7 Best Glycolic Acid Masks for A Gorgeous Glow (2021 ✅)

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Find the best glycolic acid mask for your skin type, skin condition, and budget! Overall, my top recommendation is Glytone Rejuvenating Mask (3 PFAV Glycolic Acid).

Did you know that a simple glycolic acid mask can work wonders for your skin?

That's because alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid exfoliate dead skin, increase cell turnover, stimulate collagen production, brighten skin tone, draw moisture into the epidermis, and even increase the penetration of other skincare ingredients! (source: Soleymani et al., 2018)

A glycolic acid mask is the perfect "in between" option if you're not ready for a glycolic acid peel but you don't have the time to apply a daily glycolic acid cream, either.

Now, with so many glycolic acid masks on the market, which one is right for you? 🤔

In this post, I'll discuss how to choose a glycolic acid mask and my top recommendations, but we'll need to start from the beginning with an often forgotten concept: free acid value.

RELATED:

What Is Free Acid Value? (And Why It Matters)

Whether you're shopping for a glycolic acid mask, a lactic acid lotion, or a simple chemical peel, it's very important that you understand the concept of free acid value (FAV).

In short, free acid value is a better measure of the true concentration of glycolic acid than the raw percentage on the product (unless it specifically says "free acid value").

That's because glycolic acid, like all acids, exists in two forms (in aqueous solution):

  • Free Acid: a non-polar version that's oil-soluble and can penetrate your skin's oily barrier
  • Ionized/Dissociated: a polar version that's not oil-soluble and cannot

Here's an excellent diagram by LabMuffin that shows these two forms of glycolic acid:

LabMuffin Glycolic Acid

The free acid form of glycolic acid is on the left while the ionized/dissociated products, namely a hydrogen ion (H+) and the conjugate base of glycolic acid (OH-), are on the right.

At lower pH levels: more free acids are present which raises the effectiveness of glycolic acid but increases the potential for skin irritation as well.

At higher pH levels: fewer free acids are present which lowers the effectiveness of glycolic acid but increases its safety profile by reducing the potential for skin irritation.

💡 Putting it all together: the raw percentage of a glycolic acid product is misleading as it doesn't account for the pH level, which has a massive effect on actual free acid value. For example, 20% glycolic acid @ pH 3.83 is 10% free acid value but @ pH 4.25 is only 5.5%.

If you'd like to learn more about free acid value, check out LabMuffin and Goals To Get Glowing.

Now, let's move on to the best glycolic acid masks! 😀

What Is The Best Glycolic Acid Mask?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor's Choice: Glytone Rejuvenating Mask (3.0 PFAV Glycolic Acid)
  2. Dermatologist Approved: CANE+AUSTIN 10% Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser
  3. Best Value for Money: Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser
  4. Best Budget Pick: InstaNatural Exfoliating Glycolic Mask and Face Scrub
  5. Most Popular Pick: Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
  6. Best for Brighter Skin: REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
  7. Best for Clearer Skin: Perfect Image Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD
Glytone Rejuvenating Mask
1
EDITOR'S CHOICE

Glytone 
Rejuvenating Mask

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Best For:

✅ Wrinkles
✅ Fine Lines
✅ Blemishes
✅ Clogged Pores
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Lactic Acid
⭐ Vitamin C
⭐ Kaolin Clay
⭐ Bentonite Clay
⭐ Collagen
⭐ Glycerin

Key Features:

🧪 3% Free Acid Value
👍 3 oz Size
👍 Non-Comedogenic
🏆 Professional Quality
🏆 Excellent Reviews

Does your skin need a professional rejuvenation?

Let Glytone Rejuvenating Mask boost your skincare routine in just 10 minutes, 3 times a week.

This powerful glycolic acid mask uses 3% free acid value, which is ~7.5% glycolic acid if you assume a pH of 4.

Remember, free acid value is a much better measure of the true concentration of glycolic acid, however, most manufacturers don't disclose this information or even provide the pH level (required to calculate FAV).

That's why I trust Glytone for alpha hydroxy acid products as this brand always provides the free acid value so you know exactly what you're getting.

(Glytone calls it Precision Free Acid Value or PFAV).

This mask works wonders for anti-aging concerns like wrinkles, fine lines, and sun damage, as glycolic acid and lactic acid exfoliate dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin tissue.

It helps control adult acne and blemishes as well by opening clogged pores and absorbing excess oils.

Glytone Rejuvenating Mask Ad

Meanwhile, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) helps fade dark spots and brighten your complexion while kaolin and bentonite clays draw out impurities and detoxify your skin.

Finally, soluble collagen accelerates the recovery process to build smoother and firmer skin while glycerin helps keep your skin hydrated.

My Verdict: Keep your skin looking younger and smoother with Glytone Rejuvenating Mask featuring 3.0 PFAV glycolic acid, vitamin C, purifying clays, collagen, and glycerin.

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CANE+AUSTIN 10% Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser
2
DERMATOLOGIST APPROVED

CANE+AUSTIN 
10% Glycolic Acid 
Gelée Mask + Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Acne & Breakouts
✅ Clogged Pores
✅ Congested Skin
✅ Redness
✅ Makeup Removal

Key Ingredients:

⭐ 10% Glycolic Acid
⭐ Green Algae Extract
⭐ Essential Oils

Key Features:

👍 6.7 oz Value Size
👍 2-in-1 Cleanser & Mask
🏆 Dermatologist Approved

The doctor's in the house (Dr. Craig Austin, founder of CANE+AUSTIN) and he's prescribed a glycolic acid mask to purge pores, reduce breakouts, and brighten your skin.

CANE+AUSTIN 10% Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser is a 2-in-1 cleanser and mask combo that you can use to deep clean your skin or leave it on for 5-10 minutes to let the glycolic acid work its magic!

At 10% glycolic acid, the free acid value equivalent is likely around 4% (I'm assuming a pH of 4), which is slightly higher than Glytone Rejuvenating Mask.

This glycolic mask is filled with green algae extract to reduce redness and calm inflammation, which is responsible for the mask's vivid green color.

Meanwhile, essential oils like orange peel, bergamot, and rose geranium create a strong floral fragrance.

Customer reviews are somewhat mixed, however, with some who loved the deep exfoliation and post-mask hydration, while one woman had a skin reaction and another said it's expensive.

RELATED:

CANE+AUSTIN 10% Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser Ad

My Verdict: CANE+AUSTIN 10% Glycolic Acid Gelée Mask + Cleanser is a 2-in-1 cleanser and mask that'll leave your skin feeling refreshed while giving your pores a "breath of fresh air".

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Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser
3
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY

Jack Black 
Deep Dive 
Glycolic Facial Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Bulk Buyers
✅ Savvy Shoppers
✅ Exfoliation Enthusiasts

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Kaolin Clay
⭐ Volcanic Ash
⭐ Botanical Extracts
⭐ Vitamin C & E

Key Features:

👍 10 oz Value Size
👍 Certified Organic
👍 2-in-1 Cleanser & Mask
🏆 Extraordinary Reviews
🏆 1,500+ Ratings!

If you're looking for the best deal on the market, consider Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser.

At current prices, this 10 oz value size face wash works out to ~$3 per oz and will last you many, many months.

Jack Black is another 2-in-1 cleanser and mask combo with glycolic acid, kaolin clay, and volcanic ash, perfect for drawing out impurities and opening clogged pores.

Aside from that, there's a ton of botanical extracts in the ingredient list as well, including wolfsbane flower, rosemary, olive, green tea, chamomile, and calendula.

Meanwhile, vitamin C and E are both present for additional antioxidant protection.

With 1,500+ reviews, Jack Black has received overwhelmingly positive feedback with 80% 5-stars (very, very few products achieve this feat 🏆).

Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser Ad

My Verdict: Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser is a clay-based face mask that will draw out impurities and remove dead skin cells for a cleaner, smoother, and fresher look.

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InstaNatural Exfoliating Glycolic Mask and Face Scrub
4
BEST BUDGET PICK

InstaNatural 
Exfoliating Glycolic Mask 
and Face Scrub

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Best For:

✅ Smoother Skin
✅ Brighter Skin
✅ Enlarged Pores
✅ Rough Skin Texture
✅ Uneven Skin Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Aloe Vera
⭐ Vitamin C
⭐ Turmeric
⭐ Pumpkin
⭐ Ginger
⭐ Natural Oils
⭐ Silica Beads

Key Features:

👍 2 oz Size
👍 Under $15
🏆 Excellent Reviews
🏆 3,000+ Ratings!

Are you looking for an amazing budget mask?

InstaNatural is one of the best budget skincare brands, combining botanical goodness with ridiculously low prices.

With over 3,000+ reviews, Exfoliating Glycolic Mask and Face Scrub is a bestseller that pairs glycolic acid with the "dream team" of botanical extracts, including:

  • Aloe Vera: hydrates and replenishes
  • Vitamin C: brightens and protects
  • Turmeric: brightens and protects
  • Pumpkin: exfoliates with natural AHAs
  • Ginger: antioxidant protection

Surprisingly, that's not even half of the active ingredients!

There's also:

  • Licorice Root: brightens skin tone
  • Centella Asiatica: promotes wound healing
  • Lavender Oil: soothes and calms
  • Safflower Oil: nourishes

InstaNatural is excellent for smoothing rough skin texture with its combination of glycolic acid and silica beads for both chemical and physical exfoliation.

It's also great for minimizing enlarged pores, fighting acne, and brightening your skin tone.

InstaNatural Exfoliating Glycolic Mask and Face Scrub Ad

My Verdict: Treat your skin to an authentic spa experience without breaking the bank with InstaNatural Exfoliating Glycolic Mask featuring glycolic acid and tons of botanical extracts.

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Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
5
MOST POPULAR PICK

Andalou Naturals 
Pumpkin Honey 
Glycolic Mask

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Best For:

✅ Brighter Skin
✅ Smoother Skin
✅ More Even Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Pumpkin Puree
⭐ Aloe Vera
⭐ Manuka Honey
⭐ Fruit Stem Cells
⭐ BioActive Berry Complex
⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Vitamin C

Key Features:

👍 1.7 oz Size
👍 Certified Organic
🏆 #1 Bestselling Face Mask
🏆 4,500+ Ratings!

Did you know that pumpkin is so much more than just pumpkin spice lattes?

That's right! Pumpkin is often used in skincare products as it contains natural enzymes that remove dead skin cells without irritating sensitive skin.

While there's many pumpkin enzyme masks out there, Andalou Naturals is my top pick as it's super effective, has over 4,500+ reviews, and costs less than $15. 🤗

Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask features a unique blend of pumpkin puree (like the stuff inside Jack-O'-Lanterns 🎃), manuka honey (reduces inflammation), and glycolic acid to exfoliate, brighten, and soothe at the same time!

It definitely feels like applying a smoothie on your face, but hey, if it works why change it right?

This glycolic acid mask is particularly powerful for brightening or evening your skin tone, getting rid of dark spots, and eliminating acne breakouts.

Finally, aloe vera hydrates, fruit stem cells stimulate circulation and increase cell renewal, while vitamin C corrects uneven tone and protects your skin from free radicals.

Oh, and it smells like warm pumpkin spice, too! (okay you win, marketing team 😆)

Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask Ad

The only downside is that Andalou Naturals uses a very low concentration of glycolic acid (only 1% according to a few reviews) but this is a necessary trade-off for the lower price.

For a higher concentration, see my previous recommendations of Glytone and CANE+AUSTIN.

My Verdict: Celebrate fall (or any season) with Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask to exfoliate, brighten, and soothe skin with pumpkin puree, manuka honey, and glycolic acid.

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REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask
6
BEST FOR BRIGHTER SKIN

REN Clean Skincare
Glycol Lactic 
Radiance Renewal Mask

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Best For:

✅ Hyperpigmentation
✅ Dark Spots
✅ Melasma
✅ Uneven Skin Tone
✅ Sensitive Skin

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Pineapple
⭐ Passionfruit
⭐ Papaya
⭐ Fruit Extracts

Key Features:

👍 1.7 oz Size
👍 Clean Beauty Brand
🏆 Excellent Reviews

Are you searching for a solution to hyperpigmentation?

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask might be the answer you're looking for, with all natural fruit acids from pineapple, passionfruit, and papaya.

Fruit enzymes contain naturally occurring AHAs that help dissolve dead skin cells to provide similar benefits as traditional AHAs like glycolic acid.

(remember, glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane)

However, fruit enzymes are often more gentle and therefore better suited for sensitive skin types.

That's good news if you enjoy fruit because this mask includes even more fruit enzymes like lemon, grape, cranberry, orange, mandarin, tangerine, and grapefruit!

It's an amazing option to brighten, tighten, and rejuvenate your skin to give it that coveted "holy grail" glow.

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask Ad

My Verdict: Clean beauty (simple ingredients, minimal packaging, cruelty free) is the future and REN Clean Skincare is already there! Use Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask with fruit enzymes to brighten, tighten, and rejuvenate your skin for a healthy & youthful glow.

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Perfect Image Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD
7
BEST FOR CLEARER SKIN

Perfect Image 
Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD

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Best For:

✅ Acne
✅ Blackheads
✅ Whiteheads
✅ Clogged Pores
✅ Congested Skin

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Kaolin Clay
⭐ Bentonite Clay
⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Salicylic Acid
⭐ Mandelic Acid
⭐ Azelaic Acid
⭐ Fruit Enzymes
⭐ Tea Tree Oil
⭐ Botanical Extracts

Key Features:

👍 2 oz Size
👍 Made in USA
🏆 Spa Quality

For the days when your skin's got the blues, relax and enjoy this spa quality clay mask from Perfect Image.

Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD is a combination of a mud mask and peel with kaolin and bentonite clays to detoxify and purify while glycolic, salicylic, and mandelic acids deep cleanse and exfoliate your skin.

P.S. my readers save 20% off at Perfect Image when you use discount code DERM20 😀

This mask is especially good for teenage or adult acne, clogged pores, and congested skin (often the result of wearing too much makeup or skincare products).

Fruit enzymes like pineapple and pumpkin provide extra exfoliation, tea tree oil eliminates P. acnes bacteria, and azelaic acid helps fade post-acne marks.

Finally, soothing botanical extracts like green tea, cucumber, chamomile, and comfrey round out this incredible ingredient list.

All Perfect Image products are cruelty free, GMP certified, and made in the USA.

Perfect Image Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD Ad

My Verdict: Put on the jazz music while you relax and mask away the blues with Perfect Image Exfoliating & Clarifying UltraMUD featuring natural clays, AHAs/BHAs, and botanical extracts.

Perfect Image Coupon: Save 20% off your order with my exclusive discount code DERM20 👍

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Best Glycolic Acid Mask
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