Sheet masks may have long been a staple in Asian skin care, but they have only recently gained traction in the Western world. Prior to the surge in popularity of sheet masks, traditional wash-off masks was the go-to treatment for brightening and softening complexion but not only is the application and removal process more time-consuming (and a waste of water), they also tend to strip away oil and moisture from the skin which often results in the tight feeling after use.
Sheet masks, on the other hand, are a convenient game changer in giving the skin that extra boost of moisture (primarily so, with added benefits). Formulated with almost the same active ingredients as serums, the single-use sheet acts as a physical barrier that prevents the essence from evaporating, thus enabling it to absorb into the skin more effectively while also ensuring its equal distribution over the target area. Since my first foray into the world of facials nearly a decade ago, sheet masks have evolved past the humble cotton material for the face to include more luxurious ones with better skin adherence for other parts of the body as aptly manifested in IYOU‘s product line-up.
Founded in 2016, IYOU is a budding South Korean beauty brand committed to providing high-quality sheet masks for head-to-toe pampering at an affordable price. Despite being an emerging business, IYOU has already made their presence felt on a global scale by partaking in beauty expos around the world and stocking up on Amazon, Etsy, Qoo10 and at Little Tokyo Market Place (a Japanese-Korean supermarket in Los Angeles), thereby building a cult following for their diverse selection (10!) of sheet masks which I’m about to take you through in this review*!
*Do note that due to time constraints, I was only able to try out certain products as depicted in my pictures. Also, Prices reflected do not include delivery costs.
The mother of all sheet masks, face masks are the easiest way to get anyone started in the quest for perfect skin. With two kinds of texture – original and jelly – in their face mask series to choose from, IYOU has just about everything you need to achieve your desired glow but a more pocket-friendly option would be the apple or avocado face masks in their normal range.
To ensure that the skin receives the full benefits of ingredients infused in the face mask, it should only be applied on freshly cleansed and properly toned complexion once weekly to once daily, depending on the state of the skin. The occlusive nature of sheet masks may aggravate existing inflammatory skin conditions but those blessed with golden genes would notice significant improvement (such as increased hydration and radiance) in their skin with more frequent usage. If you are, like me, a
lazy busy person with acne-prone skin, a twice-weekly ritual of face masking would be adequate to your needs.
A nutrient-rich treatment for restoring moisture to the face, the Apple face mask is mainly composed of vitamin C (from apple fruit extract) for its skin whitening and antioxidant properties that prevent the damaging effects of free radicals while boosting skin elasticity and regeneration. Other ingredients in the mask include Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) and Centella Asiatica Extract for their anti-inflammation abilities, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract for a skin-nourishing experience, and Melissa Officinalis Leaf (Lemon Balm), likewise, for its antioxidant function.
Made of TENCEL®, a natural cellulosic fibre derived from wood that is 100% biodegradable, this eco-friendly mask offers transparency on the skin (as seen in the pictures), has a finer and more supple texture than cotton (but with the strength of polyester) and promotes better moisture absorption thanks to its unique nano-fibril structure. Soft and smooth to the touch, its high heat capacity and slow cooling rate provide for thermoregulatory stability as it helps to smooth out the temperature fluctuations in our skin, preventing any chances of sensitisation.
To use (and this applies to all the masks mentioned in this post), open the packet and slather the excess essence in the packet (not soaked into the mask) onto the face, neck and everywhere else before applying the mask to make the most of it.
However, care must be taken when unfolding the masks as all of them do not come with a plastic backing. Once that is done, match the cutouts of the mask to the eyes, nose and mouth and gently massage it into the face’s contours to ensure maximum absorption. Remove the mask after 10 to 20 minutes (ideally) and gently pat the essence into skin with fingers until thoroughly absorbed.
Made of cotton, the Avocado face mask delivers essential nutrients to supply moisture (from Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Fruit Extract) and reduce both radiation-induced cellular damage and skin inflammation (with the help of Centella Asiatica Extract) without harming the environment. Apart from being highly absorbent, this hypo-allergenic fibre also has great stretching power to ensure that every inch of the face is accounted for.
In order to promote overall skin health, Oenothera Biennis Flower (Evening Primrose) and Ginkgo Biloba Leaf extracts are also added for their anti-aging and antioxidant virtues. But in my opinion, the benefits of these Avocado masks aren’t much different from those of Apple and considering that the material used here is of a less superior quality, I recommend spending your limited budget on the Apple masks instead. #moneysaved
JELLY FACE MASK
A new concept by IYOU to allow deeper penetration of ingredients, the masks in this premium range contain jelly-like essence with a weaker fluidity and stronger viscosity that acts as a moisture barrier.
With the exception of Black Pearl, all of the masks are made of Cupro, a cellulosic non-woven fibre derived from cotton linter developed by Asahi Kasei Bemliese (a Japanese textile manufacturer), for its high absorbency and retention of liquid. Soft and silky in texture, the lint-free biodegradable fabric also provides for excellent adhesion as it conforms closely to the curves of the face like a second skin. Above all else, it becomes transparent once liquid is absorbed, providing an unobtrusive appearance when the face mask is worn 😮 Now, who says you have to always look like Jason Voorhees when rocking a sheet mask?!
Apart from its high commodity value, gold is also known for its benefits in skin care as demonstrated by Cleopatra who was said to use a gold mask every night to enhance her complexion and maintain her youthfulness. “So what?” your broke ass may ask. Well, if you ever wanted to feel like a million dollars without breaking the bank, the time has finally come!
Adding a touch of luxury to the beauty ritual, the 20 ppm of gold particles in the Gold jelly face mask helps, in some extent, reduce the appearance of fine lines and blemishes while slowing down collagen depletion. But the primary advantages are, of course, only possible with the aid of other ingredients such as Bambusa Vulgaris leaf (or simply bamboo, which protects the skin against bacteria and fungus) and Chamomilla Flower Extract (or Chamomile, which soothes dry skin and promotes healing of skin irritation) that are present in the mask. And did I mention that a box of 10 Gold jelly masks only costs S$20.90?
Ginseng is pretty much synonymous with the Asian culture as it is the most widely sold tonic made into a variety of health foods and drinks to improve physical fitness and overall wellness. Growing up, I was brainwashed by my mother into thinking ginseng was the one-size-fits-all solution to any sorts of health issues (because every illness must stem from having too much “heat” in the body). Come to think of it, she is not entirely wrong since it is slowly making its way into cosmeceuticals too 😂
The Korean equivalent of the ginseng I had in my childhood is the red ginseng which, according to Google, is typically steamed after drying. As the main ingredient in the face mask (on top of Chamomilla Flower and Centella Asiatica extracts), its purpose is to revitalise and increase the immunity of the skin while preventing aging and increasing the production of collagen. The mild bitterness and earthy sweetness unique to ginseng roots are translated into a more pleasant scent for the Red Ginseng mask. That said, it could still be a turn-off to the untrained nose at the onset. But once you’ve grown accustomed to the smell, you won’t want to go back!
A red or brown resinous substance collected by honeybees from tree buds, bee propolis (or bee glue) is commonly used for its healing, antiseptic and restorative capabilities, making it an ideal ingredient for sensitive and redness-prone skin. When combined with other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents such as Elderflower and Eucalyptus extracts, the composite boosts the skin’s natural immunity and protects it from environmental stressors and harmful bacteria, all of which is basically what the Propolis jelly mask is all about!
Enriched with the active ingredient of the highly coveted black pearls such as amino acids, the Black Pearl face mask seeks to improve dull skin caused by stress and prolonged exposure to the sun by promoting a brighter and cleaner complexion. In addition, it also contains conchiolin protein which has been scientifically proven to reduce the skin’s pigmentation. The face is kept slightly acidic (at about 5.5 on the pH scale) with each application to ensure the skin’s barrier – which helps to repel pathogens (i.e. microorganisms that can cause diseases) – is not compromised.
Black rayon sheet is used in this instance to coordinate with the colour of black pearls. A fairly adhesive fibre resistant to tearing, black rayon holds moisture better than cotton and is very comfortable and soft on the skin. It is also worth noting that, unlike the rest of the sheet masks, Black Pearl amazingly does not leave much of a tacky sensation after removal. The essence seemed to settle into my skin completely with continuous patting.
Simple day-to-day skincare routine:
Cleanser → Toner → Sheet mask → Moisturise
10-step Korean skincare routine:
Oil cleanser → Water-based cleanser → Exfoliator → Toner → Essence → Serum/Ampoule → Sheet mask → Eye cream → Moisturiser → Sunscreen
STEAM HAIR CAP
C’mon, it’s about time you show your hair some love. After all, true beauty extends beyond the face! Likely the first of its kind, this disposable steam hair cap enables you to bring your salon experience home, minus the tedious setting up process and the hefty electricity bills that follow, of course! Mainly composed of PRODEW® 500, an amino acid blend developed to moisturise, strengthen the structure, protect the colour and repair any surface damage of the hair, the steam hair cap is ideal for those who frequently dye their hair with synthetic colours. More importantly, it smells heavenly!
To use, remove some water from the hair after shampooing and cover the scalp with the hair cap while ensuring that all stray hair is tucked beneath it – which will take practice to get right especially if you have long, thick locks. Adjust and tighten the cap with the plastic flap attached to it to minimise its movement and prevent the essence from evaporating. Massage the head gently with both hands (or risk having it slide off) to increase the absorption of the nourishing ingredients into the scalp. Then, remove the cap after 15 to 20 minutes, rinse off leftover essence with lukewarm water and embrace your now soft and supple hair. Oh, and also be prepared for a slimy floor 🤦♀️
If all else fails, simply scoop the essence from the cap and massage it directly into the hair (which defeats the purpose of the cap, I know) for the stipulated duration before washing it off. You may skip on conditioner since the hair cap functions the same way. Once-daily usage is recommended for a shinier and healthier appearance of your tresses but if budget or time doesn’t allow it, once-weekly should do too.
Shampoo → Steam Hair Cap (15-20 min)
NECK & COLLARBONE SHEET
As we get caught up in work, there is bound to be at least one part of our body that we are guilty of neglecting in our daily beauty routine. For me, it has always been my neck – which happens to be one of the areas that reveal a person’s age first – somewhat because of my aversion to the icky sensation products would leave behind, and as ludicrous as it sounds, my neck and collarbone are also some of my many ticklish zones. So can you imagine my agony of having to suppress my laughter whenever my masseuse or facial therapist brushed their hands against that delicate area?!? 😖 But with IYOU’s sheet mask for the neck and collarbone, I feel that I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Made of cotton, the mask is loaded with ingredients known for their antioxidant properties that protect against the effects of aging and promote elasticity and tightening to ensure a younger and firmer skin around the neck and collarbone. These include Aronia Melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry) Fruit Extract for eliminating or improving the appearance of skin discolouration, and Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), an enzyme produced naturally in the body responsible for cell growth and maintenance in the body, to neutralise free radicals.
As always, the neck and collarbone area has to be washed and dried thoroughly before using the mask to ensure optimal absorption of the essence. Leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes (the narrower portion to be wrapped around the neck) while occasionally applying light pressure to it. Just a word of caution, though – use the mask lying down because it may get a little messy. After taking it off, gently massage any remaining product into the skin until thoroughly absorbed.
Being afflicted with some sort of Dermatillomania (an excoriation disorder that causes obsessive picking of skin) on top of mild eczema meant that my fingers would periodically be marred with involuntary nicks and scabs (which get worse in times of boredom) developed from dry peeling skin. But because my hands are always on the move, creams have never been considered as an option for me to alleviate the problem. However, this could all change with IYOU’s hand gloves!
Suitable for sensitive skin prone to atopy, inflammation and irritation, the plastic gloves are formulated with Camellia Sinensis (green tea) leaf and Portulaca Oleracea extracts (among many other ingredients) to provide a calming and moisturising effect while stimulating metabolism and cell regeneration. That said, the gloves should not be used on open sores, wounds and weeping eczema or dermatitis.
Like the steam hair cap, the inside of the gloves are filled with the essence whereas the exterior is typically clean (if not, just wipe any product off with a towel), making it possible to work with both hands as the treatment is underway. Rinse and dry the hands thoroughly before putting the gloves on (keeping them in place with the plastic flap) and remove them after 10 to 15 minutes. Then, gently rub both bare hands to evenly distribute the excess essence.
Heel fissures are a common foot problem, and this is even more so for jobs like mine that involve standing for prolonged periods of time. Although admittedly, I find joy in picking at the dead skin every so often, the cracks can hurt when they get too deep, not forgetting they are also awful to look at and rough to the touch (which has always been the triggering factor for my disgusting habit). But as busy professionals, a routine as simple as applying moisturiser to our feet before heading to bed can be weary and bothersome after a tiring day. Furthermore, with our feet being a hotspot for germs and bacteria, we tend to avoid touching them unnecessarily. So, how now brown cow? Well, having already had masks catered for most vital parts of the body, there’s obviously one for the feet for the same purpose as well!
The foot socks soothe and restore moisture to dry and cracked skin with Hamamelis Virginiana (American witch hazel) as well as Camellia Sinensis (green tea) leaf, Aloe Barbadensis leaf and Potulaca Oleracea extracts, resulting in softer and healthier-looking feet. Similarly, the ingredients used in this instance are perfectly safe for irritated or inflamed skin. However, you are not advised to use them should you notice any signs of bleeding or infection.
After washing the feet and sopping up the dampness. wear the socks and adjust them to fit you properly with the aid of the plastic flap. Upon removing them 10 to 15 minutes later, massage or rub the feet against each other to allow better absorption of the essence. Convenient for use even at the office, the foot socks can be worn as you rush out reports at your desk – just be sure to bring along a pair of sandals to walk around in while waiting for the feet to fully absorb the essence.
Put on the foot socks BEFORE wearing the gloves!
With the market already saturated with face masks of every kind imaginable, the alternative offerings by IYOU are, simply put, a breath of fresh air and a solution to lazy days (though some will require a few uses to master the technique of keeping them in place). If you’re not ready to commit to a full box just yet, you may want to consider getting the trial pack (S$22.90) which contains both regular face masks and masks for the hair, hand and feet on Qoo10!
What are your thoughts about IYOU masks? Are they something you see yourself using on a regular basis? Let me know in the comments below or take a quick poll 🙂
Thanks for reading!