What do you like about sheet masks? What don't you like?

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Sheet Masks

They feel really wasteful to me since they are single-use… but they are more economical to someone like me who can be inconsistent about using a face mask in a jar, so it ensures that the product is fresh, I only buy what I need, etc. It is a nice way to have several different types of masks available for use without having to buy several jars, too.

— Christine

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They seem extremely wasteful to me too, and I don’t buy them. Unfortunately, I also forget to use the ones that people give to me as gifts.

I absolutely love how they feel while on as well as once done! Very refreshing and calming. They always leave my skin feeling deeply hydrated, nourished and moisturized, too.

What I’m not a fan of is the level of non-biodegradeable waste with the plastic/tin coated wrapper. Also, if the mask itself is made from microfiber instead of paper or rayon.

Travel! You can slip one or two into a suitcase and have a little bit of relaxation when you get where you’re going. Or in your seat on a long haul flights, lol.

I’m torn about these. I feel like they are wasteful and expensive but at the same time if it’s the middle of the day and I want to add moisture to my skin I feel like this is the perfect tool.

I’ve only used a couple as they were given as gifts. Honestly, I don’t enjoy them because A) they take time and B) I never saw any positive effects that were above what I can achieve with my normal products. I prefer my lotions, oils, and serums that are easy to apply and I can keep moving around while I get ready instead of having to sit so a mask doesn’t fall off. I’m not big into relaxing and pampering so they just don’t mesh well with my lifestyle.

While they do *seem* wasteful, I absolutely LOVE how they feel when they’re on and right after they’re off, which some other typical masks from a tube don’t do for me. Sheet masks leave my skin super refreshed, hydrated and nourished. What I don’t love is that they can be a little difficult to work with right out of the package and some of them are kind of drippy, which seems like overkill on the amount of product they have on them. But all in all, I am a huge fan of them.

LIKE: I don’t use them often, but they’re fun once in a while. They’re easy to use and make me look like Leatherface.

DISLIKE: They’re kind of spendy. They can feel slimy and cold.

I don’t like the feel of a sopping ill fitting cloth on my face. I bought a package of hydrating ones about five years ago, forced myself to use them up, and have not purchased one since.

Same here. Somebody one time called them goopy and I agree, my face is small and majority of them just feel right down icky to me and don’t fit on my face at all. I do like the Mediaheal Tea Tree masks though and I might give them another try.

Having only used a sheet mask once, I did find it to be soothing and cooling on my face, leaving it feeling hydrated. But I think you have to make sure that the mask is right for you. I have never bought one, just have received them in gift bags and I used the one from a brand that I trust (Skin Physics).
They are a tad wasteful, in that they are single use, but it is a way of delivering extra hydration and moisturisation if your skin is particularly dry at that point in time.

I used to be a big fan but now, not so much. For one they are extremely wasteful. Each single packaged one comes in a single use, usually non recyclable package and the mask also isn’t recyclable or compostable for majority of brands.

Even the bulk packs do little, really, to offset the waste.

Secondly, it really is just a short lived pamper moment. While it may boost hydration, it is a temporary solution. You could achieve better results by using good moisturiser or vaseline over your products to lock in the moisture.

It also seems like the big popularity increase purely has to do with how ‘grammable’ it is and ‘boujie’ they can make you seem.

I also dislike the waste. The other thing I dislike is when they have way too much serum in them and they are really drippy and messy to apply!

What I like is how fun they are to wear with your friend or SO and joke about how you look like creepy serial killers. I mean, I also like the skincare results, but I could get those from non-sheet masks too.

How are they more wasteful than using tissues, cotton rounds, q-tips, and the gazillion other makeup application tools like eyeshadow tape? I find I can go through 4-6 cotton squares with micellar water to remove makeup which is about the same amount of cotton used in one sheet mask.

Many companies actually package sheet masks in a multi-pack so anywhere from 10-25 are stacked on top of each other (like a baby wipes pack) to reduce packaging. Lululun is famous for this method as is Saborino. It’s the American companies trying to cash in on the sheet mask trend that are the baddies.

Hi Rachel,

I appreciate you sharing your knowledge about other alternatives to single-use sheet masks and hope that’s something we see more of by all brands and more readily accessible for US consumers. I’m sure the community would love to hear more about brands that offer more efficient options that you love and enjoy. I know I’d love to hear more as the ones I’ve seen from popular, non-US brands like Missha, Mediheal, Etude House, innisfree, and Papa Recipe, remain focused on single-use.

However, please take care to be respectful and not make assumptions about readers to attack their position. I’ve definitely seen plenty of readers and members in the larger community concerned about things like disposable makeup wipes (which come in multi-packs) as they are single-use items (like cotton rounds, cotton swabs, etc.). If you want to discuss more generally about commonly used items that are wasteful, you’re welcome to do so.

As someone who continues to look for ways to offset the waste I generate in my life, I’ll pass on this knowledge on my end: the movement toward being more sustainable/less wasteful is about reduction of harm as the goal – to do better. Someone might feel like there are certain items that they use that are essential enough that they can’t give up so they focus on reduction in other areas – that is a good thing!

Personally, I avoid using cotton rounds/pads/swabs unless necessary for full and complete removal (usually for eyeliner that’s particularly long-wearing) and use once a week or less. I use my hands to apply toner/serum/essences instead of cotton pads, which is a reduction of two to four per day for me. I use a cleanser + water or using a reusable makeup remover (like Face Halo) to remove my makeup at the end of the day; I also avoid double-cleansing as it’s more product waste (generally) and requires more water use (and water use is something I believe in being very cognizant of to conserve where possible).

I keep a few single-use makeup remover wipes in my bag because sometimes my allergies act up and I end up with a lot of eye makeup in my eyes, causing both pain, irritation, and more watering, so for on the go, that is the best (I can’t even see to make it to a bathroom when that happens!). I use a mix of makeup remover wipes and reusable makeup remover cloths for swatches for the blog because I still find the disposable wipe to be gentler and less prone to causing my skin to redden compared to the cloths. I’m not perfect, and I firmly believe that reducing harm is worth pursuing–that we do not need to be perfect in every aspect to be contributing meaningfully to what we can do individually. (However, getting corporations and manufacturers to be more sustainable and create less waste is far more impactful than what we as individuals can do.)

I loved this comment so much Christine! I loved hearing how you have been considering waste reduction in your personal life.

I’ve also stopped using cotton rounds and q-tips to remove makeup for the most part, or just use maybe one per month when I really need the precision. I still double-wash with a cleansing oil and soap, but I don’t use much water in the process and no fabric or cotton. I agree that it’s great that we’re collectively brainstorming areas to reduce waste! It need not be a criticism on any particular person, nor is it possible to be truly waste-free or plastic-free (especially for medical reasons). Because even beyond corporate, manufacturing, agricultural, transportation, and landfill emissions… the lifestyles of average people in higher-income nations are not sustainable, it’s great for us all to put our heads together on how we can reduce individual impacts.

Well-said!

Just being more aware and mindful of what we’re doing and what the consequences of those actions/behaviors are can go a long way into doing and being better, whether that’s re: our personal waste or other things. I think it is a lot easier to start with easier or smaller changes, too, and stick with them than it is to think of it as an all-or-nothing approach, which I think discourages people from doing what they can when they can.

Sorry Christine. I’m very A-type personality and no personal attack was meant or written into my reply. I know people read emotion and intent in responses where there is none. For the record all my responses on this site do not have any emotion poured into them and I don’t understand how trying to clear up a bad lie or rumor with science or a counter-point of view is considered an attack, but everyone is different and I get that. We have lost the art of debate in today’s blog and forum world and opposing view points are often frowned upon. As my female boss would say ‘too much estrogen in this office!’ because all the complaints among employees are about feelings being hurt, from the downright silly ‘Karen refused a piece of my homemade cake and she did it to hurt my feelings, I just know it!’ to you can’t make this stuff up ‘Karen didn’t personally come up to my desk and say hello to me this morning. Yes, I understand she works across the hallway and not in my office but she NEEDS to say hello to everyone in the office every morning or else its rude’. It’s challenging. (I work in an office of almost all women and one lone guy). Unpopular opinions are hidden away I find most times.

Back to the topic – I was trying to state that it’s a complete stereotype that sheet masks are more wasteful or very wasteful in general more than any other product out there. I don’t understand how this belief was started, but it’s taken on a life of it’s own and people parrot this back constantly without researching it or trying to understand how this view came to be. Almost all our makeup containers are made from plastic and non-recyclable – lipstick cases, blush cases, makeup remover bottles, mascara wands and tubes, etc…. To consider one item more pollutant and wasteful than others is not correct and I just wanted to clear up the perpetual myth and go around/bad rap that sheet masks seem to generate. My main point was that many sheet mask companies are very aware that Americans think like this and have took the initiative to produce and create sheet masks from fibers that degrade much faster and from bio-materials like coconut, cellulose, hydrogel, etc…. or put them in multipacks much like a wipes container so you don’t open a brand new package for each sheet mask.

The baddies in the sheet mask game are the American companies trying to jump on this trend. All those sheet masks you see at Target, CVS, etc… are the single one use masks. People want the holo-sheet masks, or the glitter masks, or the du jour trend of the day sheet masks ‘for fun’ instead of using it like a staple in one’s skincare routine. Those are the ‘wasteful’ masks. The few do not equal the whole.

In other words, we should not judge ALL sheet masks the same and group them in one category just because a few companies are baddies. There are plenty of companies and manufactures out there, most of them not well known in America, who are working hard to make their products more eco-friendly and they get ignored and overlooked by a bad assumptions and rumors.

Please be very careful about bringing perceived gender into a discussion and proceeding to invalidate people’s reactions to your responses because of gender stereotypes. All of the replies to your comment have been calm, civil, and substantial. I don’t think my response nor Ana Maria’s response is about hurt feelings at all, and I have no idea why the substance of either comment is reduced down to perceived gender.

The replies to specific readers did not seemed aimed to encourage, further, or otherwise ensure discussion and debate. As you had a different perspective and information, I allowed two of your comments to go through as I actually find that Temptalia readers and my community to be one of the best I’ve seen on the internet for having real, meaningful discussion about any number of subjects, so I felt it was great to have an additional viewpoint available.

A long-standing guideline to discussion has always been to speak for yourself or speak generally but not to target individual people.

I can’t comment about others, but I personally don’t use tissues and q-tips for make-up application (and for hygiene I have other re-usable alternatives). I prefer to remove make-up with oil or cream cleanser, so I only use wash-cloths, no need for cotton rounds. Even toners or essences I apply directly from my hands.

I’m probably wasteful and unsustainable on other aspects in my life, I’m certainly not perfect.
But I just think sheet masks are wasteful for/to me (not in general) considering I don’t like the sensation of sheet masks and I rarely actually use masks; also, it’s easier in the area I live to recycle jars/tubes of masks through curbside recycling or Terracycle (most sheet mask foil packaging is 7, which cannot be further processed). I’m sure some brands make efforts to make biodegradable sheet masks in recyclable packaging, I’ve seen many brands coming up with biodegradable make-up wipes.

They’re cold and gloppy. I used to heat them up in a bowl of warm water beforehand but now I just don’t bother, I prefer a cream or mud mask and I’ll finish it up with a serum or essence which is pretty much what a sheet mask does. My favorite mask at the moment is NIOD Flavanone Mud. Skin feels like velvet and is all glowy afterwards! I’ve relegated my sheet mask use for travel only, as the single use format is practical for that purpose.

I have been using sheet masks for well over 5 years. I’m huge fan of certain types and brands, I love the jelly style mask such as ULTRU Sorry for My Skin collection (Calming and S.O.S. are nice) and the Modeling Mask – the 23 Years Old Aqua Bob Modeling Mask is phenomenal. I look for ingredients in a mask that will calm my super sensitive skin and Avene has a great soothing skin mask too. Most with Madecassoside are wonderful for red and sensitive skin. Many masks are now made from coconut fibers, Bio-cellulose, cotton fibers, hydrogel, etc…

I know a lot of people here will call the materials ‘wasteful’ but have no issues using loads of cotton swabs, tissues, cotton rounds, to apply and take off makeup, which is just as wasteful if not more because those items will not degrade fast in a plastic trash bag, so I don’t buy that argument. Let me phrase it this way – many Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, etc… sheet masks are made and manufactured now using better sheet mask materials that degrade faster. It’s the more expensive Western ‘lux’ brands such as GlamGlow or Estee Lauder or anything advertised with foil (unicorn mask) that are the baddies and give all the other sheet mask companies a bad rep.

Just to clarify, most landfills in my country, the United States, compress waste to the point where it is anaerobic (i.e. there is no oxygen). In an anaerobic environment, things do not have the opportunity to biodegrade. Landfills are also typically lined, so that waste does not contaminate the surrounding environs. Thus things that are in plastic trash bags in landfills are essentially mummified, preserved, and do not degrade.

I agree with Rachel (not Runyon, lol.) If I have time, I use them a fair amount. My skin needs centella/madecassoside related ingredients due to significant inflammation. I have big issues with anything occlusive, and basically cannot use anything thicker than an essence. I need layers of water-based and targeted ingredients. I like K, J, and some T masks. They have variety, so you can get what you want/need. US always falls short. The problem is fit, and I should not expect it, as I don’t have an Asian face. I virtually never buy singles, more expensive per unit and wasteful. I have cocktailed my own, but the fit is no better with the dry/rolled/expanding type.

I probably have at least 20-30 in a box right now that I have either gotten from Ipsy or free from a freebie site. I do like trying the different types. The only problem is they are always sooo COLD! I use them maybe once a week. Some have more liquid than others. The last one I tried was from my most recent Ipsy Glam Bag Plus and it wasn’t as sloppy, which was good. No liquid running down my neck.

I find them to be cold too, so I run them under warm tap water before taking them out of the package. Makes them much more comfortable to put on!

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