I will be honest, have never really enjoyed using sheet masks. It sounds completely crazy but I have never been one to use sheet masks simply due to the fact I had a really bad reaction to some a little while back. Since that incredibly unpleasant experience a few years ago, I never used a sheet mask again until recently when I was given the Divine Sheet Masks by 5YINA. It was this sheet mask that made me decide to rethink my attitudes towards sheet masks and overcome the fact that not all sheet masks will make my skin react. After amazing results with the 5YINA Sheet Masks and the Leaders Insolution Coconut Water Gel masks, I have been so fascinated about these masks and what makes them work so well. I thought I would share with you what I have found out about sheet masks and some of my own personal thoughts.
What is a Sheet Mask?
A sheet mask is essentially a piece of material made from fabric, hydrogel, bio-cellulose or even kelp that is soaked with a concentrated serum or essence. Sheet masks are generally cut out in the shape of a face that have the appropriate cut outs to cater for the eyes, nose and mouth, with some sheet masks split into two parts for optimal fit of the face. These masks are considered to be a simple one time treatment that are often sealed in foil packaging for ease of use.
Traditionally there are 4 types of sheet masks, ones that are made of fibre, pulp, hydrogel and bio-cellulose. Fibre masks are made of a non woven fabric and generally will have a rougher texture that feels and behaves like paper. They are quite cheap to create and do to some extent help to retain moisture into the skin. Due to the nature of the fibre mask, serums do tend to evaporate quite quickly and they do not fit and contour the face as well as other sheet mask materials. Sheet masks made of pulp generally feel a bit more refined in texture than that of a fibre mask however the two types of masks are quite comparable in terms of the fit and how they perform.
Hydro-gel masks are more advanced than the fibre and pulp masks as they are made from a production process that blends serums with gelatin. This creates a thin film layer which is quite delicate and is prone to tears. Hydro-gel masks normally have a top and bottom half for optimal fit and feel quite cool and calming on the skin due to its thin gel like consistency. The final type of popular sheet mask is the ones made from bio-cellulose. Bio-cellulose is an all natural fibre and is considered to be the gold standard of sheet masks as they generally will adhere to the skin better, acting almost like a second skin. This allows the transfer for active ingredients to be more efficient and effective and the mask it self acting like a more effective occlusive layer. In comparison to hydro-gel masks, bio-cellulose masks are generally thicker and quite strong. Both hydro-gel and bio-cellulose sheet masks are generally more expensive to produce, adhere to the skin better and also allow more movement in the face when applied to the skin.
How Do Sheet Masks Work?
Whilst there are no solid scientific studies on sheet masks and their benefits to the skin, the way sheet masks are designed to work is something that I personally have found quite interesting. Sheet masks act like a humectant, trapping the liquid serum in which the mask is soaked in the foil packet. The serum is generally packed full of beneficial and nourishing active ingredients such a hyaluronic acid, niancinamide and other ingredients to treat certain skin concerns. These skin concerns can be anything from enlarged pores, dull skin, dehydrated skin or skin pigmentation.
As the sheet mask acts like a humectant, the actual physical sheet of the mask helps to prevent any evaporation of liquid and acts to insulate the serum that the mask is soaked in. What this does is that it extends the amount of time the active ingredients need to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin as it has essentially trapped the serum. With many skincare products, some ingredients will evaporate before they are able to sink into the skin's deeper layers but when using a sheet mask, it helps to lock all the active ingredients in. By preventing evaporation of the concentrated serum, it allows the ingredients to sink further into the skin. This results in a intensified, quick treatment of the skin, generally leaving it hydrated, radiant and glowing.
Why are Sheet Masks so Popular?
I think this question is a bit more a personal one, and for me, I think why I like sheet masks to much is that they are so easy to use and I generally see results with the masks that I use instantly. The fact that all I need to do when I want to use a sheet mask is tear open the packet, pop it on my face and sit in front of the TV, laptop or read a book for 20 minutes is highly appealing. It isn't messy as I don't need to wash anything off and once I do finish using the mask, I just pat the excess serum into my face and neck. I do not have to worry about how much product I am using as it basically has all been laid out for me. It is just that easy.
I have also found that I see a huge difference in my complexion after using a sheet mask - the ones I have used have left my skin brighter, luminous and glowing. There is no doubt that for me, the results that I get are almost instant and I get that instant gratification after using these. Sometimes the effect lasts for just the day whilst with other sheet masks, I find the effect can last for a few days after (5YINA I am looking at you). I have also read in a few articles that some make-up artists now like to use sheet masks on models before a shoot or fashion show as it creates a beautiful dewy complexion and a fantastic base to apply make-up.
For some people, sheet masks have been popular because celebrities such as Lady Gaga or Chrissy Teigan or James Franco (my favourite selfie...see below, it makes me laugh) have been seen posting selfies of themselves in a sheet mask. There is no denying that this has given sheet masks some extra exposure to those who are not familiar with this product. I have also found that sheet masks are just so accessible now, with many western brands such as Estee Lauder, Eve Lom and La Mer riding the wave and creating their own versions of this popular South Korean invention. With the popularity of Korean skincare and beauty products, it is now also very easy for consumers to purchase the Korean sheet masks with online retailers such as Peach and Lily, SokoGlam and Glow Recipe all stocking sheet masks in their stores.
So do Sheet Masks Work or is it a Hype?
Whilst there are no actual scientific studies on the effect of sheet masks and how they benefit the human skin, there are so many people that vouch for the effectiveness of sheet masks. Every single K-Beauty blogger out there will have some form of review on effective sheet masks that have worked for them. Blogs such as Fifty Shades of Snail, Snow White and the Asian Pear and The Beauty Wolf which specialise in Asian beauty all have quite detailed reviews of popular sheet masks which are worth a read. Some have even done sheet mask challenges whereby they have seen some great results from using similar sheet masks over a number of consecutive days. Then there are those who are relatively new to the world of sheet masks (ie. me) who can definitely say that the ones I have tried have shown some form of results on my skin.
I think sheet masks are definitely worth looking into or just worth exploring even if you are a bit skeptical on the results that they give you. Most masks are sold individually and are relatively quite cheap so there is no real huge monetary commitment. Whilst they might be hyped up at this current point in time in countries like the US, UK and Australia, keep in mind that sheet masks are a HUGE industry in Asian countries and have been for many, many years now. I think that is saying something about the sheet mask industry as a whole. The thing that I really do love about sheet masks though, is not only are they easy and effective, they are also so much fun and worth a good old #sheetmaskselfie.
What sheet masks have you used and have enjoyed? I would love to hear more about some of your own sheet masks experiences, whether it be some great brands to try or ones that are a complete miss! Please share in the comments section below!