Health
March 22, 2017 10:31 am
Getty Images/solar22

I’ll be honest: before I started working at Health.com, my skincare routine was nonexistent, and removing eye makeup and washing my face before bed was as far as I took my lazy-girl regime. So when I learned about sheet masks, the beauty treatment popularized in Korea that lets you multitask while you get your skincare on, I was sold.

Since I don’t have any serious skin issues (I’m lucky to have pretty clear, even-toned skin that only gets dry in the coldest days of winter), I decided to try sheet masks that run the gamut of treatment options. Over the past three months, I tested masks that promise detoxified pores, hydration, and a skin-glowing boost.

In the end, I tried 12 different sheet masks and put their powers to the test. I followed the specific directions on the back of each mask and took note of my first impression when applying the mask. Then I noted my skin’s appearance upon removal and later my skin’s appearance a full day after the treatment. In the end, only a few of the sheets delivered on their promises, but those that did have become repeat purchases.

Related article: 4 face sheet masks for gorgeous skin

1Erno Laszlo New York Soothe & Calm Sensitive Hydrogel Mask

This luxury mask offered instant hydration — when I applied it, I could feel my skin soaking up moisture like a sponge. The package contains two sheets: one for your mouth and chin area, and another for around your eyes and forehead, so you don’t have to worry about stretching or ripping the mask. It instantly cooled my skin and when I removed it, my skin felt smoother.

Time required: 15-20 minutes

To buy: $60; neimanmarcus.

2Yes To Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask

This drugstore pick is real-life magic on a budget. The mask uses a black charcoal sheet to unclog your pores and leave you with a clearer complexion. The technology sounded a bit far-fetched to me, but it’s surprisingly effective. After placing the charcoal mask on my face, I felt a light tingling sensation (nothing painful). After removing the mask and letting the formula sink in overnight, the pores around my nose and eye areas were less pronounced. This mask does have a distinct smell of baby wipes so if that bothers you, steer clear.

Time required: 10 minutes

To buy: $3; target.com

3Masqueology Special Care Cream Mask

This is the first mask I tried that was soaked in a white, creamy-looking liquid, rather than a clear liquid. After applying the mask, my face felt instantly hydrated. When I peeled the super-saturated mask off my face, it left behind some liquid that I gently massaged into my skin (as per the instructions). I tested this mask the night before a plane ride; my skin usually dries out on flights, but when I landed, my face looked glowy and felt smooth with no dry patches to be seen. Maybe it was the Florida sun or maybe it was the mask, but I wore little to no makeup the entire trip because I thought my skin looked that good. At only $3, this bargain mask is well worth a try.

Time required: 20 minutes

To buy: $2; walmart.com

Related article: Kate Hudson tests the new Kiehl’s face mask on Snapchat

4Spa@Home by masque BAR Oxygen Bubble Sheet Mask

This mask wins the most fun to wear award thanks to the bubbling effect it has once you apply it to your face. Once the black mask started foaming I felt a slight burning sensation. Apparently both of those are signs the treatment works, because immediately after removing the mask I noticed my pores looked smaller. In the longer term, this treatment helped shrink a pimple on my chin and reduced its redness, too.

Time required: 15 minutes

To buy: $10 for 2; at Walgreens

5Masqueology Moisturizing Cream Mask

I was able to snag two of these sheets, and because my skin isn’t super-dry, I made my dry-skinned boyfriend test this formula out too. We both found the mask to provide a nice cooling sensation. Following the treatment, my skin felt a more hydrated than usual and my boyfriend’s typically flaky skin was visibly softer-looking.

Time required: 20 minutes

To buy: $2; walmart.com

6Dermovia Lace Your Face Healing Yogurt Mask

This is probably the most stylish sheet mask I’ll ever wear—it’s made of lace. It’s functional too, thanks to two loops that you attach around your ears so the mask stays put for the entire treatment. I was worried that the dainty lace pattern would make the mask rip, but I was pleasantly surprised by how thick and durable it felt. There was also a separate piece made for your neck and chin that you also attach to your ears, which is a feature most other sheet masks tend to neglect. I noticed this mask combatted my dry, winter skin and made my makeup easier to apply.

Time required: 15 minutes

To buy: $15; nordstrom.com

Related article: I’ve tried dozens of face masks and this is the best one

7Sephora Avocado Sheet Mask

I’ve always found Sephora-brand products reliable and budget-friendly, and this sheet mask is no different. The mask’s material felt pretty thin, but the spa-like scent won me over. Like many of the other masks I tired, I rubbed the excess liquid into my skin post-treatment and was left with more hydrated skin.

Time required: 15 minutes

To buy: $6; sephora.com

8Patchology SmartMud Detox Mask

This mask has two pieces—one for the top half of your face and one for the bottom chin and neck area. Like the name suggests, this mask had a mud-like look and consistency. To use it, I peeled off film from the back of the mask, applied it to my face, and then peeled another layer off of the front of the mask. This was probably the messiest mask of them all, but considering it’s made of mud, I’m not surprised. What impressed me the most was the coverage of this mask—all of the others failed to completely cover my nose, but Patchology’s sheet did the job. After letting it sit, I rinsed the remaining mud off with warm water and was left with noticeably less red skin. This mask felt the most natural out of all of the treatment I tried and would suggest it to anyone who enjoys Dead Sea mud products. It has that earthy, must-be-good-for-you smell, too.

Time required: 10 minutes

To buy: $30; dermstore.com

This article originally appeared in Health.

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