10 Brightening Face Masks That Work Instantly and Over Time

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Best Brightening Face Masks

Face masks give fast results. Fast but temporary! So they don’t make the best skincare products when you’re dealing with hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone. Because those skin concerns, unlike say dehydration, are not that easy and quick to get rid of. That being said, they do work surprisingly well when you need a quick fix for dull, tired-looking skin. And some masks do that better than others. Enter brightening face masks.

This is roughly the dialogue I go through in my head whenever I’m trying to justify buying a new face mask. To be honest, I’m barely disappointed. Because brightening masks quickly shake things up a bit, revive lackluster skin, wake up tired-looking skin and give your complexion a much-needed radiance. Vitamin C, niacinamide, exfoliants -you name it, they have it!

But that’s not all, some have long-term skin benefits too. For example, we all know that if you want to brighten your skin, using an exfoliating toner or a peel pad gives you instantly fresh skin. We also know that doing it consistently gives you even better skin with a smoother texture and an even skin tone. Just like that, face masks have both long-term and short-term benefits.

Before diving in, here are a couple of pointers to help you find the best brightening face mask for your skin. First things first, the base! If you have oily, combination, or acne-prone skin, go for clay-based brightening masks to help you with the shine too.

Personally, I love doing those types of masks in summer weather when my skin is extra shiny. If you have dry skin, prioritize cream-based masks because they tend to be skin-hugging, moisturizing, and deeply nourishing. These can be of great use in colder months too!

If you want to check out what’s out there, find below our round-up of the best brightening face masks.

The Best Brightening Face Masks

Best Overall: Fresh Rose Face Mask
Best For Dull Skin: Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask
Best Budget: Bliss Mighty Marshmallow Brightening Face Mask
Best For Dark Spots: Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask
Best For Acne-Prone Skin: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask
Best For Dry Skin: Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask
Best For Aging Skin: Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial
Best K-Beauty: Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask
Best Peel-Off: PÜR Blue Agave Energizing Peel-Off Mask
Best Brightening Sheet Mask: Shiseido White Lucent Power Brightening Mask

Best Overall: Fresh Rose Face Mask

Best Brightening Face Mask - Fresh Rose Face Mask

This is, hands down, the best face mask for instantly glowing skin. And you might be surprised that it’s not packed with vitamin C or exfoliants. The mask itself just leaves your skin glowing, healthy, and radiant. It’s in gel form and forms a very thin, invisible layer on the skin. After rinsing off, your skin looks so radiant that you’re not convinced that you’ve washed your face properly. The mask is infused with rose petals, smells like roses, and is suitable for all skin types. As someone with rosacea, my skin absolutely loves it. Though you won’t be able to exfoliate your way into glowing skin with this one, this is the best one for instantly glowing, radiant, hydrated, and plump skin.

Ingredients: Rosewater, Green Tea, Aloe, Cucumber, Hyaluronic Acid
Base: Gel
Good to Know: Contains actual rose petals. Comes in mini size too.
Size: 3.3 oz

Best For Dull Skin: Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask

Best Brightening Face Mask For Dull Skin - Kiehl's Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask

In case you haven’t heard, turmeric is a natural skin brightener. So it’s no surprise that people enjoy doing DIY masks with it. And if DIY is not your cup of tea, this brightening turmeric mask is the next best thing. The chunky, creamy mask is formulated with cranberry seeds which are rich in antioxidants. The seeds also give you a little bit of gentle physical exfoliation. The fresh-smelling mask leaves your skin radiant and refreshed.

Ingredients: Turmeric, Cranberry Seeds, Vitamin C Derivative
Base: Thick Cream
Good to Know: Fragrance-free but scented.
Size: 3.4 oz

Best Budget: Bliss Mighty Marshmallow Brightening Face Mask

Best Budget-Friendly Brightening Face Mask - Bliss Mighty Marshmallow Brightening Face Mask

If you don’t feel like spending much on a product you won’t be able to use every single day, try this budget-friendly face mask. The brighteners include a blend of vitamin C derivatives and antioxidant-rich botanicals to hydrate and moisturize. The whipped cream base ensures your skin isn’t dehydrated or super dry after rinsing. Quite the opposite, the affordable mask leaves your skin replenished, bright, and soft.

Ingredients: Vitamin C Derivatives, Zinc PCA, Marshmallow Extract
Base: Whipped Cream
Good to Know: Cruelty-free, vegan.
Size: 1.7 oz

Best For Dark Spots: Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask

Best Brightening Face Mask For Dark Spots - Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask

This brightening face mask comes at dark spots and hyperpigmentation with 2 forms of vitamin C and a botanical rich in vitamin C with a total concentration of 20%. After all, nothing compares to vitamin C when it comes to getting rid of dark spots, acne marks, and uneven skin tone. That’s not all, the mask also packs naturally derived alpha-hydroxy acids in 10%. So for long-term effects, it’ll help lift up discolorations by promoting skin turnover while fading surface-level dark spots. And for some quicker, more visible results, the cream mask leaves your skin incredibly plump and bright.

Ingredients: Vitamin C, Fruit-Derived AHAs, Green Tea, Rice, Algae
Base: Cream
Good to Know: Has long-term anti-aging benefits.
Size: 1.7 oz

Best For Acne-Prone Skin: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

Best Brightening Face Mask For Acne-Prone Skin - The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

First of all, this is actually a charcoal mask to draw out impurities from the skin, refine pores, and reduce blackheads. But because it clears up your skin so well, it instantly illuminates and brightens your skin. And with excess oil out of the way, the skin looks soft, smooth, and matte. Not to mention, charcoal works great for blemishes. I feel like the added essential oils have a stimulating effect on the skin because my skin looks so fresh. If you have sensitivity to essential oils, use it 1 or 2 times a week.

Ingredients: Charcoal, Green Tea, Tea Tree Oil
Base: Clay
Good to Know: Cruelty-free. Contains menthol. Comes in mini size too.
Size: 3 oz

Best For Dry Skin: Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask

Best Brightening Face Mask For Dry Skin - Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask

An absolute treat for dry skin is this overnight brightening face mask. It wraps your skin in a creamy, nourishing base. And it infuses it with skin-brightening vitamin C. To help you wake up to soft, bouncy skin in the morning, it’s got antioxidant-rich superfoods, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and squalane. Basically, all you need to replenish dry skin. And oh, it smells amazing!

Youth To The People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask
by Ejollify

Ingredients: Vitamin C, Superfoods, Vitamin E, Vitamin B5, Squalane
Base: Cream
Good to Know: Vegan, cruelty-free. Sustainable packaging. Comes in mini size too.
Size: 2 oz

Best For Aging Skin: Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial

Best Brightening Face Mask For Aging Skin - Best For Aging Skin: Ole Henriksen PHAT Glow Facial

As a weird outcome of aging, our skin tends to become more sensitive. It becomes easily irritated and can’t tolerate active ingredients that easily. But that’s what polyhydroxy acids like gluconolactone are for. They are the gentlest exfoliants with additional antioxidant and hydration benefits. And this brightening mask contains gluconolactone to exfoliate and soften the skin texture. But to add glow to your glow, it also packs niacinamide and licorice extract. It’s one of my favorites for instantly fresh skin. It’s clay-based but not like the traditional, super hard, messy clay masks.

Ingredients: Gluconolactone, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Licorice Extract
Base: Clay
Good to Know: Scented. Vegan, cruelty-free.
Size: 1.7 oz

Best K-Beauty: Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask

Best Brightening Korean Mask - Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask

This is still unrivaled. This K-beauty jelly mask, whether you actually use it overnight or just for 15 minutes, is perfect for gently exfoliating your skin. It’s gentle because it utilizes naturally derived exfoliants like glycolic and lactic acid. And it boosts radiance with licorice extract and peony extract. The gel base blankets the skin and reveals softer, brighter, and healthier skin. The watermelon scent is the cherry on top.

Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Licorice Extract, Peony Extract
Base: Gel
Good to Know: Vegan, cruelty-free. Can be used as an overnight mask or a rinse-off mask.
Size: 2.7 oz

Best Peel-Off: PÜR Blue Agave Energizing Peel-Off Mask

Best Brightening Peel Off Mask - PÜR Blue Agave Energizing Peel Off Mask

If you wish to peel your way into brighter skin, you’re going to love this cooling, minty fresh face mask. The jelly-like consistency applies super easily, dries down evenly, and peels off easily too. And it’s brimming with brightening niacinamide, turmeric and stimulating ginseng, and witch hazel. Plus, you get a nice layer of hydration with vitamin B5 and aloe too. After you peel it off, the skin feels energized with a healthy flush of color on the cheeks from increased circulation.

Ingredients: Niacinamide, Green Tea, Turmeric
Base: Peel-Off Gel
Good to Know: Cruelty-free.
Size: 2 oz

Best Brightening Sheet Mask: Shiseido White Lucent Power Brightening Mask

Best Brightening Sheet Mask - Shiseido Power Brightening Mask

This brightening sheet mask offers a continuous supply of humectants gradually moisturizing your skin. But the best part is that it’s madly brightening with one of the best forms of vitamin C. The sheet itself is pretty soaked in serum so it takes a little bit longer to completely dry down. But it’s perfect for waking up dull, tired skin, achieving a more uniformed complexion, plumping dehydrated skin, and reducing the appearance of fine lines.

Ingredients: Vitamin C.
Base: Sheet Mask
Size: The set has 6 masks.

So these are some of the best brightening face masks we can swear by. If you want to leave brightening to your vitamin C serums and exfoliation to your peels, definitely go for Fresh Rose Face Mask and thank us later.

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