Are expensive sheet masks really worth it? How do we know when to splurge and when to save? When it comes to sheet masks, you will not usually notice any long-term benefits from a single application. I’m not referring to the people who can afford to purchase them all the time. This is for those like me who see expensive ones as a luxury that we rarely or never splurge on. I get that the ingredients in the expensive masks typically cost more, so the brands have to charge more to make a profit. Is the benefit from a single expensive mask worth the opportunity cost of investing those beauty dollars elsewhere? Serums can produce long-term effects, so I would typically recommend investing in them and sticking to cheaper masks (unless you can comfortably afford both). Though I only purchase expensive sheet masks when I can get a deal, I wonder if I should stop. In this sheet mask review, I want to go over some of the things I noticed.
Sheet masks typically boast a lot of promises. Some even deliver on them. The only things I expect from a sheet mask are a boost in hydration and a pampering experience. Most sheet masks deliver on my two basic expectations. If a mask delivers on a promise, I am more likely to repurchase it to use when I want that effect again. It is even more likely to get repurchased if it is also affordable. After all, I want the best results for the lowest cost possible. Brightening masks seem to have the most success delivering for me where firming masks seem to have the least amount of success. Whenever an event pops up, I want a mask that delivers on whatever look I am going for.
Yes, the effect of the mask will only last until my next face wash, but that is all I need for an event. For those thinking you can get the same effect from other products without the expense of the sheet mask, you’re right. You will miss the pampering aspect a sheet mask delivers on though. This is also why occasional pampering is beneficial. Long before the event pops up, you will know what works for you. Save the ones that only add moisture and help you relax for days where you have nothing special going on or need a boost of moisture. I love to put a sheet mask on after a shower and soak in the tub. It is also super relaxing to lay on my bed watching Netflix or Youtube while I relax with a mask on. You could even use it to lay down and do nothing. I’ve fallen asleep with a sheet mask on once, because I was so comfortable.
One of the masks I’ve wanted to try for a while is the Lancome Advanced Génifique Hydrogel Melting Sheet Mask. At $15, I cannot bring myself to buy it. Those lucky enough to have a June birthday can get it as the Ulta birthday gift. Come back and let me know if I should give in to temptation and purchase it. I really love the serum, so I’d love to see how the mask compares. What holds me back is I can just apply the serum, which I always have on hand without paying an extra $15 for the hydrogel mask. It tempted me when I saw it was a Hot Buy in the 21 Days of Beauty, but it still would have cost $10 each for three. Spending even $10 on a mask is rare for me, especially when I have to buy multiples of a mask I’ve never tried to get that price.
Before I get into the differences, I want to point out that all four masks met my basic needs. They were all pretty wet, and they left my skin feeling more moisturized than it was before. Nothing is worse than buying a sheet mask hoping for moisture but not getting it. From my experience, masks that start off really wet will usually lock the moisture into the skin better. Since all four of these did that, I think any of them could make you happy if that is your primary concern. Each mask also helped me feel relaxed and pampered. This is typically brought on by how cooling the wet mask is on the face and how you have to sit back and do very little while masking to keep it on your face. Thankfully, these masks did a great job staying put. It is hard to relax when masks shift around too much completely limiting your mobility. Masks that are dry and masks that move around too much fail my two basic expectations.
Paying 4x The Price for A Sheet Mask From The Same Brand
I get that products even within the same line have different price tags. When I saw Miss Spa had masks that sold for $0.99 and others that sold for $3.99, I had to get both. How could one cost 400% more? They have the same manufacturer, economies of scale, and mass market. Would I see a big enough difference between them to justify the price? Funny enough, the price of the cheaper mask has shot up to $2.99 since I purchased it. Guess I should have churned this article out faster. Nevertheless, it was 400% cheaper when I purchased it, so I still wanted to see if the more expensive one was worth the extra price.
I wanted to compare the masks to see what makes them different. The packaging is pretty similar. Other than the gold color on the more expensive one and the label mentioning a premium ingredient: coconut, one would not stand out over the other one.
The main difference in price on sheet masks will usually come down to the ingredients. There are enough differences in the ingredients to easily notice these are nowhere near the same. You get Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Saccharide Isomerate, Sclerotium Gum, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Betaine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Carbomer, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Chlorphenesin, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Sodium Hyaluronate, and Hydroxyethylcellulose on the cheaper mask. On the more expensive mask, you get Water (Aqua), Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Saccharide Isomerate, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, and Disodium Edta.
I do not like how high up on the ingredients list the alcohol is on the more expensive mask. Seeing that the cheaper mask does not have it at all only adds to my disappointment. Knowing that most of the money on the more expensive mask is going into the coconut, which is not in the cheaper mask softens the blow. After all, $3.99 is an affordable mask compared to most. It just needs a second look when the same brand has a $0.99 mask. This is probably why it raised the price to $2.99 though.
Sheet Mask Review One – Very Affordable Drugstore Mask
The miss spa hydrate facial sheet mask is now $2.99 instead of the $0.99 I paid. While I am unsure of the reason for the price increase, I can say I still think this mask is worth $2.99. It is possible that the brand realized how silly the price gap between the products was or that it became more expensive to produce this. If this still cost $0.99, I would have purchased this over the other one every time. I prefer the other one, but I do not think its slight differences justified a 400% separation in price. Now that the difference is only 33.3%, I think it is worth it to splurge on the premium one.
This very wet mask locked onto my face and stayed in place without sliding around at all. I got the cooling and relaxing feeling I love when I apply a sheet mask. It did not want to lay nicely on my nose, but the shape of your nose would affect your fit.
My skin felt intensely moisturized for a while after I removed this. That is all I can really ask for. You can see the glow it gave me and that was before I locked that serum in with moisturizer. If you have dry skin like I do, I always recommend locking the serum from the mask in with a moisturizer once you’re finished. The only promise on this mask was hydration, not that I would expect much more from such a cheap mask. It delivered on its promise.
If you want to try this mask, you can save money by purchasing it for $2 from the direct brand. While I prefer to pay $2.99 at Target to add it on with other things, I would order direct if I could get enough products to meet the $30 free shipping minimum. There is also a 30-pack of these through the direct brand for $13! That breaks down to $0.433 a mask. If you buy that, let me know how it goes. I’ve never seen sheet masks sold in packs like that and wonder if they would stay moist until you’ve used them all.
Sheet Mask Review Two – Affordable Drugstore Mask
The miss spa coconut facial sheet mask retails for $3.99. Of the four masks I tested in this article, this one is the most wet. It is a very milky moisture, so people who dislike that should avoid this one.
This extremely wet mask locked onto my face and stayed in place without sliding around at all. I got the cooling and relaxing feeling I love when I apply a sheet mask. It did not want to lay nicely on my nose, but the shape of your nose would affect your fit.
My skin felt intensely moisturized for a while after I removed this. That is all I can really ask for. You can see the glow it gave me and that was before I locked that serum in with moisturizer. If you have dry skin like I do, I always recommend locking the serum from the mask in with a moisturizer once you’re finished. Those looking for an affordable mask that feels somewhat luxurious will probably find that this fits the bill. This one promised hydration with dewy, soft skin. I think it delivers on all promises.
Sheet Mask Review Three – Somewhat Expensive Department Store Mask
The Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Mask retails for $60 in a 5-pack making this worth $12. It is a real shame when masks this expensive are not sold separately. Who wants to spend this much on a sheet mask until they know it is worth it. At the same time, the manufacturer might realize it takes multiple uses to see long-term effects and figures people can judge it better as intended.
The ingredients in this $12 mask are: Water / Aqua / Eau, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Betaine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey / Mel / Miel, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Seed Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Zizyphus Jujuba Fruit Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Natto Gum, Peg/ Ppg-17/6 Copolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Bispeg-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Carbomer, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Dextrin, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tromethamine, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, and Fragrance / Parfum.
It is clear from the ingredients list that a lot more went into this more expensive, department store mask than what we saw from the drugstore masks. There are also more impressive ingredients known to boost moisture.
This very wet mask locked onto my face and stayed in place without sliding around at all. I got the cooling and relaxing feeling I love when I apply a sheet mask. It contoured to my face shape better than the two from the drugstore, so it did pack more moisture into parts of my nose the other masks barely grazed. That is thanks to the unique micro net radiance design on this sheet mask.
My skin felt intensely moisturized for a while after I removed this. That is all I can really ask for. You can see the glow it gave me and that was before I locked that serum in with moisturizer. If you have dry skin like I do, I always recommend locking the serum from the mask in with a moisturizer once you’re finished. This one promised to balance skin’s visible vitality, resilience, clarity, regeneration and nourishment, improving skin’s radiance and boosting the efficacies the entire skincare regimen that follows.
The more a mask costs the more promises it seems to make. Funny enough, the one promise this did not make was hydration. It may figure that is a given from a wet sheet mask, but why sell yourself short on the given when you make bold claims? While I cannot say this balanced my skin’s visible vitality, helped with resilience, improved clarity, regenerated or nourished anything, I can say it did improve the radiance (temporarily). Since I only add moisturizer on top, I cannot say it helps boost the efficacies of the skincare regimen that followed. I cannot even picture who would add extra skincare other than moisturizer after a sheet mask. For those who do, they probably cannot attribute how much benefit comes from the sheet mask versus the routine that follows.
My skin was back to normal after the very next wash. That means you would probably have to use these every day or at least a few times a week to notice any real long-term effects. For temporary effects, it is about the same as the drugstore masks.
Sheet Mask Review One – Very Expensive Mask
The Real Chemistry Environmental Rescue Mask retails for $25. This is not even a luxury brand, so it really made me wonder how could justify the price tag. I had to wait forever for Ulta to offer a sale on this, so I could see what all the fuss was about.
The ingredients in this mask are: Deionized Water 77%, Butylene Glycol 12%, Glycerin 3.5%, Propylene Glycol 3%, Hyaluronic Acid 2.75%, Keratin Amino Acids .85%, Hydroxyethyl Urea .17%, Glutathione .1%, Water-soluble Azone .1%, Hydroxyethylcellulose .1%, Metallothionein(MT) .1%, Hirudin (HV) .1%, Diazolidinyl Urea .08%, Hydrogenated Castor Oil .05%, Menthol .05%, and Fragrance .05%. While it disappoints me to see castor oil and fragrance, I am happy to see only 0.05% of each.
It has less ingredients than the Sulwhasoo, which is less than half the price. I think it is interesting that it chose to list the percentage of each ingredient. This is risky for two reasons. Number one, users know that this mask is 77% water. I think they’d be more likely to shell out $25 if they thought water had a smaller percentage. We all know ingredients get listed from greatest amount to smallest, but we are already getting into negligible percentages by the time we reach the good stuff. The second reason is other companies can copy the list and replicate the product now that they know how much of each item to use.
This very wet mask locked onto my face and stayed in place without sliding around at all. I got the cooling and relaxing feeling I love when I apply a sheet mask. The menthol in this, though shockingly only 0.05%, is very noticeable. My skin had that extreme cooling sensation it provides, so I think this was the most cooling of the four masks. There was no discomfort with the cooling sensation, so I really enjoyed it. It contoured to my face shape better than the two from the drugstore, so it did pack more moisture into parts of my nose the other masks barely grazed. That is thanks to the fabric sheet mask design.
My skin felt intensely moisturized for a while after I removed this. It is the only mask of the four where the moisture extended after I washed my face. Even when I did my usual routine the next day, I felt more moisture in my skin than I normally do. You can see the glow it gave me and that was before I locked that serum in with moisturizer. If you have dry skin like I do, I always recommend locking the serum from the mask in with a moisturizer once you’re finished. This one promised to scavenge oxidative, free radical damage from the surface of the skin, thin and disburse red lines under the skin, enhance cellular perfusion and blood flow, and assist with the removal of toxins trapped under the skin.
The more a mask costs the more promises it seems to make. Funny enough, the one promise this did not make was hydration. It may figure that is a given from a wet sheet mask, but why sell yourself short on the given when you make bold claims? While I cannot say this scavenged oxidative, freed radical damage from the surface of the skin, thinned and disbursed red lines under the skin, enhanced cellular perfusion and blood flow, or assisted with the removal of toxins trapped under the skin, I can say it did improve the radiance (temporarily).
Even though it lasted past a face wash, my skin was back to normal after that. That means you would probably have to use these every other day or at least twice a week to notice any real long-term effects. For temporary effects, it is slightly better than the drugstore masks.
Are Sheet Masks Worth It and Cheap Versus Expensive Comparison Verdict
If you have really dry skin, like mine, and your primary goal is a temporary boost in hydration, buy the cheapest possible sheet masks that work for you. It might take a while to find them, but trial and error is a lot of fun. These are just the most recent masks I’ve tried. I would not even say I have a favorite yet, but I will keep researching and trying new things until I do. Those with oily skin who have a good skincare routine may only want sheet masks when their skin gets dehydrated or when they want to pamper or relax. Otherwise, the money spent on sheet masks could go toward other things.
If you can afford the upkeep of expensive sheet masks, you are a better judge of their long-term effects than I am. I can only tell you the short-term effects between cheap masks and expensive masks are about the same. Of course, the ingredients in cheaper masks can irritate sensitive skin or any skin if you’re allergic to any of its ingredients. For those issues, read the ingredients before you explore new masks and discontinue immediately if you react to it. Someone will take your unused stock if you cannot return it.
Investing in a serum will have more long-term effects for you skin than any sheet mask. Of course, I never apply serum over a sheet mask, so you do not even need a serum if you are using a sheet mask everyday. Otherwise, my advice is have fun and explore the different masks. Find the one you love and use it as often as you can afford to or as often as you need it.
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I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.