Saving Face: The Beauty of Sheet Masking

Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Korean beauty site Soko Glam, will save your sad, wind-frozen skin and scare the shit out of your Instagram following


I live in either my torn-knee skinny jeans or trusty pleather pants, every day, for the entire winter. And every night, I can’t wait to get home so I can take them off.

I’m not truly relaxed until they’re peeled away, leg by leg, until ultimately my bra is unhooked, yanked from under my shirt and thrown into mystery pile #2. While my Two Buck Chuck is “decanting,” I wash my face in the bathroom. Then I sink into my couch where, sans pants, bra or makeup (likely with Scandal streaming), there’s a 99% chance you’ll find me sheet masking.

Sheet masking is a process that soothes winter skin. Popularized in Korea, it plumps fine lines and combats painful dryness brought on by sharp winds and furnaces on full blast.

It’s also extremely simple. The first step involves choosing a sheet mask, which arrives pre-soaked in serums. There are two popular types currently on the market: one is made of microfiber, and the other is a hydrogel material (it’s 100% soluble, feels like jello and is my personal favorite because it sticks better to the skin while providing extra moisture).

What happens is that as the sheet rests on your face, you’re forcing antioxidants and vitamins to co-mingle with your skin while you do nothing more than just hang out and chill. Maybe add a glass of wine. Maybe add a glass of Netflix, too. Taking seductive sheet mask selfies to terrify your friends on Snapchat or Instagram is another popular sheet-masking activity.


It’s addicting because it actually works. Many of the skincare products out on the market evaporate before having the chance to penetrate your skin, but adding the damp sheet mask on top helps lock in all the nutrients. Once you’ve finally removed the mask, your skin should be plump, soft, bright and hydrated. You’ll look like a dang baby.

Sheet masks work for all skin types — dry, oily, combo-platter. There are even specific ones that target dark circles, breakouts, or help the pore-obsessed. It’s like a candy store for your face, if candy had the nutritional benefits of spirulina or kale.

The best part is that sheet masks are inexpensive. In fact, you can DIY with these $3 dry cotton masks soaked in your own homemade ingredients like your favorite night cream or…dairy milk. The latter will brighten and firm thanks to the milk’s lactic acid, potassium and vitamin D. Have you thanked a cow today?

Or better yet, have you tried sheet masking?

Written by Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam. Purchase her newest book, The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin and follow her on Instagram here

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  • That rose mask from Sephora is great! They also have a honey one that is really nice too! Slight downside: they are slightly too large for my tiny pinhead.

    • ainay

      Try the asian brand face masks! So different from sephora ones and much more serum and better 😉

      • Thanks for the heads-up! Just get them online I assume? Or are there retailers in the states that sell them?

        • Amelia Diamond

          Hi! A few are actually linked in the story — note the two that Charlotte is wearing in the slideshow which come from her site, !

          • Oh duh now I see it. I am so bad with actually clicking into links sometimes. Thanks!

        • ainay

          Sorry this is so late. Yes in the states they do sell them. What state do you live in? Ebay is a great place to find asian beauty masks. They’re the most helpful. I recommend Leaders Insolution. A lot of serum in the mask and fast results!

  • I’ve found a few mystery brand sheet masks at my local dollar store and so far so good. I’ve only used the product maybe 2-3 times, but with each use I felt my skin bounce back to life. Pretty sure that was only because the masks left a layer of gelatinous (they claim it’s aloe, but….) material on my face, but either way they feel good to the touch.

  • I love the idea of soft, plump skin but also terrifying friends on instagram for a new and different twist.

    Accidental Icon

  • Charlotte Fassler

    This makes me want to try it even though I have such sensitive skin and wind up allergic to everything…..
    My skin has been SO dry already this winter and I am not opposed to changing up my regimen.

  • Cinamaron

    I love love love sheet masks. I have a million from Innisfree (plus some Too Cool for School & Skin Food) right now and they are the greatest. They definitely freak out my boyfriend though! He avoids me when I’m wearing one :/

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      I bet he secretly uses them when you’re gone. 😛

      • Cinamaron

        Haha! Well, he was really interested in my Innisfree Manuka Honey sheet mask the other day and made me show him what was inside, so who knows…

  • parkzark

    The first time I saw someone sheet mask was on a flight (she had the right idea) and I’ve wanted to try it ever since.

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      OMG sheet mask soulmate, I thought I was the only bizarre one to do that.

  • Cali

    I see your Dr. Jart+ Brightening Infusion masks and I raise you to the Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment masks for these unforgiving winter months. Use one and became a part of hydration nation!

    • Amelia Diamond


      • Cali

        AHHH (My life be like)

        • Amelia Diamond


  • I stocked up on sheet masks last year when I went to Korea. Can’t get enough of them!

  • SpringLikeTheSeason

    Love Soko Glam! Sheet Masks are the only thing that really work on my dry skin during the winter. I recently started using assorted ones from Skin Food and my skin feels awesome.

  • I want to try this!!

  • simone

    love this!! So insightful. I want to try them all!

  • Lindsay Powell Schwartz

    I have been meaning to try one of these masks, but never get around to actually doing it! Love the idea of pairing a glass of wine and a Netflix show to it – now I have a nice plan for Friday night 🙂

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      Note: wine has alcohol = can dry skin so sip sparingly. At least drink red wine (antioxidants) vs white.

  • Little Bird

    I need some sheet masks!! During these winter months, I usually have a strange desire to fill my bathtub with moisturizer and sit there for hours (if only it could be warmed at the same time!) Alas, I can’t really do that, so I need another method. Sheet masks will definitely scare my boyfriend, but will leave me with baby soft skin! Ordering some now!

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL


  • Other than the fact that the mask makes you look like a serial killer, i’m interested.


    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      Hannibal lector, for realz!

  • Michaela Williams

    I flew from Malaysia to Houston earlier this week. About halfway through the flight, I glanced over a girl down the row from me had on a sheet mask and lotion gloves. Go, girl. Anything for buttery skin.

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      LOTION gloves. Genius. and airplanes have that dry air, so even more reason to.

  • I’m an avid sheet mask(er)…Love the Sephora Pearl Mask, gives me that J.Lo Glow 🙂

  • Can I also add on sheet masks should only be worn for a max of 20 mins? Or else all that goodness your visage just soaked up is going right back into the sheet mask, via reverse osmosis!

    I too prefer the hydrogels one, they just feel so much better y’know?

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      Forreal? I must investigate!

      • That’s what I’ve been hearing, and anyways 20-30 mins is generally how long it takes for the sheet mask to dry up so there’s very little gained from having the mask on the skin any longer. BTW you’re so gorgeous Charlotte, even with a serial killer sheet mask on!

  • If my face could water like my teeth, it would diffidently go nuts over these masks.

  • I have yet to try them! I hear Cate Blanchett sleeps in them so if they are good enough for her, I better get crackin’.

  • I need to try these!

  • ladylumps

    The Dr. Jart Water Replenishment mask is AMAZING.

  • Catherine Bohner

    Am I the only one here who really wants to get the $3 cotton masks and soak them in milk now? The idea really entertains me for some reason.

    • Charlotte – CURATOR OF SOKO GL

      Cleopatra took milk baths, so why not!

  • Melie

    Charlotte’s website is a pure gem! Thanks,

  • parkzark

    Someone on the MR team should try the entire 10 step korean skincare process. I read about it all last night, AND I REALLY WANNA TRY IT.

  • Proba di contattare .problemi con lingua. inghleze

  • abd

    Obsessed with sheet-masking. They work like a dream

  • Meg

    Read this and immediately bought a bling bling mask from Soko Glam. Because I couldn’t wait for it to be delivered, I also stopped at Sephora and snagged the honey mask. Loved the honey mask and can’t wait for 5:00 to come so I can get home, remove pants (in that order, unfortunately), pour a glass of wine and stick that glorious gel sheet on my face (because BONUS my mask was delivered the next day)! Thanks Charlotte and MR for the inspo and what I’m sure will be an A+ Friday night.

    • non capisco la lingua inglese ,o documenti da mandati da RDS e fascio informazione sono veri o no perché devo pagare 819€ normale .draw(24/014)

  • Sheet mask life! I got a gift certificate for a spa for my birthday and opted for a massage instead of their very famous facials because there was no point, my sheet masks already do the job!

  • Amyzz

    Is there a man repeller snapchat? (that would be awesome, just sayin)

  • I thought this was just another beauty fad that probably doesn’t do anything worth the price tag… but now you’re making me want to give sheet masks a try! If Man Repeller says they work, they must work, right? 🙂 Can anyone recommend a good brand to try? Something not as expensive as SK-II?!

  • Sybil

    My skin never looked as good as it did during my time in Seoul. Fangirling at OliveYoung was the first thing I did. It is a damn supermarket of heaven-sent beauty products. I sheetmask, then exist!

  • will kenderdine
    Skin care is near and dear to our hearts… and we are thankful for the time and
    care you took in creating this post!…… clearly a very useful site! If I may
    ask, could you venture a look at my post… we totally appreciate your time in
    helping us = )

  • Orgaid

    Sheet masks are definitely fun and convenient to use! I f you are interested in more sheet masks, please check us out! We are currently in the last stages of developing organic sheet masks, manufactured in U.S.
    We are currently doing a limited time promotion, so it would be great if you could give us a review as well 🙂 Thank you!