I’ll get this out of the way first: Men, there is no reason you can’t use just any sheet mask. The (typically) paper masks are soaked in serum and, depending on the ingredients, putting them on your face for 15 minutes after a quick wash can help with everything from dehydration and acne to redness and signs of aging. Beyond the visible payoff, it’s also a very effective way to force yourself to relax for a few minutes. If they’re good enough for Cristiano Ronaldo, Chris Pratt, and Diddy, they’re good enough for you.
As a men’s grooming editor, I’m well aware of the benefits of sheet masks — and I’ve seen a spike in new masks made, or at least marketed, specifically for men (many with bro-y names I’d rather forget). New developments like biocellulose masks and the male-centric charcoal saturation have seemingly created an arms race between brands competing to create the ultimate dude mask. Male masking is so big, I devoted an entire chapter to the topic in my upcoming book, Self-Care for Men (and yes, I did mask a lot while I wrote it).
When formulated correctly, masks for men aren’t just a marketing gimmick — some say male skin is 25 percent thicker than women’s, with larger pores that secrete more oil. Also: beards, which are the bane of any man trying to get a mask selfie, because sheet masks do not stick to even the slightest scruff. After trying hundreds of masks, a handful of which are made with men in mind, I’ve concluded that these eight are the best you can buy for practically any situation.
My favorite all-around sheet mask
I didn’t want to like the Jaxon Lane Bro Mask (that name!), but it turned out to be one of the only sheet masks I tried that had been holistically designed with men in mind. It tackles every issue I have as a male sheet-mask user. It comes in two parts, which allows you to use only the top half if you have a beard. And unlike others I’ve tried, this one actually fits my whole face. The mask isn’t made of paper, but rather a thick hydrogel that hugs my face closely and doesn’t slip even when I walked around my apartment with it on (I’ve found that if your face is wet, it adheres less well, so dry off completely).
The cool gel also makes the mask incredibly refreshing — a bonus in a formula full of active ingredients that creates a slight tingle when applied. The ingredients are formulated for typical men’s issues, like redness, sun damage, dehydration, and breakouts. Like some others, it uses green tea, but also includes niacinamide (a powerful acne-fighting version of vitamin B3), collagen for anti-aging, and antioxidants like ginger and licorice root. I truthfully didn’t want to take the mask off, it felt so good, but after I did, my skin was noticeably more hydrated and calm. I’d use it every day if I could.
My favorite special-occasion sheet mask
For me, this is another near-perfect mask for men. It comes in two parts (so you don’t have to use the bottom if you have a beard), is made from thick biocellulose that’s never left sticky paper fibers on my face (the way cheaper masks can), and it imparts crazy moisture without being sticky. And the hydration lasts four or five days after using it. It’s like the ultimate post-hangover reviver. At $20 a mask, it’s incredibly expensive, so I save it for the most special occasions.
My favorite budget sheet mask
The good thing about sheet masks is that they’ve become so ubiquitous that you can find them anywhere, even your local drugstore or big box. The bad news is that, for that same reason, there are a lot of terrible ones out there. I fell in love with this one from Korean beauty–inspired brand Sweet Chef because it’s very gentle and contains some naturally derived ingredients like aloe for soothing and kale extract for antioxidants. It’s become one of my go-to masks during or after travel, when my skin needs extra hydration. My only gripe is that it’s on the smaller side, but there is lots of extra serum to smear onto my whole face after using it.
My favorite sheet mask for dry skin
This two-part hydrogel mask is infused with an oil-based serum of Amazonian ingredients like copaiba resin oil, pracaxi oil, and andiroba oil. Men tend to think their skin is oily, so they don’t often use oil-based products. But lots of men have dry skin and don’t realize it, in which case oils are perfect. Good oils, like the one in this mask, won’t make your skin more oily. In fact, they can help curb the production of excess sebum. This one is a win-win, no matter which end of the spectrum you land on.
My favorite sheet mask if you have a beard
Another man-specific mask, this HeTime mask is shaped more like a Batman cowl than a Jason mask. For guys with facial hair, it covers more skin than just the top half of a split mask, so you don’t feel bad about wasting the bottom part. As a bonus, it’s cut big — almost too big for my face, which is a rare but good problem to have. I found that even though I don’t have a beard, the moringa-rich serum helps perk up my skin when it’s looking dull and tired.
My favorite deep-cleaning sheet mask
I picked up this mask on a trip to the drugstore as a substitute for my usual peel-off; I find sheet masks to be slightly more gentle if you want to deep-clean often. The activated charcoal in this mask soaks up excess oil but isn’t drying or irritating like some other charcoal products, maybe due to the soothing aloe extract. It helped minimize my blackheads almost as well as my favorite peel-off and definitely made my skin feel clean without that tight, squeaky feeling. The package had more serum than I expected, which is handy for smearing on my face after I finish masking to add extra hydration.
My favorite pick-me-up sheet mask
I found myself reaching for this biocellulose mask again and again when I felt run down and needed a little pick-me-up. The cocktail of marine ingredients like algae and seaweed made my skin feel immediately hydrated and brighter, which makes this mask one of my favorites for morning masking or an afternoon boost when I’m feeling sluggish. It has a minty scent, which perked me up without irritating my skin. While this mask doesn’t come in two parts, it’s big enough to cover my whole face and the biocellulose stuck well to short stubble, though it didn’t stick as well to my brother’s longer whiskers.
My favorite all-purpose sheet mask
If you’re a male sheet-mask newbie, this sheet mask is a great place to start. It has gentle exfoliation from alpha hydroxy acid (men don’t need to exfoliate as much as women, due to shaving), hyaluronic acid to hydrate, and ceramides to help reinforce the skin’s natural barrier (something that can also become compromised due to shaving). Even with all those fancy ingredients it doesn’t tingle and leaves skin feeling fresh and bright.
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