I’ve been product-obsessed for as long as I can remember, but with certain things I’m not particularly loyal. Sheet masks are one of those things. If we’re being real here, I see very little difference between a $100 SK-II mask and any $20 bulk pack from my favorite beauty supply store in Flushing. To me, most sheet masks are created equal. I’ve tried countless versions and consider most to be interchangeable whenever I want a quick boost of brightening moisture – that’s to say, they all seem to do the job well enough and I don’t have any complaints. But I don’t have any tried and true favorites either.
On a recent trip to the East Village Korean beauty emporium Ichimi Cosme, a friend and I both picked up a few Mediheal Collagen+ Smart Fill sheet masks. I tossed some in my suitcase for a trip to LA and then promptly forgot about them. It was a busy trip with not a lot of time for masking until said friend texted me, “That mask we bought makes you go from ugly to pretty.”
WAIT. Was this the most powerful product review I’d ever heard? Was it possible that these masks were actually different? I decided to use mine that night, to prep for a Madonna concert of all things. The Mediheal masks are a two step process – first, you tear open the small square at the top of the pack and apply the serum ampoule in a thick layer. It feels soft and cool and is packed with rosewater, marine collagen, elastin, coenzymeQ10 and green tea extract. Before it has a chance to set in, pull the traditional seeming sheet mask from the pack and apply it on top of your serum-y face. I like to leave mine on for as long as possible.
The collagen and elastin act as water binding agents, pulling moisture into the skin and immediately plumping it up. Elastin is what makes up skins mesh-like physical structure, so keeping that full and strong is the goal. Think about a pair of stockings when they’re on your legs vs. off – elastin keeps your skin from looking like that sad pair of pantyhose rolled up in the back of your drawer. CoenzymeQ10 (also known as ubiquinone) is a vitamin that acts as a skin protector and repairer, helping to reduce UV damage and the dulling effects of other oxidizing pollutants that can make your skin blah.
I loved the two-step action because the mask really seals in the effects of the serum, acting like a shield and keeping all that hydrating goodness from evaporating. The notion that ‘applying products on damp skin will heighten their power’ really comes into play here because the serum preps your skin and then the overlaying mask traps it in there. The thick viscosity was a huge plus too, there’s nothing worse than a watery mask that drips all over and then disappears into thin air.
After removing, I gently rinsed my face then patted on a bit of the extra essence that I saved before tossing the package and applied a light layer of my regular moisturizer. While staring at myself in the mirror, I texted my friend back, “Is this a joke?” My face looked brighter, firmer, plumper and what little makeup I did need now went on like a dream. It was the first time I actually felt different after using a sheet mask. The best part is that my skin felt “full”, not sticky, which is a super common masking gripe I have. I want to feel moisturized from within and not like there’s a layer of leftover product on my face. The Mediheal mask essence soaked right in and left my skin feeling totally smooth, perfectly balanced and unnaturally clear and even. It didn’t feel sticky or gooey or that feeling you get when you just know a product is going to make you break out.
Now I hoard these for special occasions and would recommend using them before a fancy event, after a long flight, before an important work presentation or when you know you might run into an ex.
Or just use them all the time and look perfect 24/7.