If you are regular with skincare, you would’ve used a few sheet masks by now. Or you would’ve at least heard about them. We love sheet masks for the instant hydration and the ease of using them. But what do they really do? Do sheet masks really work to improve your skin, or is it just another skincare fad that only feels good? We asked some experts and got down to doing our own research about sheet masks. And we found a lot of information to share with you. If you love sheet masks, or are still thinking of trying a sheet mask routine, here is everything you need to know about them.
What are sheet masks?
Using a sheet mask is the best and quickest way to hydrate your skin. We all know that. Drenched in serums, sheet masks feel weird when you use them for the first time. But it only takes a couple of minutes to realise that they feel great on your face.
According to Dr Sneha Prabhudhabolkar, National Creative Director of Lakme Salon, “The sheets in these masks are made of fibre, paper, cotton, bio cellulose, hydrogels or coconut pulp. The serums are concentrated and contain ingredients that are hydrophilic, and pair best with water.”
Which sheet mask is best for you?
That depends on your skin type. There are several kinds of sheet masks available. However, if you have sensitive skin, you need to choose wisely. “The results of a sheet mask are dependent on the material of the sheet,” Dr Prabhudhabolkar tells us.
Here are the different kinds of sheet masks which are commonly available:
– Hydrogel mask: This is the most expensive type of sheet mask because it is the most effective. Originally made to speed up the healing process for burn victims, this type of mask sticks to the skin, absorbs heat and locks in moisture. The entire mask is made of serums so it delivers a significant amount of hydration in a short span of time.
– Bio cellulose mask: Slightly less effective than hydrogel masks, bio cellulose masks are plant-based. They use the structure of a plant cell to lock in the moisturising serum and deliver it to the skin. The composition of these masks allow air to circulate while the mask is being used. This, in turn, helps to absorb more of the serum.
– Cotton mask: These masks don’t stick to the skin like a hydrogel or bio cellulose mask. It’s slightly harder to keep them on your face so you’ll have to place them carefully on your face to avoid missing any spots. There are two types of cotton masks – organic, usually light brown in colour, and non-organic cotton, which is bleached. While cotton masks are better than woven fabrics in holding on to the serum, they are not as effective as hydrogel or bio cellulose masks.
– Paper masks: These masks feel like a thick, wet tissue on your face. Directly made from separate fibres or plastic, just like a wet wipe, paper masks are porous and don’t hold serums very well.
You also have to make sure that none of the ingredients in your sheet mask will irritate your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you should stay away from retinol or glycolic acid based masks unless recommended by a dermatologist.
How do we use sheet masks effectively?
The general tendency with skincare, especially with hydrating products, is to leave the product on your face for as long as possible. However, with sheet masks, this strategy can be counterproductive. Don’t leave sheet masks on longer than the recommended time on the pack. You don’t want the sheet mask to dry out completely. If that happens, the dry sheet will start sucking the moisture out of your skin, negating all the intended benefits.
If you haven’t used a sheet mask before, all you have to do is open the single mask pack, take out the drenched mask and place it on your face. Do remember to cleanse and tone your skin before putting on a sheet mask. Once you place the sheet mask on your face, pat it down to make sure the serum spreads uniformly. You will have to align the holes in the sheet mask with your eyes, nose and mouth to ensure a good fit. Keep it on for 20 minutes and take it off. If the serum feels too heavy for your skin, wipe it off gently after a few minutes.
Most sheet masks are mild enough to be used daily, but if your skin is sensitive, restrict your usage to once or twice a week. It’ll be difficult to resist, since they feel so great. But, like with every good thing in life, go slow!
What are the pros and cons of using sheet masks?
Apart from what we’ve already mentioned, there are more advantages to using sheet masks.
Sheet masks are not messy and are easy to carry. They don’t need any accompaniments and they have quick results. After a single use, your skin will look softer, smoother and rejuvenated. Since they’re packed individually and are compact, you can carry them on holidays as well.
On the other hand, there are some cons to sheet masks as well.
Sheet masks are a great quick fix for dry or dull skin. You can maintain the moisture levels of your skin by using sheet masks regularly. However, as Dr Prabhudhabolkar tells us, sheet masks don’t cleanse or exfoliate the skin so they can’t be replacements for a proper skincare routine.
Sometimes, sheet masks can be too small or too big for your face. This can be cumbersome with serum dripping or your face being unevenly moisturised. So you will need to try a few companies before landing on the perfect sheet mask for you.
Also, their effects don’t last for more than a day, so don’t expect a weekly sheet mask to solve all your problems.
FYI, overmasking can lead to breakouts if you have oily and/or acne-prone skin. In that case, ‘skin fasting’ is a great way to go. Go on a detox from all products except your basic cleansing, toning and moisturising for a week and see how your skin feels. Some experts say that overuse of skin products can make your skin quite sensitive and prone to breakouts.
So, do sheet masks really work?
For quick hydration, yes. To maintain a radiant, moisturised glow on your skin, yes. For anything more than that, no. If you have skin problems that go beyond dryness and dullness, you will need to get more extensive, professional treatments. But if all you want is a spa-like experience at home, and a supreme moisture surge, sheet masks are great.
Plus, it’s a great idea for a lazy weekend at home.
If you’re looking for the ideal summer skincare routine, click here to know what the experts recommend.