Over the past two years, I’ve blogged about a lot of skincare products, mostly masks. I’ve reviewed over 60 sheet masks from different brands, but I didn’t review what’s most important — the one that started it all, When. Back when sheet masks first became popular, I was skeptical and thought it was gimmicky. Then one day, I grabbed a pack of When Snow Angel sheet masks on a whim and fell in love! After I tried two masks, I went online to repurchase. But of COURSE it was discontinued and I couldn’t find ANYWHERE! I couldn’t believe it. Discontinued a week after I bought and fell in love with it? What kind of bad luck is this??? The brand reappeared on Sephora last year but my beloved Snow Angel sheet masks have became Snow Magic. I was still a little hurt over my tragic first (sheet mask) love so I didn’t try them.
But when I saw a campaign from When offering free masks to try, I jumped on it faster than you can blink! I was supposed to get two masks but due to some snaffu I got three masks instead, no complaints from me! I was sent 10:00 PM, The Last Choice and Travelmate. I wanted to take a beautiful picture first, but I couldn’t wait and tore into Travelmate like nobody’s business #sorrynotsorry. I was excited but a little scared to try them, since it’s been years and usually first loves are not quite how we remember them when we meet it again. Well, I was not disappointed. Disclaimer: Whether a product was provided for free or bought by me have no influence on my opinion of the product. Now, onto the masks!
There are two important components to a sheet mask: the sheet itself and the liquid (serum or essence). Let’s talk about the sheet first:
- Paper – they are what majority of sheet masks use since they are cheaper than other options. Sometimes you get fancy ones that are organic or made from bamboo. How well it adheres to the skin depends on the thickness and cut of the sheet.
- Hydro-gel – this type is thicker than paper, sometimes it is just gel and sometimes it is cloth covered in gel. It doesn’t evaporate as quickly as paper sheets, but it is slippery due to thickness. If I’m upright when wearing this, it sloooowly slides off.
- Coconut cellulose – this is usually a milky white sheet that look and feels gel/jelly like, but thinner and more flexible than hydro-gel. It definitely feels like the skin absorbs the liquid better when using this rather than paper masks, almost as if it pushes the liquid into the skin.
According to When: When uses an all-natural bio-cellulose sheet that is made from coconuts, which is gentle enough to treat burn patients. Despite its light weight, the bio-cellulose sheet can hold essence 100 times its weight, that is 10 times more than fabric or paper mask sheets. As much essence as it holds, the bio-cellulose sheet delivers essence to skin with minimum wastage by maintaining exceptional dermal contact.
For masks that use coconut cellulose, I’ve only tried When and Farmacy. When sheets are a hint thicker than Farmacy, so it doesn’t cling to itself as much and is easier to put on. But it is thin enough to adhere well to the skin, even if you are walking around/upright with it on.
The masks all have the same information on the back except for the ingredients list for the serum, which are full of goodies. All of them have grapefruit extract for a nice dose of anti-oxidants/vitamin C, hyaluronic acid for extra hydration, and ginseng for some anti-inflammatory/anti-aging benefits.
The liquid is of a gel serum consistency. For some masks it can leave a greasy or silicone-y feel after you take the mask off, but not When. The masks feel cool and wet on the skin, but the serum absorbs quickly after the sheets were taken off so you don’t have to wait forever before putting moisturizer or makeup on top. There are some minor differences between different masks, however:
- Travelmate has a refreshing, clean, floral scent. After taking it off, my skin feels calm, refreshed, and moisturized. The serum absorbs instantly, even after I rub on the leftover so it’s appropriate for all skin types, any time.
- 10:00 PM has a very sweet fruit juice scent (grapejuice?) and it left my skin feeling moisturized and calm. After all the traveling this week, my skin feels thin, dry and slightly sensitive. After using this, I feel like my skin hold onto the moisture a bit better, so it does rejuvenate.
- The Last Choice has a juicy, zesty orange juice scent. It feels a hint more moisturizing than the other two, so I would recommend this more for dry skin than other skin types. I actually didn’t do skincare for 24hrs after this mask, but my skin managed to stay moisturized during those time thanks to this mask.
The Last Choice is more moisturizing and better for dry skin, while Travelmate is calming and good for all skin types even if you don’t travel. 10:00 PM is good for anti-aging or to rejuvenate tired/stressed skin. One of my pet peeves for sheet masks is the strong scent of alcohol that irritates the skin, but all three When I tried felt very calming and helped to tone down the redness from irritation. I also hate the stuffy/greasy feeling a lot of masks leave after I take them off, but When absorbs quickly so I can put on moisturizer or go to bed within minutes.
When masks are available at: Sephora, Ulta, Anthropologie, Beautychoice.com, Birchbox, and Rickys NYC. Overall, I have to say I’m relieved that When masks are as wonderful as I expected them to be. The two When masks not reviewed here (but will be! once I buy them, lol) are Snow Magic and Glamour Base. Snow Magic is a reformulation of Snow Angel from years ago, where the brightening ingredient arbutin was replaced with niacinamide. Makeup Base is being renamed as Glamour Base for US and UK distribution, but the formulation is the same so don’t be alarmed/confused by the different names. Will you be trying any When masks soon?