I believe there is something healing and almost transcendental about the act of doing a face mask. It's almost like a physical manifestation of a meditation on self love. Taking just 20 minutes to "pamper" yourself is the ultimate declaration that you are dedicated to being kind and gentle to yourself.
I know, I sound crazy. It's just a face mask. But it's not - it's a way to show yourself that you love yourself, by doing something gentle and loving, that's just for you.
I once read an article about this idea of cream therapy. To whit - you pick a part of yourself that you have traditionally over-criticized or directed negative energy towards, and every single day you spend 20 minutes massaging cream into that body part. Over time, you learn to love it again, to see it as a beautiful and important part of yourself, and to stop directing negative feelings and energy towards your own body.
For me, that is my mask ritual. I do not do it to "fix" something that is wrong with me. I am not punishing myself for having pores. I am saying "Hi Face, you are my portal to the world. When I am happy you are happy. When I cry - you cry with me. Today, I am going to do something just for you."
With this in mind, my favorite masks are always FUN. Sure, they leave my skin smooth/dewey/glowing whatever, obviously efficacy is important to me. But it's not enough. My ultimate masks are more than just effective, they are a joyful, hilarious experience.
Because over-masking is a real problem, I always try to only keep two masks on hand. Right now I have two favorites. The Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, a peel off masks that leaves my skin tight and smooth, and harkens back to a time when peel off nail polish was my favorite thing in the world (will that ever come back??) Second on the list is the Egg Cream Sheet Mask from Too Cool for School, which leaves my skin plump and dewey, scares my husband when I wear it, and has packaging that just makes me smile every time I see it.