Tried and tested: 3 sheet masks that seriously impressed me
When it comes to a quick and easy (and often rather affordable) way to give your complexion a little boost, few things can beat a sheet mask.
The Korean beauty trend has exploded in popularity, both for the instant results, but also because of how utterly convenient and quick they are to use.
There is hardly a skincare brand that hasn't brought out their own version over the past couple of years, but rest assure they are not all cut from the same cloth. Saturated in skin-beautifying ingredients, the best sheet masks are prepared with exactly the right amount of ingredients for your skin, and leaving one on your face for 10-15 minutes means all the good stuff has time to soak in.
My favourite thing about them, however, is how convenient and non-messy they are, and how they are so compact, you can carry one with you for travels far easier than a lot of other lotions and potions.
Writing about beauty, I have tested a lot of sheet masks over the past few years, some great, some less so. I am always excited to check out how beauty technology is evolving, making the newest crop of sheet masks pack a serious punch when it comes to ingredients and effectiveness.
1. Kiehl's Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask
I have a long-term love affair with Kiehl's, and so to say I was excited when I found out they were doing their first sheet mask, is a bit of an understatement.
Promising "instantly smoother-looking skin" after a mere 10 minutes, the mask itself is a cross between a bio cellulose mask and a hydrogel one, meaning the skin-beautifying ingredients are infused within the mask itself.
Taking it out of the packet, the mask is a yellow-y orange colour, and feels super-slippery, yet goes on fairly easy, as far as sheet masks go. I have previously moaned over other sheet masks as they are very wet and drippy, but this one (yay!) wasn't at all, meaning the whole process was a lot less messy.
Anyway, on it goes (in two parts, one for the top part of the face, and one for the bottom), and I love the silky feeling it has on my face, and the packaging tells me this is in most part thanks to the concentrated blend of cold-pressed Amazonian Copaiba resin and andiroba oils.
The recommended time to leave the mask on for is 10 minutes, but as my four-year-old walked in and got a fright when he saw my orange face, I peeled it off after only about seven-eight minutes. And yet still, without having gotten the full effect, my skin looked luminous and absolutely felt softer to touch. This glow, I swear, lasted all day the following day, with people actually commenting on how super-glowy my complexion looked.
Kiehl's Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask Kit, €49.00 available from Kiehl’s Wicklow Street store, Dundrum Town Centre, Arnott’s Department Store and Debenhams
2. Neutrogena Purifying Boost Hydrogel Recovery Mask
Neutrogena is another brand I have great trust in for providing great skincare product at a price-point that also make them accessible to most. I was excited to get my hands on their brand new collection of sheet masks, and recently tested their Purifying Boost Hydrogel Recovery Mask for myself.
I was instantly impressed at just how chock-a-block with skin-loving ingredients the mask was, the equivalent of an entire 30 ml bottle of serum, to be exact. Like many other hydrogel masks, this one also came in two parts, and I find myself preferring these to the full-face masks, as I find them easier to cling to all the right places of my face.
My skin is not really break-out prone, but at that certain time a month sometimes gets a little more oily in areas like my chin and T-Zone, and I also find I sometimes struggle with pores that get clogged on my nose and cheeks – often made worse this time a year when I wear sunscreen daily under the rest of my makeup.
In the end, I was left seriously impressed at just how fresh and deep-cleaned my skin felt when I removed the Purifying Boost mask after the recommended 15 minutes. The combination of seaweed extracts and clay left my skin looking really fresh, and my pores, especially on my nose, definitively looked more refined.
Neutrogena Purifying Boost Hydrogel Recovery Mask, €4.49, Boots and selected stockists nationwide
3. Lancome Advanced Genifique Hydrogel Melting Mask
The Lancôme Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Mask is, compared to many other sheet masks, a little pricier, but for a reason, I think you'll find. Like many other new generation masks, this one too is made from hydrogel and will literally fit on your face like a second skin.
The mask boosts some serious skin-loving ingredients and contains the equivalent of what is found in the 30ml bottle of the Lancôme Advanced Génifique Serum, which every beauty editor and blogger has been raving about for some time now, claiming it gives the skin an instant glow and leaves the skin looking plump, smooth and refined.
All that from a sheet mask? Sure I had to test it out.
And, not surprising, really, it totally delivered, on all accounts. I love the way hydrogel masks sit on the skin, and find they cling to the contours of my face better than some of the paper versions. The mask itself felt cooling, soothing and relaxing, and I am planning to bring it with me on holidays this year, as I am sure it must feel amazing on the skin that has been exposed to heat and sun all day.
I left it on for the recommended 10-15 minutes and found when I removed it, there was still traces of serum on my face, which I gently patted into the skin, as it would continue to work its magic, even after the mask was removed. My skin felt insanely soft and looked so radiant, even a couple of days later, which I found justifies the higher price point somewhat. I also loved how non-drippy the mask was, and how it actually made my skin feel like I had had a full facial, instead of just 15 minutes of blissful me-time in my own bathroom.
Lancome Advanced Genifique Hydrogel Melting Mask, €20, available from Boots, Debenhams and selected stockists nationwide