The Horrifying Truth About Sheet Masks

Amanda Montell

Alicia Yoon, founder of Korean beauty e-commerce boutique Peach & Lily, describes sheet masks as the most "quintessential" K-beauty product there is. In the skincare community, we've been using them, praising them, and recommending them for years. But a new report reveals that many sheet masks are manufactured under shockingly unsanitary conditions.

According to a revealing new exposé from Racked, there is a decent chance the sheet masks sitting in your bathroom were folded and packaged by an underpaid human employee at his or her private home, not a machine. These employees often use their bare hands. One set of photos shows someone using a recycled piece of cardboard as a guide for folding the masks.

A number of Korean brands have been identified for illegally employing people without manufacturing licenses for years. This past weekend, a Seoul-based Korean woman with experience in the beauty industry brought this issue to the public's attention by way of a Reddit post. 

If this news turns you off to sheet masks for the moment, we understand. Instead, shop our favorite American-made non-sheet masks below.

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