Masks and Serums Are My Most-Used Products: Here Are a Ton of Cheap Ones to Try

Look, I’m not going to sit here and write this long-winded story about my love affair with masks and serums, because that’s not what you want. I’m also not going to tell you that masks and serums are the only products you need to use, because that just wouldn’t be true. But simply put, serums are powerful. They’re formulated with concentrated doses of hardworking active ingredients that can help improve a number of skin woes from dark spots to hyperpigmentation.

Even if you don’t have anything specific you’re trying to fix (okay, stop bragging), everyone can benefit from using a simple serum to protect their skin from daily aggressors. As for masks? Well, when a bad skin day strikes, nothing else quite helps get my complexion back on track, plain and simple. So now I’m sharing a bunch of cheap face masks and serums I’ve tried or come across on Amazon because that is what you want. Without further ado…

Masks

This mask is by a super-popular Korean-beauty brand, and I absolutely love it. It’s super thick—a little goes a long way—and it does an amazing job at pulling out all the gross gunk built up in my pores. Best part is how affordable it is.

Whenever my skin is feeling dry or dull, I pull one of these sheet masks out. They’re really well coated, and my skin always feels super hydrated, bright, and just good when I use them. Sometimes I like to roll my jade roller over the mask to make sure every last bit sinks into my skin.

This is one of the best-selling sheet masks in Japan and for good reason. It’s probably one of the most moisturizing ones I’ve tried, so especially good if you have seriously parched skin. I don’t use them every day, which is what’s recommended, but I’ll put one on every so often and reap all of its benefits.

This is my travel mask. Honestly, it’s nothing special or out of the ordinary, but I just love it. It’s detoxifying but not drying and always gives my complexion a much-needed boost after a long day of traveling.

When I first tried this mask I thought it was going to be too gimmicky to actually work, but I was so wrong. If my skin is feeling extra rough, this is what I usually turn to. The almost whipped texture is super mild and soothing, and the peppermint-leaf extract is cooling and calming, helping reduce redness and irritation. It’s a staple in my collection.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as peeling off a mask, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s a mud-based formula that dries into this futuristic chrome color (taking a selfie is a must), and it sounds crazy, but the licorice and marshmallow extracts actually really do firm, tighten, and lift skin.

I spotted these while I was in Japan and had to come home with them. (Yes, I was swayed by “Queen” in the name.) It’s made with ingredients like collagen, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C, and actually really reduces the appearance of pores.

Leave it to Korea to come up with such a fun mask. I will say that it is messy and thick, and while it’s both weird and soothing to feel the formula bubble on your skin, it’s kind of hard to take off (you have to scrub quite a bit). But once you do, you’ll notice a huge improvement in blackheads. I don’t fully understand how it works—I just know it does.

This stuff is no joke and an industry favorite for a reason. It deep-cleans pores, removes dirt and impurities, and pulls out all those nasty toxins stuck in your skin. You want to mix the clay with equal parts of raw apple cider vinegar or water, stir it well, and add a thin layer to your face and keep it on for no more than 20 minutes. (If you have sensitive skin, keep it on for no more than 10.) The first time I used it my skin was red for a little after, but it’s normal, so don’t let that scare you away from using this.

The secret to a brighter complexion is right here. This sheet mask contains glutathione, which is a potent antioxidant tripeptide molecule that can even skin tone, brighten things up, and reduce the appearance of dark spots and discoloration. What more could you want?

Man, I love these. A mask formulated with 24-karat gold might seem excessive, but don’t judge it until you’ve tried it. It helps brighten your entire complexion! Pumpkin is a superfood and soothes dry skin, beta-carotene adds a nice dewy glow, and vitamin A supports skin elasticity.

Yup, another from this brand because they’re worth a try, too. The sheets are slathered in liquid made with rice ceramide, hyaluronic acid, and acacia honey, which really helps restore and balance your skin while keeping things hydrated. Bottom line: It’s great.  

Serums

TruSkin Naturals is one of my favorite brands on Amazon. This serum is packed with good-for-skin ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, retinol, niacinamide, salicylic acid, and tea tree oil. These hardworking ingredients are known to unclog pores, soothe irritated skin, and deliver brighter, healthier skin.

By now you should all know how important it is to incorporate vitamin C into your routine if you want a bright, even complexion. This is also formulated with vitamin E, which helps reduce hyperpigmentation, scarring, and fine lines.

This is one of the weirder serums on the list, but I’m such a fan. And yes, if you’re wondering, it is actually made with snail mucin. I originally discovered this stuff on Peach & Lily and I’m so happy I gave it a try. Snail slime is actually incredibly hydrating and can help regenerate skin and protect it from external aggressors. The texture is a little sticky, but I promise once you apply it, it soaks right in and doesn’t leave skin feeling weird at all. 

Another from TruSkin Naturals that I can’t get enough of. This one just makes my skin feel so soft and glowy, and I will never have enough good things to say about it.

This serum is formulated with a collagen peptide that does a whole lot for your skin. Not only is it seriously hydrating, but it improves elasticity and firms skin, making it look plumper and more lifted.

If you have dry skin, this is for you. It’s made with pure natural rose extract, hyaluronic acid, and trehalose, which can help nourish skin, improve dryness, and calm irritation.

I just ordered this purely based on it having more than 7500 reviews. For only $18, this stuff can help clear and minimize clogged pores and breakouts and help fade the appearance of dark spots, discoloration, and redness. It’s also crazy hydrating thanks to the hyaluronic acid—my skin just soaks it right up and feels and looks so soft after.

This peptide serum boasts aloe and hyaluronic acid to help smooth wrinkles and improve elasticity, meaning your skin will look plump and youthful after using it. In addition, vitamin E is known as a natural healing agent, and witch hazel and jojoba help fade discoloration and brighten skin. What’s not to like?  



If you’ve never used any of Hada Labo Tokyo’s products before, you’ve been doing it all wrong. This is one of Japan’s most popular skincare brands. It made its U.S. debut about seven years ago, and I’ve been happy ever since. This serum absorbs into skin instantly and is super hydrating because it’s made with a proprietary blend of three types of HA. It works alongside a retinol complex and collagen to help fight signs of aging.

No matter what, everyone needs a treatment that fights free radicals, signs of aging, dark spots, sun spots, and uneven skin tone. This is your answer. It’s packed with antioxidants and vitamins C, E, B, and A, so your skin will look bright and youthful after using it.

This is another serum I was swayed to buy based on the copious five-star reviews, and let me just say, wow. What I love most about this is it can be used as an all-over serum or spot treatment, and the latter is how I’ve mostly used it. Tea tree oil contains natural properties, making it a great alternative to other acne treatments with harsh chemicals. A little bit of this is all that’s needed to help dry out whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples, and the best part is it doesn’t dry out the rest of my skin, which a lot of other products do.

If you couldn’t already tell, hyaluronic acid is the star ingredient among the majority of these serums. This is a non-greasy, 100% pure HA formula, so you can expect seriously plump, smooth, and soft skin. It also helps fill in fine lines and wrinkles while diminishing dryness. 

Aside from the good packaging, this serum is not only formulated with brightening vitamin C, but also vitamin E and ferulic acid, which are known to help extend the effectiveness of vitamin C. So basically it’s the ultimate power combo of ingredients.