If you're not already familiar with the sheet mask phenomenon that started in Korea (or if you've missed any of these epic celebrity selfies), sheet masks are paper, fabric, or gel face masks that are saturated with hydrating, brightening, or perfecting ingredients to pamper your skin. You simply place the mask over your face, let it sit as directed, and voila: your skin looks fantastic and you effectively got a facial without putting on any real pants. Truly, living the dream. According to dermatologist Dr. Craig Kraffert, president of Amarte skincare, sheet masks are great for your skin because "they provide a warm, moist environment that aids in rapid and complete absorption of the skin care components [included in the mask]."
However, because sheet masks have quickly become so popular, tons of amazing beauty brands have created their own versions, making it difficult to choose between them. Luckily for you, I spent the last month effectively becoming the MIMI-Sheet-Mask-Guinea-Pig-in-Residence and documenting the experience via Hannibal-Lector-inspired selfies. Read on for the rundown of my sheet mask journey.
I tried the Rose Mask, the Green Tea Mask, and the Pomegranate Mask from Sephora's line of facial sheet masks. For me, the Green Tea Mask stood out as the most effective for my skin type. My pores looked smaller and my skin was noticeably less oily, a huge bonus for someone with combination skin. My sister also tried out the Pomegranate Anti-Fatigue Mask, and though I'm pretty sure she originally agreed to participate only for the Insta-credit, she swore that the mask made her skin appear more awake the following day.
Price: $68 for box of six
Shiseido's White Lucent product line purports to brighten the complexion by targeting dark spots and creating luminous and even skin. The White Lucent Power Brightening Mask goes on like a standard sheet mask, but my skin—which was a little irritated and blotchy from my recent trip to the gym—was visibly smoother and less red afterwards. Plus, the scent on this mask is divine.
This was by far the most straight-up hydrating mask that I tried. My skin felt positively waterlogged afterwards, and there was so much extra serum on the sheet that I used it to moisturize my neck and chest. Given the very reasonable price point, this mask is a must-have for those with dry skin.
Price: $135 for box of ten
Made of 100% cotton, this is one of SK-II's top selling products—and for a good reason. I have always maintained that SK-II doesn't mess around when it comes to taking care of your face, and this one was no exception. I could absolutely feel the quality of this mask when I applied it, and it left my skin visibly radiant and with, what I swear, appeared to be a palpable "glow."
Price: $79 for box of three
If you were only going to try one mask, this is it, but only because of its double-duty properties. The Bioxidea Diamond mask is made of a super soft hydrogel that felt amazing against my skin and it came in two pieces, so it was easy to custom-fit to my face. After 30 minutes, I legitimately felt like I had just traveled back in time to reclaim the skin of my 18-year-old self. My face looked phenomenal. And, as a bonus? Once you've used the mask you can let it dissolve in your bath and reap the revitalizing benefits all over your body.
Price: $120 for box of six
These masks were actually created to speed healing after cosmetic surgeries and procedures, which means that their restorative properties are pretty hardcore. The weirdest part about these was the texture, which my sister accurately pointed out "felt like you were wearing someone else's skin on your face." Although slightly disconcerting, the skin-like texture is due to the biocellulose material that's meant to create a protective, but breathable, artificial barrier to promote healing and seal in moisture. After our 20 minutes of wearing second skin, both my sister and I felt like our skin was hydrated and even softer than before.
Price: $54 for box of four
Alright, so this mask isn't technically a facial sheet mask, but the uber-powerful depuffing properties of these eye masks couldn't be ignored, so they made my list. Seriously, you can erase a late night in just under 30 minutes. Trust me, I've done it.
Price: $125 for box of six
This mask was different at first glance because of its unique two-piece application process, which was helpful for fitting it to my weirdly round face. However, after I tried it, I was excited to find that in addition to even-toned and brightened skin, the Cle de Peau Mask was the first and only one I sampled that really went to town on the semi-permanent acne scarring and discoloration I have on my chin.
Price: $48 for box of five
The Skin Laundry Mask felt luxuriously cooling and nourishing the second I put it on my face. The sensation was almost too intense at some points, but once I removed the mask my skin was dewy and refreshed.
Price: $95 for box of four
This mask is similar in texture to the SkinCeuticals Biocellulose mask (in that, it still feels almost like you're secretly John Travolta from Face Off when you put it on). While the two masks are very alike in their hydrating properties, I prefered the scent of the Tatcha mask, which is sorta nice when it is sitting right by your nose for upwards of 15 minutes. Disclaimer: the scent really had nothing to do with it's amazing hydrating properties.
Price: $169 for box of six
This mask, like Shiseido, smelled absolutely amazing. And, probably because it was made with proteins taken from actual silkworms, the mask made my skin feel silky smooth after only one use.
For this price point, it's absolutely worth trying out a Freeman Rose Mask. The formula made my skin tingle pleasantly, and although I didn't notice any real brightening effects after one use, the Vitamin C and White Tea serum left my skin moisturized and smooth. These are perfect to pack and take with you when traveling.