I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
My neighborhood Asian beauty stores are stocked with a stunning array of sheet masks. Ranging in price from a handful of change to $10 to $15 a piece, the choices are nothing short of overwhelming. Recently, at both oo35mm and The Face Shop, I discovered blank sheet masks--plain cotton gauze in that familiar Michael Myers shape!
Sheet masks are such a simple luxury: most of them are soaked in a glycerin- or glycerin derivative-based formula. Some brands use propylene glycol or butene glycol, and those do soften the skin, but keeping plain ol' vegetable glycerin around the house has applications in so many easy DIYs.
Active ingredients good for almost any skin concern can very easily be dispersed in a glycerin base, and you can get so creative with soaking your own sheet masks that I guarantee you'll tweak and experiment time and time again.
Each pack of face mask gauze comes with roughly 10 to 12 dry sheets cut into the shape of the face. Simply soaking this gauze in a face mask formula is all you need to adhere it to the face for the duration of your treatment.
Here, I'm going to give you a simple vitamin C formula for brightening, tightening, free radical scavenging, and, most importantly, deep moisturization.
Glycerin is a fabulous humectant, drawing moisture into the skin along with whatever is dissolved into it. But always remember the cardinal rule of humectants: they must be diluted with at least 25% of a liquid or they will draw moisture directly out of your skin. We obviously do not want this.
- clean non-metal bowl
- stirring implement
- dry pre-cut sheet masks
- vitamin C (ascorbic acid powder)
- witch hazel
- healing oil of choice (I used sea buckthorn berry oil)
First, measure wet ingredients in a bowl and stir until vitamin C powder is dissolved.
Briefly soak gauze in the solution and the let excess drip off.
Apply to face for intended period of time.
It is really that shockingly simple to create your own high-performance sheet mask at home! Once you have the basics down, you can experiment with even more new and exciting formulas until you drop!
Other things to consider adding to your formula are:
- essential oils (very sparingly)
- clay powder
- other healing oils, such as rose hip seed oil, evening primrose oil, chia oil, or flax seed oil
- fresh herbs, such as thyme or basil (perhaps run through a blender first)
- other flower waters, such as lavender, lemon balm, chamomile, or lilac
Even Simpler: Soak Blank Sheets In Facial Products
If you have a lot of product but not a lot of desire to DIY, you can also soak a sheet of gauze in your favorite facial product. Doing this with SK-II or Missha treatment essences would get you a nice span of time for which the active ingredients can penetrate deeper without being wiped off or diluted. A gel mask, favorite night cream, or even gentle toner could be used in place of your own mixture. This would stay true to the basic principle of the sheet mask, which is to keep the active ingredients moist and in contact with the skin for a good amount of time.
I personally leave all sheet masks--whether homemade or store bought--on for at least 1.5 hours. I try to watch two episodes of a 45 minute TV show or a movie while all the goo penetrates my pores. One of the main effects I notice when I use a mask is the calm, serene state I find my skin in the next morning. I haven't been let down even with the most angry PMS face when it comes to the sheet approach. Red bumps appear smaller and turn pink, my skin feels plump and looks dewy, and all of it is thanks to keeping a humectant-moist cloth on my face.
I always see a marked difference in my skin the morning after a mask night, and making them simple and nourishing at home means I can use them whenever I want, without care of the expense of a new box of MBDs.
Do you use sheet masks? What are your favorites and how do they affect your skin?
Photos by Darnell Scott