While splurging on an absurdly expensive serum is an indulgence we'll admittedly allow ourselves from time to time, stocking our top-shelves full of products with jaw-droppingly-high price tags isn't exactly the best long-term strategy for our savings accounts. That's where our local drugstore comes in. Aisles of affordable skincare products await at CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Duane Reade for all the New Yorkers reading this.
Given the sheer number of products on the shelves, we turned to the pros (aka dermatologists) to find out which budget-friendly buys we should be adding to our shopping carts. Among the touted thrifty finds? A $3 miracle worker that makes skin look "dewy and radiant," according to one dermatologist. So go ahead and save your money. These are the 14 drugstore face masks that dermatologists always recommend.
This affordable sheet mask "contains cucumber and aloe, which are both very soothing for irritated skin," explains Engelman.
"For the K-Beauty fans, I really like this from Missha, which is a huge skincare company in South Korea," offers Engelman. "This mask comes from its Time Revolution Line; it is very soothing and has brightening effects for those who have spent the day out in the sun."
"For people who are acne-prone and get flare-ups in the summer due to increased sweating, sunscreen and just more time spent outdoors, I like a rinse off mask like this one made of sulfur," explains Engelman. "The positive side to this is that most people aren't allergic to sulfur, and it doesn't interact with any of your acne active ingredients."
"I love the cooling effect of a hydrogel mask, which is perfect for the hot summer months," says Engelman.
"This mask is made of mineral clay that effectively treats acne-prone skin," says Kristina Goldenberg, MD, of Goldenberg Dermatology. "It helps to clear pores and to remove whiteheads and blackheads. It is free of many allergens and, therefore, is gentle on the skin and unlikely to cause an allergic skin reaction."
"This mask contains vitamin E, vitamin B3, and papaya extract to hydrate the skin and keep it looking dewy and radiant," according to Goldenberg.
"This is a gel-based mask that contains vitamin B3, mulberry extract, and humectant," explains Goldenberg. "This mask helps hydrate and even out the skin tone."
"This mask exfoliates dead skin and clears clogged pores and smooths out the skin," endorses Goldenberg.
This product is "great for clearing congestion and pimples in acne-prone skin," explains Rivas. "The main ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which kills acne-causing bacteria and dries up current breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide can cause some dryness and slight peeling so this mask should not be used more than two to three times a week."
"This mask is perfect for dry and distressed skin," says Cynthia Rivas, MA, of Monica Halem MD. "The key ingredient I love in this mask is the colloidal oatmeal, which is incredibly soothing and calms irritation/redness in your skin. Shea butter is also found in the mask to intensely hydrate your skin."
"Clay is one of my favorite ingredients for purifying the skin," reveals Rivas. "It is amazing at pulling out blackheads and impurities from your skin as well as drying out pimples. This mask is great for mixing with other ingredients as well, such as apple cider vinegar, or lavender to further purify your skin and refine your pores. Great for all skin types!"
"This cult-favorite features bentonite clay from Death Valley," says Parvaneh Rafaeloff, MD, of Le Jolie Medi Spa. "When you mix the clay with water or apple cider vinegar, the DIY mask helps with healing, clearing the skin, reducing oil if you're on the oilier side, closes pores, and helps normalize skin overall."
"This fruit-forward mask features natural papaya enzymes that help dissolve impurities on the skin and improve overall skin texture," explains Rafaeloff. "It's great for large pores and for treating acne."
"Pamper your skin in the hot summer heat with this water-based sheet mask," suggests Rafaeloff. "This mask's main ingredient is hyaluronic acid, and when that's coupled with soothing chamomile extract, your thirsty skin will be plumped and quenched."
"This mask offers instant hydration for the skin and provides a perfectly primed surface for makeup," says Rafaeloff. "It's extremely versatile because it's fragrance-free and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin. You can leave it on at night when you sleep and remove it in the morning for an extra boost of hydration."
Looking for more budget-friendly skincare buys? Here are 12 dermatologist-approved drugstore night creams under $35.