I Test-Drove 6 Hydrating Face Masks in the Actual Desert
Here at Byrdie, we're in the business of approaching skincare products with scepticism. (You can buy into the hype of a product all you want, but when you're spending upward of $60, you want it to work, right?) When a product claims to give you the glowiest, plumpest, most hydrated skin of your life, our first thought is rarely, Ooh I need that, but instead, Really? Prove it.
Which is why, when Byrdie's contributing writer Aiden Arata and I were invited to Palm Springs with Chevrolet last week (to celebrate the launch of their sporty new 2018 Equinox—chic, no?), it really couldn't have come at a better time. Of course, there's never a bad time to luxuriate in the desert on a random Tuesday. But just a few days before, I was obsessing over a new story written by Byrdie's Managing Editor Lindsey Metrus about a sensor that can tell you exactly how desert-dry your skin is. Disturbingly, few of the "hydrating" products she was using were significantly improving the moisture level of her skin. This inspired me to wonder Are our favourite hydrating masks all a sham? I had to find out.
To do so, Aiden and I packed the Byrdie team's seven favourite moisturising masks into our Chevy, drove them to the desert, and tested them on different parts of our faces after a long day in the ridiculously dry, 112-degree heat. In other words, we put them to the ultimate test. Curious to find out which hydrating face masks plumped our skin, even in the Palm Springs desert? Just keep scrolling.
Which Hydrating Masks Passed the Ultimate Desert Test?
Erborian Bamboo Waterlock Mask ($64)
"This has been my go-to hydrating mask for about a year now, so I was excited to put it to the ultimate test in the desert. The formula, which is loaded with a special blend of bamboo extracts, is incredibly cooling and refreshing. The texture isn't greasy or heavy in the least, and after wearing the mask for 15 minutes, my skin definitely felt way more hydrated (plumper too!). It is sort of a slimy mask, and I wish it absorbed into the skin a little bit faster, but all in all, I'd say this mask is desert-approved." — Amanda Montell, associate features editor
"This has been one of the buzziest masks on the market since it launched, so I was eager to see if it was worth the hype. First things first: This is not a cooling mask. It actually has a very real warming effect, which is fascinating, but maybe wasn't the best choice for the desert. Regardless, I dug how the product transformed on my skin from a sticky, honey-like texture to something much creamier. (I wasn't a big fan of the smell, but that wasn't a deal-breaker.) The product left my skin soft but not sticky, and it also had a noticeable brightening effect, which I wasn't mad at. In addition, the packaging is impeccable—a beautiful, geometric glass jar with a magnetic lid and a mini metal spatula that sticks right to it. A delight for the design-obsessed." — Amanda
Dr. Barbara Sturm Deep Hydrating Mask ($179)
"Oh my goddess, I am obsessed with this one. It left me glowing and not at all greasy. I had a literal heat rash on my neck, and this stuff soothed and softened it. I'm currently wondering whether it's too soon to put it on again." — Aiden
Grown Alchemist Hydra-repair Cream-masque: Olive-polyphenol & Babassu ($70)
"If you have ultra-dry skin and a penchant for all-natural formulas, this mask deserves a place in your skincare arsenal. The product was recommended to me by our news editor, Victoria Hoff, who actually uses it as a leave-on overnight treatment for her dry skin (I've started doing so as well). If you're not into rich, creamy textures, then this stuff might seem a little intense. Plus, it doesn't have the cooling properties of a gel or aloe-based mask. But if your skin ever feels desert-level dry, the Babassu, hyaluronic acid, and plant oils in this will serve you well. Oh, also, I'm addicted to the scent. Genuinely addicted." — Amanda
Perricone MD Cocoa Moisture Mask ($116)
"The goods news: This mask smells dangerously edible. And the texture is intriguing (it's "infused with cocoa-enriched microcapsules," obvs). The product a little heavy for me and left my skin slightly red, but I could see someone with super-dry or flaky skin loving this." — Aiden
Skin Inc. Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask ($57)
"I genuinely can't find a single flaw with this refreshing delight of a mask. The gel formula is ultra lightweight and felt cooling on the skin, but it was not at all sticky (I hate sticky gel formulas!). Within minutes, it soaked into my parched, overheated skin like a sponge. The product is packed with moisturising goodies like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, and by the time I washed off the tiny bit of excess that hadn't absorbed into my skin, my face looked noticeably brighter and felt ridiculously soft." — Amanda