Korean sheet masks have been the hottest thing in K-beauty to hit the shelves of Sephora’s and makeup counters around the US, and these babies are here to stay for a reason. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, sheet masks are single-use ultra thin masks contoured to fit on your face (and make you look like a serial killer) that are drenched in thick serums designed to target specific needs for facial skin. Some masks are meant to hydrate intensely, others to brighten skin, and others to shrink pores. The masks are made of all sorts of materials and contain all sorts of weird ingredients, from donkey milk and bee venom to snail slime and I KID YOU NOT, 24-karat gold.
As a dermatologist, I am often asked whether or not these sheet masks deliver all that they promise. My take on it is that there are no scientific studies done to objectively evaluate the benefits of these masks; however, it is a well known fact that occlusion helps topical preparations absorb better and faster into the skin (that is why in severe eczema patients we actually recommend putting saran wrap or some other covering over their medications). We all know that moisturizing well helps skin to stay supple and fight against wrinkle formation, so sheet masks simply help deliver moisture and seal it in with a thin occlusive barrier. I don’t see any harm in that, and personally I have had great experience with sheet masks. What I do caution against is spending tons of money on buying super expensive sheet masks from luxury brands, because, let’s be honest, they’re not really offering that much more than the cheaper run of the mill face masks.
I am teaming up with Memebox, a Korean beauty startup, to review some of the most popular and trendy sheet masks available on the market today, and will be giving away some of my favorite ones to you. Rules for the giveaway at the end! All of these masks were sent to me c/o Memebox to try, and all opinions and reviews are my own thoughts.
Skin & Lab Dr. Pore Tightening Glacial Clay Facial Mask: Made of Canadian glacial clay and oatmeal, this clay mask is meant to unclog and shrink pores and degrease the face. I thought the consistency reminded me a lot of the innisfree jeju volcanic clay mask I reviewed here, except the Skin & Lab mask contains small chunks of oatmeal meant to exfoliate the skin. I found these a tad rough. After 15 minutes my skin felt very tight so I washed it off (protip: always wash off when your skin starts feeling really tight and the mask is super dry, even if the full time isn’t up yet), and I did notice that my pores seemed cleaner, though not smaller, and my skin felt smooth. My skin felt somewhat dry afterwards though, so it’s important to moisturize with an intensive moisturizer after this product. My personal all time favorite moisturizer for dry skin is still the Nature Republic Skin Cream, available in different formulations for different skin types. I use the one for oily/combination skin.
Berrisom Animal Mask set – At $14 for a set of 7 masks, these cute animal masks were a great deal. I loved the little animal faces on each mask, making for some cute snapchats 😛 Each mask is said to contain special ingredients; for example the sheep mask has vitamin C, a known antioxidant that helps to decrease free radial damage in the skin. Others contain I think overall the masks were a bit stiffer and more coarse than the other more expensive masks, but did a good job hydrating the skin. The only downside was that it left a slightly sticky residue on my face as well. The cute designs are great and the price point can’t be beat
The Freeset Donkey Milk skin gel mask was a winner for me because it left a thicker moisturizing residue on my face after use that stayed all throughout the night. I used this baby the night before a friend’s wedding and my face was so hydrated and bright when I woke up the next morning! At first I was a little freaked out about the donkey milk part but to be honest there’s no smell or anything about the texture of the mask that is different from any other mask. I recommend this as an overnight mask when you’re struggling with dry skin, great for transitioning your skin to the harsher and drier winter climates ahead.
Note: Use the bowl and mixing spoon they give you in the packaging! Don’t use a metal utensil like I did…
Luxury Magic Mask (AQUA) with tea tree – Memebox has sold out of the tea tree version with seaweed extract that I tried but still has these masks with gold and charcoal. I’ve never had an experience like this. First I mixed packet 1, a slimy gel like substance, into the included mixing bowl, and then I emptied out packet 2, a powdery blue substance that reminded me of laundry detergent. Then I mixed the two together and applied it to my face for 30 minutes. I looked like a blue smurf! The mask itself is very chunky, crumbly, and difficult to apply, and the material hardened into rubber within minutes. I was worried the whole time that I would develop a skin allergy! (Even if I did, NBD, topical steroids to the face would do the trick) The coolest part was PEELING it off. It came off in one large chunk. To be totally honest I didn’t really see or feel a huge difference in my skin afterwards, and ended up having to use toner to scrape off the bits that stuck on the sides of my face and hair. It’s definitely messy, on the more expensive side ($30 for 5 masks), and somewhat time consuming. It’s fun to try if you’re into new skincare fads, but I probably would not purchase this myself.
Bon vivant Botanical Mask pack (aloe): Memebox has created a new line of sheet masks and I’m a huge fan! First off, they used 100% botanical fibers to create this line of masks, which are more absorbent than cotton or paper masks and adhere better to the face. My aloe mask was made from aloe fibers, and this mask left my face feeling hydrated and radiant. I like that these can be daytime masks as well, because they don’t leave your face with a sticky shiny residue that you feel embarrassed leaving the house with. So many people commented on how my face was glowing after using this sheet mask; the results were that striking! Also pictured is my new favorite essence + toner, killing two birds with one stone. I know it’s not a sheet mask but I like to use it after cleansing my face and before applying night cream of using a mask.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end! Now you can enter the giveaway. The giveaway runs from Monday morning until Friday night, and the prize will be a mask set of your choice from this blogpost. Thank you to Memebox for supplying product for me to review and for hosting this giveaway with me. Good luck!
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