For Japanese women face masks are an essential part of their daily (or at least weekly) skincare routine. As a result sheet masks have a huge market in Japan, so every drugstore and even konbini (Japanese convenience stores) offer a selection wide selection for shoppers to choose from. Every type of skin concern is catered for, and the innovation of cloth sheet masks make application so easy and mess free. You can also find really affordable and high quality Japanese drugstore sheet masks, so you can use them often and see your skin condition greatly improve.
So for those of you who have never tried them before, let’s run through the basics of how to use Japanese sheet masks. Lets start right at the beginning.
What are sheet masks?
A thin fabric mask that is infused with essence or serum. Some sheet masks come in individually wrapped sachets, and others are found in bulk packs. Generally, the higher priced sheet mask’s are individually wrapped, and many cheaper drugstore brands save on packaging costs and offer bulk packs of 7 to 50 masks in one large sachet.
Why use a sheet face mask?
There are two major benefits of using sheets make: they deliver fast results and they are super easy to use. I think all of us have been guilty of buying traditional face cream face masks and letting them languish in the bathroom cupboard. Let’s face it they are messy and time consuming. Sheet masks make application and removal of masks quick, easy and mess free. The results of sheet masks are immediately visible and your skin feels super smooth. So the winning combination of immediate results and ease of use make sheet mask highly addictive.
How does it work?
By wrapping the skin in a cool, thin layer of fabric you allow the essence/ serum to deeply penetrate into the skin and allows the active ingredients to get to work where your skin needs them most. The fabric layer on the skin also slows the evaporation of the essence/ serum product, allowing the skin to absorb more goodness than with traditional masks.
How do you use a sheet mask?
- Remove all of your makeup and cleanse your face with your preferred cleanser.
- If you use a skin toner or lotion apply now. A quick mist of a toner spray is ideal.
- Carefully open the face mask sachet and gently remove the sheet mask. Many sheet mask have a lot of essence/serum inside so be carefully not to spill this as you open the sachet, save it and you can apply to your neck, décolletage and even your hands later!
- Slowly unfold the mask (it’s best to do this over the basin as they can drip) and hold up so that you can see the eye, nose and mouth cut outs. Then gently place on the face, taking care to align the eye, nose and mouth position carefully.
- Once you have the mask comfortably positioned on your face, take some time to smooth out any air bubbles especially on your cheeks and forehead. You can take a minute or two to gently massage the mask on your skin.
- Next apply any leftover product in the sachet to your neck, décolletage and the back of your hands.
- Now let the mask do it’s work. Each mask is different, but generally you leave sheet masks on for between 15-30 minutes. So relax and read a book, watch some TV or my personal favourite is to soak in the bath.
- When you are ready peel of the mask and throw into the bin.
- After removing the sheet mask you will see an immediate improvement in your skin condition. It will undoubtably be more hydrated, pumping the skin and diminishing the appearance off fine lines, and clear and brighter.
- Usually there will be some excess essence/serum on the skin surface, so gently massage into the skin. If you feel there is still to much residual product on the skin and you want to apply makeup, then gently press a facial tissue on the skin to absorb. There is no need to rinse your skin after a sheet mask.
How often should you use sheet masks?
You can use face mask as often as you like. In Japan and Korea, it’s very common for women to use sheet masks daily. I was quite surprised when I first came to Japan, and I would see Japanese women apply sheet masks in the change rooms at the gym or after visiting the onsen (Japanese hot spring). Now I realise that it is extremely common, as face masks are an essential part of a Japanese skincare routine. You can apply morning or night, and they are the perfect skin pick me up after a long flight or to give skin quick boost before a party.
3 Great Japanese Face Masks
SKII Facial Treatment Mask- The original and the best
Still the ultimate in delivering bright, radiant and youthful plump skin. These are a little pricey, but definitely worth the money. Loved by makeup artists and celebrities around the world.
Available to purchase individually (¥1,836) or in packs of 6 (¥10,800). SKII Masks are individually wrapped.In Tokyo you can buy SK II from department stores, specialty beauty stores like Ainz & Tulpe and high end drugstores.
Lululun Face Mask- Variety and value
There are a variety of different types of Lululun sheet masks, and they come in easy to recognised colour coded packs. Purple (high moisture), pink (regular moisture) and white (brightening) are the standard range of Lululun masks that you can find everywhere, but there are often fun promotional variations around as well. In Kyoto they even have an exclusive green tea Lululun sheet mask!
Available in packs of 30 (¥1500) or 7 (¥400). Lululun masks are not individually wrapped. You can find Lululun in every every drugstore (like Matsumoto Kiyoshi) and beauty specialty stores in Tokyo. They are popular with both foreign tourists and Tokyoites.
Minon Amino Moist Mask- Perfect for sensitive skin
The Minon serum contains 9 amino acids that gently restore and protect the moisture levels of the skin, leaving skin plump and hydrated.
Available in packs of 4 (¥1200). These masks are individually wrapped. You can buy Minon products at most Tokyo drugstores.
Have you tried Japanese sheet masks before? What are your favourites? Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!