Korea is the country that came up with face masks which are sometimes called sheet masks. Korean face masks are now so globally popular that you can find them in almost any city in the world that sells skincare products and cosmetics. So what exactly are Korean face masks and what why are people so crazy about them? Korea Trip Guide will take you through the wonder that are Korean face masks.

What are Korean Face Masks?

Korean face masks are single use, sheets of paper or other material that are soaked in essences to target specific needs of facial care. If you’re confused by what an essence is, check out our guide to the fundamentals of Korean skincare products!

Essences are not unique to Korean skincare but face masks were a delivery method that originated from the Korean skincare industry. Since our skin is absorbent and sometimes needs a bit of extra tender, loving care, Korea came up with a way to help us relax and treat our face to a nice mini-spa at the same time. The fibrous or gel-like materials that face masks are made of sit in the treatment-rich essences in the packages that they are sold in. After you’ve gone through your routine of cleansing, and toning, you can put a face mask on to target specific issues like acne, anti-wrinkle, and pore care. Generally, face masks take between 10 to 20 minutes for your face to fully take advantage of the nutrient-rich essences.

Why are Korean Face Masks Effective?

You may ask why you’d need face masks at all if you’ve already included essences into your skincare routine. Although essences are also useful in targeting problem areas for your skin, the fact that face masks literally sit on your skin for extended periods of time make them much more effective. Also, essences are generally lighter in texture and can be almost water-like. Unless you use a cotton ball to apply essences, which also poses the problem of wasting product, you are probably not covering 100% of your face when you use your essence.

Korean face masks are designed to cover almost your entire face each time you use them. They are oval and reach from the edge of your forehead to the bottom of your chin. There are even holes in the eyes and nose regions so you can at least see and breathe. The area around the nose still includes a flap to cover your nose for those sensitive T-regions!

The key reason why Korean face masks still add benefit to your skincare routine is because it allows your skin the time it needs to fully absorb treatments. Your skin will thank you whether it just needs some extra hydration or if you’re tackling a different skin issue.

What are the Types of Korean Face Masks?

There really isn’t an upper limit when it comes to what fancy new product a cosmetic line comes up with but basic sheet masks can start at less than $1 USD per mask especially if bought in packs. The Korean cosmetic industry is innovative so there are now other forms of face masks being introduced that are made of different materials. Some face masks, or sleeping packs, now are in more of a gel or cream form where you apply a layer of the cream right before sleeping. The formula is supposed to be more concentrated hence the mask name. Below are some other forms of Korean face masks:

  • Hydrogel masks

These are the gel-like masks that are usually made of some plant-based material. They feel cooler on the skin which is more effective for preserving skin health. The one downside is they are extra slippery so you may need to keep still while using one.

  • Clay masks

Clay masks are not a new thing for the skincare world and Korea probably did not come up with it. They are generally used to clean out dirt and other oils that have been trapped in your skin for a long time. After applying the clay, you wash off the mask and feel refreshed. Unlike other face masks, clay masks are done right after the cleansing step typically.

  • Rubber masks

Rubber masks are heavier and usually require you to apply a thick layer of a gel-like substance that will harden as it dries. They are thicker and trap in the treatment effectively.

  • Two-step serum masks

There are now mask sets that include a small injection or capsule of essence or serum that needs to be combined with the absorbent sheet mask before application. Other sets include a sheet mask with treatment and an additional treatment to apply afterwards.

We hope you are now more clear on Korean face masks than before reading this article! Although it may sound a bit complex with all the types of face masks out there, it’s best to start simple and search for face masks that target the skincare focus you’re looking for. Has your skin been feeling dry? Do you want to even out your skin tone? Start there and you’ll be surprised by all the options out there!