Face masks, especially sheet masks, have become synonymous with pampering. When movie characters are shown indulging in self-care, they're sure to have hydrating masks draped over their visages. And similarly, in real life, when your friends request a girls' night in, you know masking is an inevitable activity. However, while sheet masks are now part of the standard beauty vernacular, it's possible you've never taken the time to learn about what they actually do for your skin or how to use them correctly. That's what we're here for. Below, we're answering common questions about this type of mask and sharing tips to ensure you reap their biggest benefits.
What Is a Sheet Mask?
Just in case you've yet to be initiated into the world of sheet masks, let's define what they are. Sheet masks are face-shaped masks that are typically made out of thin pieces of cloth. The cloth features holes for your eyes, mouth, and nose but otherwise completely covers your face. They're soaked in serums that are infused with ingredients that are meant to stay on the skin rather than be rinsed away.
What Is a Patch Mask?
Patch masks are an off-shoot of the sheet mask trend. These are smaller masks that target specific areas of the face—there are under-eye masks, lip masks, and more—as well as centralized concerns, like a blemish or fine line.
What Does a Sheet Mask Do?
Sheet mask benefits aren't limited to just one thing. It all depends on the formula of the specific mask you're using. Popular benefits include hydrating, smoothing and softening, evening your skin tone, and boosting radiance for healthy-looking skin. Patch masks can be used to target other issues like under-eye puffiness, breakouts, wrinkles, and so on.
Line-Minimizing Targeted Triangle Patch-Masks are a Kiehl's favorite formulated with hyaluronic acid and hexapeptide. They're clinically-demonstrated to instantly improve the look of multiple types of facial lines, including forehead lines, worry lines, crow's feet, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines.* Their triangle shape offers versatility to target different areas of concern and comfortably adhere to your skin. Each box of masks includes six packs of four.
*Based on expert grading in an eight-week clinical study with three times per week usage (24 applications).
Keep in mind, even the best sheet mask shouldn't replace any other product in your skincare routine. They are meant to complement the rest of your skincare steps during times you need a little extra TLC. Masks can be used anytime you want to treat your skin, but they're particularly ideal to use before a special event. Pro tip: Makeup artists often have their clients use sheet masks right before big photoshoots!
Are Sheet Masks Better Than Other Masks?
Sheet masks aren't necessarily better than other masks, nor is the opposite true. You don't have to make a resolute decision to pick one over the other. It's all about choosing the right mask for the moment. Try a sheet mask when you want minimal mess and need a quick pick-me-up. Typically, this type of mask is recognized for providing immediate, visible results. Other masks may be better for seeing lasting changes over time.
Generally, one of the big differences between sheet masks and other face masks is considered to be that the former doesn't need to be washed off. However, if that's a deciding factor in what you mask with, know that you have options.
Overnight masks are applied before bed just like a night cream. In the morning, you go through your regular skincare routine (including cleansing), and there's no extra rinse-off step.
Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask
To try this type of mask, we recommend Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask. The formula with glycerin and squalane leaves your skin feeling refreshed, soft, and supple by morning.
Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask
If uneven texture and lines are a concern, you can opt for Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask instead. It helps firm your skin overnight for a smoother appearance and visibly reduces the look of fine lines over time.
How To Use a Sheet Mask
1. Cleanse and Tone
In order to really experience the benefits, it's important to cleanse before you use a mask of any kind. Wash your face with Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash, which gently lifts away impurities, dirt, and oil. It contains calendula extract and glycerin and is suitable for all skin types—even sensitive skin. You can follow it with Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner, also formulated with calendula, to further cleanse and refresh your skin.
2. Mask It
Next, it's time for your face mask sheet. Wait to open its packaging until right before you're ready to apply it. Otherwise, the mask could dry out. Once open, pull the mask out and carefully unfold it. Lay the serum-soaked mask over your face, lining it up with your features. Let the mask sit for the allotted amount of time. It's best not to leave sheet masks on for longer than recommended. The general rule of thumb is that once the sheet starts to feel dry, it's definitely ready to be removed.
To take your masking to the next level, you can wear a lip mask at the same time. We mentioned lip patch masks earlier, but there are also creamy formulas that are more reminiscent of an extra-indulgent lip balm. Smooth Buttermask For Lips onto your pout to try the latter type. The intensively hydrating lip treatment is formulated with coconut oil and wild mango butter. It nourishes your lips and helps restore their moisture barrier.
Kiehl's Tip: If your sheet mask isn't a perfect fit for your face, try using scissors to cut a few slits in any spots where the mask doesn't sit correctly.
3. Apply a Serum
Sheet masks provide your skin with a dose of a face serum, but you can also apply separate serums afterward. Hydro-Plumping Hydrating Serum, a formula with glycerin and epidermal hydration filler, is a great option for this step. It helps visibly plump the skin and encourages its natural production of hyaluronic acid.
4. Care For Your Eyes
Don't forget about your eyes. Start with Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum, which has a lightweight, layerable formula. It stars pure vitamin C, tri-peptide, and hyaluronic acid. The result is an eye cream that visibly reduces dark circles and smoothes the eye area. Follow it with Avocado Eye Cream. This under-eye hydrator is formulated with avocado oil and shea butter. It offers all-day hydration, which may help prevent early signs of aging.
5. Soak Up Moisture
Complete your sheet mask session with a face cream. Your moisturizer will lock in the serum that the mask left on your skin. Use Ultra Facial Cream to offer your skin lasting, 24-hour hydration. It balances even the skin's driest areas with 2.3 times more moisture—all thanks to a formula with squalane and glycerin.
Can You Reuse Sheet Masks?
One of the benefits of masks that come housed in jars and tubes is that they offer quite a few uses. Sheet masks, on the other hand, are single-use. They're meant to hold just enough serum to hydrate or illuminate your skin once. Don't try to reuse (or share) them. This is part of why sheet masks are typically found at a lower price point than other masks.
Next: What Is Multi-Masking?