The Breakdown on Korean Skincare Masks
Korea is known for its intense skincare regimens and high-quality skincare products, so much so that the beloved sheet mask has become a global trend in recent years. While Western countries and companies have finally jumped on that bandwagon, they are missing out on some other amazing and innovative skincare masks.
It’s summer in most countries, so you may think that the heat is enough hydration for your skin and be lazier with your skincare routine; however, taking care of your skin is just as important in summer as it is in winter. In the summer we have those wretched UV rays to worry about, which can cause some real damage to the skin. Heat also equals sweating, which creates some pretty grossly clogged pores. But, even if you don’t want to spend the time on a seven or even 10 step skincare routine, using a mask can be the simple one-step to glowing skin.
Sheet Masks for Summer
While not too exciting or new, sheet masks are still your best bet for a quick and effective treatment. TonyMoly has some of my favorite, and affordable, sheet masks. They have a new charcoal mask which is great for removing impurities, a honey mask for nourishment, and so many more adorable fruit-themed sheet masks. If you want some more impactful ingredients, MISSHA has a super aqua snail hydro gel mask, which is amazing for repairing, hydrating, and brightening up the skin. It’s jam-packed with great ingredients like snail extract, green tea extract, and castor seed oil (there are even gold extracts!). And guess what? These sheet masks that I mentioned are all under $10! If you want to splurge a bit more on your skin (by splurge I mean $14-$19 instead of $6), MediHeal has a great line of sheet masks with super powerful ingredients, like the great hyaluronic acid, which brings hydration to the skin.
The Fun Stuff
You’re lying if you say that you have not been obsessed with watching YouTube videos about trying unconventional Asian face masks before. I sure have, and YouTuber heyitsfeiii is one of my favorite go-to girls for the lowdown on the weird beauty stuff. While some may be strange to Western eyes, these masks can be some of the best products out there.
While not THAT weird anymore, the Skinfood Black Sugar mask is a Korean skincare staple. DIY masks have become popular lately, and this tub of glory is the epitome of food masks done right. It’s hard to not sneak a taste of this mask since the first ingredient is sugar, a natural and soft exfoliant. The mask also carries macadamia seed oil and shea butter to name a few ingredients. This is a great exfoliating mask that will remove dead skin cells and help clear clogged pores.
Clay masks are also an especially entertaining way to cleanse. We’ve seen the cool carbonated bubble clay mask from Elizavecca that Fei uses in one of her popular videos, but now thanks to Produce 101 Season 2's Wanna One, Innisfree’s new Jeju Volcanic Color Clay Mask is an absolute hit worldwide.
We also know about those pitch-black carbon masks that we saw EVERYWHERE last year (and admittedly, yes I also got one). These are good for pulling out blackheads and excess sebum, but DO NOT overuse this kind of mask. While it’s fun to see all your sebum being pulled from your pores, your skin does need that sebum to keep itself healthy. There are even magnetic masks and mud masks now. Who knows what they’ll come up with next?
Sleeping masks are basically designed for the busy bees, or the lazy people like myself. You don’t have time to care for your skin? Well, just cleanse and smooth on a sleeping mask. Go to sleep and voila! Smooth, supple skin that would scream “thank you” if it could. My—and most of Korea’s—favorite sleeping mask is from Laneige. This stuff just works. There’s nothing else to it. Skin sucks this stuff up like it’s never seen moisture before.
While most people only get dry, crusty, gross lips in the winter, I and a few others have the honor of having this problem in the summer as well (yay for us!). A YouTuber who shares my pain is Edward Avila, who has saved me by talking about Aritaum’s ginger sugar overnight lip mask. I just smooth this all over my lips before bed and, like magic, I wake up with normal, smooth lips. A true lifesaver indeed. Laneige also carries a lip mask, but I have not tried that one out.
I could probably write an essay on all of the great, and not-so-great, skincare masks out there in the beauty world (specifically the Korean beauty world), but these are some that stand out for various reasons. While these masks may work differently on your skin, since no one’s is the same, I can guarantee that Korean or other Asian skincare products will benefit your skin. Being someone with incredibly damaged skin (thanks to severe acne and damaging skincare products), I have never seen more improvement than I have in the past two years (a.k.a. once I fell into the K-Pop and Korean culture black hole). Keep experimenting and learn to love your skin! Eventually, your skin will learn to love you back.