Chicago in the winter is a unique, chilly hellscape. The air is so cold it physically hurts and the sky manages to get dark by 4 p.m. As someone who watches too many beauty vloggers, I’ve found that skincare during the winter is equally hellacious: If my skin is dry, why am I still breaking out? Why do I feel like a lizard?
As winter attempts to zap every last ounce of moisture and joie de vivre from us all, I’ve found face masks to be a cheap, soothing alternative for those times when it’s so cold that I want to physically peel my face off. Here are some of my favorite face masks and skin care hacks, all for 10 dollars or less:
There are no such thing as secrets with a good charcoal mask: Every last bit of dirt, eye makeup from New Year’s Eve, and other holiday skin sludge will be brought to the surface. Almost like a magnet, charcoal helps minimize your pores by pulling the dirt out of them. It can also help rid your skin of excess oils and treat acne. My favorite thing about this particular mask is that you can feel a slight tingling sensation as dirt and oil are drawn out of your pores. Plus, it’s formulated without parabens or silicone.
It seems like in 2017 we were all chasing “satisfaction,” whether that be through slime videos or ASMR haircuts. For me, satisfaction comes in the form of a peel-off mask. I love gently picking at filmy layers of skincare product. This pomegranate mask delights me because it smells delicious and when applied, the mask is a faint iridescent pink — the sort that makes you feel like a glam diva from a far-away galaxy. The pomegranate oil found in this mask helps to revitalize tired skin. It also “helps fight wrinkles and keeps skin as young and elastic as possible,” according to Target.
Billed as “the most romantic mask ever” on the packaging, Kocostar’s Tulip Sheet Mask provides a visual and sensory experience. The mask comes in 12 individual tulip-shaped pieces that are coated with a moisture-boosting serum. You can apply the pieces on top of “problem areas” (read: dry or acne prone) and revel in the sheer glamour of being covered in petals. This mask is especially great for moisture-starved winter skin. The mask is also available in rose —rose is believed to help cell regeneration — or sunflower, which helps improve skin elasticity.
Mario Badescu’s rosewater facial spray has garnered a cult following. Badescu’s website says, “our cult-favorite facial spray helps revive dehydrated skin anytime, anywhere.” Similar to micellar water (where tiny balls of cleansing oil molecules are suspended in soft water), this hydrating facial mist can be used to set your makeup or show your dry skin some love after a long day. This spray works with all skin types. You can also spritz it in your hair or use it to dampen your makeup brushes.
Combine the soothing scent of lavender and the whimsy of looking like a cartoon panda, and get ready to relax. This mask helps moisturize your skin; the lavender acts as a calming agent. The Pretty Animalz masks are basically the adult version of those paper plates that looked like zoo animals. Plus, it combines two of the greatest things this world has to offer: Skincare and pandas.