How To: Select a Sheet Mask

Sheet masks are available at literally any price point. The lowest I’ve seen is $0.75 each to the highest of $240.00 for a pack of 6 (La Prairie Swiss Cellular White Intensive Illuminating Mask, is anyone surprised La Prairie is the most expensive). Givenchy makes an even more expensive Le Soin Noir which is the lace face mask that was very Instagram happy in 2018 but I think that’s been discontinued or there’s a supply problem. Neiman Marcus, Barney’s all list the mask as sold out; however, it’s still listed on Givenchy’s website. At $330 for 4 mask it is the most expensive sheet mask if it is available on the market.

In order to pick out the perfect sheet mask you need to know a few things: budget, skin type, and top skin concern. You also need to consider how often you want to sheet mask. In Korea, sheet masking is pushed heavily for daily sheet masking. In the US and Europe, it’s more of a #selfcaresunday routine. A lot of Koreans I know use sheet masks twice a week.


Budget is pretty simple why. Frequency of sheet masking also goes into budget. Luxury skin care companies have a lot of great sheet masks however they’re more expensive. Do you want a spend $20 a week on sheet masks?

Skin Type

Sheet masks come in several types but can be broken down into 3 key types: cream, serum, and essence. The type can generally be found in the lower right corner or it’s in the title of most sheet masks. If nothing is mentioned I assume they’re a serum type sheet mask as those are the most popular.

Cream Sheet masks are best for dry skin types and sheet masks with anti-aging formulations. The formulation for the sheet mask is thicker and may contain heavy oils and possibly butters like shea or coconut to aide in moisture. Those prone to breakouts will likely see an increase in whiteheads and possibly acne after using these sheet masks. The benefit of cream sheet masks is they are luxurious in feel and deeply, deeply moisturizing. The con is that very often a residue can be left on the skin. For drier skin that’s a bonus (key up my skin, especially in the winter). If interested in using a cream sheet mask try it at night first, this allows the cream moisturizer to really soak into the skin and you won’t have to worry about makeup moving over the top. I always try to use a cream sheet mask after I chemically exfoliate in order to optimize that moisture penetration and repair the moisture barrier as much as possible.

Serum Sheet Masks are the most popular on the market. Most luxury brands manufacturer serum type sheet masks because they’re great for the largest number of people including those with dry to oily skin and offer the optimal feel and dry time on the face. Depending on the ingredients list anyone can use serum type sheet masks.

Essence Sheet Masks are the thinnest and also very popular. Essence sheet masks are popular for those who use sheet masks daily. These sheet masks have the lightest formulation and benefit greatly from having a thicker cotton mask in order to prevent the mask from drying too quickly. If essence is not specifically mentioned look for words like water or juice such as birch juice.

Primary Concern

For an even skin tone: look at products with Vitamin C, Turmeric, Lemon, Orange, Rice ferment, orchid extract, acai. Strong antioxidants help repair sun damage and can prevent melanin production so new dark spots don’t form or current dark spots don’t get darker and can fade. Vitamin C does not bleach the skin, it prevents the production of melanin allowing skin to lighten naturally.

Acne: Look for Tea tree oil, charcoal, green tea, honey, and cica. These all have mild antibacterial activity and can help to clear skin, keeping that face glowing.

Moisture: Look for hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan), birch juice, aloe vera, glycerin, seaweed/algae, and honey. Not only does honey have antibacterial activities its also a great moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are very common moisturizers in sheet masks. For most sheet masks glycerin is the number one or two ingredient. Glycerin is a vegetable based product and completely safe to use on the face regardless if you’re pregnant or not.

There are other things to consider in order to fine tune your selection but they’re largely personal selections. Sheet mask fabric can play a large role. Knitted masks are thicker, hold more serum and can be on the face longer. Hydrogel masks are thinner, made of a gel-like material but dry out rather fast (at least they do on me). I personally don’t like hydrogel masks. They slide around more so I’m constantly moving it back up my face. I don’t run around the house either with my face mask, I’m generally in bed but reclined watching tv.

In general mask itself is made of cotton or cellulose materials. Some are raw cotton but most are processed giving that white appearance. Raw cotton masks also have more pores due to a less tight weave so more serum is held but it also evaporates faster than those with a tighter weave, but that difference is pretty minimal. Cut can make a difference, packaging, amount of serum, etc.

In the end it all comes down to preference after the first three big bullets.

Regarding questions of how long to keep it on your face. 20-30 minutes is the maximum. The reason why you don’t keep it on longer: as it drys on the face the serum will peel off when you remove the mask. You want that serum to still be moist so it absorbs into the skin instead of peeling away.

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