I can remember the day when masks were a bit one-note. You put goop on your face, laughed at how weird you looked, and rinsed it off 15-20 minutes later. If it had mud or clay in it you’d make sure you didn’t have to talk or move your face so you wouldn’t crack it while it dried.
Enter modern day where it’s a bit of a mask gone wild situation. The biggest turnaround has to be the introduction of Korean beauty and the sheet mask. Is it worth replacing your good old goop for the sleek, easy sheet mask?
Despite both of them being called masks they’re really not the same thing.
Wash Off Masks
These are the mud masks, clay masks, the traditional put it on your face, give it a bit and wash it off. Ingredients in a wash off mask tend to focus on being cleansing. Ingredients like mud and clay draw out impurities and leave your skin feeling awesome. Generally, you’ll notice that your pores look smaller and clearer. Even in clay and mud free ones, all ingredients and botanicals benefit from longer contact time with your skin.
I’ve always loved that green faced, cucumber-eyed, spa robe visual but mud masks are also great for when you want to look nice while still getting things done. I’m wearing one right now.
A quick note, you shouldn’t actually let a mask dry completely. If you leave it on too long it can end up being really dehydrating.
Another great thing about a wash off mask is the DIY potential. Mashed banana, honey, yoghurt… there’s so much kitchen beautician potential that you just don’t have with the sheet mask.
Sheet masks consist of, well, a sheet that’s been soaked in essence or serum. It has cutouts for your eyes and mouth and a flap for your nose. The sheet blocks ingredients from evaporating quickly so your skin has more time to soak up the goodness.
There’s something magical about the first time you use a sheet mask. You look ridiculous, but if you do it at night you wake up in the morning looking just plain amazing. While they seem a bit more convenient because you don’t need to wash them off, they can be a bit difficult to meander around in. Nothing’s worse than tilting your head at the wrong angle and having your sheet mask fall into your lap five minutes in.
I do love a sheet mask on a long haul flight. You may get some weird looks but when you hit baggage claim looking well rested and amazing none of that matters anymore.
So, which is better?
I have aggressively normal skin so I stick with a hard both. You can get both mud masks and sheet masks for any skincare concern. The main thing is not putting something made for oily skin on your dry skin (or any other combo of skin types) no matter what the product. I like one of each once a week, though if you want to do more stick to sheet masks as clay and mud can be drying if you overuse them.
The cost is probably the biggest factor. While I found sheet masks to be super affordable in Canada- shout out to The Face Shops buy ten get five free deals– they’re super expensive in Ireland. Finding one for under €3 is a struggle.
While I’d love to use a sheet mask every night I also worry about the environmental impact. I love individually wrapped stuff but it does create a lot of waste. Mud masks tend to be available in bulk, but the DIY route is also great. Got a banana that’s seen better days? Mash it up with some honey and oats and you’ve got an amazing, affordable mask.
Whatever mask you use, one of the greatest joys of the process is taking the time to actually care for your skin. It’s a good feeling knowing that you’ve taken time for yourself.