After much head scratching over the years and trying out numerous techniques there was one technique I found to be great for blending work in Photoshop. Admittedly I only discovered the blending sliders in Photoshop myself 4 years ago. I can say without a doubt it will change the way you work with your layers and really help in composition work.
Whilst retouching lifestyle images for a well known fizzy drink brand I discovered that I could start to blend my condensation and bubble layers more seamlessly using this technique without the need of tirelessly masking each individual detail (or scrolling through my blending modes).
Mastering the blending sliders will undoubtedly save you time as well as making your work more realistic and seamless. Next time you have chance give it a try.
Check out this video by Phlearn to learn more about this technique;