The ones to watch for 2020
Words by Ella Yuill
There’s no denying the power of the best sheet masks. After a long day at the office, during a long-haul flight or even just on a Sunday afternoon, there’s something that feels undeniably luxurious about carefully lining up your features with the allocated spaces for eyes, mouth and nose, smoothing into place, and then relaxing whilst the mask does all the hard work for you.
Despite their ability to pack a punch of moisture, soothe irritated complexions and provide anti-ageing benefits, sheet masks are one of the latest beauty products to be called out for their potentially negative impact on the environment. With the majority of masks being single-use, some have likened the beloved sheet mask to plastic straws.
Traditionally, many sheet masks are made up of a combination of synthetic materials (think polyester, nylon and plastic) that cannot be recycled or completely composted and will most likely end up in landfill – where they won’t benefit our skin or our ecosystem.
However, in recent years, the use of eco-friendly biocellulose, a hydrogel made from synthetic polymers, has meant that our Netflix-and-pamper nights could be free from plastic when it comes to the mask on our face.
‘Many sheet masks on the market are cotton or paper, which can dry out on the skin after a few minutes,’ Daniel Isaacs, Director of Research at Medik8, tells us. ‘We harnessed the power of bio-cellulose in our Ultimate Recovery Bio-Cellulose Mask, an extraordinary material which absorbs many times its own weight in water. Bio-cellulose is a biodegradable natural fibre obtained from the fermentation of coconut water. The tiny bio-cellulose fibres form a veil so fine it is able to fit into contours and fine lines to ensure optimal hydration levels where you really need it.
But just like all those shows on Netflix, not all sustainable sheet masks are created equal. Those masks that, when removed, leave a thick shiny residue on the skin might feel good, but, if containing silicones, the sticky film left on the back of the sheet mask may contradict its ‘biodegradable’ status.
‘Silicones are generally not biodegradable, and thus theoretically a high concentration of silicone in a sheet mask formulation may coat the outside of the bio-cellulose and prevent it or impair it from degrading,’ explains Daniel.
‘The good news is that the Ultimate Recovery Bio-Cellulose Mask does not contain silicones, and will readily biodegrade after use. The mask is also housed in a recyclable sachet, to minimise our impact on the environment.’
To save you the trouble, we’ve listed our favourite, more environmentally friendly sheet masks below. This way, we can all still indulge in a little pamper without fretting about the external damage too much.
As already mentioned, these soothing masks are completely degradable and come in recyclable packaging, minimising your worries about their environmental impact.
Enriched with vitamin C, this mask soothes the skin whilst offering a level of protection against daily environmental aggressors. Perfect for a refresh; apply this mask in the morning for major glow and suppleness that will stay with you throughout the day.
This hydrogel sheet mask contains rose essential oils and extracts that have antibacterial properties, antioxidants, nutrients and minerals… making it universally amazing. Plus, this can be bought in a pack of 4 to save on the packaging. (Even though that’s fully recyclable as well).
Coming in recyclable friendly packaging, the Hydrosol Sheet Mask is infused with Tumeric oil to tighten the appearance of skin and Frankincense Hydrosol (a subtle nod to the festive season) to plump. After 10 minutes, reveal smoother, repaired skin that feels healthy and revived.
Clinically and dermatologically proven to deliver real results, this anti-ageing face mask cools skin whilst reducing fine lines. Skin is left looking and feeling dewy, fresh and radiant. Like all the sheet masks in this list, this is made out of biocellulose and therefore is biodegradable.
Yes, this might be a silicone mask, but it is a reusable one. Just smooth on your favourite serum or moisturiser onto the inside of the mask, hook the side loops around your ears and you’re good to go. This is a brilliant alternative to a regular sheet mask, even if it is plastic.
Budget-friendly and biodegradable, leave this mask on for 15 minutes for healthier and younger looking skin. Containing a concentrated dose of their revered Drops of Youth formula, using this mask will result in a plumper, bouncier complexion.
Finer than a standard tissue mask, this biocellulose sheet will not only lock in moisture and encourage active ingredients to penetrate the skin, but it will biodegrade quicker and more efficiently. With silk amino acids to nourish, liquorice root extract to brighten and centella asiatica to boost collagen production, make this your go-to mask for plumper, brighter skin.