After a decade of struggling with acne I've learned that the best way to keep my skin under control is by paying attention to how it reacts in different environments (late nights, flying, humid vs dry climates, etc) and adjusting my routine before the breakout occurs. My favorite way to do this is by keeping my cleanser and moisturizer consistent wherever I am, then introducing masks to prevent whatever problems are about to arise.
At just $5.99, this Neutrogena mask is a total steal but it works so well that I'd recommend it even if it were $30.00. This can be used as either a cleanser or a mask, which makes it ideal for travel (the less you have to pack the better!). It's gentle enough for almost daily use as a cleanser but the mask function gets the job done when skin is at risk of becoming congested.
The Total Purge
To be honest, this product was a complete impulse buy. I came across it on Amazon, when I noticed it had over 11,000 reviews and 4 1/2 stars I had to try it. Let me tell you, 11,000+ people were not wrong! This mask is incredible, albeit disgusting. For $10.99, the mask comes in dry form which is then to be mixed with Apple Cider Vinegar, painted onto the face and left until dry. It smells disgusting and will leave you looking like a Ninja Turtle when it finally dries but the results are so worth it. This mask brings every possible piece of gunk in your skin to the surface, I broke out for 2 days after applying but for the next 2 weeks my pores were smaller than they've ever been. This mask is intense so I don't recommend it before a big event and it shouldn't be used more than every other week.
The Night Out
I don't know how she's done it, but Charlotte Tilbury has created a clay mask that simultaneously shrinks your pores and leaves skin feeling moisturized. This is not an active mask but it does have a firming affect that creates the perfect base to apply makeup for a big night out. It's gentle enough for every day use, but at $55.00 its probably best saved for special occasions.
Slow cell turnover is one of the biggest culprits of congested pores, which is where a great peel comes in. This REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask uses fruit enzymes to gently slough off any dead skin cells that are hanging around longer than they should. I like to use this immediately upon returning from a trip to get rid of any buildup caused from traveling. At $55.00 this mask isn't cheap but it is worth the investment. Mechanical exfoliants (like the ever popular St. Ive's Apricot Scrub) are too harsh, they can cause micro tears in the skin which speed up aging. Better to spend more money on proper care now than to deal with premature ageing later on.
Sheet Masks are all the rage right now, and for good reason! They'r effective, easy to pack, and and offer a spa like experience without the hefty price tag ($7 vs $100+). The Pore Minimalist mask from Dr Jart is one of my favorites. I keep a few of these in my luggage at all times then apply them when I arrive in a new city, they do a great job of cleaning out my pores while hydrating my dehydrated skin post flying.
The Perk Me Up
When my skin feels dehydrated, dull, and uneven, the Boscia Tsubaki Oil Deep Hydration Hydrogel Mask is the first thing I reach for. Simply apply this mask and chill for 20 minutes to reveal skin that's brighter, plumper, and more even. Perfect for those days you don't want to wear makeup but still want a little glow.
The Baggage Reclaim
While realize this technically isn't a face mask, the Purederm Collagen Eyezone Patches were too incredible not include. Travel really has a way of taking its toll on your body. For a while, I developed under eye bags that were so tragic, no amount of concealer could cover them. Under eye bags have a bad way of bringing down your whole face so for a while, I resorted to dermal fillers, UNDER MY EYES. Yes, that's a thing. And it d1oes work but it is also ridiculously painful, hard on the wallet, AND it has to be repeated every 6 months. Definitely not ideal. I discovered these eye patches 18 months ago and haven't looked back since. They've lightened my dark circles and plumped my under eyes so much so that I don't even need concealer anymore. They're the closest thing to a miracle product that I've come across yet.