A Tale of Two Masks
Years ago, a young woman visited the SK-II pop-up experience in SoHo, where she got to try their legendary sheet masks. It was love at first application, and she was entranced by the scent, the soothing feeling she was experiencing. And it was so easy to use!
Then she saw the price tag and her heart broke, the world felt like it was crumbling. How could she possibly recreate the amazing feeling of gasp relaxation she felt when the masks were so expensive??
Haha ok, so that was a little dramatic but you get the point. I loved those SK-II masks but really, the price point just doesn't make sense when there are so many other options available to us now in the US, particularly by way of Korea. Around the time I tried the SK-II ones, new little skincare shops started opening up in NYC Koreatown and I was finding sheet masks for $3-$4 a pop. I tried pretty much all the ones I could find, and particularly fell in love with Tony Moly masks.
Tony Moly offers a really wide range of masks with different ingredients suitable for whatever your particular needs are. My personal favorites are the I'm Real Makgeoli Skin Purifying Sheet Masks and the I'm Real Broccoli Revitalizing Sheet Mask. I also like a variety of animal-print ones, mostly because they're more fun and less scary to look at (also they're great for Snapchat :).
What I really love about these Korean sheet masks is that they're so easy and they really force you to relax. You can't really walk around or do things around the house with one of these on your face. It really makes you take a pause in your day to do something just for you. The other thing I love is that there's no rinsing afterwards!
How I Use Sheet Masks:
1. Cleanse skin, removing all traces of makeup and pat dry.
2. Gently apply toner or essence with a cotton pad all over face.
3. Carefully unfold the sheet mask and apply to your face. Make sure you smooth out any bubbles and every inch of the mask has contact with your skin. I pour any excess essence (liquid) from the package and rub it into my neck, décolleté, arms, and if there's enough, my legs (especially my knees).
4. At this point, I like to lay down on my bed with my feet propped up on the wall. I put a pillow on my tummy, prop up iPad and start watching a Korean drama.
5. I check in on how my mask is doing around the 20 minute mark. Depending on the weather outside and whether I'm in a hotel or at home, the mask can dry out faster or slower. You don't want it to dry out on your face— this can pull your skin and create creases. We're going for plumping here, not wrinkling.
6. When I feel like my skin has taken all it can from the mask, I remove it and pat in any extra essence from the mask application, then apply the steps of my skincare ritual that I'd normally do after toner.
- I always keep a couple of the aloe ones handy. You can put them in the fridge to cool them, and if you're puffy or having an allergic reaction to anything, it's really soothing and can help calm you down (unless it's a really serious medical emergency — then go to the ER!). Of course there's no substitute for real aloe plant, but it's not something I always have handy.
- I always take several masks with me when I travel anywhere, especially if a plane is involved. More on this to come!