Masks are my skin-care savior. A short mask session is like hitting Ctrl + Z on all manner of skin sins. They promise to transform texture, draw out impurities in pores, brighten skin tone, provide a hit of hydration, reduce signs of aging, and deliver nutrition deep into the dermis. Whatever the claim, masks are generally intensive treatments that translate into instant (sometimes mic-dropping) gratification.
Sheet masks are by far the most popular type in South Korea. Not only are they convenient and full of beneficial nutrients, but they can be a non-committal, relatively inexpensive foray into trying a new brand or ingredient. I often (fondly) think of them as the one-night-stands of skin care.
In a few short years, sheet masks have evolved from cotton to hydrogel to basically any compound that can manifest itself in sheet form. Case in point: This rice-paper mask
is made of spring-roll wrappers. And, this seaweed mask
is, for real, made of seaweed.
In Korea, the “put a mask on it” mantra has spawned multiple categories, including wash-off, peel-off, modeling, bubble, ampoule, and sleeping masks. It’s common to layer different treatments in a sort of mask cocktail
to address specific needs (e.g., a clay mask to purify paired with a hydrogel sheet mask to rehydrate the often drying results of clay).
Things can get Seven Kingdoms-confusing with the overwhelming number of masks claiming to be one-shot wonders. So I’ve compiled a list of superstars to give you the lay of the land and save you from picking up a dud. Read on to discover some of the coolest masks you aren't using yet, but definitely should be.