Unless you completely avoid all forms of social media, it’s hard to have missed the buzz about sheet masks. They’re all over Instagram. Your favorite celebs and probably some of your friends have posted sheet mask selfies. Snapchat has gotten a piece of the action and created a sheet mask filter, so even if you haven’t tried one in real life, you might have sent a sheet mask Snapchat. The filter will only give you the selfie experience though, and none of the skincare benefits. What good is that?

Face masks may seem relatively new, but people have been putting clays, creams and other ointments on their faces for millennia. Many early masks served the same purposes that modern masks are used for today. Ancient societies used charcoal and mud to clear up their skin back in the day, too. You know Cleopatra was on top of her skincare game.

Next Level Skincare

Using a sheet face mask is a great way to give your skin some extra TLC. But where to start? The selection of sheet masks in particular is bigger than ever before, and they’re all over the place: Your local pharmacy, Target, beauty retailers like Ulta and Sephora, department stores, and even apparel companies like Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters are carrying sheet masks and k-beauty products.

Before you get excited about pretty packaging and unicorn sheet masks, take a look in the mirror and see what your skin is telling you.

What Is Your Skin Type and What Does It Need?

Your skin type (oily, dry, sensitive, or combination) and age are two important factors to consider when choosing a face mask. Younger, acne-prone skin will have different needs than older, more delicate skin. Dermatological conditions can also play a role in the type of mask you may want to use.

Are you breaking out? Do you have a skin condition like eczema that makes your skin more sensitive? Charcoal or clarifying masks are great for acne. Soothing ingredients like oatmeal and aloe can calm sensitive or even sun-burned skin.

Don’t neglect to take the season into consideration. During winter, for example, when you spend much of your time indoors and the air is drier, a hydrating mask can be helpful for all skin types. Climate is also important. Humid summer weather will create different conditions for your skin than dry summer weather.

Will you be doing any upcoming travel? Long flights can be particularly drying, so you may want to consider a hydrating mask after air travel. If you don’t mind getting a few stares from other passengers, slip a sheet mask in your carry on and hydrate while you fly!

Here’s a breakdown on the different kinds of masks you’ll find on the market, followed by a description of each category.

What Are The Different Types of Face Masks?

Face masks fall into roughly 7 different categories: 

  1. Sheet masks
  2. Clay (or mud) masks
  3. Cream masks
  4. Peel-off masks
  5. Gel masks
  6. Charcoal masks
  7. Sleep masks

Sheet Masks

Sheet masks originated in South Korea, where they’ve been a beauty staple for many years. As with other popular k-beauty products, they were introduced to the U.S. market in the last few years. American and European brands are now making sheet masks, too.

Sheet masks are probably the most versatile category of face masks out there. Most other types of face masks are designed for a specific skincare need. For example, clay masks are great for oily skin, but not as beneficial for those with dry skin. Cream masks are a hydration boost for dry skin, but too heavy for oily or acne-prone skin. But there are sheet masks designed for every skin type.

Some sheet masks even allow you to target a specific part of the face or body. Aside from face sheet masks, there are sheet masks for your eyes, nose, lips, décolletage, hair and feet.

In terms of cost, you can find sheet masks for as little as $1, and for more than $20 each. Pricing largely depends on the fabric a mask is made with and the type of ingredients in the serum. Less expensive masks allow you to try them out and see if they’re right for you without making a big investment.

Beauty sheet masks can also be something fun to do with your friends. Pretty Animalz is a sheet mask line with different animal faces on the fabric. Want to see how you’d look as a narwhal, an owl or a dragon? Give them a try! Are you the nostalgic type? Try a Disney princess sheet mask

BeautyGARDE Sheet Masks

All BeautyGARDE masks are made of high-quality fabrics for a great occlusive seal to your face. The fabric holds a lot of serum to deliver maximum beneficial nutrients. We use no-rinse formulas, so your skin can hold on to the moisturizing benefits, even after you remove the sheet mask.

Our Babyface hydrating sheet masks are made with oolong tea and citrus formula. It’s full of antioxidants and vitamin c to nourish your skin, and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.

Our Hangover Hero sheet masks are detoxifying charcoal-infused masks with black tea and spinach to brighten dull, dehydrated skin.

Both styles come in a sheet mask pack of 5. You can invite your friends over for a beauty night, or keep a supply on hand for future face treatments.

Other Top Sheet Mask Brands

Each retailer carries something a little different, and some sheet masks are exclusive to a particular retailer. Here are a few of the best sheet masks according to beauty editors and retailers: 

  • St. Ives – their Nourish & Soothe Oatmeal Sheet Mask and Glowing Apricot Sheet Mask get good reviews on Target.com. St. Ives is budget-friendly.
  • TonyMoly I’m Real – this line gets good editor reviews on popsugar.com.
  • My Beauty Diary – a brand out of Taiwan with affordable, high-rated masks.
  • MD’s Pick Rubber masks – consistently positive beauty editor reviews.
  • Too Cool for School – popular for their egg cream masks.
  • SK-II – a luxury brand with 700 4-star reviews on each of their sheet masks on Nordstrom.com.
  • Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover – a high-end cult fave among beauty editors.

Clay (or Mud) Masks

Clay masks have been around for ages. There are a few different kinds of clays, with bentonite and kaolin clay being the most common. Both types of clay have many medicinal uses. With a proven ability to absorb toxins and remove them from your skin, clay masks are great for acne-prone skin. They can be drying, however, so do your homework if you have dry skin.

Top Clay Mask Brands

  • L’Oreal Paris – the Detox & Brighten Pure Clay Mask has over 5,000 4-star reviews on Target.com.
  • Sand & Sky – the Australian Pink Clay Pore Refining Face Mask has over 10k likes on Sephora.com, and it has a Sephora Clean Seal.
  • GLAMGLOW – the Supermud Clearing Treatment contains both clay and charcoal for purifying.
  • Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Mask. With bentonite and Amazonian white clay.

Cream Masks

If you have dry skin and need a hydration boost, a cream mask might be for you. Cream masks are beneficial for mature skin. They can also be used for spot treatment if you have combination skin.

Top Cream Mask Brands

  • Too Cool for School – in addition to sheet masks, this brand also makes a cream mask.
  • Estée Lauder – the Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Cream Cleanser/Moisture Mask gets a lot of positive reviews on Nordstrom.com.
  • Sisley Paris – the Black Rose Cream Mask was a 2017 Best of Allure Beauty award winner, but it comes with a hefty price tag.

Peel-Off Masks

Like clay masks, peel-off masks can be great for acne or refining pores. You’ll experience some mild exfoliation when peeling it off, which is great for those who need it. Blackhead peel-off masks are like a mini-facial all on their own.

Top Peel-Off Mask Brands

  • Vichy – the Double Glow Peeling Mask is one of popsugar.com’s “Editor-Approved Face Masks to Try in 2018.”
  • Yes to – this brand has a few affordable, single-use peel-off masks. There’s charcoal, grapefruit, cucumber, and coconut & coffee.
  • Pixi Skin Treats – the T-Zone Peel-Off Mask targets the blemish zone.

Gel Masks

These masks have a cooling, soothing sensation, and they’re generally best for dry, dehydrated or sensitive skin.

Top Gel Mask Brands

  • Peter Thomas Roth – this brand has both a Cucumber Gel Mask and a Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask. Over 10k likes on Sephora.com
  • Kiehl’s – the Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Masque is a 2018 Allure Best of Beauty award winner.
  • Huxley – a k-beauty favorite on anthropologie.com, the Keep Calm Healing Gel Mask is recommended for a redness-prone complexion or skin that needs soothing.

Charcoal Masks

You’ll find some overlap in the charcoal mask category. There are charcoal sheet masks, cream masks, peel-off masks and mud masks. Activated charcoal is the common ingredient in all of these masks, for detoxifying skin. Good for oily complexions and acne.

Top Charcoal Mask Brands

  • Boscia – the Luminizing Black Mask is a peel-off style mask. Clean at Sephora Seal.
  • Salt by Hendrix – the Activated Charcoal Mask comes in a powder which you mix with water. A mixture of Kaolin black clay and activated charcoal combine for extra detoxifying benefits.
  • BeautyGARDE – the Hangover Hero Charcoal Sheet Mask provides both detoxifying and hydration in one mask. For those of you with blemishes and dry skin, this is for you!

Sleep Masks

Used for an extra dose of hydration when you really need it. When it’s winter and your skin is feeling dull and dry, or if you live in a place that’s dry year-round, sleep masks are a great option for a deep hydrating boost.

Top Sleep Mask Brands

  • Glow Recipe – the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask has 150k likes on Sephora.com. It’s a serious cult sleeping mask.
  • LANEIGE – the Water Sleeping Mask was a 2017 Best of Beauty award winner.
  • Shiseido – the Ibuki Beauty Sleeping Mask gets great reviews.

Your First Face Mask

One bit of advice: If you’re trying a mask for the first time, try a little patch test before you put it all over your face. Using a cotton swab, take a small amount of the mask and put it on the edge of your jaw line. Wait for a few minutes to see if you have a reaction. You don’t want to find out that you’re allergic to snail goo after you’ve taken off your first snail mask, and your entire face breaks out.