Face Masks that Actually Work!

Don’t get me wrong, I love a soothing, pampering, rose-scented face pack or a chocolate-orange peel-off mask. I’m all for a bit of relaxation in a steamy bath, slathering my face in something that feels rich and unctuous and thoroughly decadent. But don’t you sometimes feel that face masks are a bit pointless? I swear that some of them are just exactly the same formula as a moisturiser – except that you don’t even leave it on, you rinse it off!

I am always on the hunt for masks that “actually do something” – instant results, visible difference, immediate improvement. Masks that cleanse and purify and renew and resurface and all of those things that – added together – equal glowing, smooth skin. I’ve already talked about Deep Cleansing Masks quite extensively (you can see some individual reviews here) but now I want to move on to Renewing and Resurfacing masks. Masks that will slough off the dead skin cells and really give the skin a good kick up the arse so that you see a proper difference in a short amount of time.

Some of these are perhaps best avoided by very sensitive skin – always do a patch test if you’re unsure – but all are brilliantly effective. Most of them use AHAs (acids that take off the dead skin cells and help cell turnover) so don’t go overboard with them – once or twice a week is plenty, especially if you use Liquid Gold. Don’t use the masks after using any kind of skin scrub or after cleansing with the Clarisonic – it’s just too much in my opinion!

These masks are all great for skin that is starting to lose it’s freshness and glow – mid to late twenties and above, perhaps, although if you’re younger do feel free to give them a try and see how you like them! They can help to improve clarity and keep breakouts to a minimum, but if that’s your main concern you might want to take a look at deep cleansers for your mask of choice.

Watch the video for more details on each mask – the REN Glycolactic and Elemis Papaya are, I think, brilliant “starter” masks whereas the Liquid Gold really packs quite a hefty punch. The Bee Venom mask is excellent – see the individual review here – but doesn’t work with AHAs so far as I know, just with bee stings. Normal. The Liz Earle is a lovely little quick fix – it only needs about a minute to really get going, and you don’t leave it on for more than two, so perfect if you’re in a rush. All of the links are below the video pane if you need pricing, stockist details and any more info!

Products Used:

(My face is fake-tanned with Glam Glow! http://tinyurl.com/bondo3v)

Alpha-H Liquid Gold Mask: http://tidd.ly/debd5b1d

Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel: http://tidd.ly/ca731ef0

REN Glycolactic Mask: http://tidd.ly/23cc33e2

OSKIA Renaissance Mask: 5SALE code at the moment gets £5 off! http://tidd.ly/a0d706a4

Dr Manuka Bee Venom Mask: http://tidd.ly/3d0b8fd8

Liz Earle Brightening Mask: http://goo.gl/mzfvH

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. July 14, 2012 / 7:47 am

    Two questions: I’ve debated getting the Liz Earle but there are so many warnings on the website about sensitive skin. I love LE and I’ve not had problems with the Alpha-H Liquid Gold products either so I’m “funny” sensitive. How about the Liquid Gold mask? I do love the Elemis but am ready to try the “harder stuff” and haven’t had problems with some of the clay masks either. Any suggestions or guidelines? Thanks so much!

    • Ruth
      July 14, 2012 / 9:20 am

      If you’ve had no probs with the LG then go for that mask, you’ll love it! x

  2. Rose
    July 14, 2012 / 8:33 am

    Hi Ruth, great post as always! Just have a mask related question…with deep cleansing masks are they supposed to bring you out in spots? I imagine if you use one on a weekly basis then its eventually benefitical but I can’t seem to get past the initial first use and the break out of spots that it brings! Should I persevere with it? Also…I would love to try the bee venom one but I’m worried about getting a bad reaction! I might consider buying some of their cheaper venom products just to test if I react!! Sounds brill though, I’m really keen to try anything with manuka honey in because I imagine its good with preventing spots!!

    • Ruth
      July 14, 2012 / 9:21 am

      Yes, at first you can break out (a bit like when you’ve been for a facial) but if you use on a regular basis I find that it evens out after a month or so! Are you allergic to bee stings? x

      • Rose
        July 14, 2012 / 9:48 am

        I’ve been stung when I was younger with no ill effect but I know you can still have a bad reaction to a bee sting even if you’ve been stung before and not had a bad reaction (I’ve seen it happen to a friend). I think I’m going to try the liquid gold first, it sounds like a good all-rounder for clearing occasional conjestion and keeping skin nice and smooth!

        • Ruth
          July 15, 2012 / 8:31 pm

          Good choice! x

  3. July 14, 2012 / 9:41 am

    If the product says to leave it on for a very short time (like the Liz earle) is it okay to leave it on a tad longer and will it work better? :) x

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:30 pm

      I wouldn’t. It’s not like hair conditioners where the longer you leave them the better they are! They do their stuff then get them off – you don’t want to irritate the skin! A little longer won’t hurt, but don’t go sleeping in them or anything! xx

  4. Syd
    July 14, 2012 / 10:36 am

    Hi Ruth! Lovely post. Was wondering if you would answer a few queries.
    Do you use the masks after cleansing and then follow with toner and moisturiser? Also which of these masks would you say are best to use the night before a special occasion to give a glow?
    And would you also do a post about hydrating masks when you get the chance? Thanks so much.
    P.S: Absolutely love your blog

    • Ruth
      July 16, 2012 / 10:47 am

      Hi Syd! I don’t often use a toner, so I’d put on after cleansing and follow with a moisturiser. Hydrating masks coming up soon! x

      • Syd
        July 17, 2012 / 7:57 am


  5. July 14, 2012 / 11:22 am

    I looove face masks–I just really like doing at-home treatments in general. I have been really, really wanting to try the Ren one for a while now. Also, the bee venom one sounds so interesting–I’ve never tried anything like it!

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:31 pm

      Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! x

  6. Hannah Green
    July 14, 2012 / 12:05 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    I have combination/oily skin, but luckily don’t get many spots. I’m 34 now so I’d hope not! Anyway, I do get some little bumps under my skin with highlighter or anything shimmery just loves to cling to. Would the Alpha H one do the trick do you think? Thanks :)

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:30 pm

      Yes, all of these help to smooth and clear, but I’d say that ones your best bet in terms of strength. x

  7. Sihouette
    July 14, 2012 / 12:33 pm

    Hey Ruth,
    really informative video, thank you!
    I have the Elemis mask aswell, but I feel that it doesn’t do much. So would the liquid gold be the next level or would you recommend something else between the Elemis and the liquid gold one?
    Also, I was missing the Sisley Mask in the video!
    Have a lovely weekend,

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:31 pm

      Sisley doesn’t do the same as these or have any real exfoliating prowess…yes, go for the LG! x

  8. July 14, 2012 / 4:12 pm

    Hey Ruth) do you know good products for dry skin and clogged pores???

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:29 pm

      Yep, these! x

  9. Lainee Simps
    July 14, 2012 / 4:18 pm

    Hi Ruth! Love ur blog! I was just wondering if you had tried Murad’s intensive resurfacing peel and if you had any thoughts on it? I can’t seem to find any reviews on it which doesn’t inspire much hope. I purchased it before I read your post about peels and masks so I’m not sure wether it’s worth trying or sending back! Hope you can help!!



    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:29 pm

      Haven’t used that one!!! I love Murad though, quality. x

  10. July 14, 2012 / 6:17 pm

    That is a Good collection, I’am a Beauty and skin care fanatic and I was searching for a good skin product which would at least restore some beauty, youth and attractiveness to my neck and décolleté. I’ve seen here the NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention review. Any ideas?

  11. July 14, 2012 / 7:28 pm

    I tried the Liz Earle Nourishing mask (think that’s what it’s called) it was nice, but i’m pretty sure theres better out there. thanks for the post! will look at these next.

  12. Paige
    July 14, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    Please do a tutorial on this make-up look. It is so absolutely stunning on you I am fascinated to try the look on myself. Could you tell me all of the makeup you are wearing here if you can remember? You never look like you are wearing foundation and I am bewildered everytime you mention there is makeup on your skin. Maybe you could also do a video on how to get undetectable foundation?

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:27 pm

      This is ByTerry foundation (see reviews on here) and then the Chanel Route des Indes highlighter (Harrods) and the Mirifique cream eyeshadow. xx

  13. Meghan
    July 14, 2012 / 11:48 pm

    Hi Ruth, just wondering if there was any chance you could do a post on BHAs? I have bad blackheads on my nose but sensitive skin and i’m looking at purchasing Paulas Choice skin perfecting 2% BHA liquid exfoliant, any experience? or is there anything else you’d recommend? Thanks! (and sorry this is nothing related to your post!) x

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:27 pm

      Yes, it’s very effective! I will be doing a post about BHAs soon – I wish I had more hours in the day to get them out quicker! x

  14. Mello
    July 15, 2012 / 2:25 am

    Hey Ruth! Love your reviews, and appreciate the honesty. I happen to have the REN mask, and I have to agree with you. Fades scars, brightens up my skin, and generally makes it feel baby’s butt-esque. Not bad :)

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:26 pm

      Glad you like it! x

  15. Darina
    July 15, 2012 / 9:54 am

    Ruth! Lierac is on sale at TKMaxx ;)
    Do you think its ok that i got their Initiac first signs of egeing cream? Its recommended from 30+, but I’m 22? thanks!x

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:26 pm

      Which cream? xx

  16. Soph
    July 15, 2012 / 10:49 am

    Hi Ruth! Hope you’re having a good weekend.
    I’ve been waking up lately and my skin has been looking a little bit grey. I have no idea why though as, if any thing, I’m taking better care of my skin than normal and I’m 17!
    Would a mask like this help?
    Thanks, Soph x

    Ps, your makeup looks gorgeous!

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:25 pm

      Try the Liz Earle!! xx

  17. Zereen
    July 15, 2012 / 10:57 am

    Hi Ruth.
    I’m 44 with dull congested skin,
    Do you think it would be ok to use the Omorovicza Deep Cleansing mask followed by the Alpha H LG mask?

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:25 pm

      Honestly? I wouldn’t. Use the Om and then perhaps the LG a few days later. xx

  18. July 15, 2012 / 11:19 am

    Your eye makeup looks stunning, I tend to prefer deep cleansing masks but am moving more towards ones that replenish the moisture.

  19. Zhenya
    July 15, 2012 / 11:46 am

    I agree with Elemis Papaya being a brilliant mask and it smells great. Elemental Herbology have a fab mask called Facial Glow, smells exotic and exfoliates the skin gently with enzymes. My new love!

  20. Maja
    July 15, 2012 / 12:08 pm

    Hej Ruth,

    love love your posts! Just one question, after u apply one of these AHA masks, do you just continue with your skin care routine normally? Or what do you apply after using one of it? Thank you!

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:24 pm

      Good querstion! I don’t follow with anything containing an AHA. That’s just preference, as some people might, but I’d say it’s overdoing it. I usually use quite a gentle moisturiser – Chantecaille Flower Fluid if I’m feeling rich! x

  21. July 15, 2012 / 12:23 pm

    Hello Ruth! I just want to say thank you for all the amazing posts you put up again and again! Not only are they informative, but always entertaining as well! You have loads of talent :) I love my masks as well, and have been using caudalies enzymatic peel mask for a while, which I find nice, have you heard anything about it? I’d like to try something more.. ehm, punchy, so the liquid gold might be an option, the only thing is, that the real liquid gold treatment is kind of “mild” on my skin, and so I fear it wont deliver the smack I’m looking for. What is the percentage of glycolic acid in the mask?

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 8:22 pm

      15%! I have the Caudalie, will try tonight! x

      • July 16, 2012 / 3:54 pm

        15%!? Alright! I’m sold! Will buy ASAP! Thank you. :)

  22. July 15, 2012 / 3:47 pm

    U really look like a model. I like the gap between your teeth!

  23. Quinn
    July 15, 2012 / 10:12 pm

    Ruth, this is quite the random question but do blotting papers/oil absorbing sheets remove sunscreen? Thanks, xo

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 10:58 pm

      I wouldn’t have thought so! Not if you’ve applied ages ago… x

  24. Darina
    July 15, 2012 / 10:36 pm

    Ruth I meant the Lierac INITIAC first signs of ageing cream. would you say it’s too rich for 22 y/o, on their websites says use in 30s.? thanks!!

    • Ruth
      July 15, 2012 / 10:57 pm

      Hmmm. Haven’t tried that one! Where are you looking? Can’t see beauty on there! x

  25. Shannon
    July 15, 2012 / 11:45 pm

    The most incredible and natural brightening, soothing and toning mask I can recommend is straight up Greek yoghurt – I myself prefer 0% Plain. Used consistently (even as a face wash), it clears up spots and minimizes pores. Not to mention it won’t set you back a pretty penny!

    • Ruth
      July 16, 2012 / 9:43 am

      Really? I shall have to give that a try! x

  26. Amaltée Fox
    July 16, 2012 / 7:45 am

    Hi. For everyone interested in the Oskia mask: http://www.beingcontent.com/ have a brilliant offer! One free renaissance mask (48 quid) if you spend 50 on Oskia products – that is practically buy one, get one free!

  27. Shauna
    July 16, 2012 / 6:50 pm

    Ruth! Are u in the YSL touché éclat foundation advert that is all over youtube at the moment?! If not then you have a double! I love your eye make up here! :)

    • Ruth
      July 16, 2012 / 10:41 pm

      Yes, c’est moi! xx

  28. Celine from Paris
    July 20, 2012 / 9:05 am

    Hello Ruth, great post ! I’ve only used Alpha h liquid gold mask once but really liked it too !

    I wanted to thank you for raving about liquid gold (the classic one) because since I’ve been using it my skin has so much improved !!! I used to get new pimples on my chin at least every week, then started to use liquid gold every other night and I would never have a new pimple the morning after using it (but I still had some), so I tried using it almost every nitgh on my chin only and it has worked wonders, I haven’t had any blemishes for a month now :) wich makes me feel so much better about myself !
    I do NOT advice though anyone else to do it, my skin on my chin is quite thick and not sensitive, that’s why it works for me, but it might not work for someone with more fine skin !
    Also I don’t use any other exfoliator or other cream with AHA.

    So THANK YOU ! I’ve been struggling with spots for years and now I have a miracle product !

    Love your blog ! (fashion, beauty, random stuff, all !) I’ve been reading it for a year and it is always improving !

    • Ruth
      July 20, 2012 / 9:41 am

      I am so pleased Celine!!!! xxx

  29. July 20, 2012 / 9:40 am

    You are looking very beautiful and you look like a princess. I like the gap between your teeth..:)

  30. Sarah
    July 23, 2012 / 3:25 pm

    Hi Ruth
    I was wondering how often I should apply a face mask? I am 31 with the same skin type as you. I regularly us: Alpha-H Liquid Gold Mask, Dr Manuka Bee Venom Mask, Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask and Glam Glow Mud Mask. I am using one of these masks every evening if not every other. This is on top of a full cleanse prior and either the Alpha-H Liquid Gold after or another night cream. Am I using the face masks too often? Thank you x

    • Ruth
      July 26, 2012 / 10:09 am

      Yes, you only need to use them once or twice a week. Especially the LG mask – don’t ever use that before the Liquid Gold liquid! xx

  31. Michelle
    July 24, 2012 / 7:45 am


    very urgent question here,
    For quite some time I have been eyeing the KORA skin care line by supermodel miranda kerr. The is supposed to be “high end” and all natural. I want to know if you have had a chance to try some of the products and what do you think? Also if you have not, visiting their website and checking it out? Thank you,


    • Ruth
      July 24, 2012 / 8:41 am

      I haven’t! I have heard good things, but I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you for sure! xx

  32. Melissa
    July 30, 2012 / 10:26 am

    Hi Ruth,

    I’ve just recently started following your blog and just wanted to say I am sooooo glad I did! I recently purchased the Oskia mask and used it for the first time yesterday and my skin is glowing and actually feels like it has some life back! Is there anything else you can recommend I should be using to keep it this way?

    Thanks again


    • Ruth
      August 1, 2012 / 12:41 pm

      You could have a look at the liquid gold posts, just type into the search box! X

  33. Jac
    August 24, 2012 / 7:37 am

    Hi Ruth – love the LE but am REALLY loving my Elemis Tri Enzyme Gel Mask, it’s super tingly and really feels like its getting down to business :)
    Also thanks – have just found out about cheap smells.com as I watched your fragrance video and have now got myself some super Elemis bargain, yay! Best one – pro collagen serum down from £90 to £60ish! Love it.

    • Ruth
      August 24, 2012 / 5:57 pm

      Yes, it’s a brilliant site! x

  34. Julie
    August 24, 2012 / 4:58 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    I absolutely love the look you’re wearing in this video. Have you posted the tutorial yet? I can’t seem to find it.

    On another note, I was wondering if you have tried the alpha h rejuvenating cream. I am running low on my liquid gold and was thinking of adding this to my bag when i go to reorder. I thought I’d see if you had an opinion on it. It apparently has glycolic %10, aloe and all these other awesome ingredients..so, very intrigued. :)



    • Ruth
      August 24, 2012 / 5:55 pm

      Yes, I think I have tried it! Let me try and think why I didn’t feature…I’m sure it was really good! Haven’t posted that look yet, no x

  35. Sara
    August 26, 2012 / 6:51 pm

    I am obsessed with Anne Semonin masks. Their purifying mask works on everything under the surface without making my face break out(like the the Omorovicza). Plus you can really bespoke them, mixing with oils or gel or cream masks depending on your skin needs! Expensive but I’m hooked. I have quite ruddy skin and it’s calmed it down so much.


    • Ruth
      August 27, 2012 / 12:25 pm

      AH! I have one in my stash! Never got around to using it- I shall rectify that tonight! x

  36. Kathrina
    December 18, 2012 / 8:21 pm

    Hi Ruth, could you please make a tutorial on that look??? You look simply stunning and this is one of my favourite looks i’ve ever seen! Thanx! xxx

  37. moon
    August 7, 2013 / 1:49 pm

    love this one. i do use liquid gold every other night. can i still use the manuka bee venom weekly?

  38. Carina
    January 1, 2014 / 7:09 pm

    Do you know the Sea Mud Exfoliating Mask from Erno Laszlo? I have been turning to it religiously for years. Not only is it 100% cruelty free but also one of the most effective and gentle masks there were. Unfortunately it s not sold anymore. :-( sob sob do you know an equivalent, something to use as a blackhead emergency remedy? Thanks so much.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.