The 10 Most-Wanted Face Masks and Their *Way* Less Expensive Dupes

Best cheap face masks

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@januaryjones

Face masks are probably my favorite category of skincare. In fact, if you saw the overflowing contents of every single storage space in my tiny L.A. apartment, you'd quickly realize my "the limit does not exist" philosophy when it comes to hoarding face masks of all varieties. Whether my skin needs an immediate top-up of glow and hydration before a night out or I simply want to marinate in a moment of luxury during a bath or binge TV session, a face mask is always my ride-or-die solution. That said, some of my favorites definitely ding in at alarmingly high price points. 

One thing I love about the industry right now is the ever-evolving innovation, and while some of the best products are indeed the most expensive, there are tons of brands debuting budget-friendly formulas that deliver equally gratifying results in the skin department. And face masks are no exception! Below, I'm sharing 10 of the most expensive and indulgent face masks (which I do feel are worth it if you have the monetary bandwidth) in addition to their super-satisfying dupes. Behold, 10 complexion-transforming face masks that rival their significantly more expensive counterparts. Keep scrolling! 

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When I think of plump, dewy, soft-as-a-baby's-velvety-bottom skin, I think of Tatcha. Teeming with Japanese ritual, the collection is renowned in the industry for its skin-transforming benefits, albeit at a hefty price tag. And while I do think literally every single product is worth the splurge, I also know forking over $45 for four individual sheet masks isn't in the cards for the majority of the population. If you're seeking a cheaper alternative that will gift your complexion with similar succulent skin benefits, I highly recommend perusing the K-beauty market. (Soko Glam is the ultimate shopping mecca!) The below six-pack from Dr. Althea clocks in at just $18 and shares a similar ingredient profile to Tatcha's beloved masks—think glow-giving heavy hitters like licorice root extract, green tea extract, rice extract, honey extract, and shea butter. 

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Celebrities, makeup artists, and beauty editors (who have access to pretty much everything, mind you) salivate over any elixir bearing the 111Skin name. The products are gorgeous, the perks are almost always immediately visible, and every formula is steeped in the latest cutting-edge science thanks to the brand's founder, renowned plastic surgeon Yannis Alexandrides. But yes, all of that bang comes with significant investment. These rose-gold brightening masks have earned a cult following in Hollywood—wearing one pre-makeup is basically a rite of passage before a red carpet—but if you're not a celebrity or if you're on a budget, they're best saved for super-special occasions. To get similar results on the regular, try MediHeal's self-warming pink masks instead. The brand's sheet masks are the best beller in Korea, and the skin nutrition profile isn't all that far off from 111Skin's thanks to key ingredients like ceramide NP, collagen, and a radiance-inducing Pink Blooming Complex featuring lotus flower, water lily, rose, camellia, and cherry blossom.

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You've likely seen this creamy white face mask from Dr. Barbara Sturm slathered atop the complexions of all of your favorite celebrities and models on Instagram. It's a holy-grail industry favorite, and the unique combination of balloon vine, viper’s bugloss, sunflower, zinc, and kaolin work in harmony to nix existing blemishes and curb excess oiliness all while strengthening the delicate skin barrier, plumping up fine lines, and topping up moisture levels. Considering that action-packed agenda, it's no surprise this beloved mask comes in at nearly $150 (and it will last you a long time), but said price is nothing to sneeze at. Mario Badescu is another beloved brand, and this highly rated mask for acne-prone or oily skin rivals its aforementioned counterpart. It has the same creamy consistency, and the strategic brew of kaolin, magnesium carbonate, red algae extract plus oil-vacuuming bentonite clay, and soothing calamine helps keep finicky, bump-prone skin on its best behavior.

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As someone who has struggled with acne on and off for my entire adult life, I can't recommend this glittering gold face mask from celeb facialist Renée Rouleau enough. It's one of her absolute best sellers and has become a mainstay on the vanities of beauty editors and Rouleau's litany of celebrity clients for a reason: It works! If your bank account isn't quite up for a $66 setback, however, you can try Freeman's acne-clearing face mask in the interim. Both masks feature complexion-clearing MVPs like tea tree oil and manuka. 

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La Mer just might be the most iconic name in the skincare industry, and if you ask me, everyone should own at least one La Mer product in their lifetime—add it to your beauty bucket list! That said, the brand is just as famous for its jaw-dropping price points as it is for its signature white packaging and patented Miracle Broth (which you'll find throughout the entire collection of products). This mask, in particular, is famous for its anti-aging perks, namely lifting and firming, but if you just can't with the $275 price, I'd steer you toward an option from another cult-loved, albeit lesser-known, brand from France, Embryolisse. While it might lack La Mer's highly famous Miracle Broth and Concentrated Lifting Ferment, it does boast tons of skin-rebuilding and moisture-locking ingredients like beeswax and oils from sweet almond and sesame in addition to vitamins A, E, and F, which reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The end result? Softer, smoother, firmer-looking skin punctuated with a youthful-looking glow to boot.

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Everyone I know who has practically flawless skin keeps this organic resurfacing mask from Tata Harper in their bathroom at all times. It's a fan favorite, and the cocktail of natural BHAs, enzymes, and pink clay kick dead, built-up skin cells to the curb, ultimately revealing brighter, hyper-smooth skin in its aftermath. As a more affordable alternative, I'm a big fan of Versed's resurfacing option, which, as its name suggests, grants professional-level results typically reserved for pricey in-office skin treatments. 

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A former co-worker got me hooked on this hydrating modeling mask from Dr. Dennis Gross, and it quickly became an obsession, much to the chagrin of my credit card. Skyn Iceland's Arctic Hydration Rubberizing Mask With Vitamin C has a similar vibe to it, and it's a smart, cheaper solution if your skin's been craving a slug of hydration and dose of potent vitamin C for extra luminosity and softness. 

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No joke, I've probably tried over 100 face masks in my life, and if I could only use five for the rest of my time here on Earth, this dreamy, chocolaty cocktail from Klur would be one of them. Truly, it's hard to beat in the instant-gratification department. Of course, all of its high-quality ingredients come at a price, and if $60 just isn't in your range of doability, you might try something with a similar roster of ingredients like the below option from Evolve Beauty. The superior quality won't quite be there, but your skin will still benefit. 

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Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Sukari Babfacial is another mask that's highly lauded for its crazy-efficient chemical exfoliating powers. At $80, it's steep, so if you're trying to milk the same type of benefits, try The Ordinary's AHA + BHA Peeling Solution. My mom, who has super-expensive taste in skincare products, considers it magic. 

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I love Odacités Synergie Perfecting Beauty Masque because not only does it perform real work on my frequently congested skin, but the whole ritual of mixing and applying the formula (it starts out as powder before you add water) feels like such a sumptuous self-care ritual. Honestly, I think its high price is justified considering how many uses you'll get (each application only requires 1.5 teaspoons of powder with 1/2 teaspoon of water) plus the number of benefits your skin will enjoy since it simultaneously detoxes, peels, firms, and brightens. Of course, if you're looking for something under the $50 mark, one of my all-time-fave beauty brands, Hanahana Beauty, just launched a new face mask with a similar powder-to-paste idea. Ingredients like kaolin, willow bark, maca root, and spirulina make the all-star roster of ingredients, all of which work in tandem to detox and de-clog stuffed-up pores.

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