Money-Saving Skincare Tips: How to Use a Sheet Mask

If you’re new to the concept of sheet masks for your face, you might be a little hesitant to use these scary-looking sheet masks that have long been popular in Asia and now are more mainstream everywhere. These things work. But it’s an added expense to your existing skincare routine and you should know how to get the most out of them.

In theory, it seems simple: slap it on for a while and then that’s it, right? Sure, if you just want to throw your money away.


Why Should I Use a Sheet Mask?:

  • Quick review. The concept makes sense: the reason a sheet mask helps your skin is that there’s a physical sheet pushing the valuable anti-aging and skin softening serum into your skin.
  • If you apply a serum without a sheet mask, say with your hands, it will evaporate much faster. Sheet masks work because they allow serum to sit on the skin longer. It’s a more effective vehicle for serum delivery than your fingers.

How to Use a Sheet Mask:

  1. Start with a clean face. I recommend doing this at night after you’ve cleaned your face and used any toner, essences or serums. Don’t apply moisturizer and then use a sheet mask. The rule for applying products on your face is to go thinnest to thickest in terms of application. The sheet mask is similar to a serum.
  2. Before you open it: Distribute the liquid around in the package so it has the most amount of skin-saving serum on the mask before you cut it open.
  3. Keeping the extra liquid inside the packet, slide out the mask. (You’ll use that serum later.) Masks come in all different materials: a thin paper-like cotton material all the way up to a thicker silicone gel. The pricier ones tend to be thicker and made of a silicone-type material that is smoother and more gel-like to the touch. The benefit of that thicker material is that the serum doesn’t evaporate as fast on your face as on the thin cotton ones.
  4. Take the liquid in the packet and apply some to your face first with your hands. Gotta maximize the serum application as much as you can!
  5. Remove any extra film or paper that is in place to support the structure of the mask. Sometimes you’ll see 2 pieces of a film that covers both sides of the masks. Don’t confuse that with the actual mask. Those can be thrown away. Other masks have a white glossy paper that’s on one side of the mask that you’ll know right away is not for putting on your face.
  6. Then apply the mask to your face. Note that some masks also include an additional neck piece which you need to plan for, in terms of what clothes you’re wearing at the time near your neck. These things are slimy.

    Placenta Mask
    Sheet mask with a neck piece
  7. How long to wear it? Some masks require 10-15 minutes while others say 20-30 minutes. It’s really up to you, but I try to wear it as long as possible. There’s no harm in keeping it on longer. The guidance is really due to the thinner masks drying out faster than the thicker ones. If you notice that the sheet mask feels pretty dry, then you’ve probably worn it a little too long.
  8. When you’re done, you can throw it away. Some people save their expensive masks (like SK II Facial Treatment masks) and put the saved extra serum on it and use it again. That’s a little extreme to me, but hey, beauty is expensive.
  9. Speaking of saving money, what I have done in the past is to take a binder clip and close up the packet (and optionally put it in the fridge) and then use the serum for a couple nights afterward, applying it with my hands.
  10. With your face still feeling a little wet and sticky, you can then gently pat the serum into your face with the palms of your hands. The warmth of your hands helps it absorb, which is the main goal.
  11. Now’s the time to apply your moisturizers and eye creams.
  12. Enjoy soft skin the next morning!

DOs and DON’Ts:

DO: Use the “daily” sheet masks if you’re feeling indulgent. It’s a thinner material that you wear for less time. With daily application, you’ll notice a difference. These are daily masks that I like from Japan: Lululun Face Masks

DO: Try different kinds of masks to see how your skin reacts. I have reacted badly to a mask because I have sensitive skin, but realized it right away and took it off. Don’t keep a mask on if you start feeling itchy, hot or your face starts getting red.

DO: Try a sheet mask for a targeted area: your eyes, lips, neck mask or even your hands.

DON’T: Wash your face after using a sheet mask. Don’t get these confused with wash off masks, like clay or papaya masks. The benefit of the sheet mask is that you have these skin softening ingredients on your face while your skin regenerates in your sleep.

DON’T: wear it out in public where you might be mistaken for a crazed serial killer, a la Halloween, the horror movie. You might scare small children. Friends have talked about their young kids being scared of them when wearing these.

Some of My Favorites:

Read more on the wonderful world of sheet masks.

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