When I was in Myeongdeong, South Korea, all the stores were packed with face masks for sale. And they don’t seem to be lacking in an overflow of buyers. Their popularity means more and more people are curious about how to properly use them.
To use a Korean face mask in the form of a sheet mask, cleanse your face then follow up with toner. After prepping, apply the mask to your face. Leave it for about 15-25 minutes. Then, take it off and pat the essence on your skin. Proceed with the rest of your skincare routine as you normally would.
There aren’t set rules on how to use face masks. This guide could still change according to specific instructions from the manufacturer and according to personal preference.
In this article, we dive deep into everything about Korean face masks and sheet masks, how to use one, and answer some commonly asked questions on using one.
Let’s Not Get Confused… Face Masks and Sheet Masks
Before we proceed, let’s address a common confusion regarding Korean face masks.
What are face masks?
Face masks are like mini facials you can give yourself, right in the comfort of your home without having to pay too much. They offer an array of skin benefits from brightening, moisturizing, anti-aging, pore care, and so much more.
When you first hear the word ‘face mask’, understandably, the mind first goes to sheet masks. This is only partially correct though.
Sheet masks are a popular type of Korean face mask
Sheet masks are technically face masks because they are one of the many types of face masks.
Sheet masks are very popular and common not only in South Korea.
For this article, I will be focusing on Korean sheet masks. But don’t worry as I will also briefly touch on the other types of Korean face masks.
What are Other Types of Korean Face Masks?
Clay masks are great for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Using it will help absorb excess oil and bacteria. It also cleans out the clog-causing impurities lodged inside pores. This provides a deep and thorough cleanse.
Peel-off masks are more for exfoliating than moisturizing. A layer of it is applied to the skin and then peeled off once it has set.
Considered a physical exfoliator, this penetrates deep into the pores and removes dead skin cells and impurities as it is peeled off.
Bubble masks are as effective as they are fun. It uses foaming agents that form bubbles on the skin. These bubbles clean, exfoliate, remove impurities, and unclog pores. Some can also be linked to controlling the skin’s excess sebum.
Overnight masks are meant to be applied at night and left on the skin overnight while you sleep. This provides deep moisture and hydration so you wake up with glowing, smoother, and fresher skin the next morning.
Sheet Mask 101: All About Korean Sheet Masks
Sheet masks are very popular not only in South Korea but in the rest of the world as well. Even if you’re not into Korean beauty and skincare, you might have heard of it or even tried one yourself.
Sheet masks are basically thin sheets of cotton or fiber soaked in essence or serum.
The essence or serum soaking the sheet mask offers various skin benefits. From brightening, hydrating, moisturizing, acne control, anti-aging, and even pore care, there is for sure a sheet mask that can address your concern.
Sheet mask serum can be made from various nutritious and skin-healthy ingredients from aloe vera, ceramides, and even snail mucin.
What materials are sheet masks made of?
The sheet mask itself can be made from different materials. They can be made from cotton, microfiber material, cellulose fibers, charcoal sheets, hydrogel, and even foil.
As brands capitalize on the popularity of face sheet masks, they’re also coming up with more innovative sheet masks by experimenting with various materials.
What can the Korean face mask do?
Korean face masks or sheet masks are at the peak of their popularity and rightfully so.
Packed with nutritious and nothing-but-good ingredients, sheet masks provide deep hydration and moisture. Other skin concerns like aging skin, acne-prone and irritated skin, and dry skin can all benefit from specifically-formulated sheet masks.
What sheet masks do is form a barrier to lock in the serum and all the nutrients into your skin, forcing the skin to eat up all that nutrition from the essence. Basically, sheet masks help your skin absorb products better instead of just letting all that evaporate into the air.
What can’t the Korean face mask do?
It’s important to note that unlike the other types of Korean face masks (clay, peel-off, and bubble), sheet masks do not exfoliate or remove dirt and pore impurities.
It also doesn’t get hard on the skin to draw out excess oil. Instead, it pushes moisture back into the skin, which everyone needs, regardless of skin type.
How to Use Korean Sheet Mask
So you know what it is and what it does, but do you know how to properly use and apply one to maximize its benefits?
Step 1: Cleanse
You want to start with a clean slate. Wash and cleanse your face as you normally would.
Step 2: Toner
After cleansing, apply your favorite toner with either cotton pads or with the palm of your hands.
Step 3: Sheet mask
Before the rest of your skincare routine, the sheet mask goes on first.
Open the pack sheet mask. Unfold it and apply it to your face. Some face sheet masks come in one piece while some come in two pieces – one for the upper part of the face and the other for the lower part.
Regardless of how the sheet mask is made, make sure to align it properly to your face. Ensure the holes for the eyes, mouth, and nose are placed properly.
Though how long to leave it on depends on your specific mask, it usually lasts from 15 to 25 minutes. Don’t go over 30 minutes though.
When the time is up, remove the sheet mask but don’t wash the serum off. Simply pat everything into your face.
Step 4: Serum, essence, treatment, moisturizer
After waiting for the serum to dry some more, proceed with the rest of your skincare routine as you normally would. Seal everything with a layer of your favorite moisturizer.
Step 5: SPF (AM routine)
If applying in the morning, don’t forget a generous layer of SPF to protect your skin from sun damage.
Where Does It Fit In My Skincare Routine
Where you use a sheet mask in your routine would vary. The most common way is to use it right after toning and prepping your skin, before the rest of the skincare routine.
On the other hand, what some would do after applying toner is to apply their usual serum, essence, or treatment before using a sheet mask. After the sheet mask, moisturizer is used as well to seal everything in.
Where you use it in your routine would depend on your preferences and specific manufacturer instructions.
Am or PM Skincare routine?
The good thing about sheet masks is they’re versatile so you can use one in the morning, at night, or whenever, depending on the time you have and your preference.
How Often Can I Sheet Mask?
How often you use a sheet mask would depend on your skin. The best recommendation is to use one at least three times a week.
There’s a trend in South Korea where they use a sheet mask at least once a day.
Hydrating face masks can be used as often as daily but ones with active ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, or anything exfoliating should be used sparingly.
Remember, listen to your skin and use face sheet masks according to what your skin tells you.
What About the Excess Essence, Do I Throw It?
When you take the sheet pack out of its pack, you’ll notice excess serum or essence left in the pack. Don’t throw it out!
Use the excess essence anywhere on your skin – your neck, chest, elbows, knees, arms, wherever your skin needs extra nourishment. And just like with the sheet mask on your face, there’s no need to wash it out.
Korean face sheets and other face masks are at their peak popularity. They’re not only popular in South Korea but anywhere in the world as well. If you’re new to the idea, it might get confusing how to use them the right way.
To use a Korean face mask i.e. a sheet mask, you need to start with a clean face. Sheet masks are usually applied after toner, before the rest of the skincare routine. Don’t forget to seal everything in with moisturizer – and sunscreen if you’re applying it in the morning.
And that has been my detailed guide on how to use a Korean face mask. Hit me up from below if you have any questions!