Sheet masks originate in Korea and are an incredibly popular skincare item these days. Ever since making their appearance in the western world, they have taken the beauty community by storm.
Sheet masks are face-shaped sheets of fabric (most often cotton) soaked in serum, essence or lotion. Sheet masks differ from regular face masks not only with the addition of a fabric. They also only use products that shouldn’t be rinsed off at the end of using the mask – anything left once the fabric is removed can be massaged into the skin. Normally sheet masks come packaged in single sachets.
I’m someone who’s recently discovered the appeal of sheet masks – but I hate knowing how much money I’m spending on just one application (they’re usually pretty expensive). Not long ago I was browsing in Muji (a Japanese retailer) and came across something I hadn’t seen before – compressed dry cotton sheet masks. So naturally I had to try them out!
Imagine the possibilities if you could turn your favourite face lotion, essence, toner, serum or facial spray into a DIY sheet mask with the help of one of the Muji dry sheet masks. They could also be used with a very runny mask or a DIY mask – to seal the mask in, prevent dripping and improve the effectiveness of the mask. You could transform any of these products into a more intense (and contained) version of itself by making it into a sheet mask!
But the question is: does it actually work?
Price and packaging
These compressed sheet masks come in packs of two sizes. You can try them out with a pack of 5 masks for 1,75 GBP (effectively 35p per mask) or buy the big package with 20 masks for 4,95 GBP (coming in just under 25p per mask). The writing on the packaging is all in Japanese so you won’t really understand any of the instructions, but it isn’t that hard to figure out. The staff in the store are always happy to help as well.
What you get it essentially a compressed dry cotton sheet mask (with all the appropriate cutouts). It is up to you to decide just what kind of mask you want to make it into. They are thinner than most sheet masks I’ve used before, so this limits how much product they can soak up (which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what you’re after). Consequently they are quite a bit lighter than conventional sheet masks and so can be slightly more troublesome to apply and keep on your face. But even with this in mind I found them to be an amazing discovery.
The masks come compressed into little buttons so they require liquid to expand and be unfolded. The girls working at the store told me they’re meant to be used with a toner and that’s how I first tried it out. Soaking one of the buttons with my toner (Clarins Toning Lotion with chamomile) I learned that it requires quite a lot of liquid to become truly saturated. If you have ever used sheet masks before you’ll know that they usually come soaked in serum. Equally, you’ll need to use quite a lot of product to saturate these dry sheet masks. I also found that they do require something as runny as toner or face water to expand enough to be unfoldable. As such, you won’t be able to soak it directly in lotion and have it behave exactly like a store-bought sheet mask.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t use them with all of your less runny products. I found that my DIY sheet masks worked just well when I slathered a thick coat of whatever product I wanted to turn into a mask on my face and then used a toner soaked sheet mask on top of it.
For someone like me (with ridiculously sensitive skin) this is an interesting concept, because often skincare items won’t cause my skin to react immediately. Plenty of them will only cause a reaction when used several days in a row. So by turning these kind of products into a sheet mask I can make them into more intense skin treatments. That way I use them only every so often, reaping the benefits but not upsetting my skin.
I must say that the cutouts for eyes and mouth are rather small and so the mask didn’t want to stick to my skin around the eye/nose area. I found it fit better if I cut the bits connecting the eyes to the nose. The sheet masks have more than ample space for cheeks, forehead and chin, so they’re not small as such – it’s just that the cutouts are grouped rather closely together.
I got equally great results when I turned a sample of Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate into a sheet mask. To expand my sheet mask I used Mario Badescu Facial spray with aloe, herbs & rosewater instead of toner and it worked perfectly. So with this DIY sheet mask method I can finally put all those skincare samples I’ve got to good use. I rarely end up using them otherwise, since they can’t really show me whether my skin will get irritated after prolonged use of the product.
Why make it into a sheet mask?
You may wonder whether you can just slather a product on thicker than usual for masking purposes and call it a day.
The reason why I think it’s worth adding a sheet mask over the top of a DIY mask is because it doesn’t let your treatment dry out as quickly. It prolongs the time the treatment can work on your skin and it also enables it to penetrate deeper by creating a barrier of warmer air and opening up your pores.
And there are so many ways to use them, too. Another handy use could be using them to turn any sheet mask you buy into two. I haven’t tried this out yet so I’ll update the post once I have; but I think it could really work. I’ve always got plenty of leftover serum in the sheet mask package after removing the saturated sheet mask itself. If I were to throw one of the toner soaked sheet masks in the package and close the top with a clip, I could essentially get another sheet mask with the same benefits. I can certainly see the appeal of using the main sheet mask before a big event and the left-over DIY sheet mask later in the evening (or the next morning) to help my skin recover.
And obviously, these masks can be a miracle in itself for anyone into proper DIY face masks. For example, I know green tea face masks are a big hit with a lot of people, but they’re messy and a little difficult to work with because of how runny they are. If you were to soak one of these dry sheet masks into your DIY green tea mask you could have a full 5-15 minute treatment.
You can definitely DIY sheet masks although they won’t be an exact dupe for store-bought ones. However they can be a really versatile and cool way of giving your skin some love, since you can turn a lot of your existing products into intense skin treatments. Plus you can make masks that do more of what you need by applying one product onto your skin and saturating the sheet mask with another.
Dry sheet masks are definitely a big discovery for me – now I’m finally able to use all those countless products that cause my skin to react after regular use. They have opened the doors to a lot of well-performing skincare that I haven’t been able to use before.
And for all you DIY mask lovers out there – I swear these will seriously up your masking game!