I’ve noticed a proliferation of sheet masks in the market, mostly from Asian brands although some Western or European brands also now have sheet masks in their stable. It got me wondering how a sheet mask could possibly be better than usual cream masks or if there was any additional benefit other than the fact of convenience.
What are sheet masks?
Sheet masks, as most of us would be familiar with, are thick paper or cloth masks cut out in the shape of a face with holes for your eyes, nose and mouth. This paper mask is then soaked in liquid or essence and sealed in a foil pack for one time use.
Usually, I’ve noticed that sheet masks target 2 main areas of skincare concerns – Hydrating and Whitening. My theory about this lies in the method the essence or skincare is dispensed on the skin and how the sheet masks work.
Sheet masks target hydrating and whitening of skin
Sheet masks are meant to be placed on your face for between 10-15 minutes. The effect of the liquid or essence the mask is soaked in, is firstly to cool down your skin. Any liquid will, upon contact with your skin, cool it down as it evaporates, drawing away heat from the skin – that’s Physics at work! Whoever said we can’t apply science lab tests to beauty eh? Cream masks however don’t work as well for me to draw out the heat from the skin.
You can enhance this effect more by placing the mask in the fridge for about 10 minutes before applying to your skin. But even a non refrigerated mask will cool your skin down. This helps to reduce or prevent pigmentation as I have found.
By leaving it on your skin for up to 15 minutes, you will find that your skin will have time to cool and therefore pores will usually close up, giving the appearance of smaller tighter pores. Sometimes, its the formula of the skincare lotion or essence that enhances this effect, sometimes, its just the cooling effect of the mask itself. If its the latter, your skin would usually relax after a couple of hours leading you to believe that “the mask does not work”.
By encouraging you to leave it on your skin for at least 15 minutes, you are flooding your skin with the lotion or essence in the mask you are using. This effect is beneficial for hydrating and whitening products as only by leaving it on your face can it work well.
However, if its a purifying mask, odds are you won’t find many sheet masks in this category. Purifying masks are harsher and usually are peel-off or wash off clay masks which tend to leave skin slightly dry. You can use a peel off or wash off clay mask and then follow it up with a hydrating mask for maximum benefit.
Sheet masks are convenient
Above all, sheet masks are convenient. You apply it to your skin, lay back for 15 minutes and then throw it away after its semi-dry. You aren’t encouraged to leave it on until it dries because I was told reverse osmosis can occur drawing moisture OUT of your skin instead. Not sure how true this is though.
After a mask, always apply moisturizer. You do not have to rinse your face after using a sheet mask which enhances the convenience factor.
Sheet masks also make excellent travel companions. I always carry one in my travel case so that I have a bit of luxury at my destination, after a long road trip or flight. Also because its not classified as liquid and any liquid is quite negligible, you can carry it on board flights and use it on a long haul flight to arrive looking fresh at your destination.
Do sheet masks work?
The thing about masks of any sort is with regular use. So if you want to see any lasting effects on your skin, you might have to use them regularly at least once or twice a week. I’m negligent so I tend to use them when I remember or when I feel the need for a little pampering. I really should be more diligent Sheet masks I have tried are Garnier Skin Lightening mask, Lancome Blanc Expert Bio-Cellulose Mask, SK-II Treatment Essence Mask, Kanebo Blanchir Clear Conditioner Mask, My Beauty Diary, TheFaceShop amongst others.
Mostly, I’d say whether you use or like using sheet masks boils down to a matter of preference. It can actually work out costlier than a cream mask, but if you just use it intermittently, its not all that pricey.
Do you use sheet masks? Do you like them? What are your favourite brands – I always love trying new masks