Face Masks: The One-Night Stands Of Skin Care

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.
You've never seen beauty quite like this before. Check out our Beauty Innovator Awards for the smartest, funkiest, most fresh to death products of the year.