Back in 2013, when I first wrote about sheet masks, I remember not finding that many examples to tell you about.
Sure, celebs were posting sheet mask selfies all over Instagram. (Chris Pratt's is my favourite... #baller indeed.)
But they were hardly as commonplace as they are today!
Now, the sheet mask category has blown up to the point where it is truly overwhelming. Practically every skincare brand makes one now. I can attest to this, because my own personal stash (which I'd been accumulating in one of my beauty cupboards) got waaaay out of hand lately. I swear, I had at least 50 of these things in my collection.
So I decided it was high time to revisit this sheet mask subject—but this time with more intel on which masks are the best, and why. (If you're not sold on the merits of sheet masks yet, read about their benefits here.)
By no means is this an exhaustive review of every single sheet mask out there, but from the dozens of brands I had, I've narrowed it down to 10 top picks that cover most skin concerns:
You should know that a lot of sheet masks, I just couldn't recommend to you because of crappy ingredients (like alcohol denat as number two on the list, WTF?). Others promise the world, like lifting and firming, but are hardly revolutionary compared to more basic hydrating masks that you can find at the drugstore.
So with that in mind, here are my current favourites based on results, ingredients and uniqueness:
Best For: Before a Party
Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle 24k Gold Intense Wrinkle Sheet Mask: This mask is such a treat. It is a thicker cotton than the usual, with a mild (but not offensive) yeasty smell—maybe that's from the zillion peptides in here? Okay, there are 18, but it's still a lot. Besides an anti-aging boost, you also get tons of hydration from the glycerin and hyaluronic acid. But the best part is, there are particles of 24-karat gold in here. GOLD! When you take off the mask, you'll notice them subtly coating your skin; it's a warm iridescence but so pretty, not disco ball-ish. These make the perfect pre-party skin prep!
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Gold, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-10,Tripeptide-10 Citrulline, Tetrapeptide-21, Acetyl Hexapeptide-30, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyltripeptide-38, Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Acetyl Octapeptide-3, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Palmitoyltetrapeptide-7, Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3, Arginine, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Ascorbic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Peg-8 Dimethicone, Triethanolamine,Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Acrylates Copolymer, Sodium Chloride,Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Tin Oxide, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Silica,Polysorbate 20, Dextran, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491).
Best For: Rough, Dull Skin
Patchology Exfoliate FlashMasque Facial Sheets: If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you probably know how much I love lactic acid (the star ingredient in our beloved Lotion P50). Well guess what? There's lactic acid in these sheet masks, too! Along with papaya enzyme, it's going to dissolve dead skin cells to give your skin a gentle exfoliation—a very unique feature for a sheet mask, I'd say! This would be an excellent choice for skin that can't handle intense exfoliation, or anyone in need of a drab-skin pick-me-up.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Urea and Yeast Amino Acids and Trehalose and Inositol and Taurine, Betaine, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Disodium EDTA, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Arginine, Algae Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin and Glyceryl Caprylate and Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Panthenol, Saccharomyces Polypeptides, Sodium Hyaluronate, Fragrance, Mannitol and Papain and Bromelain.
Best For: Dark Spots
Kiehl's Clearly Corrective White Hydrating & Clarifying Treatment Masque: If you can find these, grab 'em! Initially developed for the Asian market, they were limited-edition in North America, which I didn't realize—now I only have a few left! (I started using them last summer when I wrote about them here.) If your concern is dark spots, post-acne pigmentation or sun spots, I don't think there is a better sheet mask for you. The active ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is the key. I love what The RAEviewer had to say about them here.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, PEG-20, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascrobic Acid, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Paeonia Suffruticosa Extract/Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract, PPG-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil/Lavender Oil, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, 2-Oleamido-1,3-Octadecandediol, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcelluose, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Salicylic Acid, Linalool.
Best For: Deep Hydration
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: I think this was the very first sheet mask on the market, or at least the first one I'd ever heard of (years before they became a "thing"). Yes, they are pricey—on par with the 14-karat gold masks, at least for us Canadians. But you're getting a big ol' dose of pitera, SK-II's signature ingredient. In case you're not familiar, it is a liquid extracted during the yeast-fermentation process that was discovered by a Japanese monk in the 1970s. He was visiting a sake brewery and noticed that the elderly workers all had soft, youthful hands from contact with the "pitera," a blend of vitamins, amino acids, mineral and acids. So don't you want to put that on your face? I know I do! I like to use this mask after I get off a plane, when the dry air has sucked the life out of my skin. I also like that the ingredients list is super-short! However, proceed with caution if you are acne-prone, as pitera does make some people break out.
Ingredients: Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Salicylate, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA. *Pitera.
Best For: Basic Hydration
Masque Bar by Look Beauty Aloe Vera Sheet Mask: If you're like me and SK-II is out of your budget to use on a regular basis, you can still do the sheet masking thing with an inexpensive drugstore product. A good option (now widely available) is this basic aloe vera mask, which will hydrate and soothe almost all skin types except extremely sensitive or those with active acne. Basically, it's a big drink of glycerin and aloe for your skin, sans mineral oil or alcohol. I don't love that it has fragrance, but at least it's last on the list.
Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Natto Gum, PEG-14M, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Disodium EDTA, Allantoin, Erythritol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance (Parfum)
Where to buy: Amazon.com, Shoppers Drug Mart
Best For: Natural Ingredients
Pure + Simple Skin Restoration Mask: I was so happy to discover that Toronto's own Pure + Simple makes the only all-natural sheet mask I've found! (Also on sale right now, FYI.) I had the original one but now, they come in a new and improved version with a couple of minor ingredient changes. This mask is very large and very wet, and it feels great knowing that all the ingredients are safe... no silicones, perfume, petroleum or parabens in here!
Ingredients: Pure Water, Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate, Algae Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Water (and) Cassia Angustifolia (Senna) Seed Polysaccharide, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizinate (Licorice Root Extract), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Hydrolyzed Silk, Hyaluronic Acid
Where to buy: Pure + Simple
Best For: Dry Lips
The Face Shop Bebe Lip Mask: This mask has a lot going for it: the cute/weird packaging, the low price ($3-5?!), and the fact that it works miracles on abused lips, without the default petroleum that is in so many lip products. It's shaped just to fit your lips and the feel is creamier than a regular sheet mask that you'd put on your face. Since I'm constantly eating, I find it challenging to abstain while this thing works its magic... but the smooth, flake-free results are definitely worth it!
Ingredients: WATER/EAU.GLYCERIN.BUTYLENE GLYCOL.CERATONIA SILQUA GUM. 1,2-HEXANEDIOL.CHONDRUS CRISPUS (CARRAGEENAN).SCUTELLARIA BAICALENSIS ROOT EXTRACT.PAEONIA SUFFRUTICOSA ROOT EXTRACT. GLYCYRRHIZA GLABA (LICORICE) ROOT EXTRACT.PEG-60 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL. PHENYL TRIMETHICONE. DIPOTASSIUM GLYCYRRHIZATE.PORTULACA OLERACEA EXTRACT.HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN.TOCOPHERYL ACETATE.DISODIUM EDTA.SODIUM HYALURONATE.POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE. BUTYROSPERMUM PARKII (SHEA) BUTTER
Best For: Puffy/Crepey Eyes
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels: Technically, these are not sheets, but the principle is the same—they deliver a potent dose of peptides, CoQ10 and hydrolyzed elastin through a transdermal gel patch. The feel is more like a thick sticker than a cloth mask (although it doesn't tug or pull at the skin, like a sticker would). I can't comment on the dark circle benefit, but I do notice immediate de-puffing and a more hydrated under-eye area. These are super-handy to have around for those times when you need to do something, but can't take off all your makeup...
Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Angelica Archangelica Root Water*, Sodium Hydroxide, Acrylates Copolymer, Agar, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Caprylyl Glycol, Perfluorodecalin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, PEG-75 Shea Butter Glycerides, Glycosphingolipids, Xanthan Gum, Ubiquinone, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Extract, Buddleja Davidii Extract, Rubus Chamaemorus (Arctic Cloudberry) Seed Oil, Oxycoccus Palustris (Arctic Cranberry) Seed Oil, Aluminum Glycinate, Butylene Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol *With Minerals Fragrance-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free, petroleum-free, mineral oil-free, sulfate-free, dye-free, cruelty-free, 100% vegetarian and allergy tested.
Best For: Neck Wrinkles
Rodial Glamtox Neck Mask: Some people are prone to developing neck creases, especially when they first wake up—so yep, there's a mask for that body part now! This unique mask is large enough to cover the entire front of your neck, and is made from see-through bio-cellulose material instead of cotton. The active ingredients (amino acids and wheat protein) are a little more special than just hydrators, and should give you a slight temporary softening. Do I think it's going to dramatically firm sagging? Nope—but it's still worth a shot if your neck area bothers you, or if it has been neglected and needs some extra TLC. By the way, you do have to lie down wearing this one, or it tends to slip off.
Ingredients: Aqua(Water/Eau), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Propanediol, Olive Oil PEG-8 Esters, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Carbomer, Arginine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Xanthan Gum, Panthenol, Sodium Citrate, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Parfum(Fragrance), Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Protein, Beta-Glucan, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Phenoxyethanol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Pentylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, sh-Decapeptide-7
Best For: Dry, Callused Feet
Baby Foot: By now, you've heard of this one. It's the original (and best) deep exfoliator for your feet from Japan. Did I mention deep? I'm calling it a sheet mask because it consists of socks made from the same disposable material, except instead of moisturizer, they're soaked in a potent acid blend that causes your dead skin cells to peel off like a snake. Not even joking! The process takes a few days, but your feet will look and feel smooth and, well, baby-like. It MUST be tried to be believed. There is also Footner, reviewed here, which is similar.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Isopropyl Alcohol, Lactic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Arginine, Parfum, Butylene Glycol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Glucose, O-Cymen-5-OL, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Cymbopogon Schoenathus Oil, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Arctium Lappa Root Extract, Saponaria Officinalis Leaf Extract, Hedera Helix (Ivy) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract, Clematis Vitalba Leaf Extract, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Nitrate, Glyoxal, Disodium Phosphate, Linalool, Limonene
Hopefully you're as in love with this new skincare category as I am! For me, putting on a sheet mask has got to be the ultimate in relaxation. I also can't think of any other skincare product that delivers such instant results—at any price point, a sheet mask is going make your complexion look that little bit more plumped, hydrated, smooth and bright.
As with all skincare products, I've become a bit of an ingredients hound. Even if you don't go for one of the masks I mentioned, make sure to check the packaging. Feet are one thing, but on your face, I am sure you'll want to avoid ones with alcohol, heavy fragrances, mineral or PUFA oils and tons of silicones. Since a sheet mask is all about getting beneficial ingredients absorbed deep into your skin, you want to make sure you're getting good ones, not cheap fillers!
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Are you a sheet mask fan?
Do you have a favourite?
Have you tried any of these ones?