The first time I came across a sheet mask was when a Chinese factory I was working with to develop hotel toiletries sent sample bottles wrapped in dry sheet masks – using them as a protective layer during transport. As the team and I unwrapped the goods, we unfolded the masks and stared at these scary white things, trying to guess their purpose. This was nearly 6 years ago. Today very few of us would bat an eyelid at a sheet mask, but back then it definitely wasn’t part of the Western beauty routine. Now you can take your pick of them, from drugstore staples such as Garnier’s Moisture Bomb to high end offerings like SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, which apparently was one of the first sheet masks to launch in the UK (source: The Telegraph). Recently launched to market vegan brand Natura offers a streamlined collection of sheet masks showcasing ingredients you would usually find in your kitchen cupboard. These products are even stocked in Ocado so you can add a sheet mask to your weekly shop alongside your carrots and bananas. But do these super food and plant-based ingredients make a difference when it comes to skincare?
I couldn’t resist theming my photos for this blog post around the kitchen. The imagery on the products’ packaging is so vibrantly food-focused it seemed to be the only suitable setting. A little obvious I know but also relevant in that the brand itself doesn’t have a strong image (no brand story or charismatic founder), it is entirely reliant on its products. And what it offers is a selection of masks delivering great skincare results thanks to vegetables, plants and spices. Each of these food ingredients offer specific skincare benefits, delivered in a vegan formulation. Natura’s Herb Sheet Mask features lavender, a herb frequently used in beauty. Its anti-inflammatory properties means it can soothe and calm inflamed skin. The mask is thin and easily adheres to the face, with the fabric feeling soft and gentle on skin and the formula giving off a pleasingly herby scent. The holes for the eyes and mouth are on the small side and I had to give the mask a little shake before applying as there was excess water. After 20 minutes I peeled it off my face to reveal hydrated skin and no need to massage in excess formula. This sheet mask is supposed to minimise pores and brighten complexion, but having had a good look at my pores I honestly couldn’t see much difference, but then I’ve rarely found a product that can truly minimise them. 22ml RRP £4.95
The Potato & Parsley Under Eye Mask makes me laugh every time I look at the image on the product pack, as I imagine placing slices of raw potato on my eyes as you would cucumber (is that still a thing?). Potato boasts a natural brightening agent so it stands to reason that it could brighten those dark circles under my eyes, and its antioxidants such as vitamin C can stimulate collagen production for anti-ageing results. The calming properties of parsley complete the result by reducing puffiness. The pack contains 3 sets of under eye masks, each individually wrapped so they don’t dry out. I was surprised to find that the pads were made of some type of silicone or gel rather than the biodegradable bamboo material used for the whole face masks. They fitted very well under my eyes, starting from the inner corner and rounding up to the outer corner and reaching the top of the cheeks. Once placed on they stayed put for 20 minutes, at which point I peeled them off to reveal very smooth, hydrated skin. Any light laughter lines were plumped out and I really enjoyed comparing the skin that had been treated vs the areas that hadn’t. Until I felt sorry for the rest of my face and slapped on the Turmeric Sheet Mask. RRP £5.95 for 3 pairs
The first thing my mum said when she saw this product was that turmeric leaves yellow stains. I can confirm from my very limited cooking experience that is true of turmeric powder, however Natura’s turmeric infused sheet mask did not leave me looking jaundiced. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or if it means there’s barely any turmeric in the formula, but what I was left with after a good 25 minutes of masking was, as with the herb mask, very hydrated skin – although I did have to massage in residue. Turmeric is supposed to encourage cell renewal and protect skin for a radiant result thanks to the curcumin component. I’m not sure if those results can be achieved from just one sheet application, but the hydration results alone were very pleasing. 22ml RRP £4.95
A final note on sustainability: the packaging seems a little confusing. From the outside it looks eco-friendly, just brown printed paper and therefore easily recyclable. Once I tear it open though I notice a layer of plastic and another layer of foil to protect the mask’s moisture levels. Technically you would need to peel the layers apart for them to be recyclable, or take the packaging to a special recycling centre – so not the most consumer-friendly approach. Sheet masks have been criticised for their negative impact on the environment as they are a single use item. Some brands however now offer reusable masks or in the case of Natura, Korean-made bamboo masks which are biodegradable – meaning they will naturally decompose rapidly.
Which sheet masks do you rate? Leave a comment below to let me know.