Korean sheet masks are all the rage, but there are so many different types that it's hard to know where to start. Not all masks are created equal, and many asked me if there is truly a difference between the $1 and $10 sheet masks. The quality of sheet masks depend on two things: 1) essence/serum and 2) fabric. In this post, I'll talk more about the fabric.
Sheet masks are produced using a variety of fabric types. The most common and least expensive mask fabrics are mass manufactured and made from coarse fibers. More advanced mask fabrics are now available with fibers that are produced naturally, through biotechnology processes.
Fiber masks feature a non-woven fabric. They have a coarse texture that feels and behaves like paper. Fiber masks are cheap and have some capacity to replenish moisture to your skin. They evaporate very quickly, and their paper-like texture lacks the “contouring” to remain in place for very long. Usually you will need to lie down or be still to keep it from falling off.
Pulp masks have a finer texture than fiber masks, but the limitations of the two mask types are similar. The fit of a pulp mask will be a bit uneven, with gaps noticeable between the mask and your skin. As with a fiber mask, the serum in a pulp mask will evaporate fairly quickly. Rayon cellulose is an example of a mask created from pulp.
Hydro gel masks offer better performance than low-end fiber and pulp masks. They are typically produced as a “mask system”, with top and bottom halves that are applied separately. Their product name is derived from the production process that blends cosmetic serums with gelatin, which gives the mask the feel of a cool, thin film layer. Hydrogel masks require careful handling; the fabric is rather thin and prone to tearing.
Skin care experts and biochemists consider masks woven from bio cellulose – an all natural fiber – to be the gold standard for hydrating and treating skin. Bio cellulose mask fabrics provide skin-tight dermal adhesion, allowing them to transfer cosmetic ingredients very efficiently. The texture of a bio cellulose mask feels like a cool, moist gel but its underlying structure is incredibly strong and resilient. Bio cellulose masks do not dry out during application.
What do I use?
Personally, the type of sheet mask you use depends on your budget and pampering schedule. I love the luxurious feel of biocellulose as it stays put and doesn't dry out my skin, but it's fairly expensive to use regularly. I use sheet mask every other day at night, so my "everyday" sheet mask falls into the fiber or woven type (especially those made with silk).