Top Rated Exfoliating Face Masks To Own Now

Shot of an attractive young woman getting a facial at a beauty spa

Exfoliating face masks are one of the newest members of the skincare family and are gaining popularity faster than the time it went for skinny jeans to go back out of style.

Face masks aren’t a product that should be used morning and night, but it is a product that is used weekly by many beauty gurus out there.

Before diving deep into the best exfoliating face masks on the market, we must first quickly go over the difference between all the different kinds because they are not all the same.

Face masks varify pretty drastically, and it is essential to know the difference to use them correctly and get the most benefit out of them.

There is no point in using an exfoliating face mask if you don’t know what it does and how it will benefit you.


My favorite masks at a quick glance

Cult Following The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
  • A 10-Minute Exfoliating Facial
  • Targets textural irregularities
  • Reduces signs of congestion
  • Targets uneven skin tone and signs of aging
  • PH 3.50 – 3.70
  • Cruelty-free
Andalou Naturals
Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mas
  • Gently dissolve and lift dull surface cells. Advanced fruit stem cells stimulate circulation and healthy cell renewal for even tone and texture, revealing a luminous complexion.
Best For All Skin Types Solution
exfoliating skin perfector

  • This solution uses a 10% blend of skincare acids to “unglue” dead skin and sweep it away so your complexion appears smoother, softer, and glowier
TULA – exfoliating treatment mask
  • Probiotic Extracts: help maintain skin balance
  • Bentonite & Kaolin Clay: detoxes & draw out oil, dirt & debris to improve the look of pores
  • Rice Extract: helps improve skin smoothness
  • Turmeric Root: provides antioxidant protection
Vegan Formula KORA Organics
Turmeric BHA Brightening Treatment Mask
  • This treatment mask addresses congested pores, sebum buildup, and the look of uneven skin texture and dullness. 
  • 97% saw a visible difference in skin appearing less oily, congested, and dull

What does an exfoliating mask do?

Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface to reveal a brighter complexion.

Exfoliating masks are a form of chemical exfoliation which draws out any surface debris that may clog pores, leaving skin brighter, smoother, and more even-toned.

Other benefits from exfoliating mask include:

  • Detoxes skin from impurties
  • Helps skin glow
  • Procidews skin with even skin texture
  • Brightens skin
  • Helps with signs of aging
  • Lightens hyperpigmentation
  • Minimize the appearance of pores
  • Sweeps away fine lines and wrinkles
  • Softens skin texture
  • Controls excess oil

How do exfoliating masks work?

Humans mimic snakes in the sense of shedding old skin and producing new skin underneath. This is done through the shedding of skin cells.

When this happens, smoother skin cells push their way up to the skin’s surface. Though, as you age, the rate at which your body sheds dull and dead skin cells begins to slow down.

Exfoliating helps speed up your skin’s shedding process, allowing the new skin cells to be visible, thus acting as an antiaging treatment.

Is exfoliating harmful?

This answer will depend 100% on you.

When choosing an exfoliant, make sure it matches your skin type and follow the directions carefully.

The dead skin cells come off through a chemical reaction with the exfoliating chemicals and are not just by the force of your rubbing motion. This is done by breaking down the intercellular glue that holds dead skin cells together.

The chemical reaction that forces the breakdown of old skin cells is safe and effective. Try to remember this when you’re rubbing on the product as to not put too much pressure on your skin.

How often should you use an exfoliating mask?

Each facemask will require different times per week you should use it.

Some will suggest once a week, and others will say you can do 2-3x per week.

If this isn’t clear by now, I’ll go ahead and repeat it as always, follow the product’s instructions.

Exfoliating Mask Vs Face Mask

The term mask is very vague and can confuse consumers because not all masks are the same.

When comparing a standard face mask to an exfoliating mask, there are differences between uses, types, and results.

exfoliating mask vs face mask

An exfoliating mask cleans your skin and removes impurities, where a face mask infuses skin with the nutrients it lacks and needs.

You can do a standard exfoliant before using a traditional face mask. Face masks are designed to deliver high concentrations of active ingredients to your skin and can be beneficial when paired with exfoliants.

If you choose to do an exfoliating mask, it is a good idea to pair it with a moisturizer of some sort.

The best exfoliating face mask for sensitive skin

Those with sensitive skin know how challenging it can be to find products that are right for their skin.

Exfoliates can cause some pretty irritating side effects—namely redness, itchiness, and tightness, and in some cases, breakouts can occur a few days later.

Because of this, people with sensitive skin will want to use the proper mask that is specifically made for sensitive skin.

In fact, chemical exfoliation (such as the kind used in the face masks) helps break the bonds between the cells, making the dead skin layer easier to wash away.

Start Slow

People with sensitive skin are going to want to start slow when using an exfoliating product. This is because starting slow will allow sensitive skin to build up an intolerance.

Use With Other Products

Everyone should follow this, but especially those with sensitive skin. Since you are exposing new and fresh skin, you want to make sure you wear SPF every day!

It is also important to moisturize right after an exfoliating mask so you can prevent dry or irritated skin.

The Best Masks For Sensitive Skin

Honest Beauty

honest beauty mask

Key Ingredients

  • Superfruits & Shea Butter help to provide moisture
  • Vitamin E nourish & replenish the skin
  • Black Currant Extract help revive stressed and tired skin

Formulated Without

  • Parabens, Phthalates, PEGs, Sulfates & Synthetic Fragrances

First time using its product, you should only keep it on for 5-10 min and then as you build up use, you can leave it on for up to 30 min.

Andalou Naturals

brightening mask


  • 100% vegetarian
  • Cruelty-free
  • Formulated without gluten, GMO, parabens, or synthetics

Key Ingredients

  • Pumpkin Puree a natural source of enzymes and AHAs; helps to brighten and smooth skin.
  • Vitamin C helps improve hyperpigmentation and dark spots, evens skin tone, and increases dermal circulation and healthy cell turnover.
  • Glycolic Acid gently exfoliates dead skin cells, smoothes wrinkles, and improves skin tone and texture.
  • Manuka Honey a by-product of bees pollinating the Manuka bush; is known to soothe, clarify and restore balance. Believed to have natural antibacterial properties.

Best Drugstore Exfoliating Face Masks

If you want to save a few bucks and get the best exfoliating face mask from your nearest drug store, I suggest a few of the following.

These are great for when you might run out in the middle of traveling and need to go run to grab something quick, or these options are great for those who are on a budget.

Insta Natural


  • Provides both physical and chemical exfoliation to refine the surface of the skin while supporting healthy cell renewal
  • Smooths and softens uneven, rough texture while deeply moisturizing to improve overall radiance
  • Reduces the look of enlarged pores and brightens the appearance of uneven and dull skin tone
  • Infused with Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C, Quartz Crystals, Pumpkin, and Turmeric
  • Free from parabens, sls/sles, mineral oil, formaldehyde releasers, synthetic dyes, petroleum, polyethylene glycol (PEGs), DEA/MEA/TEA, artificial fragrances, and unsafe preservatives
  • Vegan and cruelty free
  • Perfect for all skin types and can be used once or twice a week

This mask has a very pleasant smell to it which can’t be said for all exfoliating masks.

VitaminSea.beautyBlue Sea Kale Grapefruit Deep Pore Exfoliating Face Mask

Blue sea kale face mask


  • Clears away dead skin cells & blackheads
  • Instantly refreshes skin
  • Heals and clarifies
  • Not tested on animals

Key Ingredients

  • Blue Sea Kale is a marine plant with antioxidant powers that release your skin from harmful agents, leaving it healthier and more resilient
  • Grapefruit extract reverses the signs of free radical damage, like wrinkles, discoloration, and dulling complexion

I recommend using this at night followed by a hydrating night cram.

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