With over 400,000 posts about them on Instagram and every celebrity out there taking a #SheetMaskSelfie, there's no denying we have a particular penchant for a sheet mask pampering session. However, with zero scientific findings to suggest they offer our complexions any long-term benefits, are they a gimmick we need to give up?
Possibly, says Pamela Marshall, Co-founder, Clinical Aesthetician at Mortar and Milk says, "I'm sorry for being the fun police, but sheet masks aren't very effective, and they are also horrible for the environment." Sadly, Pamela is right, and these single-use items aren't too fabulous for our planet. Plus, despite lots of marketing claims most sheet masks won't contain actives that are able to penetrate into the deeper levels of your dermis.
So, is it time to ditch them?
No, not yet, Pam explains, "Some are excellent at treating dehydrated skin, so as long as you use the correct ones and they're kept as a treat, I'd say its ok." Celebrity Facialist Michaela Bolder agrees there can be positive reasons for popping one on, "I love to use them on myself and my clients. They create a gentle heat on your complexion, which opens your pores and allows the ingredients to absorb. The physical barrier of the sheet also prevents evaporation."
But with so many on the market, how do we know which ones actually work?
It is important to note that all sheet masks are not made equally and having a better knowledge of the elements and actives that are beneficial for your skin is always helpful when choosing cosmetic products. Michaela Bolder advises that it is still worth looking at the ingredients list, "By rule of thumb I always say that the shorter, the better. Make sure there is either no alcohol in your mask, or that it's a long way down the list. Elements that you want to spot are; glycerin, water, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, clays, oils and omegas."
Cosmetic ingredients to look out for by skin type
Don't judge a book by its cover!
Most of us would assume that a mask that looks like an emoji can't be as effective as one with a clinical casing, but you could be making false assumptions as some of the fun looking sheets can actually contain advanced technology. Just because it seems like a gimmick, it might not be, and the ingredients list will always tell you the truth, so make sure you check it. Want more advice on ingredients and what they do for your skin? The Consumers Dictionary Of Cosmetic Ingredients is all you need for deciphering complicated Inkey lists.
Apply them correctly
Michaela Bolder advises, "It seems obvious, but most people don't realise their skin must be prepped properly first. Always cleanse thoroughly and then exfoliate to remove dead skin cells."
Fed up with them falling off your face? Don't be afraid to cut off the excess and you'll find it will sit better and be less likely to slip. Michaela Bolder also suggests that you should try and get as much out of the packet as possible, "There is always extra serum left inside, which is a bonus - use it up on your neck and chest or even the next day rather than throw it away. And it's also essential to adhere to the timings. Don't leave it on too long as they can dry out and actually reverse the benefits by sucking moisture away from the skin."
Undeniably sheet masks make caring for your face fun, they're also helpful for cooling and soothing hot or tired skin… aka a hangover.
So, when you're in need of a pick me up, you've got the ok from us to pop one of these on.
Rodial Pink Diamond Lifting Face Sheet Mask (8 in a pack), £85
This has a luxurious scent, and the famous pink diamond powder serum helps to brighten tired and dull skin.
This is like a facial in a mask!
On the pricey side, but your skin will thank you for splurging.
Pop on before bedtime, remove and then massage the rest of the serum in before you snooze.
This draws out impurities while infusing the skin with a concoction of complexion loving ingredients.
HyaLual WOW Mask (5 in a pack), £84.99
Packed full of hydrating Hyaluronic Acid and other highly active ingredients.
Writer: Lydia House