17 Dec 2015

Sheet Mask Review Episode 0: How do I get Bright and Dewy Skin Despite Severe Sleep Depreviation?

Hi beautiful! I am going to have something special for you today, which is to share my latest discovery about how to retain that glow on your face when you don't have enough sleep for the past few days. This is not experimental, merely a coincidental finding due to several coincidences.

So, what are the coincidences? Firstly, I wasn't having enough sleep for the past month (November), spending time blogging, researching, shopping and reading. I have a full time job, so to catch up on reviews, late evening is the only time I have. Secondly, I didn't apply enough skincare last month as well. Most of my skincare especially first essence, toner, emulsion and hydrating essence were near the bottom. I didn't open any new ones -- didn't feel like trying anything new yet. And thirdly, I introduced sheet-masks into my routine after being lured by my colleagues and some of my Insta-fellows. I am a lazy girl when it comes to using masks. Except for sleeping masks, I find other masks time-consuming and too much of a hassle to use. Prior to this, I only have sheet-masks 1-2 times per MONTH.

The outcomes of "less sleep, less skincare, more masks" are interesting. Despite more sensitive skin, more blackheads and whiteheads, more breakouts (only 1-2 but I rarely have any breakouts), more sebum production in my scalp (my skin produces oil whenever I have hormonal imbalance or don't have enough sleep), I have polished, healthy-looking and brighter skin than normal. My skin glows. I mean, what else do you think has caused this? I get less sleep and my body is showing its complaints in every possible ways it can find except for letting it out on my face. Even more contrary, my skin condition "looks" even better than before. I can't find any other reasons except for the sheet-masks that I have been doing quite regularly this month. And it wasn't intentional either. I just want to add some contents into my Instagram and I happen to buy a variety of masks during the October Sales.

So, you'd probably have guessed it now -- the tip is:

use your sheet-masks 2-3 times per week!

I promise you that this is no coincidence. I try using less sheet-masks after I found out about this (i.e. sheet-masks produces brighter and healthier-looking skin). After 1 week or so of not using any sheet-masks and continuing sleeping less and using less skincare, my skin becomes dull, rough-texture, sensitive and dry. It no longer has that glowing effect.

That means, yes, sheet-masks matter.


The question is, what when how and when do we use sheet-masks?

I have come across people who don't even know about sheet-masks. There is also those who know, but think that sheet-masks are just some commercial vows. Even for those who know about sheet-masks, like myself, don't find it appealing due to the wait-time and such. What's worst is the mixed information you get online from different experts, beauty consultants, bloggers and celebrities on how and when to use a sheet-mask.

So, after extensive research (I really did that) on both Western and Taiwanese (the country that produces possibly the most sheet-masks in world) sources, I come out with some conclusions on a few questions you might have on sheet-masks.

Q: What is a sheet mask?
A: Sheet mask is a facial mask made with mostly soft cotton or fiber materials soaked in potent essence to be applied on your entire face. You are supposed to apply it after toning and leave it for 10-20 minutes. You don't need to rinse the remaining essence on your face, just gently pat it for full absorption.

Q: Why do we need a sheet mask?
A: Sheet mask is often time referred to as a treatment session in addition to your skincare routine. Think of it as a vitamin or supplement to your skin. You can survive without it, but will flourish with it.

Q: Can we apply sheet mask everyday?
A: Theoretically no. Think of them as supplement or feast. Do you feed yourself with feast everyday? Sheet mask is sort of like forcing your skin to absorb essence that it normally wouldn't absorb under normal condition. It's not good to force your skin on these every day. Even we sometimes need to take a break from meat to detoxify our intestines.

Q: How long should we leave the sheet mask on?
A: I get mixed information on this. 99.99% of Mandarin-speaking articles (some from skincare experts) say not more than 15 minutes. Your skin only has so much to absorb. Plus, leaving your sheet mask for too long will "suffocate" your skin. Humectant in your sheet mask will also draw moisture from your skin when the sheet mask starts to lose moisture itself. However, most Western sheet-maskers leave their masks on for at least 30 minutes, some even 90 minutes. They claim that this maximizes the absorption - so as not to "waste" any essence in it. Most Taiwanese girls do this with the remaining essence - they apply it on their drier areas of the body. My insight is to trust the instruction at the back of your sheet mask. It will always tell you how long you should leave the sheet masks on.

Q: Do we have to wash off the remaining essence on our face?
A: No. These masks are meant to replace your serum, essence or ampoule. It's essential that you follow it up with a cream as to "seal" the essence on your skin.

Q: What are the steps to apply a sheet mask?
A: Cleanser --> toner or first essence --> sheet mask --> emollient (cream or emulsion)

Q: Do we have to use the same type of sheet mask?
A: No. Try mix and match different types of sheet masks. You can get brightening, moisturizing, soothing, anti-aging, anti-oxidizing, revitalizing, and oil-controlling benefits from different masks depending on your skin condition on that particular day.

Q: Can a sheet mask replace our daily routine?
A: No. Sheet mask is a supplement. Can you survive on only supplements? Maybe yes for the first few days, and then you will find that your skin lacks all the other nutrients that it needs.

(updated: February 2017) Since this blog post is getting a little bit too long, I will break down them into two posts, one is the beauty tips part; another is the actually facial mask review!

Check out my facial mask review episode 1 here and future mask episodes here!
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.


  1. Hi,
    What a great review! Thank you! I have a question. What would you suggest to avoid in the ingredients list of sheet masks during pregnancy?

    1. Hi Yulia,

      Thank you for your kind words. I would try to avoid any chemicals that might penetrate your skin into your blood streams to avoid affecting the baby. Among which BHA (exfoliant), chemical sunscreens (a lot of sunscreens carry chemical uv filters so you should consult your doctors), parabens (especially propyl, butyl, isopropyl, isobutyl, and methyl), retinol (vitamin A, treat wrinkles and aging). If you are still worried, try to use natural ingredients such as green tea (soak it in cotton pads, apply it as mini-facials), manuka honey, olive oil (to remove makeup), rice water (use it as a splash mask) etc.

      I have also come across many reviews about Guerisson 9 Complex Horse Oil as an effective weapon against stretchmarks on your belly. You could try that as well.

      The bottom line is, I am not a doctor so I would still advise that you consult your doctor before using any personal products.

      PS: A Korean brand called Primera claims that it is made of all-natural ingredients even suitable for young children and pregnant women. You could try that as well. It smells a bit like oilment though.


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