If you’ve been reading a lot about sheet masks, you may have come across the admonition not to expect anything from them in terms of real skin improvements. The common knowledge is that sheet masks are pretty much only good for a temporary boost that will fade within a couple of days at the outside. And while that’s definitely true if you only use a sheet mask occasionally, I’ve always wondered if the conventional wisdom still holds if you, like me, use a sheet mask every night and have an enormous and diverse stash of both standard and higher-quality masks to choose from. Last night, I planned out an experiment to find out exactly that.
Hypothesis: Consistent daily use of sheet masks carefully selected to target a specific skin issue can produce real results.
Reasoning: Sheet masks really are a more intensive treatment than regular serums and essences. The essences are able to penetrate the skin in larger quantities and for much, much longer periods of time than everyday products can, due to the mask sheets preventing evaporation. In addition, the penetration enhancers (most commonly, glycols like butylene glycol, and often alcohol as well) in sheet mask essences also, uh, enhance penetration. Combining the intensiveness of the treatments with regular and consistent use and proven ingredients should therefore result in results comparable to those produced by everyday products like serums and creams, but at an accelerated rate.
Method: I will choose seven sheet masks that all contain the same proven ingredients that target a specific skin issue.
This week, I’ll be focusing on whitening masks. While my freckles (sunspots) have faded significantly in the year and a few months that I’ve been on an effective Asian skincare regimen, I started out with a lot, and I still have some very persistent ones that don’t want to budge. You can tell they’re from sun exposure because they’re across my cheekbones at the highest points, exactly where the sun would hit. Crappy bathroom lighting brings them out even more, as you can see below.
I’d like to see if a really targeted approach to sheet masks can make a difference in these things.
For this challenge, I picked seven masks out of my ginormous stash. Ingredients are the only way to gauge potential effectiveness, and they all look promising, with five containing both niacinamide and licorice root extract, two of the most reliable dark spot lightening ingredients in the Korean skin care market. The sixth only contains niacinamide and the last only contains licorice root extract, because I didn’t have seven that fit the bill. The niacinamide-only mask will be Day 1, the licorice root extract-only mask Day 7 so that I can maximize the effectiveness of the combo by using the masks that contain both on consecutive nights without a break. I’ll be using:
- Leaders Insolution Brightening Recovery Mask with niacinamide (I actually used this one last night; it was fabulous, and a review will follow soon)
- Naexy Genius Luminant Mask Pack with niacinamide and licorice root extract; this is a two-step treatment with an ampoule meant to be applied before the mask
- Botanic Farm Syn-Ake Hydrogel Mask with niacinamide and licorice root extract (by the way–Botanic Farm is a new addition to Memebox‘s mask offerings, and the ingredients look unusual and excellent)
- Botanic Farm Hippophae Rhamnoides Water with niacinamide and licorice root extract (and doesn’t that name sound like a monster out of Bloodborne?)
- May Island Donkey Milk Mela-Tox with niacinamide and licorice root extract; it is a three-step treatment that includes a (high pH) cleanser, a serum, and the mask
- Botanic Farm Salmon Egg Hydrogel with, of course, niacinamide and licorice root extract
- and My Beauty Diary Black Obsidian Moisturizing Black Mask with licorice root extract. This is one of the more premium MBD offerings, packaged and priced similarly to the My Beauty Diary Platinum Mandelic Acid Brightening Mask I recently reviewed
I’ll be taking progress pics every day and posting reviews along the way. In seven days, we’ll know whether my hypothesis has any merit.
How often do you use sheet masks?