Considering how much I love skincare, it took me a long time to come around to sheet masks.
I know they’re often a staple of an Asian beauty regime, but I just couldn’t quite get them. I couldn’t figure out where in my routine to place them (after your toner but before your moisturiser, it turns out), whatever hydrating or brightening effects they had seemed to be temporary at best, and every time I wore one, its essence would seep into my hair and make it greasy and heavy. They were also quite pricey for a single-use item, and they created a lot of waste. To me, sheet masks just seemed like more trouble than they were worth.
And then one day, probably out of boredom and guilt at my stash of sheet masks, I decided to give them another shot.
Something clicked – perhaps its soothing hydration or the moist plumpness of my skin, or perhaps I had finally found the perfect cat-ear headband to keep my hair out of the way – because suddenly, I wanted more.
So last Friday, I did what any rational, reasonable person would do: devise an experiment to wear a different sheet mask every day for seven days straight.
So here’s my 7-day sheet mask diary, complete with my thoughts on each of the masks I tried. Where possible, I’ve averaged out their cost per mask and provided a link to purchase them. At the end, I’ll tell you whether masking every day should be a thing.
For the record, I have fairly dry to normal skin. Oiliness or breakouts aren’t a concern for me. My main skincare goals are to keep my skin hydrated, maintain a smooth even glow, and to fadeany pigmentation marks from old blemishes. Alright, let’s get to it!
DAY 1, FRIDAY: Klairs Real Moist Soothing Sheet Mask, RM11.90 each
To kick off my 7 Days Of Masks, I picked this one by Klairs, which claims to contain a whopping half-bottle of their moisturising essence!
Unfortunately, this mask had the worst fit. It’s not fair to fault a mask for its fit, as everyone has such differently-shaped and sized heads, but this one seemed unnecessarily huge. Flaps of mask by the side of my face made me feel like an elephant, and the eyeholes gaped so the skin around my eyes – arguably the parts that needed hydration the most – didn’t get any mask goodness at all. The 100% cotton mask was also oddly thick and unmalleable. And because it was so large, it felt heavy on my face.
Fit aside though, this mask sure did what it promised. After taking it off, my skin was super comfortable, hydrated and glowy – precisely what you want out of a sheet mask.
DAY 2, SATURDAY: Etude House I Need You Tea Tree Mask, RM?? (Discontinued, got this as a free sample)
Etude House’s masks are clean, simple, and get straight to the point. I got this tea tree one as a free sample with one of my many K-beauty hauls. I thought I should alternate hydrating masks with “oil or blemish control” ones to avoid overloading my skin.
This one fit much better than the Klairs mask, and clung satisfactorily to my face. This range has been discontinued but its replacement, Etude House’s 0.2mm Therapy Air Masks, are quite possibly the perfect mask. Once again, my skin was perfectly hydrated and comforted.
So far so good.
DAY 3, SUNDAY: Mentholatum Botanicals Rosehip Oil Brightening Mask, RM4.88
I thought I would put some drugstore masks to the test as well, so I picked this up from my local Guardian. Available in a range of botanics like lavender, aloe, and rosemary, I picked the rosehip one for brightening. It was slightly large, but the sheet was thin enough to be folded to fit. The same results – soft hydrated skin. This was a perfectly vanilla mask experience.
DAY 4, MONDAY: Naruko Tea Tree Shine Control & Blemish Clear Mask, RM7.30
In all honesty, at this point masking every night was starting to get a little exhausting. I know that sounds like the ultimate first world problem, but I was using my precious public holiday time to make my way through a PS4 game. Having to get up in between skincare steps and go to the bathroom to fiddle with a mask and slap on moisturiser after was more inconvenient than I would have preferred.
Thankfully, this Reddit thread popped up about how Fan BingBing sheet masks everyday to maintain her perfect complexion. Motivated by this knowledge, I kept it up.
The first thing that jumps out at you: this mask is black! That’s thanks to the activated charcoal in the sheet, which is supposed absorb impurities and oil. It fit well, and I’m amazed at how well it worked: a pimple on my forehead faded away into nothingness and a little red spot on my nose where I think another pimple was about to start up disappeared. Hooray, sheet masks!
Just one little thing: whatever essence it left behind reacted strangely with my moisturiser, causing it to pill up into rubbery globs. It was very strange. I’d skip the moisturiser next time.
After four consecutive nights of sheet masks, I realised that my skin was getting really… juicy. There’s no better word for it. As I sat at my desk, under the full force of the air conditioning, I would pat my face only to find it still plump, moist, and bouncy. It wasn’t oily or greasy in any way, but it felt full of moisture – almost damp.
It was definitely a new, if slightly strange sensation. Nevertheless, I persisted. Unfortunately, it was after this that things took a turn for the worse.