The skincare and beauty industry is constantly shifting to meet our changing interests, needs, and lifestyles. Vegan, cruelty-free options, natural beauty, and sensitive products have arisen out of this moving landscape, but we’ve also seen an increased interest in a different type of beauty product: Korean skincare.
Just about everyone seems to be jumping on the K-beauty bandwagon. Snail mucin serums, 15 step routines, lovely Korean sheet masks – it seems like everyone uses at least one. But there’s still some mystery surrounding them.
Since we can’t address all of it at once, we’re here to answer some of the biggest questions surrounding the latter. Read on to learn ten of the top facts you should know about Korean sheet masks.
1. What are Korean Sheet Masks?
Korean sheet masks are a type of skincare commonly found in Korean beauty regimens. They are typically single-use pads made of cotton fiber, cellulose fibers, hydrogel or some other soft material that has been soaked or infused in some type of skincare solution.
The exact solution will vary greatly from mask to mask and depending on mask function. Most sheet masks are created to provide extra hydration and brightening, although there are also some meant for anti-aging purposes, skin repair, acne control, and pore care.
2. How Do You Use Korean Sheet Masks?
By definition, Korean skincare tends to be rather intimidating for many people out there. There’s all kinds of steps, unfamiliar product ingredients, specific application methods, etcetera. It can be a bit much.
Luckily, Korean sheet masks are a lot more straightforward and approachable for newcomers. To use one, all you do is apply it to a clean face and wait for around 20 to 30 minutes. This gives the ingredients plenty of time to absorb into your skin.
Once your time is up, just rub or tap the remaining solution into your skin, finish up your normal routine, and go about your day! Easy, right?
3. What are the Best Brands?
As with every other product on the market today, there is no one specific brand that clearly tops all the rest. It’s entirely up to individual opinion, and this is particularly true for any kind of skincare or beauty product. Our bodies are so different, so what works for one will be completely different for another.
However, since Korean sheet masks are the number one selling beauty products in Korea, it’s best to focus on those produced and manufactured in Korea because a lot of the ingredients are only native to Asia.
Even though imitation is flattering it’s not always better so look for the labels ‘made in Korea’ ‘manufactured in Korea’ and ‘produced in Korea’. Korean sheet masks are popular for a reason.
4. Do Korean Sheet Masks Actually Work?
The short answer is yes! The longer answer is that it depends on a variety of factors. While we love sheet masks and also love joking about how they can fix all of our problems, there’s still a little bit more to them.
The right mask can seem like magic, but it takes just that – the right mask. A Korean sheet mask not suited to your particular skincare concerns or unique biology won’t do anything or could even make things worse in certain circumstances.
However, if you pick a sheet mask that addresses your problems, is made for your skin type, and contains ingredients that work well with your skin chemistry, they can create awesome results. Just play around with it and see what works for you.
Odds are, there is a Korean sheet mask out there that’s a perfect match.
5. What are the Negative Effects?
As mentioned previously, not all Korean sheet masks work for all people. Unfortunately, this also means that some people could have some negative effects from masks that aren’t a great fit for them personally.
These effects are usually rather mild and can include skin irritation, redness, burning, itching, or over drying. Hives or other severe allergic reactions like swelling or anaphylaxis could also potentially occur, although this is rather rare.
Generally, sheet masks are very gentle and safe, but it never hurts to be cautious. Always read the ingredients label to ensure there aren’t any ingredients you’re potentially allergic to or have had an issue with in the past.
6. What are Some Common Ingredients?
Korean skincare is known for being rife with all sorts of ingredients that are great for you and your skin. Many of these are rather unfamiliar and unusual to many of us Westerners, however there are some staples you’ll usually see throughout Korean sheet masks and Korean skincare overall.
The most common are usually:
- Aloe vera
- Licorice Root
- Fruit Extracts (Blueberry, Raspberry, Cranberry, etc)
- Flower & Herbal Extracts (Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, Sage, etc)
- Tea tree
- Witch hazel
- Centella Asiatica Extract
Despite its status as a “weirder” addition, snail mucin is also often present in several Korean face masks out there thanks to its soothing and anti-aging effects.
So, next time you get ready to relax with a nice mag, don’t be surprised if you see it on the label!
7. How Did Korean Sheet Masks Originate?
The full story behind Korean sheet masks is a little cloudy because of its long history. According to legend, though, it was actually invented by Japanese Geishas to aid in their quest for beauty.
Instead of the sheet masks of today, they would rather use scraps of leftover silk, soak them in flower water, and apply them as a part of their skincare routine. Similar techniques and more modern mask making also have roots within South Korea, which has obviously played a role in the “Korean Sheet Mask” term.
8. How Often Should You Use Them?
Some say that you can’t have too much of a good thing, but is that true in Korean skincare? Well, kind of. Korean sheet masks are absolutely great for the skin. They’re super hydrating and full of beneficial nutrients, which make them a good step to use frequently in your routine. Most can be implemented as many times as you want throughout the week, but there are a few caveats.
If your masks contain glycolic acid, charcoal, or other potentially drying or irritating ingredients, you’d be best to stick to once a week. Everything look good on the back of the package? Feel free to use it as a normal part of your daily skincare regimen.
9. What are the Benefits of Korean Sheet Masks?
Sheet mask benefits are wide and varied. They can do everything from help rehydrate the skin, brighten the skin, fight acne, clear pores, fight signs of aging, tighten and firm sagging skin, and otherwise just make you look like the best you possible.
There are a few things sheet masks can’t do (exfoliate, cleansing, etcetera), but Korean sheet masks are a fantastic tool overall.
10. Where Are the Best Places to Buy?
One of the nicest things surrounding Korean skincare’s rise to fame is that you can now get Korean sheet masks just about anywhere.
Are you browsing your local beauty supply store? There’s probably a ton of options just an arms reach away. Brands aplenty. Bored at the grocery store? You can even find decent sheet masks there, too. All are good places to buy.
For higher quality masks, shop stores whether brick or mortar or online that specialize in only Korean Beauty products because you’ll know that they’ve done the research to offer them to the world.