It used to be that using a face mask was a skincare technique saved for a special occasion. Something you did when you needed your skin to look on point for a special event, like a wedding or big date - or you were in a dire situation (visible breakouts, noticeable dryness, angry-looking skin). But, thanks to the skincare enlightenment shown to us by Korean women, we’ve realized that sheet masks should be a part of your regular (for some, even weekly) routine.
And our favorite brands are doing a great job to make it easier and more fun to get our sheet-masking on. Fun designs, cool textures, nifty benefits, and unique applications means that sheets masks can serve as both a skincare tool and entertainment.
So, What’s a ‘Sheet Mask’?
For those unfamiliar with the term, a sheet mask is a face-shaped “sheet” that’s made of either paper, cotton, or a type of hydrogel that’s generally soaked in a serum and then packaged individually. You apply the wet mask straight onto your clean, dry skin and then sit back and relax for 10-20 minutes. To remove, you carefully peel off the mask (don’t wash your face!) and massage in the excess serum. It’s a mask and a serum all in one - and all pure genius!
It’s generally best to use sheet masks at night because you can complete your regular skincare routine, use the sheet mask, and then head to bed with your face fully prepared to absorb the excess serum. But we’re not the only ones who are obsessed with sheet masks. Even dermatologists are fans. Sherry Ingraham, M.D., a Houston-based dermatologist and Makeup.com consultant, recommends them to her patients AND uses them regularly on her own skin.
She attributes their popularity to none other than social media. “Something about sheet masks just makes people want to take selfies,” she explains. “They’re like your favorite social media filters in real life. I think once celebrities started taking selfies in their sheet masks, they started to go viral, but once people realized they can actually deliver visible results to skin’s surface, they were hooked!” Hooked indeed.
How Do Sheet Masks Work?
“The sheet works by locking in beneficial skincare ingredients and preventing evaporation so that they can effectively soothe the surface of your skin,” says Ingraham. Which is why leaving them on and not washing your face afterwards is important — you want to be sure you are absorbing the excess serum.
They’re Awesome Travel Partners
Another awesome thing about sheet masks? They’re great for travel. Because they are individually wrapped, you can bring them along without worrying about bringing a whole jar or tube with you. And since you don’t need to rinse them off, you don’t need a sink or water to use them. You can even use a sheet mask WHILE you are traveling. People wearing their masks on planes is starting to be a more common occurrence — in-transit sheet masks can help manage the appearance of dry skin that may be the result of re-circulated airplane cabin or bus air.
Raves Ingraham, “I travel frequently, so I’m always looking for products that deliver results but are also convenient. On my most recent trip to Barcelona, I used one during my flight to give my dull-looking skin a little pick-me-up.”
They Can Help Perk Up the Appearance of Surface Skin
In addition to being fun and convenient, they can provide some noticeable benefits as well says the good doctor. “Sheet masks are also a great option for use after in-office procedures. In our practice, we use the SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Restorative Mask because it has unique fibers that distribute water to the skin they can help hydrate and soothe after laser procedures and chemical peels.” And as anyone who has ever had a chemical peel or laser treatment knows, anything that helps calm that fresh irritation is a good thing.
So how do you find the one that’s right for you? Think about two things: What it’s made of and what skincare concern do you want to address. Let’s go ahead and break it down.
As we mentioned before, sheet masks (for the most part) come in three different textures. The first is paper, which is (surprise) paper soaked in serum. They tends to be more affordable but that doesn’t mean they will be less effective. It’s a good option for anyone who wants to discover sheet masks but may not want to spend a fortune.
A step up from paper is cotton masks. They can be more moldable and fit to the skin tighter, as well as hold onto more product. We’re big fans of OG Korean cotton sheer mask. They can cool and hydrate your face.
Finally, there are hydrogel masks. These have a gummy texture. They adhere to the skin and are less likely to slide around, due to the material and texture. These are the high-end option so they tend to cost a bit more, but they are easier to use because they have all the bells and whistles. Lancôme’s Génifique Youth Activating Second Skin Mask, it adds moisture and smoothes the appearance of fine lines.
For the most part, the most common skin concerns can be divvied up into the categories of visible dryness, acne blemishes, and uneven/dull-looking skin. So when you are looking for a mask, decide which category your skin falls into and then pick something that addresses that. If unevenness is your concern, try a brightening mask like Farmacy’s Hydrating Coconut Gel Brightening Gel Mask, which brings back your natural glow.
For dryness, anything that says hydrating or moisturizing is your best bet and there are a ton of options. The Skinceuticals Biocellulose Mask can also be used on dry skin for a superpowered shot of dryness-fighting nutrients.
About the Author:Megan McIntyre has been a beauty editor for almost a decade, but a beauty addict since the tender age of six, when she first discovered the allure of glitter nail polish.
As a writer and editor, Megan honed her skills and became a master trendspotter and product reviewer. She’s been known to spend hours in her beauty closet testing the latest shades and innovations. She’s always game to try on the newest bright eyeliner shade, or daringly dark nail lacquer and loves nothing more than telling anyone who will listen which cool new products she’s obsessing over.
Megan lives in Brooklyn with her husband and adorable Schnoodle Ellie, along with more lipsticks than an NYC apartment was made to handle.