If you happen to be, or live with, a woman aged 16-99 in the last few months, I'm sure you've had at least one or two terrifying late-night run-ins with this scary sight.
Why yes, it's the oft-used, but rarely discussed, sheet mask!
Sorry mud masks, clay masks, food masks and peeling masks, it's 2014 and it is the year of the sheet mask. They are relatively mess-free and These little 15 minute skincare miracles are thin formula infused cloths that are literally dripping in product. You rest the mask on your face and are encouraged to lie down flat, to make sure the requisite amount of product can rest and be absorbed into your skin. There are a variety of types of masks, to clarify, to cleanse, to 'detox' and to sooth, so it really depends on what your skin is looking for.
Despite their seemingly recent appearance on the market, sheet masks are by no means new. They were once a hot Asian beauty secret that slowly infiltrated the skincare market in North America through the help of some boutique manufacturers in the early 2010's. (See MaskerAide's review below.) And they only reached saturation point in late 2013/early 2014 when several of the major beauty players released their own versions, products that you can essentially buy anywhere, even at WalMart. (See Garnier's product in this review.)
So for this comparison, I chose one of each 'types' of sheet mask manufacturer.
1) The Face Shop, a relatively young Korean beauty product store that prioritizes natural ingredients. They carry a variety of skincare products and makeup but their sheet masks are very well known. The Face Shop has been branching out internationally and there is even one at the Eaton Centre in Toronto where I picked up a few masks.
2) MaskerAide, a boutique Canadian online store that only sells sheet masks but is exceptionally recognizable and popular. I received this mask in my Beauty Box Five box for May and they've made the rounds in other beauty boxes over the last year or so.
3) Garnier, an 100+ year old company owned by L'Oreal. They have product lines for every type of beauty product. I received this product in the mail from a free online sample from Garnier.
Now onto the reviews...
The Face Shop Real Nature Mask, Rice: This was my first foray into the sheet mask experience because I was initially skeptical about how effective a piece of cloth could be, but call me a convert. The Rice mask is a 'brightening and complextion improvement mask skeet that smooths and brightens dull/rough skin. I found that it did a marvelous job, and despite containing fragrance, the scent was gentle. This mask was large and it completely covered my face, and there was a lot of product in the foil left over so I rubbed it onto my skin afterwards.
Pros: $2 per mask
Cons: Not paraben-free
MaskerAide Beauty Rest'Ore: This cream-based mask promised to restore, regenerate and repair dull, tired skin. It also had the added benefit of lavender oil to help me unwind and relax while wearing it. The scent was strong at first but the lavender was extremely soothing and I actually dozed off while wearing this mask in the middle of the afternoon. The nose-flap design helped the mask sit better on the middle of the face and overall it was a more comfortable fit. My skin felt soothed and healthier for days afterward.
Pros: Paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, vegan, 100% biodegradable and CANADIAN
Cons: $5.99 per mask!
Garnier Skin Renew Dark Spot Treatment Mask: I keep seeing 'dark spot treatment' pop up in the weirdest places lately. I always associated that term with anti-aging products but it's slipping into even the most casual products. Do I think this mask removes dark spots? Probably not. But what I DO know is that it has a gentle fragrance, an adjustable form (lots of cuts on the sides to make it frame your face better) and offers deep hydration to soothe dry skin. I spent the weekend prior at an outdoor music festival and my skin was crying out for some extreme moisture and this mask provided it.
Pros: More adjustable mask than others, $3-4 per mask
Cons: Not paraben-free
After comparing all three products, I couldn't find a clear winner in the bunch. The Face Shop offers WAY more varieties of masks than MaskerAide which has six, and Garner which only has one, but MaskerAide is the most natural of the bunch. Garnier is the easiest to find, as MaskerAide and Face Shop have to be purchased either in specialty stores or online, so no one product came out a true winner.
In terms of budget, The Face Shop is the cheapest at just $2 a mask... so I bought a bunch more. But they all come Danielle-approved!
Do you use sheet masks? Which do you prefer?