It is now the end of June, the month I have designated Mask Month. In the initial post about Mask Month here on fan-b, I set out the challenge and showed off the sheet masks I’d be testing in an attempt to determine if my disdain for sheet masks is unfair or if there are some masks that could change my mind. I chronicled my tests on the fanserviced Instagram in the #maskmonth tag. Part of my disinterest in sheet masks likely comes from the fact that my skin is pretty well hydrated already and it absorbs moisturizers without a problem. So the masks would need to bring something special to my routine for me to notice their effects. While my skin is moist, it is incredibly troubled by acne and post-acne spots, so any masks that can help with that are much appreciated. So this experiment is really targeted to oily or combination, troubled, acne-prone skin. I tried 9 different (10 total) sheet masks in an attempt to find out which ones, if any, add something critical to my skincare routine, or if I’ve been right to dismiss them.
Winner of Mask Month: Skylake Mask Pack in Elastic Where I got it: Skylake in NYC’s Koreatown Price: $2 + tax As I mentioned in a state of near-breakdown on Instagram, this mask smells like smoke. I suspect it’s a result of traditional medicine mushrooms used in the mask essence, but it was extremely off-putting to wear at first. This is a soft, fairly thick cotton sheet mask that also comes with a neck mask; that’s the first time I’ve used a neck mask, so I was pretty excited to try it. I ended up using the neck mask portion to cover the areas of my jawline that were exposed due to having a giant face. The mask hydrates, but the thing that elevated this mask to the top position was its ability–in about 30 minutes–to soothe and calm my blemishes, reducing them to smoothness in ways I’ve never seen a product manage. I’m not a total hanbang (traditional Korean beauty/medicine) superfan, but this mask made me far more interested than I had been before. At $2 per mask, it’s a total steal. Buying again? Already did!
Comfortable and Effective: Mediental Snail Aquaring SOS Mask and Mediheal Trouble Smart Laser Mask Where I got them: Skylake in NYC’s Koreatown Price: $6 each + tax These higher-end masks come with an ampoule that should be slathered on before the sheet mask is installed, which is a kind of fun feature. I was concerned about the masks being gimmicky and just relying on the ampoule instead of a great sheet mask to justify the higher cost, but the fit and feel of the mask material was so comfortable and the formulas were so nice to feel on my skin that I wanted to wear them for a very long time. Both left my skin more moisturized and calmed my blemishes a lot. This was a comfortable, effective experience without the dramatics of the Skylake smoke mask. That said, the results weren’t as dramatic as those of the Skylake mask and one can buy three Skylake masks for each Mediental or Mediheal mask. Buying again? I will…once the fan budget is a bit healthier.
Goodbye Trouble (gentle): 2 LJH Doctor’s Care + Facial Mask Sheets in Tea Tree Where I got them: Memebox Oil & Troubles Superbox Price: $3 each The LJH tea tree mask formula is virtually scent-free, light, not sticky, and perfect for summer wear if you have oily skin. I expected these masks to be as amazing as the LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence, but I found the mask essence to be less exceptional than the bottled essence. It’s possible that the formulas are similar, but the daily repeated use of the bottled essence makes it more effective for my skin. This calls to mind my original doubts about sheet masks; why use them when a daily essence might be more effective? In the case of the LJH masks I’d probably save my pennies to buy the Tea Tree 90 Essence rather than the sheet masks, but I wouldn’t be sad to receive them in a Memebox again. Buying again? Probably not because I’d rather save for the Tea Tree 90 Essence.
Goodbye Trouble (harsh): Lioele Trouble Clear Essence Mask Where I got it: Beauteque Price: $1.99 + tax (free shipping when I bough it) This Lioele mask is the less ideal counterpart to the LJH mask; the tea tree smell is evident and there is a distinct feeling of burn on blemishes when it’s applied. The moisture is heavier and stickier, but this does appear to calm blemishes–and it’s more commonly available than the LJH masks. Buying again? I doubt it. I think that the Skylake mask does what this mask does, but more effectively.
Moisture without Breaking the Bank: My Beauty Diary Bulgarian White Rose Mask and My Beauty Diary Imperial Bird’s Nest Mask Where I got them: Family Market in Astoria (NYC) Price: 1.70 + tax (each) These masks are incredibly popular–and for good reason. They’re affordable, pretty widely available, and deliver a lot of moisture. I found the fit of these masks to be less than ideal for my giant face; I end up with mega gaps around my nose and eyes. These masks claim to whiten and soothe (Bulgarian White Rose) and nourish and hydrate (Imperial Bird’s Nest), but I find long-term changes so hard to assess with my current skin condition. I can say with certainty that they do deliver moisture, but the less-than-ideal fit and thinner mask material made this feel less luxurious than the other choices. Buying again? Sure. These are good, widely available masks that moisturize well. I just won’t expect them to work miracles.
Not Really Sure What this Does: The Face Shop Sebum Control Soothing Mask Sheet Where I got it: The Face Shop in NYC’s Koreatown Price: $3 + tax I didn’t really find the fit or essence of this mask to be all that great compared to the other contenders. The formula and fit didn’t make me want to prolong my time with the mask, nor did I find the formula to control my record-breaking oil production. In fact, I felt like I woke up with oilier skin after using this mask. I don’t think that this was terrible, but it’s not a rebuy. Buying again? No. I didn’t really enjoy wearing this mask, so it’s out.
Overpriced and Underdelivering: SEP Face Lifting Mask Where I got it: Memebox Luckybox #1 Restocked Price: $14 This mask wasn’t particularly bad–it’s actually pretty cool with two separate top and bottom hydrogel pieces that are see-through with light lace inside of them–but the stated price really put me off. $14? Really? And the claims were insane: this mask is supposed to be made out of the same material as supportive underwear and claims to lift the face. Please stop. No. How even? The mask actually felt great and seemed hydrating, but it’s not like it did anything that the My Beauty Diary masks couldn’t do except fit better. Buying again? No. Ridiculousness isn’t rewarded. The mask was fine, but it didn’t live up to its claims and the price is insane.
The experiment is over, but so is my disdain for sheet masks. Now that I’ve branched out and used a wider variety I see that a one-shot sheet mask actually can help my skin. At the same time, I’m a lot more critical of masks now that I’ve tried some great ones. I continue to collect masks at an alarming rate due to Memeboxes, the fact that they’re an easy thing to buy when I’m visiting kbeauty shops in NYC that I’m photographing/reviewing, and they’re often given away at no charge for making purchases. I’ll be a lot more excited about trying them now–and I’ll alert fanpeeps on Instagram if I find any great ones. Do you have ideas for other masks I should try? Anyone have suggestions for sheet masks that help troubled skin?
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