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The 10 Best Exfoliating Face Masks for Seriously Soft, Glowing Skin

Photo by Artem Varnitsin / EyeEm/Getty Images

Although masking is an essential part of most skincare routines, it can often feel like an extra step—meaning a lot of people don’t do it nearly enough. However, if you want an effective exfoliating regimen for clear, bright skin, it’s a good idea to have a reliable mask on hand. Sure, you can use a facial exfoliator to slough away dead, dull skin cells, but some can be too harsh—especially with overuse—leading to micro-tears in the skin, and even lead to issues like breakouts and irritation. But using the right mask once or twice a week creates just the right amount of cell turnover, and it’ll make your skin look bright and beautiful without being overly abrasive.

Ready to add an exfoliating mask to your skincare stash? Continue reading below for a roundup of our 10 favorite masks for all skin types.

1. PETER THOMAS ROTH Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

PETER THOMAS ROTH Pumpkin Enzyme Mask

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a fan of pumpkin spice lattes to love this mask. A blend of physical and chemical exfoliants, the mask contains pumpkin and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to gently lift away buildup of impurities and dead skin cells. Leave it on for about five minutes, then massage in the crystals to physically exfoliate and rinse for a satisfyingly smooth, soft finish.

2. SKINCEUTICALS Clarifying Clay Mask for Acne Prone Skin

SKINCEUTICALS Clarifying Clay Mask for Acne Prone Skin

Often, masks are in different camps: those for oil and those for exfoliation. This exfoliating clay mask is for those who want both. Made with a mix of kaolin and bentonite clays, it absorbs excess oil without over-drying skin, while a blend of hydroxy acids gently lifts away dead skin cells. And don’t worry about it being too harsh—it also has aloe vera and chamomile to keep things calm.

3. ORIGINS Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay

ORIGINS Original Skin™ Retexturizing Mask With Rose Clay
Courtesy of ORIGINS

That pink color in this scrub mask is thanks to rose clay, which gently draws out oil and impurities (and looks gorgeous sitting by your sink). It’s also made with gentle exfoliating beads, brightening willowherb and sugarcane, which is a natural humectant, so it won’t be left dried out.

4. CETAPHIL DermaControl Purifying Clay Mask

CETAPHIL DermaControl Purifying Clay Mask
Courtesy of CETAPHIL

It’s true: The brand behind your favorite gentle face cleanser also makes an incredible mask. Made with bentonite and kaolin clays to purify and deep-clean, as well as apple and cucumber seed extracts to hydrate, this exfoliating clay mask is most suitable for oily or combination skin, but it’s also gentle enough for sensitive skin.

5. TATA HARPER Resurfacing Mask

TATA HARPER Resurfacing Mask
Courtesy of TATA HARPER

This mask by TATA HARPER is one of our favorites because of its all-natural, all-in-one formulation. Not only do beta hydroxy acids from willow bark and pomegranate enzymes exfoliate skin’s surface, but it also has pink clay to refine pores, as well as beet root extract and olive oil to soften skin.

6. SUMMER FRIDAYS Overtime Mask


Another pick packed with pumpkin? This clarifying scrub mask that has reached cult-favorite status. It utilizes apricot seed powder as a gentle physical exfoliant, plus keeps skin nourished and calm thanks to vitamin E and oat kernel protein. Massage in for a minute when first applied for maximum skin-softening, then leave on for up to 10 minutes to let it work its magic.

7. GOLDE Papaya Bright Face Mask

GOLDE Papaya Bright Face Mask
Courtesy of GOLDE

This powder-to-gel mask is unlike any other we’ve tried, and that’s what makes it so special. It contains only four ingredients—lucuma fruit powder, papaya fruit extract, sea buckthorn juice powder, and marshmallow root extract—and when mixed with water, they magically form a vitamin C-packed mask that brightens, smooths, and leaves skin feeling brand new.

8. TULA Detox in a Jar Exfoliating Treatment Mask

TULA Detox in a Jar Exfoliating Treatment Mask
Courtesy of TULA

Exfoliating masks aren’t just for unclogging pores and saying goodbye to blackheads—they’re also great for hydrating and brightening sensitive or dry skin. Although many exfoliants can feel harsh and stripping on skin that’s already prone to redness and irritation, this scrub face mask is packed with soothing probiotics, which work to calm blemishes and decrease inflammation. Plus, a nourishing combo of vitamin E, blueberry extract, and turmeric make it like a healthy smoothie for your skin.

Our Ipster community loves it too, with @Marebare saying, “Love the exfoliating! Brighter skin instantly!” and @okozubenko saying their skin felt “so refreshed.”

9. I DEW CARE Space Kitten Exfoliating Galactic Black Peel-Off Mask

I DEW CARE Space Kitten Exfoliating Galactic Black Peel-Off Mask

This is the kind of exfoliating mask that merits a selfie or two. Charcoal naturally detoxifies your skin and unclogs pores, bringing dirt, makeup, and excess oil to the surface. Topaz powder is a gentle exfoliant that also wears away at fine lines and reveals baby-soft skin. The cherry on top is the royal blue glitter, which will make you look like you’re wearing the night sky on your skin. Another Ipster gushes, “Love black glitter, love peel off masks! This one's fun!” And @dacatsmeoww adds, “GREAT mask and fun too!!”

10. SAND & SKY Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

SAND & SKY Australian Pink Clay Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment

If you’re looking for an even tone and glowing skin, look no further. This gentle yet effective exfoliator is formulated with a blend of rare botanicals that’ll make your pores fresh and clean. Macadamia and bamboo lift away grime and dead cells without stripping your skin, and fruit acids soften your complexion. Australian pink clay is the powerful detoxifying ingredient that blurs pores and glows you up. Best of all, excess oil and shine are downplayed by the mask’s subtle mattifying effect.

Our Ipsters loved this cruelty-free vegan mask, which makes skin velvety soft—one says, “I really enjoy using this exfoliant. Helps get that dead skin off easily, especially around the nose area! Love this!” Another swears by the blemish-zapping properties of the mask: “Great exfoliation without being too harsh! Helps clear up my skin too!”

Want skincare products personalized just for your skin delivered each month? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

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About the author
Nirmala Nataraj
Ipster, theater buff, red lipstick wearer 4 life
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Article Last Updated October 13, 2021 12:00 AM