Do Sheet Masks Do Anything?
There's obviously something satisfying about looking like a mixture of a cute panda and a creature from a horror film, but do sheet masks provide the skin with anything beneficial or are they all style, no substance?
Sheet masks are a staple of Korean beauty (or K-beauty, to those of us in the know). Whilst I was on a trip to Seoul, I came across so many different variations of sheet masks, like vitamin, charcoal, hyaluronic acid and even egg. It was eye-opening to me because South Korean women do a sheet mask on a daily basis as part of an multi-product, 7 (or more) step skincare regime. If the people of South Korea value them that much, there must be something to it.
What is a sheet mask?
A sheet mask consists of a one-time-use sheet of cotton-based, gel or paper material that has been soaked in ingredient-packed serums or essences, which is a Korean concept.
They come in a foil packet that you tear the top off and extract the mask from. It feels like you're putting your hand in a sachet of scented snail goo - I promise it's not snail goo, although I did try a snail goo one in Korea... don't ask.
The mask has eye holes, a nose hole and a mouth hole and you have to be careful to align the mask properly when you're applying it.
What are the benefits of sheet masks?
I'm afraid I say this far too often at this stage, but like any other product that you apply to the skin, the benefits are entirely reliant on what ingredients the sheet mask contains!
Penneys' Sheet Masks are affordable and come in 11 different varieties but the one to look out for in terms of beneficial ingredients would be the Vitamin E eye patches (€1.50) that contain vitamin E for its antioxidant qualities, vitamin B5 for moisturising, allantoin to stimulate cell renewal and rose water to calm and soothe.
Penneys' plumping vitamin E sheet mask (€1.50) uses a natural blend of papaya (which has enzymes for gentle exfoliation) and green tea, along with vitamin B5 for moisturising.
One of my big favourites has got to be Seoulista Super Hydration Instant Facial Sheet Mask. The clue is in the name - this super hydration sheet mask is ideal if you've been travelling recently, or if you are just looking for a hyaluronically infused shot of hydration.
Another big love has to be IMAGE Skincare's Biomolecular Anti-aging Radiance Mask (€11.50 for one or €52.50 for a pack of 5) especially for those looking for anti-aging effects from their sheet masks. The actual sheet part is made of their patented hydrogel technology for optimal delivery of volcanic water, brightening botanicals, peptides and antioxidants to give the skin radiance and ultra-hydration.
Tonymoly's I'm Real range come in close second and are available online from Brown Thomas. Tonymoly is the world's leading Korean skincare brand and are actually Korean. Their sheet masks are wildly popular worldwide and they provide sheet masks for so many different skin woes.
The I'm Real Nutrition Avocado Mask Sheet (€3.00) is formulated with avocado extract, and as you are probably aware of, avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins. As if you needed an excuse to get more avocado into your life.
How are they different to usual face masks?
Are sheet masks supreme to the usual type of masks? Not necessarily, but they do have the added advantage of providing a cover to the product that is penetrating the skin. To make a gross but accurate analogy, think about when you keep your socks on after they've gotten wet - how long do your feet take to dry after? Absolutely ages. So, having something locking the moisture and the ingredients on to your skin lets everything soak further into the skin.
Another thing that sheet masks have on regular masks is how they force you to take about twenty minutes for you and only you. If you're a busy mammy, stick on a sheet mask and scare your minis from asking you any questions, complaining or bothering you at all.
Could you imagine trying to go about your daily chores with a wet, sticky piece of material sliding down your chin? Clearly not! If you struggle to allow yourself proper, do nothing pamper time, a sheet mask could be the answer.
So, do we here at Nerd HQ think that sheet masks are a pointless fad with few to no benefits? No - we believe that if you're consciously choosing a sheet mask with the right ingredients, then they are rateable. I'd recommend to use them once or twice a week as that's plenty to reap all of the rewards of sheet masks. Just make sure to enjoy it properly (AKA with a cup of a herbal tea of your choosing)!