Is a $9 Mask Better Than a $165 Face Mask?

Face masks are available at every price point. But is it really worth splurging? We road tested masks from Swisse, Alkira, Designer Brands, Lancer and more – to save you money and time.

The world is tentatively tipping its toes back into social life as lockdown laws ease across Australia and the world.

This means, that after months of seeing nobody but families or housemates, the whole world is waiting – and our skin needs to get in line.

These face masks are the perfect saviour; designed to purify, reset and refresh the skin. Some help clear the complexion, perfect for that iso-skin, while others help lift and brighten, ideal for achieving a fresh-faced look.

And while it’s no secret that you often get what you pay for in terms of quality products, is it really worth spending exuberant amounts of money? Or does a lower cost dupe work just as well?

The Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate Sheet Mask, RRP $9.00

Ideal for: Anti-Ageing

Sheet masks are one of the superior face-mask options, simply because of their convenience: they’re easy to apply, easy to wash off the face and they hardly ever leave a messy residue.

This anti-ageing mask from The Body Shop is no exception, and even better than others – it’s biodegradable, meaning both your skin and the planet will be thanking you later.

Once pulled out of the pack, the mask was literally dripping and heavy with product.

Infused with plant stem cells of edelweiss, criste marine and sea holly from the Italian Alps and the Brittany Coast, this mask leaves skin feeling soft, hydrated and refreshed.

Likely because of this infusion, the scent is similar to aloe-vera or another plant, but mixed with a slight chemical undertone– which is not ideal for sensitive noses.

Nevertheless, it was instantly cooling to the touch, sticking seamlessly to my face and only requiring a few touch ups mid 15-minute treatment.

Unlike other sheet masks, it also fit perfectly, and with no overhang or skin left uncovered.

After removing the mask, plenty of product still remains on the skin, making for a luxurious-feeling serum that seamlessly moisturizes into the face.

Swisse Blood Orange Brightening Clay Mask, RRP$20.99

Ideal for: Dull, tired skin

From the beloved vitamins brand Swisse comes their new range of makeup and skincare products – and just like their vitamins, these products are just as quality.

Enriched with yellow Australian Clay and active botanicals such as papaya fruit extract, turmeric and ginseng, this is a creamy treatment that left my skin feeling soft and renewed.

Swisse face masks
Everyone’s favourite vitamin brand Swisse has launched an amazing range of new beauty products.

With a creamy, clay texture, this mask was easy to apply and hardened with minutes. While the bright yellow colour from the inclusion of soothing turmeric doesn’t stain the skin, it did leave some residue on the bathroom vanity – so take care not to spill.

After, the face was left naturally brightened by the presence of Ginseng, while tired skin was rejuvenated and revitalised from Niacinamide, which helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and uneven skin tone.

Designer Brands Lift & Glow Glutathione Sheet Mask, RRP$8.99

Ideal for: Dull and tired skin

The Designer Brands Lift & Glow Glutathione Sheet Mask offers a one-time treatment that left my skin feeling soft, brightened and revitalised.

Don’t expect a glittering, gold mask based off the packaging – I was a little surprised by the jet-black mask that unfolded.

Is a $9 face mask better than a $165?
A great, affordable alternative from Designer Brands

Nevertheless, this mask was literally dripping in Glutathione and Liquorice Root Extract, the wetness of the sheet mask sticking easily to a dry face as it sets for 15 minutes.

While it’s unclear if skin was “lifted” after the one use, there was definitely a noticeable glow, thanks to the antioxidant-rich formula.

An added feature was that after peeling back the mask, a noticeable amount of serum remained, able to be moisturized and soaked into the skin.

Alkira Lilly Pilly, Desert Lime and Kangaroo Paw Purifying Facial Masque, RRP $17.95

Ideal for: Normal skin

From the former owners of Sukin comes an all-new Australian natural beauty brand, Alkira, and this face mask does not disappoint.

Alkira purifying facial mask
All natural beauty from Alkira leaves skin fresh and beautiful.

Perhaps one of the most divine smelling masques I’ve ever had the pleasure of using, this purifying formula uses Australian Kaolin Clay as its base, supported by Australian antioxidants Lilly Pilly, Desert Lime and Kangaroo Paw.

This is a triple threat, helping to hydrate the skin, protect from environmental stressors and fight free radical damage, while also clearing the complexion.

The masque is thick and heavy, feeling like a luxurious spa facial. It hardens almost instantly, and the delectable smell lingers long after washing off.

The Body Shop Nicaraguan Coffee Intense Awakening Mask, RRP $35

Ideal for: Skin that needs exfoliating and awakening

Feel more awake after a coffee? Get ready to apply the same concept to your face.

Infused with Nicaraguan coffee bean particles, this mask from The Body Shop smells delectable, like a fresh morning brew.

THe Body Shop mask
Skin instantly awakened.

The gel-like formula seamlessly melts over the skin, with the mask able to be built up to a thicker consistency if desired. It feels deliciously luxurious, with the texture rich and silky, and throughout wearing it, the skin feels warm and awakened, much like drinking a morning coffee.

Only the faintest of exfoliating particles can be felt – which is a positive, as this doesn’t feel overly harsh or abrasive. Yet the mask still works to buff away dead skin cells, reduce the signs of fatigue and brighten the complexion.

Unlike others, this mask didn’t set or harden on the face – which makes it a dream to wash off.

Lancer Caviar Lime Acid Peel, RRP $165

Ideal for: Dull, dry and stressed skin

Housed in a pretty pink jar that would look aesthetic in any bathroom vanity, this at-home chemical peel from Lancer is a salon-worthy, luxurious treatment – and you’ll pay a pretty penny for it.

With the instant aroma of citrus-lime, this mask is a dream to apply, the smooth gel-like texture easily massaging into the skin.

Lancer chemical peel
Bringing the salon to your home with this luxury, citrusy peel

Enriched with 10% Glycolic Acid, 10% Phytic Acid and Retinol, this mask does have a slight tingling sensation, which may irritate those with extremely sensitive skin.

Yet the combination of these is what makes this mask magic. My pores were significantly reduced, and thankfully combatting my dry winter skin, my face felt brightened, renewed and refreshed – almost like the dead layer of skin had been peeled away.

The inclusion of pineapple and papaya extracts also left my skin moisturized and soft, while helping to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tone and pigmentation.

Fair warning – don’t get this in your eyes or in cracked skin. I had a particular sensitive area around my nose that had been prone to dryness, and the citrusy-burn was not a welcome feeling.

However, the larger size jar allows for further applications, rather than just a single-use sheet mask. While the texture, smell and after-effect of this mask produces undeniable quality.

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Zoe Bradbury

Zoe is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. She loves working out and being active, almost as much as she loves going out for brunch and eating avo toast. If she’s not in the gym, you’ll usually find her online shopping, buying something she definitely does not need, or updating her Pinterest board with travel and adventure ideas for the future. Her other loves include dark chocolate, coffee and cats, all enjoyed while watching bad (or really good?) reality TV

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