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Hilary Says: Are Korean Sheet Masks Worth The Hype?



dreamstime face mask

Everyone seems to be obsessed with Korean beauty products overnight; it has rapidly expanded to the rest of the world thanks to their amazing (most times, not all the time) and innovative products. Korean sheet masks are the latest skincare trend to sweep social media. They are simple, single-use masks made from cotton, hydro-gel or other soft materials. Sheet masks work as a facial treatment and come pre-soaked in luxurious-feeling serums that promise everything from bouncy, brighter skin to tighter pores.

Once revealed to be the secret behind the flawless Korean complexion, the popularity of these masks went through the roof. Now, they’re leading the way for a new generation of masks that hydrates skin while you sleep and turn your face into a foaming cloud to absorb excess oil. They are extremely easy and quick to use, just throw one on, and 20 minutes later your skin will be noticeably softer and deeply moisturised. Sheet masks contain a wide variety of ingredients, from the ordinary like Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Aloe Vera, Seaweed; to the luxurious like Gold, Caviar and the weird like Snail Slime and Bee Venom.

The biggest benefit of the sheet mask is that it delivers product into the skin in a concentrated way by creating an “occlusive barrier,” which means it sits top of your face and physically seals in the ingredients underneath to increase penetration. Every skin type can benefit from using a sheet mask – dull, dry skin, large pores or acne – there’s a face mask out there designed to soothe, calm, plump, nourish and boost your complexion.

Unfortunately, mask sheets are not miracle workers. Most contain fairly basic ingredients whilst others contain active ingredients that have no proof that they do anything for your skin when applied topically (e.g. Gold). Sheet masks are really about hydration and are usually packed with hydrator-boosters (humectants), such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which can attract and bind water to the skin, replenishing the moisture it lost. Most skincare products contain water. It’s the base. The Koreans are obsessed with it, as they know that water is essential to skin health. When skin is hydrated, it’s soft to the touch and plumps up, so that fine lines and wrinkles look much smaller. It looks good and it feels good. Yes, when you use them, your skin feels decadent and luxurious but unless you use them frequently, that feeling doesn’t last very long.

Until there’s some way to scientifically prove the efficacy of sheet masks over other treatments, it’s difficult to say if they are truly worth the hype. Personally, I don’t think sheet masks are a necessity but they can be a cheap and quick way to give your skin that extra dose of moisture from time to time. Some sheet masks cost as little as $2 while some containing gold cost as much as $100. For these masks to be as effective, you have to use them frequently, which will be quite expensive. If you’re splurging on them, you might be better served using that money on strong hydrating serums.

Companies boast that gold improves skin tone and elasticity, provides anti-aging benefits and improves blood circulation. Even with all these claims, there’s no solid data proving gold’s beneficial effects on the skin. If there are real improvements from using a skincare product with gold in it, it is very likely because of other ingredients in the product (especially moisturizing ingredients). On a microscale (like it is in these products), gold is inert (inactive); it is a marketing ingredient added to increase consumer appeal.

Kindly send any questions you have to: [email protected]

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

I am a Cosmetic Scientist and I’m extremely passionate about anything that involves cosmetics. I have a BSc in Cosmetic Science from London College of Fashion (University of the Arts), which is basically the chemistry behind cosmetics, which includes colour cosmetics (makeup), skin care, hair care and perfumery. I have worked as a product formulator in Procter and Gamble under Maxfactor, Cover Girl and Dolce & Gabbana Cosmetics; I have also worked as a beauty consultant with brands like Lancôme, YSL Beauty, Nars, Chanel Beauty, L’Occitane, Aesop, Eve Lom (to name a few). Instagram: @hilary.saysTwitter: @hilarysays__


  1. Bodunade

    September 10, 2016 at 3:53 pm


    Teenage mutant turtles : out of the shadows is the worst movie I have seen this year. I thought Xmen apocalypse was bad until I saw Turtles.

    Best action /thriller I have seen is Green room.
    Best horror has to be the Witch, I should see the conjuring soon.
    Central intelligence is not funny, 90 days in Atlanta is more hilarious, that’s how dry it is.

    Anyway, it’s raining so I’m going to relax and listen to iLLmatic and Sons of Soul till I fall asleep.

    Fear the walking dead is back, the two latest episodes are much better. Too bad into the badlands won’t premier till 2017.

    Yeah, best new series this year is a tight contest between Stranger things and the night manager.

    I should start my blog on Bellanaija.

    No, I’m not on drugs.

    Oh, I’m going to thrown in Jon Bellion : the human condition. Nice work.

    • Bodunade

      September 10, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      If you are into neo-soul you should check out D’Angelo and the vanguard – Black Messiah, it’s the best thing since ‘My Dark Beautiful twisted Fantasy’ ( I hope I’m correct)

      Maxwell’s BLACKsummer night is not something I’m feeling, not yet anyways.

      Before you fall in Love here’s a song to listen to to give you the right perspective.

      Stevie wonder – if it’s magic.

      Thank Me later.

    • TheRitz

      September 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      You seem interesting. Wanna be friends? If you’re male, single and above 30 please gimme your email …..

    • @ritz

      September 10, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Lol, I’m boring and I’m below 30 🙂

    • MurderSheWrote

      September 10, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      You are ill. Find another blog to torture please.

    • Bodunade

      September 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      Dr murdershewrote. T**LL

    • abi

      September 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      The night manager was pretty good.
      Have you seen The night of? Excellent TV!!

    • Bodunade

      September 10, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Thanks Abi.

      Downloading already. 🙂

  2. Halima

    September 10, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I first heard of Korean beauty products (masks) 2 years ago in New york. Coincidentally my first trial was in Lagos 3 months ago. Bought on a Nigerian website. I can say for certain it’s amazing. My face, neck and yes the skin between my boobs look and feel amazing.

    • Anonymous

      September 11, 2016 at 3:03 am

      Please which one did you buy and on what website

    • Halima

      September 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

      Black Pearl face mask. Smemarket hub / ttiso

  3. Baby gurl

    September 10, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    K-Beauty is not popular in Nigeria. It won’t work. I don’t think we have the time for a 20-step routine. Money has to be made. ? I always look forward to your posts anyways. Thanks!

  4. Ada

    September 10, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Please I am just depressed right now, my brother wrote jamb and applied for unilag got above the cut off mark and now due to someone’s incompetence his o levels were not included in his data for post UTME screening and now he hasn’t been given admission, he wrote diploma exam but the fees are so expensive. I can’t afford it the school says they are working on it but I doubt it, am just so fed up. Last year it was wrong subject combination that he got off the school’s website now this year its another thing.
    Am tired of crying my brother is just fed up because he thinks he will stay at home for another year, I don’t know who to turn to am just sad ( I know this has nothing to do with this post I just need help and am desperate)

    • abi

      September 10, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I don’t mean to sound cold but there are far worse situations to be in. He’s not dying is he?
      Perhaps that one year he stays out of school could be put to good use? God has a way of making greatness out of nothing.

    • Bodunade

      September 10, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      Ada, that’s a terrible situation to be in. Diploma fees should be at least 450k now which is a lot of money.
      I suggest you go to the admission office, look for their boss and put pressure on him, calls, unexpected visits and just be a nuisance. Trust me it will work. If your mom is in Lagos she would be perfect.

      Just my ‘local’ suggestion .

      Stay positive, don’t give up. I hope the issue is resolved.
      What faculty, if I may ask? If it’s business admin, I know some nice lecturers you can ask to help you.

  5. Ada

    September 10, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Bodunade God will bless you for that its political science, I have gone there and I plan on practically building a house on their head there till they answer me, they said they were working on it because it happened last year and now again another issue. Its easy to say ‘oh at least he’s not dying’ but looking at my brother’s face even though he tries to assure he’s ok I know he’s not and the annoying thing is that it was the same combination for diploma that he did for jamb and yet he got admission through diploma

    • ce

      September 10, 2016 at 5:48 pm

      Hello Ada, I can feel you and your brother’s pain. I hope it works out for him this session.

      As Bodunade said, your brother and anyone else who can go to Unilag should, mothers do influence people, so.if she has time, she could go as well . Go to as many offices as possible ;the Senate building too- admissions office, faculty office in social sciences, political science department office even department of students affairs (dsa). Each time go along with all his documents and passport photos, be polite yet confident with everyone you meet. As for pointers on how to proceed or whom to meet,from any nice persons at those offices.
      Good luck.

  6. Halima

    September 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Black Pearl. Smemarkethub/ttiso

  7. Smh

    September 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Lmao bN readers are a trip

  8. Ibukun

    September 12, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    Hi Ada, is it really compulsory your brother goes to unilag?? I suggest you find out about pre-degree programmes for other schls, uniibadan, uniosun,unable, etc , it is remedial for uniibadan.

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