I only joined Instagram about seven months ago, but one thing I’ve noticed is this worldwide obsession with sheet masks. Women takes selfies with sheet masks and post them all the time. And I’m not talking cute-Charlotte-Cho-sheet-mask selfies either. These are straight-up less-than-flattering selfies, in bad lighting (see my photo above), sans makeup, and a soggy paper mask full of air bubbles and barely clinging to the contours of one’s face. No one looks their best when donning a sheet mask, so to do it all the time? I can only explain it by saying — we beauty people are obsessed with sheet masks.
I mean, there’s a whole beauty movement to wear one sheet mask a day called 1-day-1-pack. And while I may never be patient enough to do one sheet mask every single day — even though, admittedly, my skin does look and feel amazing after a masking session — I do consider myself a mask-holic. When I mask once a week, I layer three or four masks depending on my skin’s needs: I start with a glycolic acid mask to create a clean canvas, then a charcoal or clay mask for my T-zone and a brightening mask for my cheeks. Then I’ll wear a hydrating sheet mask, usually with snail mucin or hyaluronic acid.
And while I used to have ask my mom or friends to pick up some sheet masks for me whenever they’re in Korea, thankfully, masking has exploded in the U.S. as well, driven by the obsession with K-beauty in general. And it’s not just sheet masks — with all that competition, beauty brands are having to come out with better, faster, more efficacious masks. And we, dear reader, are the lucky recipients of all that technology. Read on for the latest in masking .
In the impact photo above, I’m wearing DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack, a new eye mask that’s revolutionary and yet sort of duh-why-didn’t-anyone-think-of-this-sooner. I mean, sure, my under-eyes are pretty bad, but so are my upper eyelids — they’re sagging like crazy. The DHC eye pack has multipeptides to support collagen, as well as antioxidant-rich olive fruit oil and that must-have hydrating ingredient, hyaluronic acid. I also like how it makes me look like a badass (masking) superhero.
Like the DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack eye masks, that give you a cool, sort of superhero look while you’re masking, Korean sheet masks are getting cuter and more fun to wear. These days, they come in a variety of colors, including gold, and there are even animal faces printed on them. While I wouldn’t really on the printed ones for my go-to, everyday sheet mask, they are fun to wear once in a while (especially if you’re into the whole sheet mask selfie thing). Korean beauty e-tailer Beauteque offers an extensive collection of sheet masks that are wholly affordable, from the adorable lip masks by Tony Moly to Carnival-inspired eye masks that are totally worth a #facemaskselfie. Sexy Look Moisturizing Hydra Black Eye Mask, $11 for 7, Tony Moly Kiss Kiss Lovely Lip Patch, $5, Mediheal Mask Dress-Dress Code Violet, $3, beauteque.com.
Slightly less cute (unless you find Hannibal Lecter hot) but perhaps far more effective, the unique two-part, foil-backed sheet mask, Estée Lauder’s latest entrant into the masking arena, allows 25 times faster penetration of the brand’s cult favorite Advanced Night Repair formula. You can feel the foil trapping in heat as it drives nutrients into your skin, and you only need to wear it for 10 minutes. Even better: Just save the foil and reuse for your next masking session. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, $79 for 4, esteelauder.com.
Serum masks have been big in Asia for some time — a two-parter where you drench a serum on your face and then a mask directly on top. Korean brand Amorepacific finally offers its version of the serum mask to U.S. customers. Just apply the ampoule all over your face and then place the dry hydrogel mask directly on top to stimulate keratinocyte production, which strengthens the skin barrier. Amorepacific Moisture Bound Intensive Serum Masque, $90 for 6, neimanmarcus.com.
I love charcoal masks for its ability to clean out my pores and tighten them; nothing helps my oily T-zone better. The latest charcoal wonder from Boscia is a dual pudding mask — the black swirl is activated bamboo charcoal to detoxify, while the white swirl is binchotan white charcoal, Japan’s most prized charcoal, to hydrate and balance. The mask also contains kaolin clay to reduce sebum. Mix the two into a gray paste and apply on skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Boscia Charcoal Pore Pudding, $38, boscia.com.
While I may not sheet mask every day, I do sleep mask daily. I vary the sleep mask, depending on how my skin feels that night — extra parched,congested, or needing brightening or firming — on top of my usual night cream, just to provide an extra layer of hydration and to prevent all the goodness I applied from evaporating. Révive Skincare offers a luxe firming and volumizing mask, with its signature bio-volumizing proteins to encourage skin to increase elasticity, volume and density, combines two of the latest obsessions in skin care: overnight masking and a youthful fullness in the face. Since sagging is one of my big skin care woes these days, I’ll be adding this one to my regimen. Révive Masque de Volume, $185, reviveskincare.com.
Originally published in Composure Magazine. Get your issue here.