Sheet masking has been trendy for a few years now thanks to Instagram, where everyone from K-beauty mavens to celebrities have snapped pics of them plastered on their faces. They’re also an affordable trend, costing as little as a dollar to try, and available everywhere from your local Sephora to Walgreens.
That said, not all sheet masks are alike, although they may appear to be. There are several different kinds of fabrics (fiber, pulp, hydrogel, etc), and different types of ingredients tailored to certain skin challenges, like acne, dryness, aging, and more. Most sheet masks will be helpful to your skin, but if you want to target specific issues, be sure to read up on what you’re buying first.
Having sheet masked more than a normal human probably should, we’re sharing our favorite masks with you so you’ll know what to look out for when you go skincare shopping. Wrap up your hair, get a glass of wine, and enjoy!
1) The Face Shop character masks ($14, 5-pack)
Good for: beginners
The Face Shop makes solid, affordable products that are ideal for beginners in the K-beauty world. They have a wide selection of masks in stores, but the character masks are especially good in addition to being fun to wear. Take a hot bath to open up your pores and let one of these douse your face in moisture.
2) Tosowoong Pure mask line ($15, 10-pack)
Good for: anti-aging, hydration
Tosowoong is a cult favorite in K-beauty circles for several reasons: the masks are cheap, drenched with great natural ingredients, and stay moist while worn for a long time. (Pro-tip:Lesser quality masks dry out faster.) Our favorites are the propolis and snail masks, but you can also choose from green tea, blueberry, aloe and deep sea water.
3) Skin Food Hydro Fitting Snail Mask ($10, 5-pack)
Good for: extreme hydration
The idea of snail slime in your skincare may be a turnoff for some, but K-beauty converts know that it’s the equivalent to the fountain of youth. This mask from Skin Food is a terrific fit on the face, rich with moisture, and smells terrific. You can also wear it for a long time, so feel free to indulge to your heart’s content. These are especially good after a long flight, as the air on planes dehydrates your skin.
4) Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist mask ($35, 5-pack)
Good for: pore control and detoxification
Dr. Jart’s masks are more expensive than many of the items on our list, but with good reason: they are very effective. I saw noticeable reduction of pore size after one use of this mask, and further reduction with multiple uses over a week. Made with black charcoal, the mask draws impurities out of the pores and tightens them.
5) My Beauty Diary Imperial Bird’s Nest mask ($20, 10-pack)
Good for: brightening, anti-aging
I’m cheating a bit by including My Beauty Diary on this list, as it’s actually a Taiwanese brand rather than Korean. But its products are so excellent I felt it’d be an oversight to leave them out of a best masks lineup. An incredibly thin, light mask, it’s great for everything from deep hydration to anti-aging. It also smells absolutely delicious and is cut smaller than most masks, so if you have a small to medium-sized face you’ll love the way it fits.
6) Banobagi Vita Genic Jelly Mask collection ($20, 10-pack)
Good for: hydration, brightening, texture, anti-aging
This unusual mask comes out of the package feeling a bit gloppy. That’s because it’s a jelly mask, which is loaded with even more hydration ingredients than the average mask. The results of this mask are extremely notable and ideal if you want to get that “K-beauty glow.” I was awed by its results the first time I tried it, and there have been many, many Banobagi masking nights since.
7) no:hj mask collection ($28, 10-pack)
Good for: hydration, anti-aging, brightening
No:hj easily makes some of the finest masks in K-beauty, hands down. Their texture is as delicate as tissue paper, but they’re soaked with moisture and can be worn for over an hour without any major loss of product from the fabric. That’s pretty insane in the world of masks. If you have a long plane ride ahead of you this is a perfect option to take along if you’d like to pump your skin full of goodness before you take a nap.
8) Leaders Amazonian Acai Anti-pollution mask ($25, 10-pack)
Good for: detoxification, purification
Leaders makes a wide variety of good sheet masks, but this bio-cellulose one stands out from the crowd for its texture alone. It’s also ideal for skin detox, making it an ideal choice after being exposed to harsh elements, a day in the great outdoors, or swimming in a public pool. Leaders is also a cruelty-free company, making its offerings even more appealing.
9) Sulwhasoo Innerise Complete mask ($65, 10-pack)
Good for: spoiling the hell out of yourself
Inexpensive sheet masks often have a lot of offer, but this mask is not one of those. Sulwhasoo is a high-end Korean luxury brand, which is why these masks have a higher price tag (roughly $6.50 per mask). That said, the line continuously delivers indulgent results and incredibly glowing skin, so if you have the money to burn, we say go for it.
10) Whamisa organic facial mask collection ($13)
Good for: lifting, anti-wrinkle, soothing
Whamisa is one of very few brands curated by K-beauty retailer Glow Recipe, a company known for carrying the best of the best in Korean brands. Packed with botanical ingredients, K-beauty bloggers raveabout these masks for their ability to make skin look plump, glowing, and downright angelic. They are by far the most expensive item in our list, but the results are so night and day that we’d recommend you try it at least once just to experience the moment you peel it off and look at yourself in the mirror afterwards.
11) no:hj Golden Modeling Foil Mask ($29.99, 10-pack)
Good for: dry skin, long masking sessions
Yes, no:hj made the list twice. (What can I say? This writer is biased when it comes to this excellent brand.) The Golden Modeling Foil Mask is intense looking on (yes, it’s reflective gold), but it’s got a great fit and can be worn for an hour or more. They may be a little more costly than some of the other masks on this list, but they are well worth it. And of course, you’ll get glowy, nourished looking skin as a result of wearing one.
12) Mediheal Dress Code Masks ($18.83, 10-pack)
Good for: looking fancy AF while you mask
Not only are these sheet masks from Mediheal the ideal weight for all skin types, but they are fantastically fun. The masquerade-inspired design on the packaging is exactly what the product inside looks like, meaning you’ll look quite fanciful as you mask. This one comes in four varieties to address whitening, moisture, toning, and “glossy” skin. Of course, each variety has a different mask as well. These are fabulous for a girls’ gathering or a wedding shower as you can marvel over each other’s fancy faces.
13) D’Ran Wonder Waterboom masks ($20, 10-pack)
Good for: daily use during colder months
While Korean brands like Tony Moly quickly became available in America after the K-beauty boom, lesser known high quality brands have often been overlooked. D’Ran is one of those brands, which I was lucky enough to discover through a moisturizer sample some years ago. Today the company has a thriving business and its products are sold on Amazon, which is great news for those of us outside Korea who love them. There are a ton of masks to choose from, but Wonder Waterboom will give your skin the glowy plumpness that K-beauty is known for.
14) The Face Shop Mascream Sheets ($18.76, 8-pack)
Good for: dry patches around your nose and cheeks
If you have masked before, you know what most sheet masks essence feels like. However, some companies have delved into different options with what masks are soaked with. Several have tried a richer liquid that resembles a cream more than an essence. There are many on the market, but The Face Shop’s Mascream line is a super affordable way to try them out. I’m a big fan of these when the skin around my nostrils gets dry as it completely erases the problem!
15) Cosrx Holy Moly Snail Mask ($19.49, 7-pack)
Good for: Losing five years from your face
Cosrx is known for its incredibly affordable, effective product line, and K-beauty fans adore it. When the company released the Holy Moly Snail Mask a few years ago, fans of the cult brand were super excited to get it. Its primary ingredient is snail mucin filtrate, which I mentioned up top as the best-known ingredient in the K-beauty world (not to mention the one that freaks out Americans most). However, one use of a mask like this and you’ll get over your “ew, slimy!” reaction real fast. Especially when your skin starts basically aging backwards. The Holy Moly masks also contain Korean ginseng water, which is an awesome anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging ingredient.
16) Blossom Jeju Camellia mask collection ($45.99, 5-pack)
Good for: Going makeup free
If you don’t do a lot of sheet masking, you may wonder why some masks are $1 – $2 each while others are closer to $9. In the case of the Blossom Jeju collection, you can definitely tell what you’re paying extra for right out of the package. They smell AMAZING. These two step masks come with Camellia oil to apply first, and then you layer a sheet mask packed with soy protein and botanical extracts on top to seal it all in. The result is a very polished, fresh face with a glow that lasts. I didn’t wear makeup for days after using this mask because I genuinely didn’t need it!
17) Naruko Snail Essence Intense Hydra Repair Mask($15.50, 10-pack)
Good for: Looking like you slept
Naruko masks are insanely effective, especially for their price point. They hit all the checkmarks I look for in a great sheet mask: rich essence, good scent, stays moist for an hour or more. But I also wake up the next day after doing one with majorly reduced dark circles and looking rested. That’s like magic in a package, and every mask in the line seems to have that effect. I cannot recommend them enough. At the moment the Snail Essence is my favorite, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.
18) Laneige Water Bank Double Gel Soothing Mask ($21.90, 5-pack)
Good for: reducing redness
Korean model Chaeyull Jung named this Laneige mask in a Vogue interview as her go-to to soothe redness, and I have to agree it does the job well. Laneige is now available at Target so you may have seen it before, but if you haven’t tried it yet now is a good time. Save it for when winter wind has reddened your cheeks and chapped your lips!
19) Naruko Narcissus Repairing DNA Mask ($17, 10-pack)
Good for: Brightening, anti-aging
Naruko’s masks have earned the acclaim of many a K-beauty blogger in recent months, and it’s easy to see why after trying its masks. The Narcissus Repairing mask is unique in that it has ear flaps, meaning you will also get a dose of moisture in spots typical masks do not reach. Lightly scented and excellent for brightening, fine lines and curing dryness, it’s perfect for when you want to soak in a hot bath for a bit.
20) Maskingdom Anti-Aging Mask with Hibiscus & Strawberry Extracts ($17.50, 2-pack)
Good for: Intense hydration, anti-aging
I’m cheating a tiny bit by adding Maskingdom to our Korean beauty list, as it’s actually a Taiwanese product. But as sheet masks go, it’s such an interesting experience that I just had to add it. This mask is made of bio-cellulose material rather than paper, which allows the product to absorb without evaporating. At roughly $8.75 per mask, this is definitely one of the premium choices on our list. Not a daily mask unless you’re ballin, but worth trying because it stands out from the crowd.
This first appeared on The Daily Dot.