Had Hannibal Lecter been a beauty product fanatic, he would have been simply thrilled with the recent developments in the the mask sector: face sheet masks. Soaked with nurturing ingredients the masks have a reputation for acting like a substitute for a 20-minute facial and have taken the beauty world by storm. They come in handy, disposable packaging and the masks unfolds to cover the whole face with slits for your eyes, tip of your nose, and mouth.
Who invented them? The Koreans. BEAUTY is a huge deal in Korea. Christine Chang and Sarah Lee, founders of glowrecipe.com, the world’s first and only beauty website that solely concentrates on Korean cosmetics, explain: “For Korean women being beautiful means having healthy, glowing, and youthful looking skin”.
Christine says that “Korean women will try everything to give their skin that perfect glow. They’re constantly on the hunt for new, innovative products”. With glowrecipe.com Miss Chang and Miss Lee are letting women worldwide in on their vast experience, they are eager to induct others into Korean beauty secrets, and offer a curated selection of products. All of which are shipped internationally.
Curious as we are, I tried three different sheet masks:
The first mask is very obviously habit-forming. Made from 100% natural, green seaweed it’s soaked in a serum of fermented algae, aloe vera, and natural plant extracts and gives you a completely new moisturizing feeling — and without any water in the ingredient list. This intensifies the other ingredient’s effect.
While draping the glibbery mask on my face, I can’t help but think of sushi. However, it goes on surprisingly easy. Due to the solid paper attachments the two parts, one for the eye and nose area, the other for mouth and chin, are easily placed onto the face. I’m the woman with the seaweed mask and, while looking in the mirror, I can’t help but smile. Which of course I need to suppress immediately, seeing as I don’t want the delicate green goodness to shift even a centimeter. My face feels cool and fresh quickly. My skin is like a sponge and soaks up all the moisture—nothing burns, itches, or sticks. After I take off the mask I wash my face with water and I’m left with a feeling that’s similar to one of summer rain. The skin is moist, firm but soft, and I end up receiving several compliments for my glowing complexion all day long.
Produced by the same brand but under a different principle, this mask is made with fermented hydrogel. The gel is relatively firm and soaked in a liquid that incorporates several different fermented ingredients. The hydrogel, which is said to work particularly well to push the ingredients into the skin, reacts with skin temperature.
This mask too, is easily draped onto the face. Thanks to the transparent gel I’m able to watch myself in the mirror while applying the mask. This makes it easy to adjust the two masks for the upper and lower part of my face. The gel omits a floral smell (which, according to the ingredient list, is completely natural and contains no additional perfume) and I’m able to lie down and relax for 20 minutes. All the better for it, this experience is quite a drippy one. If not for the light tingling feeling, I’d up and forget that I’m wearing something on my face and happily fall asleep during my beauty siesta. Once the film is removed, the results convince: slightly reddened, thanks to a good blood supply, the skin is firm, elastic, and feels as healthy as it looks.
Good to know: the Whamisa brand is the only Korean natural cosmetics label to carry the BDIH seal, which guarantees regular and strict inspections of both ingredients and production.
The sheet mask is growing in its popularity outside of Korea: founded by Linda Wang, the label Karuna purely focuses on sheet masks. While traveling through Asia she found this special nurturing ritual to be the solution for her skin problems. The Hydrating Face Mask by Karuna was recommend to me by a beauty acquaintance in New York. I brought back home and recently tested it within a pre-wedding-routine. The cloth is made from wood pulp and soaked with hyaluronic acid and other moisturizing ingredients. Above all, it is convenient. The mask doesn’t drip or slush and the skin is provided with the optimal amount of moisture. Basically, the perfect basis for my wedding guest make up.
My conclusion: don’t rejoice just yet, the sheet mask will not replace a conventional mask, peeling or daily moisturizing serum. It does however, work very well as an additional step in your beauty routine. Laziness be damned, you’ve got to suffer to be beautiful.
You can find more on the topic, including further expert tips, on glowrecipe.com.
Translation: LIV FLEISCHHACKER
Originally from Hamburg, Julia Alfert moved to Berlin from Paris in 2010. After completing her studies in Art History and trying out different jobs, her path led her to Harper’s Bazaar, where she worked as Fashion & Beauty Assistant until mid 2015. While she’s harboured a love for all things beauty-related for as long as she can remember, her discovery of the written word is recent. When Julia isn’t busy trying out different creams, oils, and sprays she writes and styles for an assortment of magazines and websites.