Every time I take a trip to Korea, I make it a special point to hoard a bunch of sheet masks for myself and to give out to friends. One reason is their availability; they are everywhere, and while their price ranges depending the brand and quality, they are relatively affordable to the general consumer. As a result, sheet masks seem to be a beauty essential, something you can expect most women to use on a regular basis. On the other hand, sheet masks in the U.S. remain as rather luxury products and are generally on the pricier range for something that is meant for one-time use (I saw each range at Sephora for around $6-$8!) When I saw the prices for the first time these decent looking masks at the Nature Republic in Korea, I went nuts and bought around 40 face masks at once for roughly $20 (they were actually not very good haha). The friend I was with at the time justified buying them for so cheap because rather than using one good one every once in a while, the cheaper ones can be used more frequently, allowing your skin to absorb the benefits on a more consistent basis. Personally I prefer having less of more expensive, quality items to use less often if they work, but it really depends on your goals and reasons for using them.
From my experience, I actually don’t see much difference among the extensive variety of sheet masks in the kbeauty market in the U.S. and in Korea (Granted I’ve tried quite a few brands, but not everything–that would take some time!!). In their own way each is effective when it comes to delivering moisture and an at-home spa-like experience, but because I use them concurrently with my general skincare routine, it’s typically hard to find any added benefits, especially when your skin tends to suffer from oily rather than moisture-related issues. There are some, however, where I do see noticeable results exclusively sourced from the use of the mask, and one example is one of my all-time favorites: the White Wedding Sheet Mask from Banila Co!
As a random side note, I noticed Koreans like to use really random words for their products and brand names.. I have no idea where “Banila” came from, for instance. White Wedding refers probably to the whitening/brightening properties of the mask.
I have a recurrent inclination towards whitening products because on one hand, my skin type at its basic level is actually normal nowadays for the most part (thanks for years of meticulous skin care regime!), but it is not “perfect” looking due to pigmentation and dark under eyes. I inherited my mom’s freckles, which I kind of like and are generally thought of as cute or unique by other people, but personally I like to keep those on the lighter side if possible. I also have some discoloration, mostly either scars or pigmentation left from past acne. Brightening products aim to correct those over time, which is one reason why I show special interest in them.
Those are more complex, long-term issues to solve though. These sheet masks from Banila Co actually make the most noticeable impact on my skin complexion itself, with just one use, my skin already looks more radiant and carries itself over to the next day. It’s usually the day after I check myself out in the mirror that I’m thinking to myself, wow, my skin looks especially glowy today!
Each sheet mask is pretty generously saturated with its cream and serum mixture, which I leave on my face for roughly thirty minutes. I believe the instructions indicate 15-20, which is the general guideline for face masks, but I always leave them on for around 30. I actually find that 15 minutes is too short, and I’m left with too much to pat into my face. I also like to enjoy the process. This is the part of the night when I drink my herbal tea, relax, and catch up on reading or my journaling for the day. It’s hard to find time to do that sometimes, especially when you’d rather be doing some other mindless activity at the end of the night. Setting some time to do what you want to do really helps!
When I’m ready, I peel off and dispose of the mask, and (with clean hands!!) I gently pat the rest into my face, using circular motions with my fingers to allow the rest to absorb around my face and down my neck. Already my face is plenty moisturized and left with this translucent appearance. I suppose these could be used on a bride before a wedding!
I buy these in bulk when I’m in Korea, and sadly I don’t really see them available to order in the US. If you’re looking for a good brightening sheet mask, I’d highly recommend checking these out if you happen to find yourself in a Banila Co in Korea, or ask your friends in Korea to bring you back some! The masks from Banila Co tend to be a little bit more expensive than the other mainstream Korean cosmetic brands, but the difference to me really stands out.
Sheet masks are pretty great.. As long as they don’t do any harm, I’d still use a variety of sheet masks regardless of their beneficial magnitude because I also see them as ways to relax and pamper yourself, to add something special to your night time routine, in the same way that bath bombs do. Again, I don’t use it every single night — some women apparently do, and this is fine, but that takes a lot of extra discipline!!