"What the heck are sheet masks?" plus Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask review | Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog

05 July, 2013

"What the heck are sheet masks?" plus Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask review

So today I'm going to kick off what will undoubtedly be a series on some of my favorite things to buy... Asian and Asian-inspired beauty products! A large percentage of my purchases are from Korean brands, and today I'll be reviewing a Korean brand of sheet masks - Vanedo. But before I get into the review nitty-gritty I want to talk about what exactly sheet masks are.

Now, since this blog is not exclusively about Asian or Korean products, some of you may be wondering: "What the heck is a sheet mask?" I shall elaborate. If you already know, feel free to skip ahead.

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Sheet Masks 101

In the simplest terms, a sheet mask is a piece of thin cotton cloth with eye and mouth holes cut in it that comes pre-soaked in facial serum.  They make you look a bit like a ghost or Jason while you're wearing them, but afterwards, your skin will glow.

How it works: You put the mask on your face (usually for a minimum of 20 minutes) to let the serum soak in and do its magic. There are many brands and many, MANY different types of sheet masks targeting different skincare issues... anti-wrinkle, whitening/brightening, anti-acne, moisturizing, and so on. They are typically aromatic and often contain plant extracts... flowers, fruit and herbs (such as ginseng or green tea) are among the most common ingredients and scents. Sometimes you'll see masks that tout chemical actives over botanics (such as arbutin for whitening). Other times you will see masks that tout natural benefits that are animal-derived, such as pearl powder or snail mucin as anti-acne or anti-aging ingredients. Sometimes you'll see a combination of the aforementioned ingredients. In any case, there's a lot of variety!


What are sheet masks?
A non-moistened, unfolded sheet mask. Looks a little bit like
something out of a horror film, right?  Image from this wholesaler.


Sheet masks are very convenient because they are less messy than applying a clay mask or other type of wash off mask, plus they come already soaked in the magic face juice so there's no measuring and nothing to clean afterwards. You don't have to wash them off - the serum is absorbed into your face, and any excess serum can be rubbed onto your neck/arms/whatever. Once you're done with the mask you just toss it, making them ideal for no-fuss facial care. You see people using these on airplanes sometimes and there's a reason - no rinsing required!

Most people use this a couple of times per week as part of their nighttime skincare routine, but you can certainly use them (on a clean face) any time you feel like it. Sheet masks usually come packaged in little foil or plastic packets that are either sold singly or in boxes with several foil packets inside. Once in a while you'll see several of them packaged in one resealable bag, sort of like baby wipes. Here are some pictures of a few masks I happen have right now:


Vanedo Sheet Masks Lemon Green Tea Aroma
A few types of Vanedo Beauty Friends masks - I will be reviewing these later in the post.

My Beauty Diary Black Pearl sheet mask
My Beauty Diary (a Taiwanese brand) Black Pearl Mask. It doesn't say on the pouch in English,
but I believe this particular mask is meant for whitening and hydration.

The back of the MBD mask. Handy that the ingredients are in English too!

My Scheming Skin Clarifying Astringent Mask Green Tea and Barley Whitening Mask Deep Cleansing Pore Minimizing Mask
A few My Scheming (another Taiwanese brand) masks. These have the cutest packaging!
As you can probably tell, these are meant for oily/acne-prone skin.

The back of one of the My Scheming masks.

I already threw away the outer boxes for the MBD and My Scheming masks so I can't show you, sorry. But a quick Google search will yield loads of images, as both of of these brands are quite popular and have been reviewed by many bloggers. I will be posting a couple pics of what the Vanedo masks look like out of the package later on, so if you want to see what a sheet mask looks like on a human face, stay tuned.

Anyway, sheet masks are awesome, especially in the summertime. You might think that having a piece of cloth stuck to your face would make you hot, but the moist cotton sheet actually pulls heat AWAY from the face, so all sheet masks have a slight cooling effect once you've been wearing them for a few minutes. Skincare benefits aside they are very relaxing and refreshing, so they're worth a try for that reason if nothing else.

Sheet masks have been wildly popular in Asia for ages, and while they've started to pop up in mainstream American shops recently they're not as ubiquitous here (yet). They vary a lot in price depending on the brand and ingredients used, and typically cost anywhere from 50c to over $10 apiece. The MBD and My Scheming masks pictured above generally go for around $1-$2 each when sold individually, and the Vanedo masks are a bit cheaper than that. So unless you're using them every waking moment, they're really quite affordable!


Where to buy sheet masks:

I will be doing comprehensive reviews of a few Korean/other Asian beauty supply websites in future posts, but just to get you started, here are a few places you might already shop at that sell sheet masks:

eBay -You can find pretty much anything and everything on eBay, and sheet masks are no exception. Be forewarned that shipping from Asia can take up to a month though, and there are occasionally counterfeit products being sold on there so make sure you're buying from a trusted seller.

Amazon.com - Much like eBay, you can find pretty much anything on Amazon. There is a pretty decent selection of boxed My Beauty Diary masks on there, and some of them are even eligible for Amazon Prime!

Walmart.com - Believe it or not, Walmart.com has started carrying My Beauty Diary masks! I don't think they're available in-store, but there are several varieties available on the website, all of which seem to be eligible for "home free" shipping.

Target.com - Target has started selling "Masque Bar by Look Beauty" sheet masks... this is a western brand and I think it might be exclusive to Target. I haven't tried them yet, but they appear to be available online and in select stores.

Ulta.com
- They have a small range of Montagne Jeunesse "spa" masks, which from the directions appear to be sheet masks. I've never tried this type either, so if you have let me know how you like it!

In your local drugstore or mass-merchandiser - Garnier recently introduced some spot treatment sheet masks that are sold in packs of six, so if your local store carries a lot of Garnier stuff you may be able to find them. They are also available on Walmart.com. Freeman Beauty has also introduced a line of paper face masks recently, and you're likely to run into those at Walmart as well.


OK, now that everybody knows what sheet masks are, let's move on to the review!

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Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask Review: Lemon, Green Tea & "Aroma"

Vanedo Beauty Friends is a Korean brand, and an inexpensive one at that. They have 25 sheet mask varieties (that's a lot!!!), the majority of which feature flower, plant and herb ingredients. As far as I can tell they don't have an official website in English, but if you do a bit of browsing around eBay you should be able to identify most of them. Anyway, I bought a few of these on a whim off eBay a couple months ago, put them in a drawer and forgot about it, then remembered I had them last week so I've been trying them out!

First up - the general feel and fit of the masks.

The sheet mask out of the package. Only slightly creepy, right? Some sheet masks come with a paper backing inside the pouch to protect them from ripping when you unfold them, but this one was just folded up with no backing. It didn't rip though.

OK, now get ready for really scary stuff. You have been warned. What Vanedo sheet masks look like out of the pouch and on a human face:

I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW PRETTY I LOOK! Though I *may* have Photoshopped my eyes and
lips a bit. Because appearances are everything.

This is one of those masks that has the little flappy thing you can pull over your eyes. Not all of them have that,
but when they do it's nice because they're very refreshing. Puts a little red MS Paint smile right on my face.

For you sheet mask newbies out there, that's more or less what a sheet mask will look like on your face. Experienced users might be thinking "Wow, that's ill-fitting" or "Wow, that looks really thick" though. And both of those things are true. I have yet to find a sheet mask that is a perfect fit for my face, but some are better than others and normally I can just make a couple of small tears here and there to get it to really fit well. The Vanedo masks have an especially awkward fit for me, and the cotton is so thick that it's pretty much impossible to tear. The thickness of the cotton sheet also makes them feel less "wet" than some other brands, which I don't necessarily like because it means it will dry up quicker. Overall, the Vanedo Beauty Friends masks get a C- from me in the fit/feel department. Now onto the individual flavors...


Vanedo Beauty Friends Green Tea Mask:


Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask Green Tea
The front of the package. This mask is supposed to have firming, moisturizing and
"health" benefits (rather vague, no?)

Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask Green Tea ingredients
The back of the package. The instructions and ingredients are listed in Korean, English and Japanese.

This mask has a slight herbal/floral smell, and isn't too overpowering. This might be OK for people who are sensitive to smells, because the scent isn't too strong. I give the fragrance a B+.

The serum isn't as thick or sticky as some other masks, and has a light, watery feeling. It felt pleasant on my face, but when I took it off I didn't notice any dramatic results. My face felt slightly moisturized, though not as much as other masks I've tried, and refreshed overall, which I guess falls under the purported "health" boost advertised on the package. I give the overall effectiveness of the mask a B-.


Vanedo Beauty Friends Lemon Mask:
Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask lemon
This mask boasts brightening, firming and refining effects.
Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask lemon ingredients
Back of the package.

I don't often say this, but I HATED the smell of this mask. It had a rather sour scent... with a lemon mask I expect it to smell sour in a fruity/citrusy way, but in this case I mean sour as in acrid. It's possible I got a bad mask, but if that's not the case then... no. Bad. It was tolerable enough to keep on my face for about 10 minutes, and for that reason I give it a D- instead of an F in the fragrance department.

As for effects, I didn't keep it on as long as I might usually keep on a mask, so I don't know. It did feel refreshing, but I also scrubbed my face afterwards to get rid of the offensive smell so I probably washed any lingering benefits down the drain too.


Vanedo Beauty Friends Aroma Mask:

Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask aroma
This mask is meant for brightening, soothing and "nutrition". You actually see the word nutrition
a lot on Korean sheet masks... I think the idea is that you're "feeding" the skin with nice ingredients.

Vanedo Beauty Friends Sheet Mask Aroma ingredients
Back of the package.

I wasn't quite sure what "aroma" was meant to smell like, so I looked at the ingredients. The picture looks a bit like lavender to me, but it actually contains tea tree extract, peppermint and matricaria. So I guess this would best be described as a general herbal/floral scent. I did find it pleasant and soothing without being too overpowering. The overall fragrance of this one gets an A- from me.

As for effects... my face did feel soothed and less visibly puffy afterwards. So that was good. I didn't notice any real brightening effects, and as for "nutrition" I did feel a bit moisturized afterwards so that was nice. I give the effectiveness of this mask a B.

Bottom line on the Vanedo masks:

The green tea and "aroma" ones didn't really do anything major for my skin, but they felt nice and relaxing while they were on. I would never, ever get the lemon one again because of the odor, but I might get the others again if they cost less than a buck each. I would also be willing to try other varieties, though they probably won't be at the top of my wish list because the fit is so odd on me.

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So that's it for my epic post on Sheet Masks 101 and Vanedo Beauty Friends. If your face needs a little pick-me-up or you want to scare the crap out of an unsuspecting roommate, I recommend picking up a few sheet masks to try as soon as possible!


For those of you who have used sheet masks, what are your favorite varieties?

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