What are dry sheet masks and are they worth the hype?
Sheet masks for skincare have been the knock-out success story of the beauty industry over the past few years. Instagram continues to be awash with pictures of A-listers from Victoria Beckham to Chris Pratt sporting the creepy-looking but effective masks.
Anyone who has used them will attest to their hydration-boosting and glow-making abilities. However, the downside is that they are also rather sloppy, with a fair amount of product wastage as well as blobs falling onto clothing, smears on the hairline and liquid trickling down the neck.
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So what's the alternative? Let me introduce you to the mess-free masks set to be the next big thing.
Dry sheet masks are the newest addition to the sheet mask family. These are moisture-free, peptide-infused masks that fit on your skin as would a normal sheet mask.
As soon as the mask makes contact with your skin, you must massage it firmly on your face to begin the release of active ingredients. In layman's terms, the ingredients are said to melt into the skin as the mask rubs against your face, without the need for water.
Cutting down on spillages and slime is not the only reason to choose a dry mask. Wet masks are on average 85pc water and glycerine, with 5-7pc active ingredients; whereas over 50pc of dry masks is made up of active skincare ingredients. This means their effects are said to be more potent and longer-lasting.
Another bonus is how practical the dry mask is to use - they're super-convenient for use while travelling, multi-tasking at home, or just generally moving around. Where wet masks can only be used once, dry masks can be reused multiple times. Plus, they can be used over makeup to give a luminous finish to your skin, without using a tonne of highlighters.
When dry sheet masks first launched they were priced in the hundreds but, happily, as they have become more popular, prices have dropped. Below, I've listed some brilliant options that I've trialled.
Another choice for mess-free masking is the magnetic mask. I road-tested the e.l.f. Beauty Shield Magnetic Mask Kit, available at pharmacies nationwide for €29.95. It was weird and wonderful to use.
To begin, you apply the wet purifying cream mask in a thin layer, making sure to avoid the delicate eye area. Leave the mask on for 10 minutes - then the magic happens when it comes to removing it. Instead of washing the mask off, you instead use a magnet device that comes in the kit to literally suck the mask off your skin. It's like a magician's trick, with zero pulling or dragging at your skin involved.
Is it slightly gimmicky and more than a little Instagramable? Yes and yes - but it is also effective. After just a few minutes, I was left with no traces of the mask on my skin and there was zero mess involved. What's more, it left my skin baby smooth.
If you're already a fan of sheet masks - or, conversely, have been put off using them in the past by the mess - then I'd recommend giving this one a trial. It has to be used to be believed.
3 of the best dry masks
What: Add-On Beauty Dry Masks, €18, available from pharmacies nationwide and addonbeauty.ie
Why: This dry mask contains nourishing and protecting active ingredients such as mango butter and Vitamin B3. Just pop the mask over clean, dry skin, stretch across your face and hook over ears to hold in place. Then, massage the mask gently for a minute or two as this process is said to release the active ingredients. Leave on for 10 minutes and you're done. I like the Selfie Glow Mask, which is perfect before a big night out. Re-seal the mask inside the packaging and use up to four more times.
Feast for the eyes
What: Vichy Lift Activ Micro Hyalu Eye Patches, €20, from pharmacies nationwide.
Why: These dry eye masks are like TLC stickers for your eyes. They are soaked in hyaluronic acid - an hydrating skincare ingredient - but aren't wet or gooey-feeling. Instead, each patch contains a high dosage of solidified, natural hyaluronic acid that is said to permeate your skin throughout the night. Perfect for tired eyes, laughter lines and dehydrated skin. Pop on before bed and wake up looking like you've had 12 hours' sleep.
What: Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, €24, from Brown Thomas, BT2, and Arnotts.
Why: This mask can be used over your usual makeup as the ultimate illuminator. It will give a goddess glow without causing your makeup to smudge or run. I know this seems like a weird technique, but it works. The mask can also be used before makeup application. When you're done, pop it back into the resealable bag and you'll get three to four more uses out of it.