We’ve all seen that iconic scene in American Psycho. Patrick Bateman wakes up in his lavish Manhattan apartment, takes a frozen gel eye mask out of his refrigerator, then does some stretches before taking a long shower with cosmetics from Clinique and L’Occitane.
But perhaps the most memorable part of this morning montage is when Christian Bale’s Bateman liberally slaps on a disturbingly-shiny face mask. After letting it dry, he slowly — and sinisterly — peels it off in one of the most famous shots from the 2000 film.
And even though most of Bateman’s proclivities remain alien to us — you can keep your murdering and love of Phil Collins to yourself, Patrick — we’re fully behind his love of a face mask. So, true to the character’s tastes, we tested 7 of the most promising, and often expensive, masks on the market to find out which is best. Smooth-skinned and clear of complexion, here are the results.
For dead skin removal, try Erno Laszlo’s Detoxifying Hydrogel Mask
Let’s start with one of the best we tested. From Erno Laszlo, this Detoxifying Hydrogel Mask may be very expensive, but is has clear benefits — and feels like something Bateman would stock his bathroom cabinet with. It uses powerful antioxidants to reduce the appearance of pores and revitalise skin, and also comes in two distinct parts in case you’ve got a beard.
Jet black in colour, it is infused with charcoal — that draws out impurities from your pores and removes any dead skin doing your complexion a disservice. Kiwi extract and AHA fruit blend also bring the fruit to your face, imparting a radiant glow and helping your skin produce collagen. The only downside we found? If anything, there’s too much ‘hydro’ in the hydrogel — expect a lot of dripping.
Erno Laszlo Detoxifying Hydrogel Mask
For value for money, try Skin Republic’s Energising Face Mask
While Skin Republic’s Energising Face Mask may not have the long list of active ingredients found in some of the more expensive entries on this list, it’s also without their inflated price tags. In fact, it may look like the Erno Laszlo mask above, but it costs under a third of the price. It’s not too wet, delivers a welcome boost to your skin, and is the ideal mask to pop on while getting ready for a night out.
Designed specifically for men, it also comes in two parts — incorporating that welcome beard-friendly feature most of the cheaper masks don’t bother with. If you’re looking for a reliable alternative to the high-end masks, this is it. And the best part? As it isn’t too wet, by the time you’ve whipped the mask off and dashed out to your Uber, any excess serum will have soaked in.
Skin Republic Energising Face Mask
For a focus on eyes, try Valmont’s Eye Instant Stress Relieving Mask
Okay, okay — it’s not necessarily a face mask, but sometimes you just want to focus on one part of your face and banish those bags from under your eyes. To that end, Valmont’s single-use eye masks are perfect; promising to remove key signs of fatigue by smoothing the wrinkles and plumping the skin under your eyes. We found them simple, easy-to-use and ideal for any man with an unfortunate propensity for puffiness.
They come ingeniously packaged, requiring the swollen-eyed individual to press down on the fluid chamber and soak the eye masks with a potent cocktail of Triple algae biomatrix and other active ingredients. We enjoyed the quick-fix nature of these masks, but would advise careful handling — they tore easily when wet.
Valmont Eye Instant Stress Relieving Mask
For a warming sensation, try Barber Pro’s Skin Renewing Foil Mask
The masks above and below work because of their cooling properties; calming any swelling or puffiness with a sharp shock of fresh, bright ingredients. But this self-warming foil mask from Barber Pro takes a different approach, using your natural body temperature to reflect back onto your face and help accelerate the penetration of key ingredients including Hyaluronic Acid & Q10 into your skin.
We enjoyed the novel approach of this mask, and applaud Barber Pro for not soaking it in too much serum. However, although it warmed up slightly, the foil appeared more to be an aesthetic touch rather than something that made a notable difference. All the same, it’s a good value mask, and a striking look to boot.
Barber Pro Skin Renewing Foil Mask
For hangover-beating brightness, try Colbert MD’s Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Face Mask
Now this is a mask. Fresh, cool and revitalising, if we had to pick a winner, then Colbert MD’s Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Face Mask would likely be it. The brand may market it as a mask to restore your skin’s younger-looking complexion, but we’d call it the perfect pick-me-up — this could save the most sleep-deprived, depraved party animal from the deepest depths of the darkest hangover.
As soon as we applied the mask we got a hit of freshness. Colbert MD suggest you leave it on for 15 minutes to let the nonsensical reel of chemicals and ingredients (Niacinamide?! Hyaluronic Acid?! Swiftlet Nest Extract?!) do their work, and the excess serum will soak in when you remove the mask. The only down side? At £17 a pop — and a two-a-week recommended regime — the mask will constantly be tackling wallet-induced worry lines.
Colbert MD Illumino Anti-Aging Brightening Face Mask
For intense moisturising, try La Mer’s The Hydrating Facial Mask
Working out at a staggering £32.50 per mask, ‘The Hydrating Facial’ from La Mer is the most expensive on this list. But is it the best? That really depends what you’re looking for. If you’ve got oilier skin, probably not. But if you suffer from dry skin, the Marine Algae extracts, Avocado Oil and Tourmaline (no, we have no idea either) will be worth every heaven-sent penny of that hefty price tag.
Again, it comes in two separate pieces to cater for bearded gentlemen, and is crafted from pure cotton to help naturally replenish and revitalise even the driest complexion. We’d recommend leaving on slightly longer than the eight minutes La Mer suggest and, overall, were very impressed by the mask. But is it notably better than, say, the Erno Lazlo mask at half the price? Probably not.
La Mer The Hydrating Facial Mask
For a basic, fun face mask, try Bandito’s Get Lucky Sheet Mask
If you ignore the moustache and the fact that this is called the ‘Get Lucky’, then Bandito’s mask in the ring is actually quite good. The cheapest on the list, you won’t be expecting much, but this fairly basic mask does a job and is relatively easy to apply. And that’s before you factor in the laughs that moustache will gives your Instagram followers.
The mask is allegedly designed to minimise dark spots and leave your skin feeling brighter — and it did the trick. It works, like the similarly priced Skin Republic offering above, as an ideal quick fix or boost before a night out. And don’t worry, that moustache doesn’t leave a mark…
Bandito Get Lucky Sheet Mask
With your face now supple and smooth, is it time you also embraced make up? We discuss the trend for men’s cosmetics here…