Sheet masks are going to sweep the UK in the coming months, those of us who have been ignoring the skin care innovation (or trend, depending on how you see it) will be fans before the years is over; a bold statement given that it is only very early January but trust me they are utterly addictive.
Within the UK, sheet masks seem to be fairly skimpy on the ground and some of our home grown brands really aren't up to scratch. Forget trawling through endless pages of eBay and the likes, head to Topshop (in-store or online) and treat yo'self to a few When Sheet Masks.
If you are new to the world of sheet masks (I'm a newbie too) then let me quickly break down exactly what a sheet mask is, and how you should best use them. Given the name, I'm guessing you will not be surprised to learn that a sheet mask is just that - a fabric, cut out sheet that features nose, eyes and mouth openings that you place on the face. In my opinion most face masks of this category have a similar structure to a face wipe rather than a cotton wash cloth texture; don't let that admission put you off, on the skin they feel nothing short of wonderful: cooling, calming, relaxing and refreshing. Each sheet mask is doused in serum to moisturise and generally care for your skin - think of sheet masks as an opportunity to deeply hydrate your skin without overwhelming at any given time.
As sheet masks come presented in travel friendly sachet-style packaging, you can apply on the go - perfect for long haul flights to prevent skin dehydration. The other added bonus of sheet masks is that they require no after care: simply apply, enjoy, remove and massage the remaining product into your skin - mess and fuss free. It most likely goes without saying, that to really reap the benefits of any sheet mask, it is best to apply to dry yet freshly cleansed skin and if possible leave on the face for 15-20 minutes...not that you will be in any rush to remove it.
One Korean brand that is both fairly affordable and accessible within the UK is When, a company that specialises in creating sheet masks for very specific skin care needs. Be it dull, dehydrated skin or the perfect accompaniment for a long journey - When has a solution for all.
At the moment When offer five sheet masks which you can purchase as a individual sachet, or as a value pack via Topshop. Over the last week or so I have tried all five varieties, before I share my thoughts on each mask here are a few brand specific notes: the size of the mask is fairly average - not too large nor small, they are fairly wet and loaded with serum yet don't have a tendency to drip, and lastly they are not at all sticky after removal. One last thing - the When Sheet Masks aren't your typical sheet mask, they are constructed from coconut jelly and as such feel like a giant sticker on the face, not at all uncomfortable but different none the less.
When 10:00 PM Face Mask (£7) - The perfect pre-bed treat, a deeply moisturising yet light weight mask that cools, calms and nourishes. Team up with a sleep mask for the softest skin ever. If you are prone to a tipple or two, as well as a hangover - stash aside a few of When 10:00 PM Face Mask and rejoice come Sunday morning.
When Glamour Base Face Mask (£7) - Enriched with organic vitamins and nutrients, this face mask has been created to brighten and prefect the skin. Unlike most sheet masks this has been created to be used before make-up to provide the perfect base, ideal for any special occasion. Truthfully this is not my favourite When mask but if you do have a hot date or night on the tiles planned and want to look well rested and refreshed, this is the mask for you.
When The Last Choice Face Mask (£7) - Every now and then my skin becomes so parched that it is tight and comfortable, this mask has been created to comfort and hydrate when all else fails. It is gentle yet effective and the perfect quick resolve to stressed out skin - immediately after use skin is plump and softened. I can't help but feel this would be heavenly after a few weeks in the sunshine...then again I'm forever thinking about leaving Scotland.
When Travelmate Face Mask (£7) - Initially I assumed that this mask was for stashing in a carry-on bag to cater to the complexion during a long haul flight, nope this is aimed at those who spend a lot of time out doors. A comforting mask that has been formulated to nourish skin that has been exposed to the elements and/or dry air. I found this to be the least effective of the bunch, other than cooling my skin it really didn't do all that much.
When Snow Magic Face Mask (£7) - Don't let this gentle face mask fool you, admittedly it may not be the most hydrating of the range but my gosh does it brighten the skin. It is just what is needed to help eradicate the signs of one too many, late nights during the festive season and general over-indulgence. Perhaps my favourite mask from the set.
If you are looking to begin experimenting with sheet masks that are both affordable and easy enough to source on the UK, then you could do a lot worse than beginning with When Masks. I personally recommend purchasing the When Special Package Face Masks Kit, that way you get to try all five variants and get a feel of what benefits your skin most.
When Special Package Face Masks Kit £25/5pk via Topshop - link.