Let’s start by highlighting the fact that sheet masks shouldn’t replace face masks. Both types of mask help infuse your skin with different properties, taking care of its unique needs. Think of the sheet mask as a potent, concentrated layer of active ingredients – a much higher concentration – and the topical face mask as a helpful tool to exfoliate the skin and cleanse on a deeper level. It might seem like there’s too much out there, and how would you decide which mask works best for you? Let’s dive into the basics of using masks in your skincare routine and outline all the different types out there. Welcome to your 101 on the wondrous world of sheet masks.
1. What is a sheet mask?
The idea behind a sheet mask is that sheet’s material helps trap active ingredients on the skin, ensuring your face receives all the benefits from said ingredients and allowing the product to penetrate the skin even deeper. It’s primarily a hydrator, but there are plenty of sheet masks out there that also provide lift and help prevent blemishes or fine lines. You’ve probably seen terms like hydrogel, bio-cellulose, cupro fibre and microfibre out and about; these types of sheets provide even more juice – or serum – to the skin than cotton does, and are easier to shape to the contours of your face.
2. What to look for if I have oily skin?
Well, then your friend is any purifying (clay) mask that contains kaolin clay, salicylic acid or tea tree oil. All three are well known for their ability to deliver beneficial and purifying properties to acne-prone and drawing out excess oil. A nutrient-rich mud like kaolin helps to cleanse congested pores and draw out impurities with a so-called ‘capillary action’, which allows it to naturally absorb sebum and grime from the skin. Salicylic acid, sister to the well-known exfoliating ingredient AHA, works deeper than AHA and can penetrate into the pores to unclog them. The deeper it can get into the skin, the better it can work its magic. Finally, tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic ingredient that helps prevent clogged pores by drawing out oils.
Just note: It's essential to not let a clay mask dry too much. You might think this signifies the mask is done working its magic, but it really just means that the skin underneath the plaster shell is dried out too.
3. What ingredients work best for anti-ageing effects?
You should look for sheet masks containing restorative complexes and natural antioxidants like vitamin C and E, retinol, and Niacinamide – nature’s best fighters against free radicals and premature signs of ageing. For example, our Glow sheet mask is soaked with an anti-ageing serum that provides a rich infusion of moisture for deeply hydrated and ultra-smooth skin. The formula is enriched with saffron flower, famous for its antioxidant and anti-wrinkle properties. Or, go for sheet masks with peptides or ceramides on the ingredient list, as these are well known for their plumping effects and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
4. What should I look for if I want a healthy glow and more radiance
Vitamin C-enriched products can help promote a glowing, more even-looking complexion, while also helping to prevent future skin damage from free radicals. When you’re young, your skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which is vital for collagen production and antioxidant protection. As we age, this level can decrease, so it’s worth incorporating vitamin C into your skincare routine to boost your skin's vitamin C content. According to dermatologists, kojic acid, ginseng and Niacinamide can also help brighten and revitalise your complexion by blocking the overproduction of melanin, reducing dark spots and improving radiance. One other hero for dull-looking skin is the leave-on gentle exfoliating giant that is AHA. By lightly buffing the skin and removing skin cell build-up, AHAs help restore your beautiful glow.
5. What if I need more hydration?
Hyaluronic acid is very good at holding and pulling water into the skin – just what the doctor ordered for your dry complexion. The Ritual of Namaste Hydrating Bio Cellulose sheet mask is infused with a moisturising serum based on hyaluronic acid, which helps to replenish dehydrated skin with a single mask application and encourages the skin's natural recovery process. Any sheet mask that contains Niacinamide – or vitamin B3 – is also a great choice if you're looking to boost your moisture levels. Niacinamide produces ceramides, which increases hydration, retains water and keeps the skin barrier strong.
6. What should I choose for sensitive skin?
Finding a sheet mask suitable for sensitive skin can be a little difficult because, while they’ll obviously deliver all the hydration you’d ever need, they also often come with potentially irritating ingredients. So, try to avoid masks with alcohol, artificial fragrances and parabens. Actually, your best bet might well be a sheet mask with a limited number of ingredients in it. Your go-to ingredients – delivering powerful hydration without clogging the pores – are hyaluronic acid, peptides and fermented yeast extract. Another true powerhouse for sensitive complexions is the ginseng root, as its natural anti-inflammatory properties help reduce redness and puffiness.
7. How often should I apply a mask?
Unlike the regular, deeply exfoliating topical masks – which you should only use once or twice a week – sheet masks can be used daily if you like. Deep cleanses or exfoliating treatments will only remove too much of your complexion’s natural oils and create a deficit or unbalance in your skin if used too often. Make sure to wash and cleanse the skin beforehand to allow the sheet mask’s product to truly sink in.
8. How long should I leave it on?
Make sure to follow the instructions, you don't want to let a sheet mask start to dry because this might actually draw moisture back out from the skin. Don’t wash your face after using a sheet mask but massage the excess product into the skin to not miss out on the benefits of those gorgeous and potent actives.