Sheet masks are all the rage. Another beauty trend from Korea, they are everywhere and for all purposes. The benefits of a sheet mask over standard clay or cream mask apparently is that the sheet provides an occlusive layer over the active ingredients (serum or clay) so the ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin. Here are five that I have used recently.
The Make Up Primer – When Makeup Base (£25 for a set of four at Selfridges)
This is a biocellulose mask that is super cool to the skin. The high glycerine content means that the skin is left quite tacky to the touch. Apply to the skin for 20 minutes after your cleanse and tone and then apply your make up over the top. Felt quite weird not to have a moisturiser in between. My make up did adhere to the skin well, but I don’t think it lasted any longer then with my usual primer.
The Clay One – Earth Kiss Miracle Clay Facial Hydrate Bamboo Sheet Mask (£1.99 from Holland and Barratt)
Montagne Jeunesse changed their name to 7th Heaven and then their range with Himalayan Shiljat is a sub range of the brand called Earth Kiss. (all slightly confusing). In the same way that you get resin from a tree you get shilajat from a rock (in the Himalayas). Shilijat is commonly used in ayuverdic medicine which contains minerals and polyphenol complexes. This is my only experience of a clay sheet mask. It is unusual but I did enjoy the experience. The mask does not come encased in plastic, It is just folded into the sachet. You put it on the face for fifteen to twenty minutes and rinse it off. It stays as room temperatures so it is not super cold on the skin. The clay in the mask is Argille clay (a posh way to say montmorillite) and there is also mandarin oil and baobab to hydrate and nourise the skin. It is longer than many masks. It goes from my hairline to under my chin but it does not accommodate the width of my face and does not dry stiff as many clay masks do.
The Professional One – Caci Hydromask
Another biocellulose mask, Hydromask is used by professionals who use the CACI system. The mask comes in two pieces, The eyes and the lip. It comes drenched in the serum and the mask is clear. The amount of serum is crazy and I found it dripping all over my bathroom sink. This is a mask that you really do need to by lying down to use becuase it slips down your face. It also was a bit small for my very round plate face. I found it quite difficult to open up and I actually split the mask. It it did a pretty good job of hydrating my face, but I think this one is best left to the professionals.
The Brightening One – Star Skins Brightening Mask (£8.50 from Harvey Nichols)
Star Skins have a whole sheet mask skincare regime that includes a mask for men, and for hands as well as cleansing and hydrating masks. The brightening mask is designed to be used after an exfoliating. I put it straight on straight after cleansing and toning. This was one of the best fitting masks of those that I tried. It claims to minimise darks spots and even skintone – clearly not after one use. It did tingle slightly on the skin but didn’t leave my skin irritated. I followed it with a hydrating cream mask and the following day my skin was smooth. The effect was similar to using exfoliating pads.
The Other Hydrating Mask – Masker Aide Detox Diva (£5.00 from ASOS)
MaskerAide promise pore minimising and protection from free radicals. In terms of fit, this one is the best for my face shape. It maintained the best contact with my skin during the twenty minutes it was on my face. This is a hydrating mask, drenched in a silicone base serum which has a low concentration of actives including argan oil, tomato and orange fruit extracts. My skin was left hydrated and this is definitely one I would repurchase. For future use, I would apply it on top of my own serum to increase the skincare benefits to the skin.
In principle I am a fan of a sheet masks. It is great that they can be bought individually and they are portable so really useful for flights and journeys. However, there are too many variables to ensure that a sheet mask is the best way for your skin to benefit from ingredients that the mask is soaked in. The mask needs to sit tight over the face, the ingredients need to be at a high enough concentration to be effective and the user has to keep the mask on the face for long enough. Neither price no brand is an indicator of efficacy – this really is a trend that you are going to have to try a wide range to find the one that is right for you.