You're Doing It Wrong: Facial Sheet Masks—Plus, a Skin-Care Trend With the Most Unfortunate Name Ever

How to correctly use face masks

By Diana Nguyen Nov 03, 2015 9:00 PMTags
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Based off Instagram selfies alone, it seems like even Hollywood is embracing Asian beauty trends. From Kylie Jenner to Chrissy Teigen and Lady Gaga, celebs really love their facial sheet masks!

Coming in a one-size-fits-all facial shape, sheet masks are typically made out of cotton or natural fibers. They are saturated with amino acids, vitamins and oftentimes serums and essences touting skin-rejuvenating ingredients. (This writer is a fervent fan.)

Now with such popularity among the celeb set, social media movements like #TeamDoubleFisting (we kid you not) and the influx of lower quality masks, there's a chance you might even being doing this super-simple step wrong. Here's what you need to know.

One Mask Does Not Fit All: We stated earlier that the size of each mask is universal. However, the ingredients are not. Sheet masks are generally great for hydrating your skin, giving you that extra boost of moisture (masks with hyaluronic acid are especially effective for this). However, those with oily or acne-prone skin may break out even further after using what essentially is a liquid—and oftentimes sticky—formula. Always read the ingredients list.


Use Is Based Off of Individual Needs: There's movement on social media platforms like Reddit and Instagram called #TeamDoubleFisting, which touts the benefits of using sheet masks twice a day. Despite its very unfortunate name, many Asian beauty bloggers swear by this method, according to Bustle. While using two masks may be great for variety and addressing different issues, the skin has a limit. "Using two sheet masks per day sounds excessive," said celeb dermatologist Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton. "After a certain point there is diminishing return. Your skin will only absorb so much and no more." For those with dry skin, the New York-based expert recommended every-other-day use.

It's Not a Replacement: Sheet masks are made to deliver a supercharged dose of something you're lacking. It doesn't perform the same way, say, a clay mask would—it doesn't cleanse or exfoliate. And while many include serums in the formula, you wouldn't want to replace your fast-absorbing serum with sheet masks, especially since one mask can range from $2 to $200 each.

You Don't Have to Wash it Off: Generally, the recommended time to wear a mask is 15 to 20 minutes. You could probably leave it on longer, but again, the skin can only absorb so much. That said, you don't have to wash off the residue either. It may feel a little sticky afterward, but the leftover formula, especially those with built-in serums, is meant to be absorbed into the skin. Of course, if you have somewhere to go or don't want to get your pillow sticky before bed, feel free to rinse.