Sheet masks have become super popular in skincare these days. I like them because they provide a potent burst of ingredients geared towards a certain issue. They come as a presaturated sheet inside a package and you open it up and stick it on your face. Then you literally saturate your face with vitamins, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, hydrators etc. And unlike masks that dry out on your face, you are essentially providing as much essence or serum as your skin can absorb.
After trying out a whole bunch of them, I have determined that they are nice, but certainly not necessary. Sheet masks are by no means an integral part of a good skincare routine. But they are a fun treatment once in awhile, good for pampering yourself. They also force you to sit down and relax, since you can’t really do a whole lot when you have one on.
Below is a list of all the sheet masks I tested. I have ordered them from the ones I liked best at the top, to the ones I liked least at the bottom. The masks I liked the best were ones aimed at hydrating and nourishing skin, rather than firming or brightening. They just seemed the most effective for giving a boost of hydration. I can see people with dry skin liking sheet masks far more than I do, since the hydrating ones can be quite effective with results lasting for at least a day or sometimes more. But if you want brightening or firming benefits, you are going to get better results with a daily serum than with a once or twice weekly mask. So if those are the benefits you want, don’t rely on sheet masks alone.
Sheet masks are also by no means the most cost effective way to get any kind of skincare benefits. So while I enjoy the hydrating and calming sheet masks, a hydrating mask that you apply with your fingers or a brush out of a pot or tube is probably going to last you far longer and provide many more applications than a package of sheet masks. For example, Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask is very hydrating, and comes in a 2oz tube for around $45 and you will probably get 20 or more applications (full review HERE). But that same amount of money will probably only get you 5 or 6 sheet masks. Don’t get me wrong, I like sheet masks (well, some of them). But if you are looking for value, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my ranked list of tested sheet masks. (I didn’t list the prices for each mask, but they were all under $8 each, with some as low as $2-3).
Pur-lisse Blue Lotus & White Tea Sheet Mask
Pur-lisse sheet masks are really great. They are also some of the most expensive of the masks I tested. The actual sheet is good, it is made of a quality material and is super saturated with serum. It also forms to your face really nicely and stays on well. It was comfortable to wear for half an hour. This particular mask is meant to hydrate, nourish, and renew. The ingredients list contains a variety of natural Asian botanicals that infuse skin with moisture and antixoidants, and help to firm and improve overall radiance. I would say it did a good job. Immediately after removing the sheet, my skin felt extremely well hydrated. The following morning, it looked radiant, even, and bright.
I have also tried the Blue Lotus & Seaweed sheet mask from Pur-lisse and it’s quite excellent as well.
Fragrance is listed as one of the ingredients and I don’t know if it’s naturally derived or not. But it caused no problems for me.
Ingredients: Water,Glycerin, Butylene Glycol,Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract ,Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine,Allantoin, Betaine,PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Chlorphenesin,Xanthan Gum, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Morus Alba Bark Extract,Disodium EDTA,1,2-Hexanediol,Propanediol,Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Sodium Polyacrylate, Fragrance
Get Pur-lisse sheet masks directly from Pur-lisse.
Tony Moly I’m Real Tea Tree Soothing Mask
This soothing mask from Tony Moly is on the cheaper end of the sheet mask spectrum (I usually find it for under $2), but that doesn’t make it any less effective. It contains a decent amount of tea tree leaf, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and also helps balance and soothe skin. I found this mask to be very nice, and my favourite of the Tonymoly masks I’ve tried. I like the cotton sheet. It was well saturated with product and fit my face fairly well without sliding around. The mask left my skin feeling soothed and calmed, with noticeably less redness in my cheeks than was previously present. After removal, I massaged in the rest of the essence. It took awhile to absorb, but left my skin feeling very hydrated. My skin looked great the following morning as well. There was a noticeable reduction in redness that lasted for about 24 hours.
Also a plus for this mask, no fragrance! So this is probably the best option for sensitive skinned gals like myself since it’s incredibly gentle.
Mediental C Clear-Alpha Mask
A sheet mask aimed at soothing and recovering skin from tired, stressed conditions. A blend of natural ingredients (including mushroom extract, rose water, and succulent extract) helps to sooth irritation, and deeply hydrate while also infusing skin with vitamins C and E. This mask does contain parabens and a tiny amount of fragrance though, so if you are sensitive to either of those ingredients, beware. I experienced no irritation from the fragrance.
The actual sheet mask itself is a nice thick material with an almost quilted texture to it. It held on to my skin quite well for the 30 minutes I wore it and was saturated with more than enough serum. It left my skin looking bright, dewy, smooth, and very well hydrated immediately after removal. Like super hydrated. My skin looked and felt really good the next day too since it was so well hydrated.
Ingredients: Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, glycereth-26, rosa centifolia flower water, betaine, triethanolamine, carbomer, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, allantoin, bis-PEG-18 methyl ether dimethyl silane, hydrolyzed collagen, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, chondrus chrispus (carrageenan), disodium EDTA, natto gum, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, agaricus blazei (mushroom) extract, tocopheryl acetate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, portulaca oleracea extract, wheat amino acids, methylparaben, propylparaben, fragrance.
I really liked this mask for how incredibly hydrated and calm looking it left my skin. I got mine at C&C Korean Cosmetics.
Tony Moly I’m Real Pomegranate Elasticity Sheet Mask
Another Tony Moly mask. This one was good, too. As you can see if you look at the ingredients lists, they are pretty similar. So they both provide good hydration and leave skin looking calm and bright. The sheet is the same as the Tea Tree Soothing mask, so I liked that as well. It held a lot of serum and didn’t dry out until around 45 minute mark (I was watching a good show on Netflix and didn’t want to get up…). Even after 45 minutes, only the cheeks and forehead were a bit dry. I only rated this mask lower than the Tea Tree mask since it doesn’t really live up to it’s “firming” claims and didn’t leave my skin looking quite as calmed. But I still enjoyed the hydration, bright skin the next day, and no breakouts.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Glycereth-26, Panthenol, Bis-Ethoxydiglycol Succinate, Allantoin, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Chlorphenesin, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol,Tromethamine, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fruit Extract, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
Find Tony Moly sheet masks on Amazon.
LOVEMORE Mountain Tea Polyphenols Moisturizing Mask
LOVEMORE is a Taiwanese skincare brand. They make a whole bunch of different types of sheet masks made of silk. The silk is very thin, but somehow manages to hold a lot of product. It was very form-fitting, was a good size and shape, and didn’t move around once applied.
The primary ingredients in this mask are tea extract, wine extract, honey, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients infuse the skin with antioxidants and moisturize very well. My skin looked and felt good afterward.
One thing I should mention though, it also has some fragrance and methylisothiazolinone in the ingredients list, which could cause reactions for some (I was fine though).
Ingredients: Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Wine Extract, Sea Water, Honey Extract, Hyaluronic Acid Oligomer, Sclerotium Gum, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylisothiazolinone, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Xanthan Gum, Glycerine, Fragrance, Water
These masks are pretty hard to come by. They aren’t widely available on the internet. Probably because Taiwanese skincare isn’t a “thing” in North America yet. I got mine at Chuusi.ca
Botanic Farm Polar Energy Hydrogel Mask (Whitening + Anti-wrinkle)
Of all the hydrogel masks that I tried out, I liked this one the best. It actually stayed on my face well and didn’t feel dried out after half an hour. My skin looked really good when I removed it too, wonderfully plumped with no fine lines in sight. The effect was temporary though (as expected). My skin looked pretty much back to normal the next day. But this would be great before an event or something.
The anti-wrinkle effects come from peptides (Syn-Ake) while niacinamide helps promote a brighter, more even skin tone.
As with many of the other hydrogel masks, this had both an upper and lower layer protecting the mask. It’s also divided into two sections for upper and lower face. The sheet is also black, something I made sure to warn my husband about before coming out of the bathroom so as to prevent his facial expression of shock and horror. He has seen me with so many different coloured masks at this point, it’s more of a running joke now.
Ingredients: Syn-Ake (1,000ppm), Lactoferrin, Ginger Tea Extract, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Adenosine, Cellulose Gum, Schisandra Chinensis Extract, Aloe Vera Leaf Extract, Pine Mushroom Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Allantoin
Find Botanic Farm masks on Amazon
Karuna Antioxidant+ Face Mask
This mask was well saturated with product (it didn’t dry out even after 30 mins). I found that it formed to my face and stayed there better than a lot of other masks. I liked the thin fabric (made of wood pulp). This sheet mask left my skin looking and feeling clear, calm, and healthy. It also hydrated fairly well. It contains some excellent antioxidants, including green tea extract. The mask also contains skin regenerating peptides, lots of hyaluronic acid, and some niacinamide for brightening.
So I liked this mask, and my skin still looked good the next day. But unfortunately there were a few small red spots and clogged pores on my cheeks. They cleared up within a day, but I would rather not pay $10 to get some clogged pores, even if the rest of my skin looked really good. If you’re not breakout prone, maybe give this Karuna mask a try.
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycerin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria), Flower Extract, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Ethylhexylglycerin, Niacinamide, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.
Boscia Sake Brightening Hydrogel Mask
This mask from Boscia is supposed to be brightening, and uses sake extract to provide these benefits, in addition to niacinamide. Since this mask is a hydrogel mask, it isn’t made of the fabric sheet you usually get with sheet masks. It is a two part mask (top and bottom) made of a super slimy gel that I strongly dislike. It feels like wrapping your face in plastic. Needless to say, I’m not a fan.
Not just because of the texture though. I feel like I’m not getting as much product into my skin when I use a hydrogel mask. The fabric sheet masks are usually dripping with serum, but hydrogel masks just don’t seem to come with as much. This one in particular also seemed super wasteful to me, packaging wise. Not only is each mask individually wrapped, but this one had an additional plastic layer on top of and beneath the sheet mask. It just seems unnecessary to me. I feel like I could have easily unfolded the upper and lower portions just fine without the extra packaging.
In terms of results, this mask seemed hydrating enough, I guess. But I didn’t really see any noticeable brightening. Plus the bottom half kept trying to slide down my face.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Polysorbate 60, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Allantoin, Trehalose, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Niacinamide, Algin, Potassium Hydroxide.
Boscia sheet masks are available at Sephora
L’herboflore Alpha Arbutin Sheet Mask
This sheet mask from L’Herboflore was just ok. I quite liked the actual sheet, it was a very thin, sheer silky material that held a lot of product and didn’t dry out after half an hour. It also stayed on quite well and wasn’t super obvious. This was the only mask that when I came back into the living room after putting it on my husband didn’t make a fake horrified look at me since he couldn’t immediately tell that I was wearing it.
The ingredients in this mask are overall pretty good, with ingredients like alpha-arbutin for brightening, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and calming allantoin. However, it also contains some fragrance and alcohol, which are potentially irritating for many with sensitive skin. I found this mask to be a little underwhelming. It hydrated, but left no visible brightening results, plus I had a bunch of under-the-surface irritation bumps around my chin the next morning.
This mask also had the extra wasteful packaging of a protective plastic layer above and below the folded up sheet mask. Although it’s a little more understandable for this mask since it was more delicate than the others.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, Allantoin, Propylene Glycol, Saccharide Isomerate, Trehalose, Mannitol, Sodium Citrate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Isopropyl Alcohol, Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Alpha-Arbutin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Sulfite, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Acetate
I purchased mine at Chuusi.ca
Dr Jart Brightening Infusion Hydrogel Mask
This brightening mask from Dr. Jart claims to hydrate and brighten while improving skin texture. The main active ingredients include galactomyces ferment, niacinamide, vitamin C and licorice which are all effective skin brighteners. It claims to help with dark circles, dullness, dark spots, and uneven skintone. Apparently it’s good for all skin types, including sensitive (spoiler alert: no it’s not).
I really hated this mask. As soon as I took it out of the packaging I was dreading applying it to my face. The mask was super slimy and had trouble staying put. It was in two pieces (upper and lower) and would not stay where I put it, the top half kept sliding down and trying to blind me while the bottom half kept sliding off my chin. Plus I had to take if off early since my face was starting to burn and tingle. To top it off, there were no noticeable brightening results and it left my face feeling sticky for hours. Definitely give this one a miss.
I got mine at Sephora.