Skin Care Addict: how to get the most out of facial sheets

Even though facial sheets (シートマクス/パック) have been a pretty popular skin care item way before I moved to Japan 10 years ago, I’ve finally started to see people in the last several months in the US and Europe talk about them as part of their daily routine rather than some sort of oddity from Asia. I’ve even spotted Kanebo and SKII’s brands pop up on sites like Sephora.

Women (and of course some men!) in Japan use these regularly as part of a beauty routine. There are so many types at all price ranges. They can be as cheap as 10 yen to more 2,000+ yen (10 cents – 20 USD) per sheet. I’m a self-confessed skin care addict, so here is what I actually have on hand as of today:

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This addiction is not a problem until it interferes with my work and/or home life.

Anywhere, here is a basic guide of getting the most of these facial sheets:

Get the most out of your

1. Timing is important. Using it after a bath or shower while your skin is warmed up and your pores are open is ideal for getting the beauty boosting ingredients deep into your skin.

2. Use on a clean face with prepped skin. Take off all makeup and tone(化粧水). Apply eye cream BEFORE putting the mask on. Put on your face lotion/creams AFTER taking off the mask so it will seal everything into your skin.

3. Do not put it on while you are in soaking in the tub. If you are doing a long soak, you are actually sweating and expelling stuff from you skin. Wearing a mask during this time can actually congest your skin, so it is best to do this after the bath and rinsing sweat off your face.

4. Do not leave it on for too long. Longer =/= better. 10-15 minutes is plenty. If you leave it on until it dries, it will actually stark wicking moisture from your skin! This is not what you want!!!

How often should you use these? Most people say about 3 times a week in order to really see the benefit of whatever ingredients are in the mask, but it’s totally fine to use them more than that. I’ve read in several magazines how many makeup artists recommend daily usage since it improves the skin’s texture.

How do you to pick which mask to try out? There are so many varieties it is pretty hard to choose. For example if I’m going to the beach I like to use the vitamin C ones everyday because it helps a bit with UV damage. If my skin is dry in the winter I like to use the hyaluronic acid ones because they do a good job moisturizing. @cosme actually has a good ranking system to see what’s popular.

But what’s really the best part of wearing paper facial masks? You can jump out and scare your significant other while pretending to be Jason.

Reenact your favorite moments at Crystal Lake to feel even more empowered and beautiful.

Reenact your favorite moments at Crystal Lake to feel even more empowered and beautiful.

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I love my Japanese tub

Japan has a long-standing love of hot baths. I’d like to think that this is partially due to the fact that the Japanese bath tubs are amazing. The average tub in a modern house is around shoulder deep, and it has a little display that controls all the functions of the tub. It fills the tub with the perfect amount of water and keeps it at a preset temperature with just a press of a button. You can usually reheat and refill the water with another push of a button.  Once you get used to how marvelous it is, you can’t go back. Ever.
This is from my actual bathroom.

I don’t know how to explain the control panel, so here is a picture from my actual bathroom.

Many Japanese models or TV personalities will go on about how soaking is a key part to their beauty and health routine. The general advice you will get from women’s magazines for the ultimate bathtime will usually will include the following 3 rules:

bathtime
Massage: Focus on your calves and arms to get your circulation going. It can help relieve swelling and muscle pain. If you sit all day during work, then this will help improve your circulation.
Water Temperature: 39-40℃ is said to be the best temperature to soak. If it is too hot it will damage the collagen in your skin (AKA you are  cooking yourself). Your body will gradually warm up, so it doesn’t need to feel that hot initially. The tub will keep the water at a stable temperature, so it is not going to cool down.
Time: Soak for at least 15 minutes. Bring a glass of water in with you to sip so you don’t dehydrate if you are in for more than 20 minutes. You want to gradually heat up and start sweating just a little bit, but not overdo it.

When you are done get out and rinse down real quick.

In order to get the most out of soaking it is usually not good to take a bath right after eating a big meal or drinking. It is also recommended to be out of the tub at least 2 hours before sleeping.

That’s about it.

Naturally there are a wide variety of bathtime goods to add to the water! There are so many varieties of salts, bath bombs, and powders, it would probably take a year of trying new things everyday to get through the majority of it. Each product boasts some different sort of beauty or health benefit, so it’s fun to pick up something to match your mood.  Some of them carbonate the water to relax muscle pain, while others contain caspian or ginger that encourages your body to heat up faster- kind of like what happens when you are in a sauna. Some are like a type of aromatherapy to help relax you before bedtime.
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Aw yeah… this is what I’m talking about.

Beauty benefits vary from who you ask and what your regimen is, but it can be used to control weight, achieve more restful sleep, and help with skin problems. I think in the very least it helps lower stress and gives you a more restful sleep, which would make anyone more gorgeous in the long run. There are literally shelves dedicated to bath diets and bath beauty regimens at the bookstore, so this is only scraping the surface.

Ever since coming to Japan I’ve become addicted to soaking. It is my favorite thing to do to relax. I can quit any time I want though. I swear. ノーお風呂・ノーライフ