If you haven’t been on Instagram in the last six months, you are likely unaware that sheet masks are the new… regular masks, and they’ve been elevated to “beauty must-have” by editors and confidently buzzed participants of Girls’ Night Ins around the globe.
Sheet masks are just what they sound like – masks that are sheets. They are typically made from cotton or another fiber (see below for a very cool fiber use!), and have cut-out holes for your eyes and mouth. If you’re lucky, you might get nose-breathing holes, too. They come folded in their package and once undone, stretch over your entire face, sticking to your skin by the power of surface tension and the magic of wet goo on a cloth.
I’ve seen them with specific uses like hydrating, or my favorite nonsense word, purifying. There are even masks that are infused with collagen, teas, caffeine, citrus – you name it! They sit on your face for between 5 and 30 minutes, then leave your skin crazy soft and luxurious. I know many beauty vloggers use sheet masks before filming because it’s like an instant espresso shot for your skin.
Sheet masks are usually found in flat, vacuum-sealed packages, frequently covered in languages and letters that I do not understand at all. Why? Because this beauty trend came straight from Asia. Korea, Japan, China – they all have a stake in the success of these infused, disposable clothes that turn you into a beautiful horror movie monster for 20 minutes at a time. Fun to do with your friends and especially fun to do with your significant other. Bonus points if they’re sleeping.
Here’s what I’ve learned: There So Many Different Types of Sheet Masks.
Thinking back, I’m not sure why this one surprised me. Of course there are as many types of sheet masks as there are regular masks that come in tubs and tubes. Hydrating, tone-evening, firming, clay,
I have been chasing sheet masks down with a hunger lately, I’m trying to figure out if they’re worth all the hype!
Coconut Sheet Masks
Flora•py, $8 each
These have fantastic packaging, don’t they? Color-coded packages let you know which scent/infusion you’re picking up. Flor•apy masks are extra cool because the sheet masks are actually made from 100% coconut. Isn’t that insane?
Gluten free bakers – you know about coconut’s liquid-retention abilities, but for those who have no idea what I’m talking about, coconut is incredibly absorbent. We’re talking majorly, as in this mask can hold 5x its weight in water, and once you feel it in your hands and on your face, that becomes really easy to believe. It comes sandwiched between two pieces of plastic because the mask, itself, is a gelatinous, wobbly, slimy treasure.
These masks don’t make you look like Jason Voorhees so much, but they do make you look a little like Ed Gein. Once it’s off, though, my skin felt like a thousand baby clouds. It left my skin a little bit tacky once I massaged the rest of the mask gel into my skin. My face felt really soft and smooth after this mask, but the smell of the Blackberry Primrose mask was horrible. It’s a crime to call this aromatherapy!
Find Flor•apy Floral Therapy Masks
Mud & Clay Sheet Masks
Patchology SmartMud Sheet Masks, $30 for 4
There aren’t many clay sheet masks out there, but I hunted this Patchology SmartMud mask down because I had to try it. They were nice enough to send me one after I sent them a barrage of questions including “How have I never heard of this before?!” Mud masks are one of the messiest face masks to apply, and I’m not gonna lie, I’ve definitely gone through the motions of wanting to do a mask, then thinking about how messy the mask will be, and ultimately deciding not to do a mask. Peel-off masks are good for lazy girls, but mud and clay masks typically are not.
Until now, anyway! Patchology’s mud mask comes in two pieces, layered together and folded in a single use package. The mask is sandwiched between two pieces of plastic, which you take off one at a time as you apply the mask to your face. The material of the mask is fibrous, and if I had to guess I would say it was cotton. It’s totally gray – much like mud – but doesn’t cause nearly the ruckus that a squeeze-tube of thick gray paste typically does.
This mask stayed on my face really well and didn’t move around at all. I wondered if it would dry into a hard shell of a mask, but while it did dry down a little bit, it never got to a crackable or shape-holding dryness. As you can see, it fit my face really well with minimal folding or bunching. There was a little bit of residue left on my face after I removed the mask, which is normal, but instead of rubbing it in like I usually do, I had to wash it off with warm water. You can see a little bit of the clay got onto my upper lip. It was really thin and smooth.
My face felt really firm after this mask. It didn’t necessarily feel smooth or hydrated, but definitely firm. My pores were also noticeably calmed down.
I liked this so much better than a regular clay or mud mask. The cleanup was a breeze, none of my washcloths got ruined, and I still got the good benefits from the mud. These masks come in 4-packs, so don’t be too freaked out by the prices below! It’s definitely worth it if you want something a little bit more intense than your average hydration mask.
Find Patchology SmartMud Masks:
You can also buy them in single packs for $8 each, and Ariva has them with free shipping!
Bamboo Sheet Masks
Miss Spa Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Sheet Masks, $7.99 each
Charcoal face masks are old and time-tested. They are also the universal nemesis of all white clothing and carpets. Charcoal is naturally messy, and it can quickly become a nightmare. Let’s put it this way, if you like your towels, you’ll be really careful about how and when you deal with charcoal face masks.
That’s why these charcoal sheet masks are such a good idea. Miss Spa has a charcoal sheet mask in the form of a stretchy fabric made from bamboo. The mask came out of the package looking pitch black in color, but didn’t leave any darkness on my face after 20 minutes of wearing it. The mask has a paper backing, just like every other sheet mask that was really fabric-like instead of gelatinous or papery and contoured to my face really well. (Apologies for forgetting to take a photo of the mask unworn!)
Charcoal is best known for its ability to remove toxins, as you may remember from your college friend’s run-in with alcohol (or if you’re not in college yet, people are often given charcoal to assist in, um, removing the poisons from your stomach). This is a great way to clean out your pores and refresh your skin.
This mask is so, so, so, so black. I left it on longer than any other mask in this post because it was so comfortable to wear! It wasn’t super wet (which makes my face cold) or super gelatinous (which also makes my face cold). It just stayed on my face like a good mask should.
Find Miss Spa Charcoal Sheet Masks
Yeah, these masks are disappointingly hard to find, but they are really cool! If you have an Ulta near you or some extra points in your rewards account – definitely throw $8 at this charcoal mask.
Obviously, these aren’t the only innovative sheet masks out there. But as the industry expands to meet the demands of sheet mask & skincare lovers, beauty brands will continue to be forced to step it up. Flor•apy, Patchology, and Miss Spa are nailing it when it comes to super-charged and convenient sheet masks, but there are plenty of brands creeping around the corner to take the lead.
BioRepublic makes some amazing sheet masks loaded with all kinds of plants and botanicals. Also, if you haven’t discovered the beauty mecca that is Daiso, or other Asian dollar stores – definitely check it out. You’ll be amazed at the number of masks you can get there, and they’re dirt cheap, too! TonyMoly not only makes great face masks, but their packaging is incredibly cute!
Tell me your favorite sheet mask(s) in the comments!