are usually of the “mud” or “clay” variety, so pick one that says that on the package.

Meanwhile, a mask for dry skin will have the words “nourishing,” “moisturizing,” or “hydrating” on it and will often have collagen as its main ingredient.

Masks for dry skin will also work for aging or mature skin, but make sure that it has ingredients such as natural oils or shea butter to moisturize skin.

If there are testers, spread a bit on your wrist and see that it doesn’t leave a stinging sensation.

It’s also a good idea to sniff it to make sure that it doesn’t have an off-putting scent.

How to Use a Face Mask

The one thing that turns some people off from using a face mask is the fact that it can get messy, so you need to have all the materials at hand, plus adequate time to get the mask on, let it sit, and rinse it off thoroughly.

It’s probably best to apply the mask in the bathroom over the sink to minimize the chances of the goop getting in places that you don’t want it, like you bedroom wall.

First, gather everything that you need.

You’ll need a hair tie, a head band, the mask, a timer (or your phone), a washcloth, and a soft, clean towel.

Start by tying your hair back. Use the head band to secure bangs or any other wayward pieces of hair, as you don’t want the mask to get stuck to your tresses.

Next, wash your face. Use a mild cleanser to get dirt, oil, and makeup off your face.

Pat your face dry with the towel, making sure that your skin is completely dry before applying the mask.

Now, it’s time to smooth on the face mask.

Apply an even layer on your forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, and neck. Make sure to avoid the eye area, the nostrils, and your lips.

Check out the instructions on the packaging and see how long you need to leave it on.

Don’t go beyond the recommended time, as it’s likely that the mask can irritate your skin with prolonged use.

Set the timer or your phone’s alarm to the recommended length of time to let the mask dry.

Use the time to leaf through a magazine and have a few sips of wine or tea. The idea is to unwind, so you might as well do something relaxing while you’re doing a beauty treatment.

Some masks will harden, while some will give you that pulling, tightening feeling on your skin. This sensation is completely normal, so don’t panic.

When it’s time to remove the mask, use lots of water to take off the mask. You can also use a wet washcloth to wipe off the goop.

Follow it up with a toner and moisturizer. There—you just had your first at-home beauty treatment!

You can use the mask once a week to deep clean or hydrate your face.​

Product Reviews: Our Top 5 Best Drugstore Face Mask



Our Rating

Containing 100% pure bentonite clay, this product made it to the top spot on our list of the best drugstore face mask for its deep-cleansing and skin tightening properties.

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay’s main ingredient, bentonite clay, is sourced from Death Valley, California.

It is dried for up to six months in sizzling temperatures, and when added to the mask, the clay does wonders to dry up and heal pimples and blackheads.

There are several ways to prepare the healing clay before using it as a face mask, and while it can be mixed with warm water, we chose to use it with raw apple cider vinegar and apply it to our face and neck with a mask brush.

After a few minutes, we felt a pulling and tightening sensation, which meant that the mask was working to draw out impurities from our face.

We rinsed the mask off after 20 minutes, and our oily skin looked fresher and brighter.

Even the acne on our chin appeared to be less swollen than it was before we used the mask.

Sensitive skin may experience a bit of redness or irritation, so make sure to leave the mask on for no more than five minutes if you have this skin type.

What We Like

  • check
    Improves oily skin
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    May help heal and prevent acne

What We Don't Like

  • May be too drying for normal to dry skin
  • May cause redness or irritation



Our Rating

This product made it the second spot on our list of the best drugstore face masks because it can be used as a mask and as a facial scrub.

This mask/scrub hybrid contains oatmeal, which soothes irritated skin. It also softens while gently cleansing your skin.

Honey moisturizes and is particularly good for dry, itchy skin, while walnut shell powder is a natural abrasive and exfoliant that deeply cleans pores to give you clear skin.

We tried using this product both ways to see if this would give us optimum results. As a scrub, it’s soft and mild and not as abrasive as other exfoliants.

To use it as a mask, we spread an even layer on our face and left it on for five minutes before rinsing.

It left us with soft skin, but the granules can get into the eyes, so use this product with caution.

What We Like

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    Can be used as a scrub and a mask
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    Leaves skin soft

What We Don't Like

  • Granules may get into the eyes



Our Rating

L’Oreal Paris has three variants of its Pure Clay Mask product line, but we chose Detox and Brighten for its purifying effects. 

Dull and tired skin has met its match with this mask.

It contains magnetic black charcoal, which draws out impurities such as oil, dirt, and makeup.

It also has three different types of clay—kaolinite, montmorillonite, and ghassoul.

Kaolinite clay absorbs oil and has a purifying effect, while montmorillonite balances skin.

Meanwhile, ghassoul softens skin and regulates the pores’ oil secretion.

We used this mask after a week of spending time in the city, and it left our skin feeling velvety soft and smooth.

It also seems like the mask pulled out all the dirt and pollution that skin can get due to urban living.

We love that this mask is gentle enough to be used three times a week, and our skin looked luminous.

The only drawback is that it may cause breakouts, so it’s probably best to use this only once a week.

What We Like

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    Has a pleasant scent
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    Makes skin soft and radiant

What We Don't Like

  • May cause breakouts



Our Rating

Queen Helene has been in business since the 1930’s, and this mask has become an iconic fixture in American women’s beauty routines since then.

This thick, green mask contains kaolin clay, which draws out skin’s excess oil, dirt, and other pollutants.

Bentonite clay absorbs oil and keeps pores clear, while glycerine moisturizes skin by drawing water from the air into the skin’s outer layer.

We applied this mask with our fingers and left it on for 15 minutes. As it hardened, the mask began to crack, but this is a typical occurrence when using this product.

After rinsing, we noticed that our pores looked clean, and it imparted a minty fresh feeling.

It can be a bit much for sensitive or dry skin, so it’s best to leave it on for less than 10 minutes if you have this skin type.

What We Like

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    Has a refreshing, minty scent
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    Tightens pores and freshens skin

What We Don't Like

  • May be drying for sensitive and dry skin



Our Rating

Getting the last spot on our list is Freeman Facial Charcoal & Black Sugar Polish Mask, which contains charcoal and fruit extracts.

Activated charcoal absorbs skin impurities, while black sugar scrubs away old skin cells to reveal soft and clear skin.

It also has banana fruit extract, which may improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Coconut extract hydrates skin, while papaya fruit extract removes impurities and may even help lighten acne marks and sun spots.

This thick, black paste has a sweet scent, and it wasn’t drying at all. The only caveat is that the fruit extracts may cause irritation, so check if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients listed.

What We Like

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    Contains fruit extract
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    Moisturizes skin

What We Don't Like

  • May cause skin irritation

The Bottom Line

For its deep cleansing and acne-fighting properties, Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is the clear winner of our roundup of the best drugstore face masks.

It dries and heals pimples, and it even draws out dirt and impurities from pores, leaving skin clear and smooth.

We love how this mask can be prepared in different ways, and how it thoroughly cleanses our skin.

This mask, and the other four products on this list, may help you get spa-quality clean skin in the comforts of your home.

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