The best face masks and chemical peels don't have to be messy and time-consuming.

By Claudia Fisher
May 13, 2019 03:32 PM
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At one point this past year, my nighttime skin-care routine consisted of nine steps, not including any additional face masks or peels outside my daily products. I actually found myself procrastinating going to sleep because nine steps stood between me and my pillow, and sometimes it was just too daunting after a long day at work or a late night with friends. I wanted skin-care products I just didn’t have to think about too much. Luckily, I’m in a position where I get to try out a lot of different types of skin-care products,including myriad face masks and peels. I’ve managed to whittle my nightly skin-care routine to a more manageable list of steps, but a lot of that is thanks to a few strong products that I throw into the mix a few times a week. Face masks and peels can really help with persistent concerns you may have, like dryness, breakouts, uneven texture, fine lines, and discoloration. These face masks and peels are quick, easy, and effective–perfect for people who simultaneously want an uncomplicated skin-care routine and perfect skin.

InstaNatural Glycolic Peel
InstaNatural Glycolic Peel
JET.COM

Glycolic acid is a widely-used alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) known as somewhat of a skin savior. The little guy (it is a very tiny molecule) exfoliates and smooths your skin, brightening and evening tone while helping to fade scarring and old acne spots. There’s a wide range of ways people integrate glycolic acid into their skin-care regimens: Some people use glycolic acid products every day, while others go into a dermatologist’s office to get higher-dose chemical peels administered.

InstaNatural’s glycolic peel, however, requires much less effort. Once a week, you pump some onto your fingertips, apply a thin layer to your face, and then wash it off with cold water in 30 seconds to a minute. No cotton pads needed, and timing is flexible–you can start out at under a minute and increase the time you leave the solution on your skin based on your own preferences, reactions, and results.

To buy: $26; walmart.com.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial
Sephora.com
Another once-a-week skin treatment, Drunk Elephant’s beloved Babyfacial harnesses the power of both AHAs and the beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) salicylic acid. While AHAs are water soluble, salicylic acid is oil-based and gets down to deeper layers of your skin to clear out pores and prevent breakouts.

I typically use this chemical peel on Sunday nights when I’m in need of both a mental and physical reset. The easy thing about this 20-minute, at-home peel is that it comes with a small tube of Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil for a quick dose of deep moisture and rejuvenation immediately following your exfoliating peel. It takes the guesswork of “What product comes next?” out of the skin-care equation.

To buy: $80; sephora.com.

Dr. Brandt Skincare Vacuum Cleaner Pore Purifying Mask
Dr. Brandt Skincare Vacuum Cleaner Pore Purifying Mask
SEPHORA.COM

This pore-purifying mask is one of the newest releases from Dr. Brandt Skincare’s Pores No More line of skin-care products, just hitting shelves last month. With both glycolic and salicylic acids, the face masks breaks down dirt and grime deep in your pores to clear them out, which helps minimize their appearance (you can’t actually shrink the size of your pores).

This exfoliating face mask has been one of the most seamless introductions into my skin-care habits because you don’t need to keep your eye on the clock, counting down the minutes until it’s time to rinse your face. The instructions say to leave the face mask on for five to 10 minutes, but it turns a grayish blue when it’s dry, making it pretty easy to tell when to take it off. Two to three times a week, I apply a thin layer onto my face, gently blending the blue beads into the clear gel. It’s another quick, no-mess beauty product with a lot of skin-purifying and smoothing benefits with minimal hassle.

To buy: $42; sephora.com.

Blue Mercury m-61 PowerGlow Peel
MACYS.COM

Blue Mercury’s m-61 exfoliating chemical peel might be the lowest-maintenance, yet effective, skin-care treatment you could think up. Individually-wrapped pads come pre-soaked with a solution of glycolic and salicylic acid mixed with Vitamin K and antioxidants, which you swipe over your face and then throw out. That’s it–there’s no wait time or rinse off. It’s a one-minute, one-step process that promises to smooth skin, even tone, diminish breakouts, and calm irritation.

To start, the directions recommend using the towelettes three times a week. From there, you can build up the frequency depending on how your skin handles the acids.

To buy: $110; macys.com.

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