Sheet masks are first popularized in South Korea. As a good substitute for in-clinic facial treatments, facial sheet masks manufacturers claim that their sheet masks give the skin the deep hydration and address specific skin concerns such as dull skin, pigmentation, acne or ageing, sagging skin.
Most of these sheet masks are typically soaked in special essences that contain antioxidants and hydrating compounds to nourish the skin.
With thousands of sheet masks in the market, how do we know what works best and how do we go about choosing a suitable one?
In this article, we aim to answer some of the most common questions you probably have about sheet masks.
Different types of sheet masks
There are generally 5 types of materials that we see in the market:
COTTON This material is perhaps one of the cheapest and most common materials used to make sheet masks. It does not irritate the skin because it is soft. Cotton is also an excellent material that is absorbent, allowing the mask to soak up the essence before applying on your face.
CUPRA These are leftover fibers that are left behind after processing cotton. Although the material looks very similar to cotton, it takes on a much thinner and transparent appearance when applied on the skin.
TENCEL A pretty new fiber used to make sheet mask. These are naturally derived from trees, and they are biodegradable and they don’t harm the environment. It takes on a white colour and feels comfortable on the skin.
HYDROGEL It is very fragile because it is made of a thin layer of moisturising gel film. It is 100% soluble and it keeps the skin cool when you apply on the skin.
BIO-CELLULOSE A very pricey material, bio-celluose mask sticks very well to the skin. It seals the moisture and essence on the skin, allowing the active ingredients to be absorbed.
CHARCOAL Comes in a distinctive black material; it feels very smooth on the skin. Charcoal sheet masks are black because charcoal powder is compressed into these sheet masks, providing added detoxification and anti-acne benefits to the skin.
How many times do I need to use a sheet mask?
It depends on the content of your sheet mask. Some products that have more irritating and stronger active ingredients, you should use the mask about 2-3 times a week. However, most sheet masks are purely for hydration with very low concentration of active ingredients. This means that you can use it on a daily basis without any problem.
Another factor to consider is your environment. If you are in a cool and dry climate, you can increase the frequency of usage to restore the skin’s hydration. Conversely, if you are in a humid climate, you don’t have to use that often.
If you are someone who enjoys using a sheet mask, you can even put together a schedule and alternate between calming, hydrating masks and functional masks that address certain skin concerns.
How long do I need to leave the sheet mask on?
A common mistake is to leave the sheet mask on your skin for too long. People often have the misconception that the longer you leave the mask on your face, the more nutrients your skin will absorb.
The recommended time to leave a sheet mask on the face is between 15 and 25 minutes.
What to look out for in a sheet mask
Most sheet masks have the same function i.e. to hydrate the skin and restore and lock moisture in the skin.
Generally, any other active ingredients found in sheet masks have very low concentration to see any visible results in a single use. This is because if manufacturers were to increase the concentration of active ingredients, these sheet masks will be very expensive for regular use.
Having said that, some active ingredients you want to look out for are:
HYALURONIC ACID OR SODIUM HYALURONATE Similar to dermal filler injections, hyaluronic acid is extremely moisturising to the skin as can draw and retain water about 100x its weight in water.
GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT An effective ingredient for skin brightening purposes.
NIACINAMIDE Also known as Vitamin B3, its main function is to brighten the skin while delivering moisture into the skin.
CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT A very old traditional medicine used for hundreds of years to treat minor wounds, burns and scratches. It is also a well-known anti-inflammatory agent.
MORUS ALBA (WHITEMULBERRY) ROOT EXTRACT It has strong antioxidant properties. However, its main benefit is to calm skin irritation and fade skin discoloration and even out skin tone.
Serenity Skin Restoration Mask from Radium Medical Aesthetics is a luxurious sheet mask that contains deep ocean water that contains rich minerals to induce skin repair. It is also contains Morus Alba Extract and Centella Asiatica Extract to calm and sooth red, inflamed skin.