Make no mistake, I am a hardcore skincare fanatic and an early adopter to the pioneering world of K-beauty: Been working the double cleanse since ’07, jumped on the 7-skin method bandwagon this year, and my essence game has been strong for years. But there’s one thing that had eluded me for the longest time: The crown jewel of K-beauty—the sheet mask.
Despite everyone I know and celebrities galore singing the praises of how sheet masks make their skin firm and glowing, I just never got on board. To me, the word “mask” meant “event”. And while I had no problem with an 8-step routine every night, for some reason, I still considered masks to be inconvenient. When would I do them? How often? Are some better to use at certain times? Instead of figuring it out, I just flat-out ignored sheet masks’ very existence.
But my sheet mask FOMO kicked in when I realized even experts were getting in on the #everydaysheetmask trend. Dermatologist Laurel Naversen Geraghty, MD, a self-proclaimed sheet mask addict, says that although there isn’t any scientific research (yet!) showing the effectiveness of sheet masks, “if used consistently, any topical product with scientifically-proven ingredients—like peptides, antioxidants such as vitamin C, ceramides or other moisturizing ingredients—could potentially offer long-term results.” And as for immediate benefits, I’d seen enough before-and-after selfies to know that glowing skin was just a sheet mask away.
Here’s how I finally worked sheet masks into my life (any time, any place!) and how they changed my skin for the better.
Morning De-Puff Session
Puffy eyes are my biggest foe, period. I work from home in the mornings, so now I take advantage of it by slapping on eye patches immediately after getting out of bed. Wish Formula Panda Eye Essence Mask, $2.50, targets dark circles with licorice and mistletoe, and contains vitamin C to strengthen skin (lax skin makes puffy eyes worse). But the best thing ever is that I keep them in the refrigerator, right next to the coffee machine. “A cool mask can help to reduce inflammation, constrict small blood vessels, and reduce swelling under the eyes or elsewhere on the face to calm riled-up or puffy skin,” explains Geraghty. Thanks to this new ritual, I’ve managed to completely eliminate those dreaded “You look tired!” comments out of my life.
Post-Work Moisture Surge
After a stressy day at work, there’s nothing better than plopping in front of Netflix with a glass of wine. Why not treat your skin at the same time? Good in theory, but what always tripped me up was that it wasn’t time to wash my face, and I didn’t want to put on a mask over makeup and sunscreen. Then it hit me—cleansing water! Now I swipe the very hydrating Whamisa Organic Flowers Cleansing Water, $28, over my skin to remove grime (follow it up with a cream or foam cleanser if you can manage to make it over to the sink afterwards), then apply the Make P:rem Comfort Air Mask,$4.50. After a day exposed to dry office air and harsh wind, the combo of nourishing chamomile and Nordic berry is like a tall drink of water for my parched skin with results lasting well into the next day.
Pre-Party Glow Prep
Sheet masks are known for giving instant results, so it’s a no-brainer to slap one on before doing night-out makeup. I found myself invited to a festive holiday dinner, so I set a phone notification to remind me to apply a sheet mask 30 minutes before I was planning to get ready. My absolute favorite is the Gesgep Preparing Mask that contains crushed pearls (fancy!) for instant illumination and bamboo to smooth skin and prep it for flawless makeup application. I used this bad boy and found I needed way less concealer. There’s a major skin win for you! Oh, and I was carded at the bar, so there’s that, too (I’m 37).
By 4PM on Sundays, I basically feel like a need a new face. The stressful week and busy weekend show up on my skin as dullness, fine lines, and a general look of blah. I don’t mind taking a little extra time for myself over the weekend, so I’ve started using the two-step Primary Raw DoYou 2-Step Milk Peeling Kit,$6. First, you wipe on the AHA exfoliating liquid to sweep away dead, dull skin and rough patches. Then apply the sheet mask, which has a powerhouse brightening ingredient—niacinamide—plus soothing and hydrating botanicals including green tea and chamomile. Overall, it makes my skin look smooth and radiant, and not at all like I went to bed at 2AM.
In the end, I surrendered myself to the power of sheet masks and will literally #maskeverywhere—on a plane, on a train, in the car, you name it. And you know what? My skin is brighter, smoother, and more hydrated for it. I look less puffy and tired, and people keep asking me what I’ve been using on my face. Now that I’m using masks on the regular, it’s become a habit and I don’t even think about how to fit them in anymore, which is exactly the point. Just slap one on, kick back, and let the skin-perfecting goodness sink in. Easy and effective!
Categories: Glow Recipe