I don’t really miss much of my Korean life. It was cold and I had met far too many odd people in that year than I ever had in my entire life. But there are things I do miss: free samples, service, ease of travel (2 hours or less to Seoul, Tokyo and Busan), bubble tea served in coffee shops, Mango Six, and – most of all – sheet masks.
Before living in Asia, sheet masks were virtually impossible to buy. They were either exorbitantly expensive (SK-II or Shiseido) or they were hard to find.
Now they’re everywhere. Sephora, Shoppers Drug Mart – even London Drugs! More on an east vs. west review in another post.
This is my current stash. I miss the days when sheet masks were 1+1 everywhere. Sheet masks for 500W?! Sign me up. These days though K-beauty brands are opening up online stores so keep an eye out for deals. Innisfree and Etude House have promotions on the regular.
Sheet masks, what are they?
I think most everyone has seen a sheet mask at some point now, but just in case: sheet masks are these awesome inventions of single-use, singly-packed masks. They’re soaked in serums and moisturize your face. There are masks for everyone based on what you want to address–clogged pores, dry skin, dull skin–and include a wide range of ingredients from the mundane (green tea) to the unusual (placenta).
They’re great. Portable and convenient – you can take them anywhere, even on holiday. Because they’re sold in single packets, you can try without committing to a product. They’re reasonably priced so it’s easy to try all the types and see which ones your skin responds to and which ones to avoid.
They come in various forms; the cheapest and most common of which is the sheet mask made of paper. There are more expensive masks, like those made with hydrogel, which fit better and are less messy.
These masks are all very moisturizing with the serum drenching the mask and the inside of the package. The concocted serum is different and always feature one ingredient that is supposed to be really beneficial for whatever issue you want to address.
I normally do a sheet masks once or twice a week. Sometimes three times, depending on if my skin needs some extra love. There are daily sheet masks as well designed to give a temporary oomph to your mug. More on those later.
The three steps to sheet mask success
1. After cleansing, tear the package and apply the mask onto your face. Super easy, just follow the holes.
Pro tip: You get more out of a mask if you have a silicone cover on top of your mask. Asian stores–Daiso, for sure–have this. I picked up my own at Daiso. Spring for it if sheet masks are a constant in your life.
2. Relax and let the mask do its thing for 20 minutes. Watch TV, read a book, catch up on blogs – do you.
Fun fact: An episode of Friends is roughly the amount of time you want to devote to a mask. So feel free to queue up your favourite episode!
3. Take off the mask and don’t rinse! Just pat your face with any excess formula.
Quickie review: The Face Shop’s Real Nature Mask Kelp sheet mask
Kelp isn’t just tasty! It can apparently be quite beneficial to skin. Fermented kelp is one of the ingredients in Le Mer–of Creme de le Mer–so kelp has it going on!
According to The Face Shop, this mask is a bit of a clarifying mask. I’m assuming constant use means brighter, clearer and more even-toned skin. There isn’t much of a scent – which is good, as this is kelp, and no one wants their face to smell like seaweed.
This particular mask is a paper mask. I prefer paper to hydrogel because of the excess serum. I can just pat it into my face. Plus the hydrogel ones just feel heavier on my face.
After the mask my skin felt ridiculously soft and plump. I didn’t notice a big difference to my skin in terms of the clarifying claims on the package. For a single-use product I’m expecting nothing to change but the added moisture to my face. That is because I do a bunch of different masks depending on what I have in my stash. Sometimes it’s brightening. Sometimes it’s deep cleansing. Sometimes it’s a very hydrating mask.
Like all things, the effects will come with consistent use. Maybe if I had three kelp masks in a row I’d notice a change in overall skin tone and less spots. Unfortunately, I’m quite fickle and more likely to jump to another mask.
I like it though. I’m only really looking for an immediate rush of hydration and, in that respect, it delivers.