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Sheet masks by MyFaceWorks - reviewed and rejected

Is a Solution for:
Dull Skin, Oily Skin
October 18, 2011 Reviewed by admin 7 Comments
Ever tried a sheet mask? A better question might be: have you ever heard of such a thing? Sometimes referred to as paper masks, a sheet mask is essentially an express facial in a packet. Composed out of sturdy paper or cloth, the sheet is soaked in a blended solution known as “essence” and packaged in individual sachets. Since placing a moist fibrous material over your face for longer than a minute would suffocate you, the sheet mask has cut-out holes for your eyes, nose, and mouth. After leaving the mask on between ten and twenty minutes, you are meant to discard it and rub any residual essence into your skin.

I was new to the wide world of sheet masks when I came across MyFaceWorks. While sheet masks are a popular beauty trend in Asia, they are few and far between among Western brands. MyFaceWorks, a Canadian company based in Vancouver, is the first to devote its line 100% to sheet masks. MyFaceWorks' product line consists of twelve total masks for the face, each designed to address a particular skin concern, and one for the eyes, all sporting a self-explanatory quippy name like “i need to firm,” “i need to detox,” and “i need the works.” I put two varieties to the test: “i need damage control” to resuscitate my skin from sun damage accrued this summer, and “i need to tame” to soothe my face from the natural inflammation that occurs with the dual change of seasons and skincare products.

I tested these MyFaceWorks sheet masks a week apart and measured them against some of my favorite cream masks, including gloTherapeutics Restorative Mask and Chella Enzyme Exfoliating Crema Mask. Though my stand-by masks are dependable, they are also on the pricey side, so I use them only when my skin is sending out an SOS. I know that one of the little soldiers in my mask squad will come to the rescue even if I have to let it marinate overnight. The application of a MyFaceWorks mask was foreign to me, and the soggy, clinging sensation on my skin was quite different from the nourishing layer of comfort that I was used to. But I was willing to keep an open mind if it meant discovering a new favorite way to rejuvenate my skin.

How did the sheet masks I tried by MyFaceWorks stack up? Allow me to recap:

The sealed environment protecting each mask reduces contamination, and the two-step application process prevents bacteria from passing between your hands and your face: Plus 6.

The mask’s active ingredients are evenly pre-soaked into the sheet, ensuring that every section of the face will get an equal dose of nutrients: Plus 3.

By the same token, the mask's full-face design does not permit the option of spot treatments for isolated skin issues (e.g. acne or oiliness): Minus 2.

Its self-contained design is perfect for travel, allowing you to bypass liquid restrictions and mellow out with a mask upon arrival at your destination: Plus 1.

The saturated nature of the mask foils any attempts at multi-tasking, since sitting at the computer, folding laundry, eating a snack, cooking dinner, and most other upright activities run the risk of drippings: Minus 3.

The saturated nature of the mask forces you to take a time-out from your to-do list and indulge in some dedicated pampering, just like a spa experience: Plus 5.

The mask suctions onto the skin and stays moist throughout the experience, unlike liquid masks which are quickly absorbed or clay masks which gradually dry out: Plus 1.

While beautifying, you might scare off your significant other or roommate: Minus 4.

You might also scare off that pesky door-to-door salesman or missionary: Plus 2.

You can let your mask dry out and reuse it as a makeshift Halloween costume (most appropriate for fans of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre): Plus 2.

MyFaceWorks makes its masks out of biodegradable materials such as non-woven rayon, silk, and crystal fiber (bio-cellulose), extracted from a natural plant bacterium: Plus 4.

MyFaceWorks houses this eco-friendly material in extremely wasteful packaging, which involves an air-tight pouch and a plastic layer adhered to the sheet mask: Minus 4.

The company does not disclose full lists of ingredients on the web, making it impossible to know whether there is a risk of irritants or allergens before buying: Minus 10.

Even the most gentle mask in the line - “i need to tame” (suited for sensitive skin) - contains propylene glycol (classified as an irritant by the National Library of Medicine), potentially contaminated PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, methylisothiazolinone (labeled a sensitizer by the EWG), and estrogen-mimicking methylparaben: Minus 20.

There is no mess or clean-up required after removing the mask: Plus 2.

You might emerge from the sheet mask more relaxed, but your face won’t feel or look dramatically different: Minus 5.

Total: -21

After removing my "i need damage control" and "i need to tame" masks, my skin at first looked dewy thanks to the moisture left behind from the still-soaked sheet. I felt guilty tossing the dripping used mask in the trash, but it seemed unhygienic to recycle it. Once the leftover wetness evaporated, my skin looked exactly as it did before the MyFaceWorks mini-facial. I went to bed without adding any products to my skin, and the next morning I awoke to find that a couple of blemishes had sprouted overnight. Whether it was due to the occlusive treatment of the mask or chemicals in its "essence" that were incompatible with my skin, nothing good came out of my MyFaceWorks experiment.

It seems that sheet masks in general are formed on a flimsy selling point, though one that has won over the Asian beauty market. Their benefits don’t have much weight beyond a gimmicky concept created for convenience. With their portability comes wastefulness, and with their face-enveloping design comes a diluted treatment. A spritz of antioxidant-infused face mist is probably just as effective. Though a sheet mask might moisturize and nourish the skin, there is no evidence that creating a saturated seal of active ingredients over the skin is any more beneficial than a traditional cream, gel, or clay mask that gets absorbed the old-fashioned way.

MyFaceWorks is generally three to five times more expensive than comparable brands in Asia, which might be hard to find were it not for the internet. In spite of their lofty price point, MyFaceWorks sheet masks are not imbued with enough heavy-hitting active ingredients to make a noticeable difference from a single application. Most of the sheet masks' "essence" is comprised of promising natural extracts, but not enough to justify spending $9-15 on a single twenty-minute treatment that delivers little to no results. Perhaps regular use might bring about the remedy promised in each mask's name, but incorporating these masks into your daily routine would be an extravagant habit. MyFaceWorks sheet masks are one of those true “luxury” beauty products best suited for the extremely rich, frivolous, or lazy.

Ingredients in “i need to tame” Mask:
Demineralized water, carbomer, xanthan gum, propylene glycol, marus alba (mulberry) root extract, saxifrage sarmentosa extract, vitis vinifera (grape) extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, sodium hyaluronate, malic acid, sodium chondroitin sulfate, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, methylparaben, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, methylisothiazolinone, soluble collagen, rose essential oil.
  • December 7, 2015

    by Agatha

    I know this is an old post, but figured I'd leave a comment anyway just in case it's useful to anyone. I got a box of these (the i need to wake up "flavor") from some giveaway and after forgetting about them for a while used one the other day. I noticed it actually says to rinse the essence off to avoid irritation, which gave me pause since all other sheet masks I've tried tell you to leave it on/pat it in.

    I did end up having a horrible reaction to something that day (I was trying out a new eye cream sample the same day so I don't know which is to blame). Anyway, I just wanted to point out that it does say to rinse the essence off, which doesn't give me a lot of confidence that they have confidence in their ingredients, unfortunately.

  • May 29, 2012

    by Tricia

    My Japanese friends tell me that it is common for Japanese women to keep a supply of product-free sheet masks. Every night, they soak one sheet mask in their favorite product (cream, oil, serum, etc) and they put them on before bed. They then sleep in the mask so that the product has all night to soak into their skin. They often use different products on different nights of the week (for example, Monday/Wedsneday/Friday is for anti-wrinkle treatments, Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday is for anti-spot treatments). They swear that this beauty ritual keeps their complexions perfect - wrinkle, spot and acne-free.

  • April 10, 2012

    by Betty

    Last weekend when I used "Myfaceworks " mask. It turned my face so sensitive, felt like burning. Also, my facial skin-color became as red as an apple and it has haunted me for whole week before it got better. I was so surprise that this kind of product has not been banned from the market yet.

  • April 4, 2012

    by Michele Watson

    I have just tried a sample of Kate Somerville's Exfolikate and I love it! It is enzyme based (papaya,pumpkin seed,pineapple,cinnamon) and just wonderful to use! Any other users out there before I buy the full size?

  • March 31, 2012

    by Danny

    Ive had much success it's my sheet masks and they are now an invaluable part of my weekly skin regimen . I used to quite a few years ago but this range made by Spa Sciences . They made eye masks that you stuck under your eyes and the gel bit drip fed the skin . The peptide one was a dream as it contained the wondeful peptides that pblitorated dark circles and bag . Also it contained Hyaluronic acid , centella and many other wonderful ingredients . They then bought out face masks that worked in the same way . They are wonderful! I must admit to being hooked ! The way they work is the gel
    Or sheet mask sits directly on the skin . It forms an air tight seal and pushed to active ingredients deep into the skins layers . I've used the SKII sheet masks too and they were wonderful if not a bit expensive . It seems like in Asia these masks are very popular and there are many brands . At the moment I'm using an Asian brand called My Beauty Diary . They are cheap and from what I've noticed from my skin are really great .
    It's definately worth giving it a go as they can be used as a very valuable anti agring product . X Danny

  • March 30, 2012

    by Karen

    Can someone please review sheet masks from Karuna Skin? I'm curious to know how it compares to MyFaceWorks... Or is this sheet mask thing just a gimmick...

  • October 19, 2011

    by nochemicalcosmeticsdotcom

    It is really scary what is in some 'skin care'!

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