Regular sheet masks don't make for the greatest selfie moments — though Chrissy Teigen and James Franco might disagree. At best, you end up looking like Jason from Friday The 13th. At worst, you end up looking like...Jason from Friday The 13th. Let's just say, we've made a roommate or two jump in fear with our late-night pampering sessions. But the latest sheet-mask trend might just turn those screams into laughter, along with some "oohs" and "ahhs." People have been taking to Instagram to show off a bunch of fun, new mask designs coming out of — where else — South Korea. These masks are designed with everything from lace patterns reminiscent of Venetian masquerades to Hello Kitty to tiger, panda, and cat faces. "In Seoul, you will see almost every brand offering creatively packaged and designed sheet masks," says Charlotte Cho, founder of SokoGlam and author of the forthcoming book The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy Glowing Skin. "The Korean skin-first philosophy involves making skin care fun and enjoyable, and not a chore. Fun patterns and designs on sheet masks are proof that Korean cosmetic companies are responding to this mindset."
Korean brands Banila Co., Too Cool for School, SNP, and Niveola all have creative masks on the market. Niveola, established in 2014, is the most popular sheet-mask company in Korea according to Cho — and the cat and dog masks are its most sought-after products. "With skin care, you're usually makeup-free so there is an element of being exposed while barefaced," says Tae Seok Ha, Niveola's brand director. "Now with fun animal prints and festival-inspired masks, you limit the exposure by becoming another character and at the same time get to express yourself and have fun." But do these designs irritate your skin? According to Cho and Ha, you don't have to worry about breakouts. Most of the lace masks are made out of hydrogel, with a thin layer of real lace placed in the middle, so the skin is protected. As for the animal masks, Ha explains: "After the completion of many clinical studies, we've made sure that the coloring does not irritate or color the skin. We use advanced printing methods with a topological image, so that the printed color does not mix with the cosmetic formula — the essence."
Cho thinks the next big thing in sheet masks is point masks, or masks that address specific areas of your face with different skin concerns — designs included. "If you have dry cheeks, then you can place the point masks where needed," she says. "And yes, they will be selfie-worthy because they'll be cutely designed with either characters, animals, or patterns." We have a hunch she's right, because if millennials love anything, it's a
good great selfie.