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16 Brightening Face Masks to Erase Summer Sun Damage

There's a new breed of face masks that's tackling dark spots — to give you a brighter, more even complexion (almost) instantly
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Even if you bathed in SPF all summer, you probably now have a few more freckles than you did back in May. All the lotions, hats and umbrellas in the world can't seem to keep them at bay completely. But that doesn't mean you have to sit back and let them take up permanent residence on your face.

While there are plenty of dark spot correctors to add to your regimen and laser treatments to try, brighter skin — instantly — is what we all really want. And that's exactly what these new brightening face masks promise.

They come in every form — mud masks, sheet masks, peel-off masks and more — and give your skin a supercharged dose of brightening ingredients like vitamin C, sake or glycolic acid. In a matter of five (or 10, or 20) minutes, skin is brighter and refreshed, and with regular use (once or twice a week) sun damage will gradually fade away.

Not like we ever needed an excuse to mask, but lightening hyperpigmentation sure is a good one.

Image via Imaxtree

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Japanese Beauty Secret
From the brand based on the beauty routines of Japanese geishas, the Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $68, packs a host of exfoliating and brightening ingredients. Gentle, fruit-derived alpha-hydroxy acids dissolve dead skin cells, while two types of vitamin C deliver antioxidant protection and counteract UV damage. And let's not forget the Japanese Beautyberry (best ingredient name ever), another potent antioxidant that also helps keep vitamin C from degrading. Be sure to snap a selfie after applying; the purple color is totally Insta-worthy.

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Travel Companion
A single-use, mess-free packet of the Yes To Grapefruit Vitamin C Glow-Boosting Mud Mask, $2.50, is a travel essential, the ideal fix when skin goes haywire on vacation. Exfoliating pink kaolin clay gives it a creamy texture (and pretty, peachy hue), while antioxidant-rich grapefruit and brightening vitamin C leave your complexion fresh and glowy in as little as five minutes.

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Natural Alternative
Your mom was right about eating your broccoli, but turns out you should be applying it on your skin, too. Purple broccoli extract is the star ingredient in Farmacy Beauty Brightening Coconut Gel Mask, $24. It contains sky-high levels of anti-inflammatory antizymes, which can stop the over-production of melanin, the culprit behind unwanted spots. And thanks to the finely spun material of the sheet mask itself, all of the actives (including a hydrating coconut gel base, which we found pleasantly cooling) are better retained and delivered. Plus, it's free of parabens, artificial colors, and formaldehyde.

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Brightening Fruit Cocktail
Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask, $62, is a powerhouse of citrus — it contains real crushed oranges, lemons and clementines to brighten skin. Rub it in, and you're gently exfoliating with scrubbing particles. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and the vitamin C and alpha hydroxyl acids continue to exfoliate for significantly brighter skin when you're done.

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