Sheet masks are a long-standing trend heralding from Seoul, Korea, with most skincare brands across the pond and in the UK creating their own versions.
For many, the first experience with the popular skincare product was a messy, dripping faff with a mask soaked in serum that was tricky to unfold. For the most part, these serum soaked sheets were typically associated with gimmicky skincare that’s fun but not effective.
But as time has gone on, brands have stepped up by making them much more user-friendly, with ear hooks, two-piece designs and even dry styles becoming more common and much more enjoyable to use.
Their benefits are varied, some offer a moisture boost to combat dehydration, others prep the skin before make-up application, and some deliver a radiant glow.
To get the most out of one, ensure you’ve squeezed every last bit of serum out of the packaging, before finding somewhere quiet to read, watch TV or scroll through Instagram and letting it get to work.
It’s important to note too that sheet masks are a temporary fix, so if you have particular skincare concern, such as severe dryness or a dull, lacklustre complexion, they’re a perfect pick-me-up for a day or two, but won’t permanently hydrate or moisturise skin. It does, however, make them ideal to slot into your skincare routine whenever you need a pamper and downtime while they work.
To help you navigate the masses of sheet masks available, we’ve found the very best that deserve a spot in your regimen.
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Medik8 ultimate recovery bio-cellulose mask
It’s clear that the brand has taken fit into consideration with this mask, as it features generously sized eye, nose and mouth holes and small cut-outs on each side to allow you to customise the fit. It’s double-sided with a film that can be fiddly to remove, but it’s easier once you get the hang of it. First, you remove one layer and apply it to your face, then once secured, you carefully peel the outer layer off and smooth over your face. It’s a delicate, thin, gel-like sheet that’s translucent in colour but isn’t wet or sticky, and feels weightless on the face. Designed to nourish skin in need of hydration, the serum includes moisture boosting hyaluronic acid and rocked algae extract, which provides antioxidant protection. We were impressed to find after 15 minutes of wear, it significantly improved a dry patch on our cheek and reduced its soreness.
Charlotte Tilbury instant magic facial dry sheet mask
This innovative design is brilliant for going about your business while enjoying a speedy skincare treat. It gives the skin a natural-looking glow and dewiness that’s perfect for pre-make-up application. It’s a dry sheet mask which feels odd at first, but the ear loops are a brilliant addition at keeping it securely in place. Once on, we followed instructions to massage skin gently to activate the ingredients, which at first didn’t feel like it was doing anything but we persevered for a full minute and then waited for the recommended 15 minutes. When we removed it, our skin felt smoother, more even and dewy, similar to the result you’d get from a great facial. It’s also the only one on our list that isn’t a one-time use, it can be applied up to three times as long as you store it in the sealed packaging.
Skin Glow London flow mask facial treatment
This mask comes in two parts, one which covers from the forehead to halfway down the cheeks, and the second starts from underneath your nose to the end of your chin and jawline. We loved this as it fits immeasurably better and doesn’t leave excess flaps handing off your chin or your hair soaking wet. The hydrogel mask is much thicker than most and is comfortable to wear, although we would recommend sitting on the sofa while it gets to work to ensure there’s no slip. Infused with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and tumeric, the serum is completely clear and brightens skin without leaving a sticky mess.
The Body Shop aloe calm hydration sheet mask
This inexpensive mask is great if you veer on the sensitive, dry or irritated side as it’s packed with ingredients to soothe skin. The two main ingredients here are organic aloe vera and cucumber extract which are sourced via the brand’s Community Fair Trade programme, which finds ethical ingredients from producers, farmers and artisans and helps suppliers gain market access and invest in social and environmental projects. The mask feels refreshing and after 15 minutes of use, we saw a small reduction in redness, especially on our cheeks. It is completely vegan and better yet, the sheet is biodegradable and is an easy one to add onto your skincare shelf.
111Skin sub zero de-puffing energy facial mask
Developed by Harley Street surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, this is another two-piece mask that is more user-friendly and comfortable. It’s instantly cooling and made for a great morning treat for puffy, tired eyes. It contains seaweed extract and caffeine, which are known to improve dark circles and reduce inflammation, so if you have either, it’s worth the splurge. The solid jelly-like texture is a tad slippy in your hands, but once it’s on, it’s comfortable and easy to adjust so it sits properly and doesn’t slide off.
Wishful thirst trap sheet mask
Skincare brand Wishful was launched in 2020 by beauty mogul Huda Kattan, who is also the founder of Huda Beauty, a hugely popular make-up brand that we’re big fans of here at IndyBest. We found it works best for use before you apply make-up and it leaves a lovely dewy glow after 20 minutes. As the name suggests, it’s designed to treat thirsty skin, so if your skin feels a bit tight after cleansing, pop this on for a quick fix.
Erborian matte shot mask
Most sheet masks, due to being drenched in serum, feel wet and can leave skin looking greasy, but this clever design from Erborian does the opposite, leaving your complexion matte instead. We were sceptical too, but after 15 minutes of use (you can also leave it on for five if you’re in a rush), once removed it left our skin looking brighter. Our skin didn’t look or feel matte straight away but once we had massaged the excess serum on our face, it quickly absorbed and left skin smooth and matte as promised. It’s a great option if you have oiler skin and dread having anything dewy near your skin.
Patchology flashmasque illuminate five minute sheet mask
For an instant brightening boost, pick up one of these masks from Patchology. Partly due to its vitamin C infused formula, it’s great if your skin is looking a little dull. We’d recommend using this in the morning to enjoy the results all day or if you have a Zoom date scheduled, pop it on before applying make-up for a healthy-looking glow. Requiring only five minutes, it’s a speedy, affordable option for the time-conscious.
The verdict: Sheet masks
Medik8’s ultimate recovery bio-cellulose mask ticks all our boxes. It fits well, isn’t sticky, greasy or a mess to apply and works quickly to deliver a shot of moisture to skin in need of hydration. While pricey, it’s well worth the investment and delivers noticeable results.
The Charlotte Tilbury instant magic facial dry sheet mask also deserves a special mention for its innovation and ability to fit as well into your make-up routine as it does your skincare. We loved the extra thought put into the design too, the ear loops were a practical touch, as well as its multi-use properties.
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