The Sheet Mask Reviews: Steambase, Wonjin Effect & Klairs
What do you get when you convince an oily skin type, once-a-week-masker to try a bunch of sheet masks from Steambase, Wonjin Effect, and Klairs? Some misses, but definitely some hits as well. Here’s what made the cut.
It’s hard to find a product category that is more iconic than sheet masks when it comes to Asian beauty. Regardless of whether you’re looking at Taiwan, Japan, Korea, or any other country in that region of the world, sheet masks are considered a huge staple in the routines of many, many people. Everyone is out here looking like Jason Vorhees in the name of hydration and moisture, and it’s definitely not a “trend” that’s going to die out in a few years.
Korea catapulted itself even further into the sheet mask game in recent years with the concept of “1일 1팩”, or using one sheet mask a day, especially leading up to a particular event or time period where you want your skin to be in top condition or post dermatological procedure (under the guidance of a medical professional, of course) to help with recovery.
Having personally tried a few stints of daily sheet masking with results that met my expectations of well hydrated, healthy looking skin, I can say that the “one sheet mask a day” technique does work, but I also came away after trying it with two major thoughts. One, I really don’t find it enjoyable to sheet mask on the daily (I prefer wash-off masks in general), and two, using sheet masks back-to-back so quickly, it kind of made even mediocre sheet masks feel like they were doing more because of the cumulative effects.
Once a week is my preferred frequency for masking in general, and when winter hits, I do appreciate having a good, hydrating sheet mask to help protect my skin against dehydration it can experience, especially due to big temperature changes from heated indoors to the cold outdoors. I’m always on the hunt for truly great sheet masks that don’t break the bank that hit the perfect hydration/moisturization ratio as well as fitting my large, weirdly shaped head.
I tried out a few of the newer releases over the last year and wanted to give y’all a quick rundown of what I think and who I think they would benefit.
Steambase Manuka Honey Propolis Perfect Shield Mask
I remember first hearing about this mask from a random Korean beauty program featuring Soyou (formerly of the idol group Sistar) demo’ing some products from Steambase. It was clearly a sponsored segment, but she also has become a bit of an icon for beauty and skincare, so if it’s good enough for her, it’s definitely good enough for me to at least try out.
This sheet mask comes with a backing that you peel off after applying it to your face, which really helps with application because the material for the sheet mask is very thin and clingy. I had absolutely no problems with it staying on my face; I just wish that the mask itself was bigger, but my face is consistently too large for most sheet masks that I try, so that’s more of a me issue than an issue with Steambase.
I feel like this mask gave me a decent balance of moisturization and hydration, and I think the middle ground will make it so a lot of people will have a good experience with it. It had some brightening benefits as well, and the finish was initially sticky when patting in the remaining essence, but it went away after I applied moisturizer on top. I think it was great for adding hydration to my face and helping to lock it in, but as far as the claims that it’s not sticky and the mineral water used for the base provides additional benefits are things I’m not entirely sold on.
Steambase Avocado Rich Moisture Nourishing Mask
I kinda knew that this Steambase mask may not be the best fit for me before trying it, and unfortunately I was correct. These types of “nourishing” masks, especially when they have milky or creamy essences, don’t give me the best results. They feel more targeted towards people with drier skin types or have a completely destroyed moisture barrier that need some serious TLC.
The material felt like it was the same as the Steambase Manuka Honey mask, clung just as nicely and was just as easy to apply thanks to the handy backing, but it didn’t feel very pleasant on my face. There wasn’t really any calming or brightening benefits to the mask when I removed it, and the essence felt like it was taking literally forever to absorb into my skin.
I didn’t really feel like I wanted to apply moisturizer on top, but it also didn’t feel like there was any type of occlusive barrier left behind by the mask, which really just made me want to splash my face with water and start my skincare over. Again, this isn’t necessarily a fault of the mask, I just don’t think that masks like this are very compatible with oily skin types.
Wonjin Effect Medi Energy Infusion Concentrated Ampoule Mask
I haven’t had a chance to try much of Wonjin Effect, but I know that their masks are highly praised by a lot of Korean bloggers that I follow, so I was excited to give this a try. Thankfully, this mask was very much up my alley.
The essence is somewhere between a gel and a watery essence, which is my preference, and it felt very cooling and soothing on my skin. I wasn’t a huge fan of how the mask was essentially just loose in the packet and was kind of a ball of material when I took it out, but the cut was more generous than the typical sheet mask that I run into, so it covered more of my gigantic forehead and gave better coverage around the sides of my face.
The mask features peptides and an amino acid complex that is supposed to help the skin regenerate better and restore the oil-water balance in your skin, and honestly, it felt like it did just that. My skin felt very comfortably hydrated, didn’t leave an uncomfortable sticky finish, and my breakout that I was dealing with was reduced both in size and redness. I’d be curious to try out the Medi Hydro Vial mask, which is even more focused on hydration, but I would happily buy a box of these to keep around at all times.
Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Mask
I feel like you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about this mask when it first launched, and after using it, I actually feel like it lived up to a lot of the hype. More often than not, I’m not impressed with cult favorite products due to their astronomical reputations, but Klairs made the only milky essence sheet mask that I don’t hate.
The mask is loose in the packet without a backing, and while I appreciated the fact that it came in two separate pieces for the top and bottom for your face, separating two, slick sheet mask pieces makes me feel like I’m part of a circus act that I did not ask to participate in. Once I finally got the mask on my face, I had a much better experience than I usually do with a two-piece format and got more of my face covered with the mask than normal.
I had no issues with the mask sticking to my face, and upon removing it, I didn’t immediately want to wash my face, which was a new experience for me with this type of sheet mask. The finish was minimally sticky that went away with some moisturizer on top, and while the essence did feel a little oily as I was massaging it into my face, I felt like my skin felt very reinforced, which falls right in line with the intended effects of the mask. There’s a good amount of ceramides along with other skin supporting ingredients like pantheon and betaine, so I’m happy to keep a few of these masks around for when I feel like my skin has become sensitized or irritated.
I’m literally sitting here typing this with a sheet mask on and wine chilling in the fridge, so I hope that all of you out there are having a peaceful day as well! Happy masking, y’all 🙂
Have you ever tried any of the Steambase, Wonjin Effect, or Klairs masks I tried? What did you think?