It’s the epitome of self care in every movie montage, as nothing symbolizes ‘me time’ quite like a sheet mask. Providing a few minutes of solace to give your skin (and body), a little rest, the serum-drenched masks incentivize a moment to slow down while working overtime to give the skin a hydrating boost of good-for-you ingredients. Though many see sheet masks as a fun add-on, they are much more than a 10-minute self care detour – the benefits are truly there. Here’s what the experts have to say on this skincare favorite and how to incorporate it into your routine.
Why Sheet Masks Are Worth Using
It’s not up to us to dictate what should or shouldn’t be a part of someone’s routine, skincare should – first and foremost – be based on individual needs, but to say that sheet masks are frivolous would be unjust to their benefits. So, what makes them so great? “Sheet masks allow active ingredients time to absorb into your skin by letting the ingredients sit longer because the ingredients are ‘occluded’ by the mask,” explains Caroline Chang, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of the Rhode Island Dermatology Institute. By keeping the ingredients locked on the skin without a chance to evaporate, the solution can penetrate deeper and in higher concentrations adds Dr. Chang. This potent delivery system also makes bio-cellulose masks a favorite post-procedure. “These can be used after an in-office procedure nightly until the skin is healed.” Now while your routine may be packed with lotions and potions galore, sheet masks aren’t a replacement for other skincare essentials and can work in conjunction with the other steps. They can complement any routine because “a standard serum doesn’t allow your skin to absorb nearly as much of the active ingredients,” explains Elina Wang, CEO, and co-founder of ESW Beauty. Translation: if you need a boost of hydration, workhorse ingredients, or potent actives, add a sheet mask to your weekly regimen.
Ways To Enhance Your Use of Sheet Masks
You can wash your face and put on any sheet mask you’d like, or you can do this.
- Find The Right Mask: With so many to choose from, where do you start? Dr. Chang suggests bio-cellulose over a traditional sheet mask stating that “bio-cellulose clings to your skin more tightly allowing the ingredients to absorb even more effectively than a sheet mask.” Additionally, this technology allows the masks to retain more moisture, but if a bio-cellulose option isn’t within reach, don’t write off the tried and true version.
- Prep Yourself: Cleansing is always the first step explains Dr. Chang. A clean canvas is a great start to ensure there’s no debris standing in the way of the skin getting those potent ingredients. However, it's not the only prep step you can take. Wang recommends popping the mask into the fridge to give it a cryotherapy touch. Apart from helping with inflammation and swelling, Wang mentions the cold mask can "enhance the overall experience with a more cooling effect, perfect for the start of your morning routine.”
- Use As Instructed: It may be self-explanatory, the instructions are on the packaging after all, but, the key here is to be mindful of the ingredients. “A mask with brightening ingredients might be more irritating to the skin and should be used less frequently,” notes Dr. Chang. While most are great for all skin types, sheet masks should still be selected with the same caution as other aspects of the routine.
- Do Double Duty: You’re already laying down with the mask on, why not incorporate a tool while you’re at it? “Facial rollers, such as our Mint Green Tea Jade Crystal Facial Roller, and sheet masks work hand-in-hand just as a symbiotic relationship does,” explains Wang. Whether you use it while the mask is on to smooth out the bubbles or to massage in the serum, Wang explains that the serum within sheet masks is complementary for facial rollers or a gua sha and prevents tugging.
- Finish Strong: Within the packaging, there will likely be excess serum that you don’t want to waste. ”You can use it as lubrication for your gua sha to effortlessly glide across your face,” recommends Wang. This process is great because it prevents tugging. “Tugging on the skin Inevitably produces wrinkles and fine lines in the long run, and as much as we should celebrate aging, we don’t want to accelerate the process,” she notes. For her, this is also an opportunity to address other areas that need some TLC. “Skincare on the face is important, but skincare is an overarching type of care that involves all types of skin — not just the face.” Finish with your routine and enjoy the glow.
- Keep At It: There’s a reason why sheet masks often come in a set, the benefits add up with continuous use. “You can use a sheet mask nightly or weekly,” explains Dr. Chang. However, be mindful of the existing ingredients in your routine to avoid irritation. “A mask with brightening ingredients might be more irritating to the skin and should be used less frequently.” Her suggestion? “I would recommend adding a sheet mask once a week. Make sure you do this at a time when you have 10 to 15 minutes to yourself.”
Sheet Masks Worth Trying
As we mentioned, not all sheet masks are created equal and depending on the ingredients, each offers various benefits. So, if you’re clueless about where to start, here are some editor-approved options to get you glowing.
The Retinol Alternative: Venn Collagen Intensive Phyto-Retinol Renewal Mask
While we love retinol, we know it’s not for everyone (or for every day), which is why bakuchiol is our less intensive youth-preserving go-to. Venn took this skincare favorite and combined t with hydrolyzed collagen, two percent niacinamide, 17 amino acids, and six peptides for a mask that dries clear, leaving no mess behind. $47, vennskincare.com
For Skin Soothing: ESW Beauty Strawberries and Cream
Made from Cupra, a biodegradable cotton material, this sheet mask is good for you and the planet. Biodegradable and oh, so potent, this is an editorial favorite for its use of anti-inflammatory ingredients and vitamins E, B, and C. No matter the season, this is bound to give your moneymaker a soothing hug. $6, eswbeauty.com
The Bright Side: Babor Bright Effect Mask
No muss, no fuss, just an all-star lineup of workhorse ingredients your skin will love. Starting strong with a complex combination of amino acids and Swiss cress sprout extract to tackle premature skin aging, these sheet masks also incorporate bioactive soybean to address skin elasticity and vitamin C derivatives to brighten up the appearance of dark spots. $69, babor.com
The Hydrating Fix: Younique YOU·OLOGY Refreshing Biocellulose Mask
Dr. Chang’s mask of choice, this new offering from Younique, has a plethora of skin-quenching ingredients perfect for those looking to address dryness. Formulated with sodium hyaluronate, panthenol, and glycerin (a humectant great for locking in moisture and relieving dryness), this bio-cellulose mask is good til the last drop. $49, youniqueproducts.com
To Refresh: Rodial Snake Bubble Sheet Mask
While this sheet mask makes for a good Instagram selfie moment, it also provides the plumping powers of hyaluronic acid, bamboo charcoal, collagen, ceramides, and peptides to provide a brighter complexion. Did we mention the refreshing O2 bubbles? This mask has it all. $49, rodial.com
For A Detox: Wolf Project Detox Mud Face Sheet Mask
Ever feel like your skin needs an extra deep clean after a sweaty day? Us, too. That’s when we reach for this kaolin and bentonite clay-powered sheet mask to treat excess sebum and address blackheads. Refreshing, hydrating, and great for all skin types, it’s definitely worth the hype. $30, wolfproject.com
For Mature Skin: Theraderm Stem Cell & Peptide Face Mask
While we can’t stop the decrease in collagen production, we can shift our focus to ingredients that work solely to address this concern, and that’s where Theraderm comes in. This bio-cellulose sheet mask has a powerful cocktail of actives and stem cells to nourish while aiding in collagen production. Need we say more? $9, theraderm.com
The Customizable Option: Province Apothecary Reusable Silicone Sheet Masks For Face + Eyes
Those looking for a no-waste option can feel good about trying these silicone options from Province Apothecary. Giving you the ultimate control over your experience, all it requires is a quick wash, and it’s good to go. Pair them with your favorite serum or eye cream, and enjoy. $15, provinceapothecary.com
All products featured are independently selected by our editors, however, AEDIT may receive a commission on items purchased through our links.
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