To me, sheet masks are like a weekend on my face — it’s relaxing, helps me unwind and yet, I don’t do it very often. Sheet masks have dominated the realm of Asian Beauty in the past years and it looks like the hype is here to stay. There’s just something really therapeutic about putting on a cool sheet soaked in hydrating goodness onto our faces after a really long day. That said, do these sheet masks really work to improve our skin or are they just a mere Instagram prop/relaxation tool? We investigate.
What Is A Sheet Mask?
Simply put, sheet masks are face-shaped ‘sheets’ and are composed of materials such as fibre, cotton or cellulose. These one-use sheets are usually drenched in concentrated serums, functioning as a humectant for your skin. They are typically individually packed in thin sachets, making them extremely portable and convenient.
Sheet Masks vs. Serums
I know what you are thinking — since sheet masks are essentially a subset of serums, why spend money on these individual pieces of cotton when you could very well purchase a bottle of serum? Seems like a more financially viable option doesn’t it? Well, don’t worry because the idea of drowning these sheets in serum is actually well-intentioned.
Compared to applying serums directly to your face, sheet masks help to increase contact time for these serums to stay on your skin. It acts as an occlusive barrier to help seal in the active serums. This improves its rate of penetration and helps minimise evaporation. That said, there hasn’t been any concrete scientific evidence to prove that this intention is actually effective.
So… What’s The Point of Sheet Masks?
Occlusive barrier or not, sheet masks definitely help to deliver intense moisture to your skin. This is also especially great when combined with the rest of your skincare routine. (Because if you leave something with hydrating properties on your skin for an extended period of time, there’s bound to be some effect.) But even though they are not THE one-stop solution to all your skin concerns, regular sheet masking will definitely contribute to the overall plumpness and radiance of your skin. This is especially so for those with dehydrated skin. Having a more sensitive skin barrier and resultantly having to deal with increased redness and inflammation, sheet masks can help to calm and soothe such skin types down instantly.
Managing Your Expectations
If you are on the fence on whether investing in these high-quality skincare papers are worth the time and money, it’s time to weigh your expectations. Because sheet masks don’t have necessarily have any special long-term effects that other moisturisers possess, those who are looking for their skin to magically transform permanently will end up disappointed. However, if you are one for instant gratification and like to see immediate effects, sheet masks are your best bet.
All in all, are sheet masks convenient, quick-acting and soothing? Yes. Are they necessary? I think not, especially if you already have a decent skincare routine set in place.
Like all other beauty products, not all sheet masks are created equal. Some have an edge over others when it comes to ramping up hydration. Behold, some of our recommendations:
I Woke Up Like This Purifying Centella Soothing Mask (S$45 for 6 sheets)
LuLuLun’s Deep Moisturising Face Mask (S$29.90 for 32 sheets)
THANN’s Eastern Orchard Intensive Hydrating Facial Mask Set (S$45 for 4 sheets)
ést.lab’s ESTETICA VITALIFT A+ Brillage Mask (S$98 for 6 sheets)
All in all, I think we can establish that sheet masks aren’t miracle treatments and whether they work or not, it’s all dependent on what you expect from them. These single-use hydrating products produce instant results but shouldn’t be a permanent replacement for your serums and creams. That being said, I still appreciate a nice and cooling mask once in a while when my skin requires that extra oomph of hydration. Here’s to bright, firm and moisturised skin!