Face masks—hydrating, perfecting, toning, exfoliating, what have you—are great, particularly because they're one of those things that forces me to sit still for 20 minutes and chill out. But often, the times that I am most desperately in need of a skin boost are also the times I am least likely, or able, to spend any time primping: When my skin is ropey, it is usually a sign that I am sleeping too little, working too much. So, with no further ado—because we've all got schedules to keep—here are the face masks that work in less than eight minutes, or roughly the time it takes to half-heartedly shave your legs.
RADIANCE: La Mer Intensive Revitalizing Mask (8 minutes)
I’m starting with the newest of the bunch—La Mer's Intensive Revitalizing Mask is brand spanking new and is promoted as an “8-minute miracle' product. Which, like a lot of La Mer things, is actually true. With grapefruit and mint, it is immediately refreshing, but with a rich texture, it is simultaneously luxurious and relaxing. Ingredients like kelp help to improve skin’s barrier strength and promote elasticity, while La Mer’s celebrated and mysterious Miracle Broth results in the plumping and revitalizing effects that the brand is best known for. I sort of can’t believe that anything makes my face look so good so fast, and you don’t even need to rinse it off—just massage in any excess product after eight minutes and you’re done.
MOISTURIZING: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask (5 minutes)
Because I’m British, I hoard products that relate to tea. Along with being patriotically appropriate and delicious, tea is a caffeinated antioxidant containing B and C vitamins. Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask contains all of that, combined with super-hydrating Jicama root juice, which means that it is intensely moisturizing. I keep mine in the fridge for ultimate refreshment and then I use it in the mornings to calm my puffy face and GLOW.
ENERGIZING: Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask (5 minutes)
I'm a little perplexed as to the chemical logistics of this mask—after you apply and wait a few minutes, it all foams up, releasing antioxidants and vitamin C into your skin—but based on Bliss’s celebrated in-house facial, I'm totally in, no questions asked. Consider it a quick-fix treatment to stop you looking like you’re on your deathbed. It’s especially effective post-travel for airplane-drained skin. Plus, it makes your face look like a cappuccino before you rinse it off. Delicious.
EXFOLIATING: Nude Miracle Mask (5 minutes)
I’m not a fan of harsh facial exfoliators because they can end up causing micro-tears in your face that leaves it susceptible to inflammation and infection (hello, breakouts!). The closest I get to a scrub is a konjac sponge, and the rest of the time I rely heartily on gentle AHAs. With glycolic acid, hibiscus extract AHAs, and rice beads, Nude makes sure that, within a few minutes, your skin is subject to a triumvirate of active ingredients that slough away dead skin cells and leaves your skin soft, polished, and clear.
CLEANSING AND CLARIFYING: Sisley Radiant Glow Express Mask (3-5 minutes)
As I’ve harped on about before, Sisley is my go-to for luxe skincare and their Radiant Glow Express Mask never leaves the side of my bathtub; it’s my salvation in times of crisis, and is what I use through the eternal marathon of fashion weeks to stop me looking completely haggard. The combination of red and white clays means that it’s super-cleansing and absorbs excess sebum (T-Zone problems, sorted) but it’s also gentle enough to be used frequently because it’s moisturizing rather than drying. And a little goes a long way, so even if the tube looks little and pricey, one of them lasts bloody ages.
BRIGHTENING: Ren Flash Rinse One Minute Facial (1 minute!)
Seriously, one minute. It takes one minute. You massage the product onto dry skin and then, with damp fingertips, massage again which activates the Ascorbic Acid’s Vitamin C (promoting collagen synthesis and evening tone). Leave it for—you guessed it—one minute. Rinse. Because it’s got Boswellic Acid in it, it is an anti-inflammatory and minimizes fine lines, but ultimately it leaves your complexion bright and rejuvenated. It takes longer to brew a cup of tea. Winner.
—Olivia J. Singer
Photographed by Tom Newton.