By now I'm sure that most of you have heard of sheet masks; the skincare wonder that originated in Asia (I've read that it started in Korea) and has swept across continents to beauty bloggers and skincare lovers across the world. But for those of you who haven't, I hope this post helps spread the sheet mask love!
My personal introduction came when a friend sent me a package in the mail a couple years ago and there were items like under-eye hydrogel patches in it. I actually didn't use them, as I had no idea how to or what exactly they were used for, and there weren't any English instructions. I'd never seen anything quite like it.
I'm sure that I've seen some big skincare brands like Shiseido having masks over the years, but I never paid much attention to them until recently.
When The Face Shop opened up some stores semi-local to me, my sister and I had to check them out. There is a whole wall section designated to just sheet masks and hydrogel patches!! Talk about glorious!
These single-serve masks provide boatloads of hydration, and boast other beneficial ingredients to help nourish and condition the skin.
When you have a sheet mask package, you tear open the top of it, remove the saturated mask, and place it on your face.
Sizes vary, as do shapes. Some come split into two halves for a better fit, some have ear loops to help secure the mask, some even have an added patch for the neck area.
Afterwards, you can tip the sachet upside-down and squeeze out the remaining serum, and what I like to do is rub it onto my neck, chest, and then the backs of my hands.
The reason why these are so hydrating (besides the actual ingredients, of course!) is because of occlusion. The extra essence and the mask fibers trap the moisture between the mask in your face, so it doesn't evaporate as fast and gets absorbed by your skin. These can work wonders to re-hydrate the skin, which in turn can plump it up and make wrinkles and fine lines appear more diminished.
Masks vary with what they are supposed to address, such as aging, dark spots, healing, or just plain moisture. How effective they are can vary, and unless used repeatedly the effects will generally be very short-term (usually a couple days maximum).
Masks can also be found for fingers, hands, and feet (which look like little booties and gloves!), and I would like to try those as well.
The biggest effects I get whenever I use face masks is an incredible boost in hydration, plumped up skin, and a more even skin tone with dewiness. Almost all masks I've used do this, and I'm quite happy about that! :D I can get redness on my face and they really help to make the whole face look more even in tone and just overall fantastic.
You can also use masks to scare people! :D Someone will definitely do a double-take if they see you sporting one of these beauties:
(Reclining and relaxing whilst indulging in The Face Shop Aloe mask)
I do have sensitive skin, and sometimes I will get bumps from sheet masks, but nothing super serious. Honestly, a couple little temporary red bumps the next day can be so worth it for me to spend up to 20 minutes feeling super relaxed and having otherwise great looking skin. What I cannot do is use sheet masks more than one day in a row, because then my skin gets a bit overloaded and can get a lot of little bumps. Not everyone has this reaction though, and as I said my skin is very sensitive and it is difficult for me to find any skincare product that wont cause at least a few bumps. Seriously, almost EVERYTHING I use on my face will break me out in bumps, whether it is just a couple here or there or a bunch of them. Even really inert things. Sunscreens, moisturizers, serums, even toners can do it.
Some people use sheet masks once a week, some three times, some people use them every day! I know that personally I cannot do that, but if it works for you and makes you happy (and you can afford it) then by all means have fun! :D Of course I would caution to be aware of the type of ingredients in them, as some can cause irritation if used too frequently (I think ones that exfoliate could do that from what I've read somewhere).
Back to the mask goodness!
Sheet mask material can range from cotton and other plant fibers, to pure seaweed, and then hydrogel. Hydrogel is super neat! I've only used a hydrogel lip patch before but they are really interesting. Here's an interesting article about hydrogel medical dressings.
(Hydrogel lip patch)
You can get spot patches as well, in various materials to apply to specific areas for targeted treatment, whether it be pimples, dry patches, under eye bags, the 11's,...
Two of the biggest draws for me to sheet masks is that they can give wonderful results, and they are SOOOO relaxing!! I've never had a facial, but this is what I would expect it to feel like (minus any massaging, etc..). You can cool the masks down in the fridge for an added refreshing experience and to help reduce puffiness, or you can keep them at room temperature and I find that as the sheet masks dry, a cooling sensation can be felt. And from what I've seen of people who have had professional facials, it really makes your skin look like you just had one! It can really make your face glow.
In the end I heartily suggest giving these a go if you have the opportunity to! You can also patch test a bit of serum on your arm to check if you are sensitive to any ingredients or prone to breakouts (I should do that but I never seem to bother with it).
The price range of masks can be from around $1-2 to pretty expensive. At Sephora you can get a 6-pack of sheet masks from Guerlain for $152.00 Can., so that equals $25+ per mask before taxes. You can buy a single SK-II mask at Nordstrom for $23.35 or go for the 10-pack at $185.45 before taxes. Their 10-pack Brightening Derm Revival Mask goes for $233.52 and ends up being just over $266 after taxes. You can buy one(!) Cle de Peau Intensive Brightening Mask for $41.21+ tax!! Ayiyi!!
A lot of people can justify the expense as they treat it like a facial, and some facials can go for hundreds of dollars. Personally I just can't afford it right now. I mean if I saved up sure, and being able to buy a single mask vs. a whole box makes a world of a difference (especially if you've never tried the product before and don't know how you will react to it). But $25+ for one mask when I could buy 10 for that price? Hrmm. I should never say never, because I like reviewing things, and I like fancy-schmany things... but still. NO ASHLEY!! Do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities! Hrrrmph.
A couple favourites of mine are The Face Shop hyaluronic acid masks and their honey mask. Sadly the stores that I go to tend to be out of these often and they don't restock as much.
Have you tried sheet masks? What are some of your thoughts and favourite go-to's?
Have a loverly day!
(P.S. please forgive the darker photos, my light box is out of commission for the moment.)