If 2014 was about contouring, and 2015 about brows, then this year will be remembered by the beauty industry as that of the sheet mask – a paper or cloth mask steeped in skin serum, with holes cut out for eyes, nostrils and mouth to prevent panic. The huge influence of Korean beauty technologies and trends, combined with countless Instagram posts of celebrities and bloggers looking like Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, helped turn these one-use disposable treatment masks from gimmicky novelty item to beauty bestseller.
And yet experts can still be somewhat sneery about sheet masks. They are by definition wasteful (though many are biodegradable) and are suitable only for thin formulas (fans of cream or oil masks will need traditional tubes or jars), but I rather like them. For those who use masks only infrequently, or who are seldom faithful to one product, a sheet mask is less wasteful, and often more cost-effective, than buying a full-size tub. Just keep a couple in the cupboard for special occasions or when the fancy takes you. And they’re brilliant for travel. The first sheet mask I used was SK-II’s Treatment Mask, made from fermented sake. I still love it, but am now as likely to use Verso Intense Facial Mask, £60 for four, which brighten and firm pre-party and somehow ensure makeup goes perfectly over the top (just rub in the excess after around 20 mins, and follow with moisturiser). For moderately dehydrated skins, Indeed Labs Hydraluron Mask, £19.99 for four, is surprisingly good considering I’m not keen on the Hydraluron range. Skin is noticeably plumper and more moist within 15 minutes.
Sheet masks (reliant on gravity to keep them in place) force you to lie down and do nothing while the product works, making them an ideal hangover treatment under which to whine and moan. For this purpose, I use Givenchy’s cooling, soothing Hydra Sparkling Fresh & Fast Masks, £40 for 15, which make me feel and look considerably better in half an hour (teetotals will also see the benefit), but I’m also impressed by Starskin After Party, £8.50 for one.
You needn’t spend fortunes. I recently bought TonyMoly’s entire I’m Real Skin Facial Mask Sheet Package, £9.42 for 11, for a beloved teenager’s pyjama party. They’re fun, great quality and went down a storm with guests.
Videos of peel-off
blackhead masks have created a viral beauty trend
MORE than 23 million people have watched this mesmerising video of YouTube beauty vlogger Josie K peeling a blackhead remover mask off her face.
“I have seen so many people do this and so I decided to try this out for myself and see if it works,” Josie says as she paints a jet black goo all over her face. Once it dries, she carefully peels the mask off and examines her nose and cheeks in the mirror.
“Holy crap honey!” she says, thrusting the used mask towards the camera, showing off the tiny bits of dirt and grime it has removed from her face. “My face is so smooth guys and look, like all of my blackheads are gone. It’s amazing. Amazing!”
While YouTube has long dominated the cult beauty world, the hypnotising, 30-second Instagram beauty video made its mark in 2016.
Just like Kylie Jenner testing lipstick shades on her arm, or women transforming their thin eyebrows into Frida Kahlo-esque arches, videos of peel-off blackhead masks are now flooding our Instagram feeds.
“For any small business wanting to make their mark in the industry, Instagram advertising is an excellent way to create an initial buzz and get your name out there,” said Ryan Channing, the owner of Blaq Mask, one of the most popular blackhead products marketed on Instagram. It launched two months ago and already the brand has 25,000 followers.
Blaq Mask is an activated charcoal mask that comes in a jet black tube. You squeeze a little out, spread it over your blackhead-induced areas and wait until it dries. Unlike ripping off a Band-Aid, this next part cannot be rushed. You gently peel the mask off, uprooting any impurities.
You're probably already well versed (and well stocked) onKorean beauty. If you're not, quick refresh: K-beauty is constantly launching innovative new products and tricks stateside that garner almost immediate cult-like followings. But we just learned of one more K-beauty secret (that we suppose isn't a secret anymore). Peach & Lily sheet masks are coming, the first in-house line from the the online (and brick-and-mortar) destination.
Peach & Lily, the K-beauty site founded by Alicia Yoon, is already filled with an abundance of extremely well-curated K-beauty products, carrying both under-the-radar labels and big brands alike. (It's also broken down extremely well, making it easy to tackle every issue or find any product fast.) But the new Peach & Lily sheet masks, aptly called Dream Sheet Mask Collection, are all paraben-free and packed with antioxidants. The three different masks in the collection—Good Skin Day, Chubby Cheeks, and Reset Button—are each tailored to different, specific skin needs—yours of which could easily change on a daily basis. (Why do you think combination skin is such a thing?
Good Skin Day is packed with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and algae to moisturize and brighten your complexion, while Chubby Cheeks has collagen-boosting, plump-inducing ingredients like peptides, niacinamide, and ginseng. (Basically, helping you channel your inner Gigi.) And then for stressful days (maybe like today, just saying), you can reach for Reset Button, which calms irritated skin with rosewater and aloe extract. I think of them as an anti-aging wonder trio, TBH.
The FaceTory Sheet-Mask Subscription Service
Brings Your Favorite Skin-Care Treatment to Your Doorstep
If your idea of a Sunday well-spent involves indulging in a hydratingsheet maskand a tall glass of wine (like these A-listers), brace yourselves: a sheet-mask subscription service, actually exists—with a goal to keep your skin uber-moisturized 365 days a year. Didn't catch that? A Korean beauty company, FaceTory, willliterallysend you a handful of good-for-your-skin treatments to try every month with virtually no strings attached. (Um, where do we sign up?)
FaceTory, a new-to-the-market skin-care subscription service (not be confused with our popular Beauty Box), gives lovely, skin-obsessed people (like, you and I) the gift of sheet masks to last you the whole month through—delivered straight to your door.
How does it work? If you've got $5 burning a hole in your pocket, consider yourself already locked in. Once you fill out an easy-peasy form to officially start your subscription to the service, you'll be charged $4.95 on the first of each month, plus a 99 cent shipping fee. (That's what, one less early-morning coffee shop trip for your go-to grande triple soy latte? I think you'll survive with the freebie office dredge one day a month.) Then, in each month's box, you'll find a variety of four treatments—I should also mention, there's a seven-pack option for $14.95, free shipping—all hand-picked by the FaceTory pros.
As for our faves? The adorable, plant-based Oozoo Bear Water-Bang Hydrating Mask, the Wonjin Effect 3 Step Water Bomb, which promises to hydrate, brighten, and target fine lines, and the sea kelp-spiked Chung Woo-A Real Sea Kelp Mask made to target trouble zones like dark spots and breakouts. And let's say you use one of the masks you're sent, and it turns out that's the mask that completely changes your skin game forever. Well? The month after they appear in the box, each mask is available for purchase individually from $3 to $7 right on the site. So it's not like each mask is a one-time shot, that is, unless you want it to be.
Ok, so now that you've heard it all, how good does the FaceTory sheet-mask subscription service sound? Pretty tempting, right? If you're afraid of commitment (#nojudgment), you can also just log on and buy any mask individually just to see what the deal is. And if you start getting sheet mask overload once you've subscribed, canceling is free and easy at any point. FaceTory, I think I love you.
The Skin Laundry Wrinkle Release Neck &
Chest Sheet Mask Saved My Florida-Born Skin
For 22 years of my life, I lived in Florida. My mom's house was a five-minute drive to the closest beach, which is where I spent most of my free time sunbathing (without—gasp—sunscreen). And while I now call the gorgeous, quaint little borough of Brooklyn my home, it's safe to say, over the years, the Sunshine State took a major toll on my fair skin. Which is why I now work so hard to protect with daily slatherings of SPF, hydrating with < five different types of serums and moisturizers, and masking weekly. My current favorite skin savior, though? Something I never expected to love (or need, for that matter): a neck and chest sheet mask.
The Skin Laundry Wrinkle Release Neck & Chest Sheet Mask is exactly what it sounds like—a sheet mask designed to be worn from the neck to the chest—made with hydrating and soothing ingredients, including niacinamide to help brighten and improve skin's texture and sodium hyaluronate, which is the salt of hyaluronic acid, to moisturize and plump. Prior to working in the beauty industry, I rarely paid attention to my décolletage; I'm only 26 years old. But lately, I've started to feel a little self-conscious about my on-the-cusp-of-crepey skin in tanks and V-necks, so I figured there's no time like the present to give my neck and chest some extra TLC.
Full disclosure: Because this sheet mask comes predrenched in serum, I had to wear it topless. After I applied it from the tip of my chin to the top of my chest, it immediately started soaking my bra. So, in an effort to save my $5 find from the TJ Maxx clearance rack, I chucked it off and free-boobed it. And let me tell you, if you think applying a sheet mask to your face feels cold, try wearing a cool-to-the-touch treatment on your, well, ta-tas. It's quite shocking—at least at first.
After a few minutes, I quickly discovered that walking around (and haphazardly attempting to clean) my apartment, blinds drawn, just wasn't going to cut it. So I slowly crept back into my room and laid down on my back to let the treatment truly settle into my skin. During the recommended 15 to 20 minutes of wear, I scrolled through my Instagram double-tapping photos left and right, window-shopped on zara.com, and even called my mom. Once it was time to take it off, I hopped out of bed and peeled it away, eager to see the results. And you know what? After taking a peek at my (again, topless) reflection, I saw an immediate difference in my skin. From my chin to my neck, my skin was visibly brighter and felt supple and supersoft to the touch. I was impressed! I'd totally use it again (and again). And for the record, my boyfriend, who was home during this entire sheet-mask venture, got a big kick out of the whole process.
After such sweet success, I now want to troll the rest of Skin Laundry's just-dropped at Sephora skin-care collection. I've already got my eye on the Extra Gel Deep Face Wash made with salicylic acid to target breakouts, and the Wrinkle Release Repair Treatment with Retinol made with—you guessed it, retinol—to fight fine lines and acne and shea butter to soothe. But for those of you who are at least at little intrigued by the Skin Laundry Wrinkle Release Neck & Chest Sheet Mask, which is $15 for an individual treatment (or $60 for a set of five) at sephora.com, I highly recommend you give it a try. If anything, at least you'll have some fun.