Why are we so addicted to sheet masks?

The ritual of sheet-masking may have originated in South Korea, but we can’t escape the craze that’s swept the skincare world anywhere – not even here in the Middle East. It’s almost impossible to browse through Instagram or Snapchat without scrolling past a ubiquitous masking selfie. Even our local grocer has them close to the cashier – just to make sure they’re in full sight for the weak-willed shopper (which we definitely are)!

These disposable masks are soaked in a nutrition-packed ‘essence’ – a watery serum – and are designed to fit the contours of your face to infuse active ingredients directly into your skin. The sheet itself can be made from a variety of materials including cotton, hydrogel, or various natural fibres.

So why do we love them so much?

They’re a simple and effective way to hydrate all skin types. Once you get into the rhythm of masking, it becomes second nature, and you can be doing anything from cooking, cleaning, reading or watching TV. Unlike other messier facial masks, they are individually packaged, making them convenient and easy to use.

As the sheets are a one-size-fits-all, it is likely that no sheet mask will fit perfectly onto your face with no adjustment. It is easiest to start applying the mask from the forehead and pat softly as you go down the rest of your face while lining up the holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. We recommend very carefully making small cuts with a pair of vanity scissors around these holes to ensure a better fit. Yes, you may look like somebody’s nightmare, but you are force-feeding your skin beneficial ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and hyaluronic acid, so it is totally worth getting the right fit.

The mask should be left on for around twenty minutes; some sheet mask packages instructs you to leave the mask on for 10 to 15 minutes but really, the longer the better until the mask starts drying out. Very gently tap the remaining moisture into your skin before removing, as the goal here is to ensure your skin has absorbed as much of the gooey goodness as possible, and the tapping motion helps promote this absorption. Another bonus is that you don’t have to (and definitely should not) wash the residue off after applying.  Et voila! Beautifully hydrated, bouncy skin.

We like to mask almost every day but if you can manage two to three times a week you are already on your way to skincare perfection. This may seem excessive but maintaining hydrated skin helps avoid all kinds of skincare woes and this is especially true for oily skin which may be lacking in water-based hydration and over-compensating with excess sebum.

But, you might wonder, if the intent is to moisturise the skin, why don’t we just apply a rich face cream or serum? Most would agree that this would be a lot quicker! However, the true power of the sheet mask lies in its ability to push hydrating, nourishing ingredients into your skin – basically through osmosis (remember high school?) The mask acts as a barrier between your skin and the drying air around it to keep the moisture where it belongs – on your skin! This works effectively because it takes your skin around twenty minutes to absorb moisture and regular serums evaporate before they have soaked in. So, if you are looking to restore moisture and are on the market for toned, bouncy skin, stock up on those sheet masks as a key step in your skincare routine.

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