The rise of sheet masks in the Western world has been wonderful, albeit unsurprising—aside from the obvious fact that the concentrated treatments are great for skin, they're also portable, affordable, and perfect Snapchat fodder. In other words, they're the perfect storm for a fad that also has staying power.
But here is my singular issue with sheet masks, though I'll totally concede that I'm being nitpicky: I am so sick of them sliding off of my face. What if I don't want to commit to 30 minutes lying down, just so the mask will stay put? Is it really so much to ask that I can properly ridicule The Bachelor during my beauty treatment? Or peruse my dinner delivery options online? Or make it through every touchdown come Super Bowl Sunday?
I thus made it my noble pursuit to test out a couple dozen sheet masks in order to narrow down those with superior construction—the ones that allow me to sit up, stand, walk around, and fold my laundry without white cotton slipping over my eyes and ampoule dripping from my chin. After enlisting the help of K-beauty genius Alicia Yoon (of Peach & Lily), the trial is complete, my skin is unnaturally glowy, and I've narrowed them down to eight favorites. See the verdict below.
First things first: It's important to consider the material of your sheet mask. While most are made with fabric, we're loving hydrogel, a jelly-like material that grips the contours of your face like a second skin. Case in point: Magicstripes' hyaluronic acid–infused hydrogel mask didn't budge while I vacuumed my apartment—even when I was going for those tough-to-reach corners underneath the bed.
The organic cotton material of this mask is really absorbent, making it one of the few drip-free fabric masks available. The infusion of soothing calendula is the perfect remedy for winter-beaten skin.
This fun sheet mask uses natural prickly pear extract to calm and purify the skin while leaving it hydrated and clear. Keep it in the refrigerator before applying to boost the cacti's cooling and soothing effects.
Keep this guy on deck for the next time you spend a day in the sun—chamomile and green tea calm any redness or irritation while mineral water penetrates deeply into pores to replenish any lost moisture. The hydrogel material ensures that none of that good stuff gets away.
SK-II's signature essence is just too good to let it go to waste, which is why I was so relieved to discover that this cotton mask doesn't slip around. While many sheet masks tend to veer on the large side—leading to a lot of shifting and sliding—this one is trimmed down just enough, particularly along the jawline. Take the advice of a few savvy Sephora reviewers and use it more than once; you'll get stellar results.
There is a lot of excess fluid packed into this envelope, but the cellulose fiber of the mask (the material that composes most hydrogel options) allows it to hold on tight. Just tap and squeeze out any extra solution before putting it on your face for mess-free application.
The irony of this mask is that while it offers a hefty dose of hydration to thirsty skin, it's the only one on this list that wasn't drenched in fluid.
Next time you're cruising through Sephora's all-too-tempting cash register aisle, blinders raised to any impulse buys, consider popping one of the store's house-brand sheet masks into your cart. Because they're wider than most on the market, there's no extra chin and jaw fabric to weigh it all down. Plus, the formulas are good, and they're easy on the wallet too.
Though these are our front-runners, there are actually a few hacks that can make any sheet mask fit better. Got excess fabric hanging off your jawline or chin? Cut it off—faces are not one-size-fits-all.
But our favorite tip is to squeeze out as much excess fluid as possible when you're removing the mask from its packaging. Doing so doesn't just ensure a better, drip-free fit—it also saves you extra skin solution to apply to your face later. Stick that fluid in a travel-size misting bottle, or sop it up with a dry sheet mask, like these cleverly compressed ones from Muji.
This post was originally published on January 15, 2016.
Did we miss your favorite sheet mask? Tell us your picks in the comments below!