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.