A bit over a week ago, I came up with an experiment. I wanted to see whether daily use of sheet masks containing specific ingredients could produce real, lasting improvements to skin–essentially, I wanted to disprove the idea that sheet masks are for temporary results only. I’m very happy to say that I proved myself right. When you practice ingredient awareness in your choice of sheet masks and use them consistently, sheet masks can indeed be a useful part of your regular skin care routine.
Let’s take a look at the results!
The interesting thing is that the results you see in the final picture appeared quite suddenly, a couple of days after the end of the experiment. I’ll note that I did not change anything else about my skin care routine during this time, nor did I add any other whitening/brightening products to the mix. On the morning of the third, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and did a double take, because it seemed really obvious that a bunch of the freckles on my cheeks had just given up, packed their bags, and bailed during the night.
Here’s the same b&a, with the areas of most significant change circled.
Of course, there may be other factors that contributed to this. I’ve been making slow and steady progress through the use of many niacinamide-containing daily skin care products, as well as AHA and vitamin C treatments and liberal daily use of PA++++ sunscreen. What makes me think that the sudden change was due to my 7-day intensive sheet masking regime is the fact that it was quite sudden and noticeable and did appear shortly after my weeklong assault. You can draw your own conclusions, and I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
You probably want to know more about the specific masks I used. Behold, mini-reviews for the first two masks I used during my experiment! If there are any that you’d like me to review to the standard level of detail, please let me know in the comments.
Day 1: Leaders Insolution Coconut Gel Brightening Recovery Mask
Woohoo, Leaders! The brand’s masks have been gaining some popularity in the AB community lately. These gel masks are made of fermented coconut gel and claim to alleviate dullness and uneven skin tone. Actives of note include niacinamide and acer saccharum (sugar maple) extract, the latter of which is a natural AHA. These masks also contain a veritable cocktail of brightening and antioxidant plant extracts. Full ingredients and CosDNA analysis are available here.
Performance: This was the first of this type of gel mask that I’ve tried, and I found it super, super weird at first. So delicate that it’s protected by two backings instead of one (you peel off one backing, stick the mask on your face, then carefully remove the other backing once it’s on), it has a filmy quality, like Cling Wrap soaked in Elmer’s Glue. Or like a membrane that you’d be stored in if you got abducted by aliens, I guess.
The weird texture grew on my very quickly, however. It really, really adheres to the face. Talking isn’t difficult, and I can even make ghoulish facial expressions without a problem, which is very important to me.
The cut of this mask wasn’t great, as the eye holes were far too big and didn’t cover all the freckle areas I was trying to treat, but I don’t knock off points for mask cuts, since everyone’s face shape is different.
Ultimately, this mask gave me excellent initial results. Not only did my skin feel hydrated and supple, but based on a comparison between my uncovered eye area and hairline and the parts of my face that the mask did cover, the brightening effect was quite apparent. Winner!
Day 2: May Island Donkey Milk Mela-Tox 3 Step Mask Pack
Okay, I’m going to preface this one by saying that I really took one for the team using this mask. A 3-step treatment that includes a foaming cleanser and a treatment ampoule as well as the sheet mask itself, this mask only provides an ingredients list for the mask essence itself and not the cleanser or ampoule. I categorically do not recommend using any product for which I cannot provide the full ingredients lists, so I’m not even going to be advising you on where you can buy this product. But I’ll talk about my experience with it anyway.
Cleanser: This foaming cleanser has a nightmarishly high pH. It’s somewhere between 8 and 9, and on my strips, it looks closer to 9.
This cleanser was awful. My skin was squeaking before I’d even finished rinsing off the cleanser. In addition, my C21.5 vitamin C serum burned pretty hard afterwards, which it usually doesn’t. On the plus(?) side, it does smell exactly like my memory of the random dish soap we used at my grandma’s house in rural Taiwan when I was a kid, but then again, I don’t really want to wash my face with dish soap, so.
Ampoule: It’s a clear, fairly stiff gel that pats in quickly and doesn’t smell like much. A generous amount is included; I patted on one layer, let it dry, then applied a second layer before putting on the mask.
Sheet mask: Now we come to the meat of the review. The active ingredients in this mask include niacinamide and licorice root extract; the essence is also 1% donkey milk. Full ingredients and CosDNA analysis here.
This is by far the drippiest mask I’ve ever used, far drippier even than the My Beauty Diary masks. For the first 15 minutes I wore this mask, I felt liquid running down my neck and was wiping the excess off and massaging it out of desperation onto the tops of my feet. The brightening effect is quite good, but this mask didn’t feel particularly hydrating or moisturizing. I’m going to give this a pass for the reasons I mentioned above.
Stay tuned for part 2, with more sheet mask mini-reviews, coming soon!