Are Korean Face Masks Good? | Guide To Korean Face Masks 101

by Jih Yun

Wondering are Korean face masks good? Here’s a guide to Korean face masks with everything you need to about it!

I know I’m not alone when I think about the purpose of Korean face masks. Are they more than a cute Instagram picture prop? A cult favorite for self-care? Keep reading to find out if the Korean face masks are good for you.

If you’re doubting the efficacy of Korean face masks, then don’. While they may not be an entire replacement to good skincare regimens, they do provide a boost and a pick-me-up to your skin on days your skin looks dull, tired and in need of rejuvenation.

If you’re not the kind of gal who’d go to a salon for a full-blown facial, rather sit at home, sip wine and slather on a mask from the comfort of the couch, you better find out how these Korean face masks work. Let’s get down to it, shall we?

Effects of Korean Face Masks

There is no real sense of being disillusioned. Korean face masks, or any face mask for that matter, have effects that remain short-lived. If you’re looking for a glow before an event, a pore tightening look, for the time being, go ahead, a Korean face mask will help you.

Korean face masks, sheet masks in specific, are designed to be left on your skin for 15-20 minutes, while the active ingredients in the mask remain close to your skin, trying to find its way in and give your skin what it needs. 

But the effects only remain on the epidermis, the top most layer of the skin. But even at that, they create a protective layer, locking the moisture levels, preventing the essence from evaporating away. The layer of the sheet or a spreadable mask creates a barrier between your skin and air to protect it.

While a sheet mask does its job of protecting the moisture from escaping so well, clay masks and others that dry out don’t do so well at that. Once they dry, they create cracks that allow the moisture to slip away from the cracks. The purpose of a clay mask would be completely different — to draw out excess oil. 

Do Not Expect This From Korean Face Masks

Since Korean face masks only work on the epidermis and do not penetrate into the dermis and the hypodermis, they can not work on any skin damage reversal. The collagen and elastin that are responsible for skin elasticity and control of fine lines from forming, all lie in these inner layers of the skin. 

A face mask, despite laying on your skin for 15 to 25 minutes, does not penetrate through the layer. If pore face, brightness and hydration is your concern, only then are Korean face masks good.

Even if you wear them all night, they are not designed to be effective that way. In fact, it will dry out at some point in the middle of your sleep and lose its efficacy.

Types of Korean Face Masks

  1. Sheet masks

These are by far the most popular kind of Korean face masks. These are made of cotton, microfibre, rayon, Tencel, or Cupra. These come as a pack of two part sheets or a single sheet with holes cut in for the eyes, nose and mouth. They are soaked in the essence and are left on your face for 25-20 minutes to work their magic.

  1. “Fancy” sheet masks

They use the same concept as sheet masks but are made of hydrogel or plant fibres like the bio-cellulose.  Hydrogel masks are lighter and the mask itself is made with the ingredients meaning more effectiveness. These are completely water-soluble and fragile. Handle it carefully.

Bio-cellulose sheet masks on the other hand, probably the most effective of sheet masks, are thinner. They really cling on to your skin. This kind of adhesive ensures that the ingredients are as close to the skin as possible.

  1. Clay mask

Clay masks work especially well for people who have large pores, oily skin and acne. They are designed to draw out the impurities from your skin and clean all the open pores. It is advisable to take steam before applying a clay mask.

  1. Bubble mask

Bubble masks are not just for fun, you know? The bubble masks integrate a scientific process that causes the perfluorocarbons  in the mask to release oxygen from the air trapped in between the maks and the skin to penetrate deeper into the skin

Oxygen is said to have cell-regeneration characteristics. It also helps in boosting the production of collagen. It usually is just used to treat annoying clogged pores and hydration.

  1. Peel-off mask

Peel off masks can be a bit harsh on your skin, in the sense that they are exfoliating and gently peeling your skin when the mask is removed. It sticks to your skin. Once again, I recommend steaming your face before using this. Peel off masks can be used to treat blackheads, clogged impurities, whiteheads and dead skin cells.

  1. Sleeping mask/Leave-on masks

These kinds are used for intense hydration. Leaving anything overnight with reactive ingredients can be harmful to our skin. If your skin is dehydrated and tired-looking, a sleeping mask that can be left on overnight will really help your skin.

Korean Face Masks Ingredients

This goes for all skincare products without exception. Check the ingredients before you buy something. Our skin is sensitive and making it come in contact that it doesn’t like is just going to worsen the skin. 

There are many Korean face masks, sheet masks and overnight cream-based masks with their active ingredients being exfoliating acids like glycolic acids. If you use this kind of face mask every day, you’ll be causing it more harm than good. 

If you have acne-prone skin, look for face masks with aloe, tea tree and other calming ingredients. With Korean skincare, you can expect to find plant-based ingredients that help your skin. 

Although make sure that you don’t use too many sheet masks if you have acne-prone skin. Sheet masks have occlusives (helps in locking moisture) that block your pores, which in turn can cause more acne. Once in a while is absolutely fine.

However, if you do have non-acne prone skin or sensitive skin, using face masks can do wonders for your skin. The ingredients penetrate quicker and boost the hydration levels of your skin. Look for those with rice water, niacinamide, and avocado.

Are Korean Face Masks Effective?

Despite the things that I just told you about. I still recommend using them. It may not do much, but it does one thing extremely well — moisturize! This may be limited to sleeping packs and sheet masks, but as long as you have that in your roster, you should be good.

Leaving on a Korean face mask does not act directly on collagen and elastin, like I said, but by creating a protective barrier, it provides them with the environment that helps them proliferate and boost the production. 

The protection also helps resist further damage. An additional layer on the skin consistently means a shield between your skin and dust, air, free radicals and UV rays just floating in the air, just waiting to attack you.

Best Korean Face Mask

It was quite the challenge, narrowing it down to simply one best face mask in the Korean beauty universe. There is simply too much variety. One for every concern. But we have to admit that hydration is what Korean face masks fulfill best and the Laniege Water Sleeping Mask does it so well!

You complete your skincare routine with this flow water-like gel slathered on your entire face. I am not exaggerating when I say that applying this sleeping mask feels like a combination of exiting a spa plus finding a glass of water after an extremely parched day. 

The mask instantly cools your skin. A small quantity will spread evenly on your face and keep your face hydrated all night long.

Are Korean Face Masks Good: FAQs

When should you use a Korean face mask?

People often make the mistake of washing their face after putting on a face mask. Do you really want to reverse everything you just did for 20 minutes by spilling water all over it? In the case of clay masks, just wipe it off with a washcloth damped in with warm water and follow it up with toner and your serums and moisturizers. 
In the case of sheet masks, however, since they are occlusives. Do your skincare routine as usual, and after your toner and serums, apply your sheet mask. Once you’re done, just dab away the extra essence and continue with moisturizer and an SPF if you’re doing it in the morning.

How frequently should I use a Korean face mask?

Using a Korean face mask depends on a variety of factors. You have to keep in mind the quality of your skin, whether it is acne-prone, too dry, or too oily.  Secondly, you check how strong the ingredients are in the face mask. 
It could be affecting your skin in a way you wouldn’t want it to. Strong ingredients shouldn’t be used too often. Finally, keep in mind the weather of the place you live in, the moisture levels and humidity of the place.
One of the best hacks is to alternate between hydrating and function masks. Sheet masks can be used every day if you don’t have acne-prone skin. But clay masks, peel-off masks and other kinds must be limited to 1-2 times a week.

Can I reuse a Korean sheet mask?

A sheet mask contains only enough essence to be effective for one time. However, the essence left in the pouch of the sheet mask can be applied anywhere else on the body.

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