These exfoliating face masks will boost glow without damaging your skin barrier

Boost radiance and glow without damaging your skin barrier with these gentle but effective exfoliating face masks…

When it comes to boosting your skin’s radiance, exfoliation is key. Exfoliating acids (such as glycolic, lactic and mandelic acid) work by dissolving the dead cells that can sit on top of your skin, dulling your complexion and leading to congestion. Therefore, sloughing these skin cells off the surface and revealing the brighter skin beneath is crucial. 

While daily exfoliating acid toners are hugely popular, if you want an instant skin boost – an exfoliating face mask is even better. These hardworking masks work in mere minutes to give you a glowing, brighter complexion – as if you’ve just had a professional facial. But, they’re not always for everyone. Acid-packed face masks, while totally safe, can sometimes be too strong if, like me and the other 71% of adults, you’ve got more sensitised skin. This can lead to redness, increased sensitivity and a damaged skin barrier – which, unfortunately, I’ve suffered too many times. 

Luckily there are a whole host of powerhouse exfoliating face masks that won’t leave your skin compromised – while still packing a punch in the glow department. Keep scrolling for my edit of glow-boosting face masks that are suitable for even sensitive skin…

  • Drunk Elephant Bouncy Brightfacial

    With a supercharged blend of azelaic and salicylic acid, this glow-boosting masque clarifies deep into the pore, helping to brighten dull skin and fade areas of pigmentation. But unlike other formulas that can irritate more sensitised skin types, this rich mask is also enriched with marula, chia, fermented green tea and pumpkin seed oil, helping to replenish the skin so your complexion is left soft and radiant. 

    While it’s designed to be left on the skin, I find that it works brilliantly as a 20-minute mask – especially if your skin is on the more sensitive side. 

    Shop Drunk Elephant Bouncy Brightfacial at Space NK, £60

    buy now

  • Ameliorate Restorative Facial Mask

    Focusing on hydration, this radiance-boosting face mask is powered by the brand’s unique LaH6 skin hydration complex – a gentle lactic acid formula, plus hyaluronic acid. It works to plump skin with intense hydration while supporting surface cell renewal, targeting roughness and helping to improve overall skin texture.

    Shop Ameliorate Restorative Facial Mask at Lookfantastic, £22

    buy now

  • Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator

    This natural exfoliator is packed with botanical oils to soften and hydrate the skin, while jojoba beads work to lift away dull surface skin cells. Apply to damp skin and leave on for up to three minutes for an instant boost of skin radiance. 

    Shop Antipodes Reincarnation Pure Facial Exfoliator at Sephora, £25

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  • Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel

    Don’t let the word ‘peel’ put you off. This exfoliating face mask is perfect for those with sensitive skin types thanks to its gentle but effective papaya enzyme blend. The smooth cream peel gently exfoliates without abrasion or irritation. Plus, there’s added vitamin E to leave you with a smooth, moisturised and rebalanced complexion.

    Shop Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel at Lookfantastic, £36

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  • Kate Somerville Exfolijate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

    This is my favourite quick fix for radiant-looking skin. The formula is packed with powerhouse exfoliators and enzymes, which work quickly to remove dulling dead cells and uncover unrivalled radiance. The formula is potent – and while I find it completely fine on my more sensitised skin, I only leave it on for up to a minute (rather than the suggested two minutes). 

    Shop Kate Somerville Exfolijate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment at Cult Beauty, £24

    buy now

  • Perricone MD Chlorophyll Detox Mask

    If you’ve got blemish-prone skin, this detoxifying face mask is fab. It’s brimming with papaya enzymes – a natural exfoliator that helps to nibble away at dead surface skin cells, revealing the brighter skin beneath. Plus, nutrient-dense chlorophyll microcapsules purify and draw toxins away from the skin, leaving your complexion clarified and clear. Use weekly and apply for five minutes before washing away with warm water.

    Shop Perricone MD Chlorophyll Detox Mask at Lookfantastic, £61

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  • Soho Skin Detox Mask

    This mask is the closest you’ll get to a Soho Farmhouse facial at home. It’s packed with salicylic acid to help cleanse deep into pores and probiotics to help support skin cell renewal. Apply to damp skin for 10-15 minutes for an instant skin refresh. 

    Shop Soho Skin Detox Mask at Space NK, £60

    buy now

  • Summer Fridays Overtime Mask

    I love this mask for instantly boosting my skin when it’s feeling a little lacklustre. The formula is enriched with vitamin-rich pumpkin, apricot seed powder, oat kernel protein and vitamin E – giving a gentle exfoliation to dull and congested skin. Trust me, the glow is real. 

    Shop Summer Fridays Overtime Mask at Cult Beauty, £42

    buy now

  • Versed Photos Please Brightening Tightening Mask

    If you’re a fan of clay masks but often find them irritating, this is a great option. It’s made from mineral-rich red kaolin that draws impurities from clogged pores and absorbs sebum, while turmeric works to revive dull skin. If your skin is on the top end of the sensitive spectrum, the key is to not let it dry on your face. Apply to damp skin and leave it on for up to 10 minutes max, before washing away with warm water. 

    Shop Versed Photos Please Brightening Tightening Mask at Lookfantastic, £9.50

    buy now

Images: courtesy of brands

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