The beauty world’s obsession with serum-drenched facial cloths is showing little sign of slowing down. Moving away its sheer novelty beginnings (who doesn’t get a kick out of scaring partners, housemates and fellow air passengers with the horror-movie-esque masks?) sheet masks are a bona fide beauty fixture, and for good reason. They are the surest way to nix a host of skin concerns - from dehydration to dullness and everything in between. Our beauty writer Emily invested some serious hours watching The Bachelor re-runs to try some of the weirdest and wonderful options on the market. Here’s her round-up of facial mask faves.
Best for: Targeted Results
Garnering serious points for creativity, this sheet mask is less ‘sheet’ and more the shape (and colour) of a little lemon slice. I apply the cloths to specific areas of my face that I feel need the most TLC (I have a few acne marks across my cheeks and chin I want to fade). It’s super-easy to use, not too slippery and a laugh for those I live with. I use all six slices over my face and leave the excess serum to absorb into my skin overnight. I wake with a noticeably brighter, more refreshed complexion.
Best for: Dry skin (on special occasions)
The cream of the sheet mask crop, La Mer’s rendition is everything you expect from the high-end brand, and more. Best saved for special occasions (perfect for brides-to-be), these two-piece cloths have the power to take any ravaged complexion and make it Miranda Kerr-worthy (read: guaranteed compliments). Immediately after use, my skin is smooth, plump, and positively radiant. I feel so glowy and clear that I can skip makeup all together - but with foundation, my skin has the clarity of a magazine ad. These are the real deal. Also, the masks are so saturated in serum, it’s possible to get two uses if I seal them properly.
Best for: Post-sun Protection
Enriched with lush ingredients like rose oil for hydration and skin-comforting honeysuckle extract, Hollywood skin-heavyweight Erno Lazlo seriously impresses me with this mask. Unlike traditional cloths, this is more like a rubbery gel that I can best describe by likening it to swimming cap material (I know, it sounds weird, but that’s the image it garners and I’m running with it). I apply the upper and lower portions to my face and wear for 15 minutes. My skin is calm and soothed - I use it after a day in and out of a chlorinated pool, which normally makes my skin quite irritated by bedtime. Bonus points: the quick serum absorption and ability to sit beautifully under makeup.
Best for: Ageing skin
New from Endota, the New Age range includes a sheet mask designed specifically to treat ageing skin concerns, so I pull my mum into the trial too. She works as a flight attendant and is constantly trying to reinstate the moisture the cabin air sucks out. We both use this one before work and each received a steady stream of ‘you look so glowy’ compliments – even at 20,000ft. The apricot fruit water and rosehip oil feels immediately nourishing, and while I don’t have any fine lines, my mum says she notices a definite plumping of the skin and minimisation of wrinkles.
Best for: Pout Pampering
If you have a penchant for pretty things, these are perfect. Nannette de Gaspé is a stunning luxury brand stocked by the likes of Net-A-Porter and Barney’s, so I am dying to trial their offerings. I try the mouth masque, and am delighted at the beautiful flower pattern over the cloth that sits across the bottom half of the face. Rich in active ingredients like shea butter, olive oil, plankton and flower extracts, my lip contours are plump and full, not to mention the bottom half of my face is silky smooth. Amazing to use before wearing a statement lip.
Best for: Korean Beauty Devotees
This Korean brand has generated hype in the beauty community, so I am quick to jump on the bandwagon and give their sheet masks a try. From red wine to pomegranate, there’s a slew of interesting flavours to try; I go for the tomato for a radiance boost. I wear this the night before an engagement party - I press in the excess serum into my skin and wake up to a noticeably clearer and brighter complexion, even dark spots fade. Tomato pulp extract combined with the signature water-based essence is the perfect antidote for a complexion that’s dull, dry and uneven. I stock up (they're cheap), this is perfect for pre-party prep.
Best for: Novelty Lovers
This one strikes me as unusual, and certainly innovative. After carefully reading the instructions, I rub the sealed packet to activate the foaming mechanism, then open and apply the mask to my face. It's black thanks to the charcoal, designed to sweep out all of the junk from pores (which is much needed). Five minutes in, I think it fitting to humour myself on Snapchat, only to find the mask bubbles so profusely it moves down my neck, in my nose and toward my ears (eek!). So I blindly stagger to the bathroom as the froth reaches washing machine-like proportions. But, despite the dramatics of application, my pores are in fact tighter, so it does its job. If you can handle the foam, it’s worth it.
Story by Emily Algar