When I first wrote about sheet masks, I remember not finding that many examples to tell you about. Sure, celebs were posting sheet mask selfies all over Instagram. But they were hardly as commonplace as they are today!
Now, the sheet mask category has blown up to the point where it is truly overwhelming. Practically every skincare brand makes one now.
I can attest to this, because my own personal stash (which I'd been accumulating in one of my beauty cupboards) got waaaay out of hand lately. I swear, I had at least 50 of these things in my collection!
So I decided it was high time to revisit this sheet mask subject—but this time with more intel on which masks are the best, and why.
Hopefully you're as in love with this new skincare category as I am! For me, putting on a sheet mask has got to be the ultimate in relaxation. I also can't think of any other skincare product that delivers such instant results—at any price point, a sheet mask is going make your complexion look that little bit more plumped, hydrated, smooth and bright.
As with all skincare products, I've become a bit of an ingredients hound. Even if you don't go for one of the masks I mentioned, make sure to check the packaging. Feet are one thing, but on your face, I am sure you'll want to avoid ones with alcohol, heavy fragrances, mineral or PUFA oils and tons of silicones. Since a sheet mask is all about getting beneficial ingredients absorbed deep into your skin, you want to make sure you're getting good ones, not cheap fillers!
So with that in mind, here are my current favourites. By no means is this an exhaustive review of every single sheet mask out there, but from the dozens of brands I had, I've narrowed it down to 10 top picks that cover most skin concerns.
The Best Sheet Masks of 2020
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask
SK-II Facial Treatment Mask: I think this was the very first sheet mask on the market, or at least the first one I'd ever heard of (years before they became a "thing"). Yes, they are pricey—on par with the 14-karat gold masks, at least for us Canadians. But you're getting a big ol' dose of pitera, SK-II's signature ingredient.
In case you're not familiar, it is a liquid extracted during the yeast-fermentation process that was discovered by a Japanese monk in the 1970s. He was visiting a sake brewery and noticed that the elderly workers all had soft, youthful hands from contact with the "pitera," a blend of vitamins, amino acids, mineral and acids. So don't you want to put that on your face? I know I do!
I like to use this mask after I get off a plane, when the dry air has sucked the life out of my skin. I also like that the ingredients list is super-short! However, proceed with caution if you are acne-prone, as pitera does make some people break out.
Best Sheet Mask for Brightening and Firming
Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle 24k Gold Intense Wrinkle Sheet Mask: This mask is such a treat. It is a thicker cotton than the usual, with a mild (but not offensive) yeasty smell—maybe that's from the zillion peptides in here? Okay, there are 18, but it's still a lot.
Besides an anti-aging boost, you also get tons of hydration from the glycerin and hyaluronic acid. But the best part is, there are particles of 24-karat gold in here. GOLD! When you take off the mask, you'll notice them subtly coating your skin; it's a warm iridescence but so pretty, not disco ball-ish. These make the perfect pre-party skin prep!
Best Sheet Mask for Exfoliating
Patchology Exfoliate FlashMasque Facial Sheets: If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you probably know how much I love lactic acid (the star ingredient in our beloved Lotion P50). Well guess what? There's lactic acid in these sheet masks, too! Along with papaya enzyme, it's going to dissolve dead skin cells to give your skin a gentle exfoliation—a very unique feature for a sheet mask, I'd say!
This would be an excellent choice for skin that can't handle intense exfoliation, or anyone in need of a drab-skin pick-me-up.
Best Sheet Mask for Pigmentation
Kiehl's Clearly Corrective White Hydrating & Clarifying Treatment Masque: If you can find these, grab 'em! Initially developed for the Asian market, they were limited-edition in North America, which I didn't realize—now I only have a few left! (I started using them last summer when I wrote about them here.)
If your concern is dark spots, post-acne pigmentation or sun spots, I don't think there is a better sheet mask for you. The active ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is the key. I love what The RAEviewer had to say about them here.
Best Drugstore Sheet Mask for Hydrating
Masque Bar by Look Beauty Aloe Vera Sheet Mask: If you're like me and SK-II is out of your budget to use on a regular basis, you can still do the sheet masking thing with an inexpensive drugstore product.
A good option (now widely available) is this basic aloe vera mask, which will hydrate and soothe almost all skin types except extremely sensitive or those with active acne. Basically, it's a big drink of glycerin and aloe for your skin, sans mineral oil or alcohol. I don't love that it has fragrance, but at least it's last on the list.
Best Natural Sheet Mask
Pure + Simple Skin Restoration Mask: I was so happy to discover that Toronto's own Pure + Simple makes the only all-natural sheet mask I've found! (Also on sale right now, FYI.) I had the original one but now, they come in a new and improved version with a couple of minor ingredient changes.
This mask is very large and very wet, and it feels great knowing that all the ingredients are safe... no silicones, perfume, petroleum or parabens in here!
Best Sheet Mask for Lips
The Face Shop Bebe Lip Mask: This mask has a lot going for it: the cute/weird packaging, the low price ($3-5?!), and the fact that it works miracles on abused lips, without the default petroleum that is in so many lip products.
It's shaped just to fit your lips and the feel is creamier than a regular sheet mask that you'd put on your face. Since I'm constantly eating, I find it challenging to abstain while this thing works its magic... but the smooth, flake-free results are definitely worth it!
Best Sheet Mask for Eyes
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels: Technically, these are not sheets, but the principle is the same—they deliver a potent dose of peptides, CoQ10 and hydrolyzed elastin through a transdermal gel patch. The feel is more like a thick sticker than a cloth mask (although it doesn't tug or pull at the skin, like a sticker would).
I can't comment on the dark circle benefit, but I do notice immediate de-puffing and a more hydrated under-eye area. These are super-handy to have around for those times when you need to do something, but can't take off all your makeup...
Best Sheet Mask for Neck
Rodial Glamtox Neck Mask: Some people are prone to developing neck creases, especially when they first wake up—so yep, there's a mask for that body part now! This unique mask is large enough to cover the entire front of your neck, and is made from see-through bio-cellulose material instead of cotton. The active ingredients (amino acids and wheat protein) are a little more special than just hydrators, and should give you a slight temporary softening.
Do I think it's going to dramatically firm sagging? Nope—but it's still worth a shot if your neck area bothers you, or if it has been neglected and needs some extra TLC. By the way, you do have to lie down wearing this one, or it tends to slip off.
Best Sheet Mask for Feet
Baby Foot: By now, you've heard of this one. It's the original (and best) deep exfoliator for your feet from Japan. Did I mention deep? I'm calling it a sheet mask because it consists of socks made from the same disposable material, except instead of moisturizer, they're soaked in a potent acid blend that causes your dead skin cells to peel off like a snake. Not even joking!
Are you a sheet mask fan?
Have you tried any of these ones?