These face masks are following us around the internet, but are they any good?

Photo: Rachel Goodwin MakeUp

From clay masks to foil sheets, we tried Instagram’s favourite face masks to see if they live up to the hype

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By Elle Turner on

The other week, I received an email from my editor, Cate: “So, I am constantly being advertised face masks on Instagram and Facebook and it kinda drives me crazy, simply because I see the same ones over and over again. THEY WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE.” To be fair, she has a point. It feels like a day doesn’t go by without a face-masked celeb popping up on our feeds.

It started off with Lady Gaga uploading a picture showing herself hidden beneath a white, serum-soaked sheet mask (complete with sunglasses over the top – because, Hollywood). Next, Victoria Beckham followed suit, revealing her pre-Cannes red-carpet beauty routine to her loyal followers. Trussed up in a white dressing gown, tin-foil face mask (and, of course, sunglasses), she named Estée Lauder’s PowerFoil Mask as a “beauty must!”. Emma Stone’s make-up artist got in on the act, too, posting a photo of the actor before the Golden Globes complete with a curious-looking jelly lip mask (similar to this one). Diane Kruger shared her admirable at-home beauty ritual, which involves Chanel’s £105 Firming Anti-Wrinkle Flash Eye Revitaliser eye masks and a glass of vino (oh, how the other half live). And, self-confessed #beautyjunkie Drew Barrymore took to the ’gram to wax lyrical about Hanacure’s All-In-One Facial mask. “When you take it off, you are 10 years younger,” she professed.

It’s not just celebs that have been going bonkers on the internet for face masks, though. For beauty brands, Instagram is a prime space for showing and growing the hype around their products. But before even thinking about the formula inside, the packaging has to be able to draw in crowds. It’s something that Insta-favourite skincare brand Summer Fridays uses to its advantage. The brand’s Jet Lag Mask has a cult following, thanks, in part, to the pretty pale blue tube it comes in. “No matter how good the product is, if it doesn’t look good, it’s not getting posted [to Instagram],” says co-founder Marianna Hewitt (who has a personal following of over 830,000). Likewise, Australian brand Sand & Sky’s Brilliant Skin Purifying Pink Clay Mask only took off once beauty influencers started sharing it on their accounts. The hashtag #SandAndSky currently has over 16.8k posts. Though professing to be the ultimate pore unclogger, its success is undoubtedly helped by its photogenic shade of millennial pink.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with products that look good on an Instagram grid, but the question is, do they really work? We gave them a try.


Vital statistics: Celebrity fans include Victoria Beckham. The hashtag #PowerFoilMask has almost 1.5k posts, while #EsteeLauder has over 1.7m posts.

What to know? This serum-infused foil mask works quickly – you only need to leave it on for 10 minutes and the hydrating ingredients get to work moisturising and brightening. The mask’s split into two halves (a section for your chin up to just above your lip and a section for your forehead, down to your nose) which makes it easier to apply as there’s less excess fabric flapping around. Be warned though, you will look like a Doctor Who villain and you will scare your partner/housemates. But, the foil texture actually does serve a purpose. Namely: it creates a protective barrier to allow the ingredients to sink in better and it locks moisture in place.

Does it deliver? At £17 a pop, it ain’t cheap and, truth be told, it won’t give you a new face. It will, however, see off dry, patchy skin and leave your face feeling super soft


Vital statistics: Seen on every influencer and their dog, the hashtag #PinkClayMask has over 7.9k posts, while #SandAndSky has over 16.7k posts.

What to know? You’ve probably seen this mask around – Instagram is rampant with users uploading pics, and YouTube is littered with tutorials of the stuff. It works like traditional clay masks, sucking (or absorbing) the grime and dirt from your pores. The idea is that it retextures skin, getting rid of the bumpy, dead, top layer, which makes it look smooth and fresh. And it does do this. However, it dries up in the pot very quickly, which means if you don’t use it up fast, you may be left trying to claw flaky dried out lumps on to your cheeks, rather than the smooth, petal-pink fluid you’d probably be expecting.

Does it deliver? While the pink does add a touch of glamour to proceedings in comparison to the more traditional grey and black clay masks, £39.90 is a lot of money to spend on a mask that is largely made up of clay (an ingredient that is literally common as muck).


Vital statistics: Celebrity fans for lip masks include Emma Stone, who’s aforementioned Golden Globes picture generated over 6.7k likes. I tried Rodial’s version. #Rodial has over 36.4k posts.

What to know? I consider myself a prime candidate for this, since, as of late, my lips have been bone dry and flaky. As masks go, this one’s pretty unobtrusive (despite the fact you need to apply it slap bang across your mouth). You’ll be pleased to hear there’s a decent-sized hole in the middle, which means you can breathe unimpeded (very important). Chatting’s an issue. You won’t be able to do that. But it’s less gooey and runny than lots of other masks I’ve tried, which means you could sit at your desk with it on, should you choose. My biggest gripe with it, though, is that it’s fiddly as anything to apply. As soon as you’ve smoothed out the top lip, the bottom lip tangles into a squidgy mess.

Does it deliver? Having used it last night, my lips are already less craggy than they were and, for £6, I wouldn’t mind splashing out occasionally. I’m still reliant on my lip balm, though.


Vital statistics: Celebrity fans include Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba. The hashtag #JetLagMask has over 1.6k posts, while #SummerFridays has over 66.2k posts.

What to know? This looks exactly like the sort of sleek, simple packaging that Scandi dreams are made of. That said, personally, I’m not keen on the smell (bit musty, little bit minty), but the ingredients are both natural and vegan and include vitamin C (brightening), niacinamide (clarifying) and green tea (soothing). The mask itself comes out as a fairly thick, white paste, but can be spread into a thin layer as a moisturiser before make-up or as a thick mask to leave on overnight.

Does it deliver? Though it’s fairly expensive, it does provide an antidote to dull, knackered skin and it will leave your face feeling softer and smoother.

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Photo: Rachel Goodwin MakeUp
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