As a full-time busy person, the concept of a 12- or even 10-step skin-care routine is daunting to me. Most nights, even five steps is pushing it after the necessary cardio and cooking and cleaning. For my super-truncated nightly routine, I’ve found that the right one or two products can make all the difference, which is why I never ever skip on this magically glow-inducing sleep mask.
You may have seen our coverage of Huxley before: the buzzy Korean beauty brand that relies on prickly-pear-seed oil from the Sahara Desert – an anti-inflammatory, brightening hydrator — as its base. I first tested their Good Night sleep mask when I was vacationing in France last month. And not to brag, but despite being sleep-deprived and drinking so much café crème, it was practically my blood type, you would never know it by my radiant skin.
A “sleep mask” isn’t a sheet mask, exactly, but a light, concentrated moisturizer you pat on before bed — of course, it’s big in Korea. Following my nighttime routine of micellar water, toner, and serum, a dime-size amount of this lightly floral-scented gel mask all over my face before bed helped me wake up looking like an angel — with plumper, visibly brighter skin, and noticeably less redness and irritation on my cheeks. This of course meant less concealer and layering before heading out the door, saving me more time (and steps!) in the a.m.
There’s a reason Huxley is the skin-care line of choice for Korean flight attendants, too, who spend much of their time at a high altitude. As a lightweight mask (bolstered with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin), I’ve found that it’s held up remarkably well for hydration and general skin benefits against other thicker nighttime salves I’ve tried. Personal favorites of mine from Shiseido, Murad, and Sisley Paris — which are all at least twice as expensive, I might add — couldn’t compare. Even Laneige’s famed Water Sleeping Mask was underwhelming next to the Good Night mask. On my routinely dry, reactive skin, I don’t know how I’ve ever done without it.
Other hydrating masks we love
Writer Maxine Builder was also in France last month, but turned to French skin care instead to soothe her acne-prone skin while she was traveling. She says that “sleeping masks often leave my skin greasy, albeit moisturized,” but after using this Sensibio Mask from Bioderma, she was “genuinely surprised by the practically instant results. My acne-marked skin was noticeably calmer and less inflamed, and my cheeks even seemed plumper, more hydrated than before.”
In the sheet-mask realm, Rio Viera-Newton likes these My Beauty Diary Masks for a skin pick-me-up. “This mask is deeply conditioning, and hydrates and soothes irritated skin. As someone who is constantly battling dry skin, eczema, and allergy-induced rashes, this face mask has been a total lifesaver.”
Korean-beauty blogger Sophie of MapleTreeBlog suggests this concentrated ginseng mask, too, if you want something moisturizing and brightening. “It honestly makes my skin glow and also adds a nice, soft plumpness to my skin. It’s perfect for winter, when my skin gets dull.”
And should you actually want a sheet mask that you might be comfortable falling asleep in? Korean-beauty blogger Tracy E. Robey says of these Papa Recipe Masks: “The hydrating, fairly thin essence smells like honey and slowly sinks in to plump up fine lines, takes care of dry flakes, and gives a glow. I have normal-to-oily skin that doesn’t require much masking, and I hate the feeling of a lot of masks, but I can leave Papa Recipe sheet masks on for 45 minutes and even fall asleep while wearing them because they’re so cozy.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.