27 In Beauty/ Lifestyle

10 Tips On Choosing A Korean Sheet Mask


K-Beauty is all the rage these days, but if I were to pick one thing that set it apart from the crowd it would have to be sheet masks. For the past few years the catch phrase ‘1 day 1 pack’ has been an ongoing trend in Korea. Basically it means that you do a face mask everyday. Now if you’ve ever been to Korea before you’ll know that there are literally hundreds of sheet masks to choose from! So in case you’ve been eyeing Korean sheet masks online or plan to take a trip to Korea, here are some tips on how to pick Korean sheet masks.


#. Start With The Basics: If you’re completely new or completely at loss for choosing a sheet mask, I would start with the basics: tea tree and green tea. I always like to have 3~5 tea tree masks and green tea masks on hand. Tea tree is great for spot treatment so whenever I feel a little nervous after eating pizza or see acne on the horizon I pull out a tea tree mask. If my face feels swollen in the morning I’ll opt for a quick green tea mask. It’s much easier to use a green tea sheet mask than to fuss with tea bags. I like both Innisfree sheet masks and Nature Republic sheet masks. If you like plain sheet masks with absolutely no fuss, go with Innisfree. If you like a little more substance and gritty texture to your masks, go with Nature Republic. Of course, most if not all the other road shops will have some sort of tea tree or green tea mask!




#. Aloe, Rice, and Honey are great if your skin is feeling dry. I remember seeing a Korean Beauty show where they tested how much moisture the skin retained after using aloe masks regularly and the result was a 65% increase. Innisfree claims that the aloe and manuka honey sheet masks raise moisture by 119% and the rice mask by 125% immediately after use. Whether the numbers are true is anybody’s guess, but I like how fresh and dewy my skin feels after using sheet masks so it makes me happy. If I have more time or during the hot summer, I prefer to use hydrogel masks more than sheet masks. They are shaped like the sheet masks only in a thick gel that doesn’t dry out as quickly as the sheet masks. It also has a lovely cooling effect that’s always a plus in the summer! This one is by Etude House and it stood out to me because it uses glacial water and aloe, but other road shops have hydrogel masks as well.





#. Explore Unique Options: Once you’ve stocked up on the basics, you can try whatever takes your fancy. Whether you’d like to try fruit, herbal tea, aroma therapy, eggs, wine or 24k gold there are so many different types of masks to choose from. To keep things in perspective though, I find that I mostly reach for the tea tree, green tea, and aloe masks more than I ever reach for anything else. The reason being is that I like something I can quickly slap on without having to worry about it. If you’ve ever had your skin break out or get irritated by a new product you’ll know what I mean. Most of these fun masks I’ve had in my mask basket (yes I have a basket full of sheet masks) for weeks as I’m slow on getting around to them, because you always want to be careful when you’re introducing a new product to your skin.


#. Eye & Lip Patches: The Innisfree eye & lip mask weren’t very special as they were made from the same material as sheet masks. I would much rather just use a sheet mask that covers my entire face than just under my eyes. The hydrogel lip patches were amusing and I actually went and got one from each brand to see which one is better. The answer is they are all pretty much the same although the scent may very. The Face Shop and Etude House have cherry,  Tonymoly has a strawberry scent, Skinfood has a pomegranate scent, and the Nature Republic one didn’t have a fruit scent. To be honest, I didn’t find the lip patches to have a lasting effect. They are also a pain to use because you pretty much have to stay lying down to keep it from falling off your face. I much rather prefer the lip conditioner by MAC. I would say if you really want to try one, I would just grab one for fun.


#. Extras: Etude House has four different hair packs that come in little packets like this. The left side is the hair pack you use in the shower, and the right side is a serum that you can use over a few days. I found that the avocado was a bit too rich for my hair so I much prefer the argan seed. While the packaging doesn’t make it practical for daily use, it’s perfect for travel! I will definitely be throwing one of these into my luggage the next time I’m traveling somewhere!

#. Before you jump on board with Korean sheet masks, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
1. Some people have experienced skin trouble by applying masks daily. So it may be better to do 3~5 per week depending on your skin condition.
2. Most Koreans know which masks and brands work for their skin. Even within the same brand some masks may work, others may not.
3. If you’re eating pizza, burgers, fried chicken, ramen, and generally unhealthy you can’t really blame the sheet mask for skin trouble.
4. Some masks such as the hydrogel masks or the egg mask have a support sheet to either retain moisture or consistency, so be sure to check the instructions beforehand.
5. As a rule of thumb, I like to wash my face with warm/cold water to remove any excess after using a mask. The idea is to moisturize your skin, not suffocate it!

Your turn ♥ What is your favorite type of face mask? Have you tried sheet masks before?

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  • GIRL, LET ME KNOW WHERE YOU GET YOUR MASKS. I know Sephora sells them (for a ridiculous price) and a few online shops from Korea, but shipping gets expensive! This was super helpful, I didn’t know different ingredient masks had different uses, I just kinda assumed it was for “flavor”/scent since there are so many of them. Thanks for taking the time to write up this post!

    becky | star violet

    • Kim

      LOL! I’m afraid I live in Korea Becky. Part of the reason I hadn’t reviewed K-Beauty products over the past few years was because I knew it was difficult for people outside of Korea to buy them. Now that they’ve started hitting Sephora and Amazon I thought I’d write an insider’s perspective. I would be very wary of blog posts that only review products that are currently on Sephora or claim a certain product is what all the Korean celebrities are using. A lot of it is straight up marketing! In fact, some of the products aren’t even well known in the real Korean beauty community. The only reviews of some of those products are sponsored even in the Korean blogosphere.
      But yes, right now Sephora is selling a Tonymoly sheet mask for $3.75 per mask in a 2-pack. Tonymoly sheet masks are only $1 in Korea and most road shops frequently have 1+1 sales for sheet masks so that’s like 50 cents a pop. It looks like your best bet would to buy them in a bundle on Amazon. If you search “mask sheet” it brings up Innisfree, The Face Shop, Tonymoly, Etude House, Missha, and Nature Republic sheet masks in 10-15 pack bundles for close to $1 a sheet.

      • Aw, haha – oh well! There are a few Korean skincare brand stores downtown where I live, so I might check those out sometime. It just always goes over my head cause I want to be home asap :P Now that you mention it, it makes sense that it’s a lot of marketing involved, because the Skinfood and The Face Shop stores have been in my area for like, almost forever and I never bothered checking them out ’cause I never heard about them before on blogs or in Sephora. Thanks so much for the detailed response, I really appreciate it!

        • Kim

          It probably wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that any woman under the age of 60 in Korea has heard of The Face Shop. The Face Shop has been around ever since I can remember and was one of the first Korean road shop beauty brands.But some of the brands I see in blogs or Sephora are brands I’ve never even heard of. It’s also somewhat sad that products from other Asian countries are all clumped under K-beauty. It would be like clumping together London and Paris and saying they’re all the same. I don’t imagine that either the Britons nor the Parisians would take kindly to that :P

          • This is so well said Kim!!! Kinda how I felt when reading all those K-beauty product or brand intro on sponsored blogsphere, I always went on and google those brands, and wonder are they really that famous? Most of them seems to me like named brands as in like fashion designer brand, but really not that known in Asia…though I am not Korean, a Taiwanese based in Taipei, but i must said these J or K beauty trend are all over Asia, and we really have never heard of those marketing in Sephora nor Amazon :P

          • Kim

            Yeah, I didn’t mind that they were introducing the products, it’s just the way they were presented that didn’t make sense. There are so many different options to choose from when it comes to K-beauty products so I think the emphasis should be on finding what’s best for the individual!

    • hey becky! check out my beauty diary – they’re a taiwanese brand that i really like and they’re much more affordable. i buy them in bulk in chinatown in NYC but they’re also online at target and walmart weirdly enough. and ofc amazon!

      • I don’t venture outside of Queens too often haha, but I’ll keep Chinatown in mind whenever I’m around there. Thanks so much for the recommendations!

  • i love sheet masks!! i really want to try the korean hanbang ones but my daily go to’s are the taiwanese my beauty diary ones. they’re affordable and the hydration is incredible. some of the korean ones (at least here in nyc) can get pricey but i would love to try more of them. ooh also on my list are the foot peeling masks! they sound awesomely creepy in a good way hehe.


    • Kim

      Ahh I’ve not tried any Taiwanese ones before. It’s always sad when something is priced 2~4 times higher in a different country. Most American or European brands that come over to Korea go through a crazy mark up that drives me insane!

  • Oh my gooooooooooosh I wish I read this earlier. I went back to Asia and getting masks was on my mind. BUT THERE WERE SO MANY. Like what the heck. And they all sounded really nice, so I didn’t know what to pick, hahaa. I ended up just grabbing random ones that sounded nice x) Well…let’s cross my fingers and pray for my face, haha.

    Sartorial Diner

    • Kim

      Ahhhh! I’m sorry I didn’t write about this sooner! I will try to post all of my K-Beauty tips before you come back to Asia again lol. I think every roadshop brand in Korea basically has a section entirely dedicated to sheet masks :P Fingers crossed that your skin agrees with the sheet masks you picked!

      • I actually just came back overseas, so I’m going to check out the Etude House hair masks! :)

  • AH! I have been wanting to try one, but am so overwhelmed with the amount of information out there, so thanks for sharing and making it simple!

    xx katie // a touch of teal

    • Kim

      It really can be overwhelming because there are literally hundreds of different sheet masks out there. Eek! I would go with masks that have ingredients that have worked for you in the past and then maybe one of the unique ones for fun ;)

  • Kia / house of KTS

    I’ve heard of these mask before but I had no idea how to use them or which brand is best. Thanks for sharing this, I can’t wait to find these. Happy Holidays.

    Kia / KTS

    • Kim

      Happy Holidays Kia! There are so many to choose from and a lot more brands then what I’ve shown here. I recommend starting with masks that have familiar ingredients first. I forgot to show one here, but there are also cucumber masks too :D

  • These are such great tips! I would love to try a Korean sheet mask…sounds wonderful!


    • Kim

      They are handy for travel too! Very light weight and flat so it hardly takes up any space ;)

  • ooo I’ve never heard of these before but now I REALLY want to try them :D The lip ones look pretty interesting.

    Rachel xx

    • Kim

      Aren’t the lips adorable? Sheet masks are so addictive because they’re easy to use and don’t take a lot of time. No prepping and very little fuss :)

  • oh wow this is really great Kim! I’ve been wanting to try Korean masks for ages, but I wasn’t sure what go for!, thanks for the all the tips! I can’t wait to try the innisfree products, i heard they are really amazing! :) btw, the lip patches are so cute!

    • Kim

      I really like Innisfree products because they’ve never made my skin break out. I also like that even though Innisfree and Nature Republic are both under the Amore Pacific group, the Innisfree sheet masks are clean and super easy to unfold and slap on your face with no fuss. The Nature Republic masks are a bit more gritty and takes a bit more time to unfold and get on your face. Oooh and if you like nail polish, the Innisfree nail polish has a flat brush that makes self-manicures super easy!

  • I LOVE SHEET MASK since I was in middle school! I think I tried all crazy weird beauty stuff since back then, haha
    I think this post is generally well written for those who have no clues about sheet mask or where to get started. And yes, sometimes sheet mask won’t work well cos our unhealthy health/skin condition, and it isn’t really good for our skin to use mask daily, every 3-5 days is really better off :) You really wrote well!
    One time I had my sis bought all series of innisfree mask to try it out and feel the difference, cos different mask has different function, bio cellulose sheet from innisfree is my fav up to date: http://bit.ly/1Yznsl8
    I actually have one of the lip mask from Tonymoly given by colleague, but I am so anxious about putting mask on my lip, afraid my lip will go Donald Duck :|
    A note here- Nature Republic is not a brand under Amore Pacific group ^^

    My sis will be heading to Seoul soon I’ll make a list to buy new sheet masks, hehe

    • Kim

      Hehe that’s around when I started using sheet masks too! I think it was the easiest thing to get into in terms of beauty products. I’ve tried a lot of masks from Innisfree but not the bio cellulose ones. Not because I have anything against them, but because those ones don’t tend to go on sale :P Ahh you’re right, it was Etude House that was also under Amore Pacific. I always mix those up because the packaging of Nature Republic tends to be very similar to Innisfree. Their nail polish is practically the same!

  • Aww, thanks for all the tips! I now want to try all of the ones you shared. I ordered a few from Etude House that I will try STAT. I was never tempted by the egg/etc ones, though…
    Ivory Avenue

    • Kim

      TBH I got the egg one just for the sake of trying it once. It sounds ilke it’s going to be a messy mask, but we’ll see how it goes ;)