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Everything You Need To Know About Sheet Masks

You might have heard about this new skincare craze, or you may have no idea what they are or where to get one - either way, allow us to introduce you to the incredible world of sheet masks! These amazingly moisturizing, at-home treatments have taken the world by storm, being endorsed by accredited dermatologists and celebrities alike. And trust us, they’re not going anywhere...

We love a good sheet mask treatment, and we want you to enjoy them too! We know they can be a little confusing; that is why we compiled this comprehensive guide on sheet masks below - whether you’re already familiar with this great product but want to learn more, or have just stumbled upon them and asked yourself what the hype is all about, we have the answers! Keep reading to discover what a sheet mask is, how to use it, and what amazing things it can do for your skin!

What are they exactly?

A sheet mask can be defined as a round, face-shaped piece of fabric (with cut-out holes for eyes, nostrils, and lips) soaked in a cooling serum enriched with plenty of nutrients and skin-saving ingredients. They come individually packed to retain moisture, and are wet, cool sheets dripping with a liquid cocktail of hydrating nutrients - perfect for an at-home spa night!

How are they different to a regular mask? Unlike traditional masks (such as mud or clay ones) which normally come in a screw-lid jar, the unique packaging for sheet masks means each sheet is one-time-use only and doesn’t require you to get your hands dirty! Because of this, their application is also a lot more hygienic, since you don’t have to dip your fingers in a container, or allow outside bacteria to enter the jar - the only thing that touches your face is the actual moisturizing sheet, which lowers the risk of adding more bacteria or dirt to your delicate facial skin.

Where do they come from?

While sheet masks might seem like a new trend, they have been a significant part of Asian skincare routines for years! They originated in South Korea, a country known for their dedication to groundbreaking skincare, and have been their best-kept beauty secret… until now! Sheet masks might be relatively fresh on the American market, but the trend is no fad - recent studies by the USA-based NPD Group have shown a significant increase in the sale of sheet masks in North America (up to 60%!), and it seems like they took over the skincare business with each mask sold.

How do they work?

We get it - sheet masks can be a bit confusing when you first open the packet, which is why we wrote this guide in the first place! We’ve already mentioned that the masks come individually packed specifically to retain as much of the hydrating serum as possible, in order for a large amount of product to be delivered to the skin - but how does this liquid work?

The great thing about sheet masks is that little to no effort is required on your side, because the sheet of fabric you drape over your face cleverly infuses the ingredients directly into your skin through close dermal contact, while you relax and kick back for a few minutes. Once you peel it away, it leaves your skin feeling brightened and renewed. Due to the fact that these miracle ingredients are instilled in the sheet, the fabric acts as a barrier, allowing your pores to fully open up and take the serum in. The sheet also prevents quick evaporation of the ingredients, meaning that your skin benefits from their effect for a lot longer.

What are they made of?

Much like the human body, the primary ingredient of a sheet mask is water, as this can make stronger ingredients more palatable to the facial skin. Every sheet mask is different, with selected ingredients based on the mask’s overall purpose (anti-aging, hydrating, brightening etc.), and different fabrics to hold the serum in place.

Cel Pro Tip: When choosing the best sheet mask for you, it would be wise to consider both the ingredients (read the list carefully, and look for a mask with non-toxic components), as well as the fabric it is made of (nowadays there are a few types of fabrics that can be used for sheet masks, some better than others).

The best sheet masks have water listed as their main ingredient and include glycerin and hyaluronic acid (which can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!) for that added hydration. Plant-based actives, such as stem cells, are necessary in a good mask, as they help strengthen your dermal layer in order to retain moisture and reduce dryness, and therefore rejuvenate the skin. When scouring the ingredient list, you might notice a lot of compounds ending in -ol (such as butylene glycol, or even alcohol), which may leave you worried. However, these ingredients are organic types of medical alcohol, which are a humectant (meaning they attract moisture, helping bind it to the skin) and are often used for conditioning, being surprisingly gentle on your skin. You might think that alcohol is harmful to your skin, however these ingredients are actually added to the formula to reduce the mask’s viscosity, helping it stick better to your skin, and are in no way detrimental to you.

How do you use it?

Before you apply a sheet mask, make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and dry; if you plan to use a facial exfoliator, do so before applying the mask, so your skin can soak up the nutrients even better. All sheet masks are pretty much the same size and shape, but not all faces are! Don’t be afraid to trim your mask if necessary or fold over the edges, as you’d want to get the perfect fit for you.

It is important that you read all the instructions that come with your mask and follow them carefully. Different masks have different recommended usage times, but you should never go to sleep with a sheet mask on, as this will horribly dry out your skin! A base guide for usage is:

  1. Thoroughly cleanse face with warm water
  2. Gently remove the mask from the pouch and peel off one side of the protective paper
  3. Apply the sticky gel side of the mask to your face
  4. Carefully peel off the other protective paper sheet (on the outside)
  5. Use your fingers to gently smooth the mask across your face, removing any air bubbles
  6. Leave the mask on for the suggested time period on the packaging. Afterward, peel off the mask and discard
  7. Pat and dry any excess fluid into the skin, no need to rinse

Just as our instructions recommend, the best thing to do after removing your sheet mask is to lightly pat the remaining serum into your face, or simply massage the rest of it into your skin to use the remainder of all those nourishing ingredients. If you are not a fan of the wet feeling it leaves in your face, you can wipe away any residue with a clean cotton pad - however, you should never wash your face after removing a mask, as this will get rid of all the goodness!

It’s not always necessary to moisturize after using a sheet mask, but it could be a good idea! Adding moisturizer to your already hydrated face will help seal in the moisture and vitamins from the sheet, so your skin can enjoy the benefits of the mask for longer.

What are the benefits of using a sheet mask?

A sheet mask’s main purpose is to help hydrate and soothe tired, irritated skin; they can even provide a barrier against pollution since dehydrated facial skin is more vulnerable to environmental damage. Because of their easy-to-use nature, they are a low-maintenance treatment that can be used at any time of the day, with high-end results - this is due to their serum, filled with nutrient-packed ingredients.

Compared to paste-type masks, sheet masks won’t dry out your skin, instead, leaving your face look more radiant, plumper and incredibly luminous! However, sheet masks are not designed to clear your pores, so don’t expect them to remove any gunk resting in your skin, but instead focus on their moisturizing aspect.

Basically, sheet masks are the inexpensive, convenient version of going to a spa! They are easy to apply and allow you to relax or indulge in your favorite pastime, while they bring their glowing, nourishing effects on your skin. So what are you waiting for? Grab your sheet mask today, and start relaxing!


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Antonia Vladut