The $9 product that’s better than $140 version
THERE comes a time in every new heterosexual relationship when a woman must ask herself: Is my boyfriend whipped enough yet to see me in a sheet mask?
Sheet masks are not sexy. Everyone looks absolutely bonkers in them and studies have shown they repel straight men*.
But sometimes you're hungover on a Sunday night and your dehydrated skin desperately needs a mask.
This dilemma - mask or retain your dignity? - comes a close second to the ultimate beauty conundrum - when to politely take over his bathroom with all of your products?
This step in a relationship is fraught with danger. It can backfire so easily. Remember that episode of Sex And The City when Carrie tried to leave her hairdryer and toothbrush at Mr Big's place and he promptly returned them to her in a Barney's bag? Rude.
The smart, kind men know that as soon as things get serious, it's time to clear out a spare drawer for all of our stuff.
And when it comes to sheet masks, the best strategy is exposure therapy. Soon the weird looks stop and they just accept it.
So if you're looking for a mask to pop on in front of your partner tonight, here are 10 delicious face masks that will leave you super dewy and hydrated.
*I made this up but it's still true.
GO-TO TRANSFORMAZING SHEET MASK
Price: $9 each or six for $45
Available from: gotoskincare.com
Forget the SKII ones that cost $140 a packet. This mask from Zoe Foster Blake's fabulous brand Go-To Skincare is hands down my favourite sheet mask of all time.
It's designed to be used during the day when you want to look glowy for a big event, but I also use it at night before bed.
The mask contains Australian native Kakadu plum - the world's richest source of vitamin C - and a bunch of other antioxidants that brighten and plump up the skin.
I once wore this mask in an Uber after getting off a horrendous 14-hour flight. It was absolutely worth the public humiliation of my neighbours seeing me on the street looking like Hannibal Lecter.
My Uber rating might never recover, but damn, I looked good.
DR JART CERAMIDIN SHEET MASK
Price: $6.50 each or $34 for a pack of 5
Available from: Sephora, sheetmaskshop.com.au
Dr Jart is a Korean brand that sells excellent skincare products. They have a massive range of sheet masks - you can buy them individually or in packets of five - but this one is my favourite.
Ceramides are natural fats in our skin's outer layers and they can hold lots of water, meaning this product is great for hydration.
Remember to scoop out the extra serum from the packet and slather it over your neck and décolletage too.
EAORON HYALURONIC COLLAGEN MASKS
Price: $23 for a packet of five
Available from: Chemist Warehouse, Priceline
I got stuck in a Chemist Warehouse vortex this week trying to find a good cheap sheet mask. This mask is great because it has limited ingredients, all of which I can understand.
Hyaluronic acid is a great hydrating ingredient found in many serums, moisturisers, night creams and face masks - on ingredient lists it's often described as sodium hyaluronate, hydrolysed hyaluronic acid or sodium acetylated hyaluronate.
My skin was definitely hydrated after using this, but I always like to pop on a thin layer of night cream over the top for an extra boost.
Side note: I hate it when brands only sell sheet masks in bulk packets, so you have to commit to buying the whole thing when you just want to try one. What happens if you don't like it? It's annoying and just a sneaky way to get you to spend more money. Not a fan.
KARUNA HYDRATING SHEET MASK
Available from: Mecca, Catch.com.au
Sometimes you just want a good cheap face mask you can get from Westfield.
This is what I buy from Mecca after 30 minutes of perusing the overpriced candle section and realising $90 for a Diptyque candle is insane.
Karuna sells three other types of sheet masks - exfoliating, antioxidant and age-defying.
My theory with sheet masks is this: Always go with the "hydrating" mask over the exfoliating, brightening or ridiculous "whitening" options because they usually work the best with zero weird side effects.
SKIN REPUBLIC YOUTHFOIL SHEET MASK
Available from: Chemist Warehouse, Priceline, some supermarkets
Skin Republic have a massive range of cheap face masks and most of them are pretty good (don't use the undereye ones though - they do sweet FA).
This one is my favourite because it's basically like having a tin foil mask over your face so it's great for selfies. Plus, it's a dupe of the crazy expensive Estée Lauder ones.
DERMALOGICA CHARCOAL RESCUE MASK
Available from: Mecca, Adore Beauty
I'm not a big fan of most clay, mud or charcoal masks. They can be quite drying and abrasive. But I know some people love them because they feel like they draw out impurities and help ease breakouts.
Charcoal is a naturally cleansing ingredient and this mask also contains five per cent sulphur - an ingredient known to help blemish/acne-prone skin - and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to exfoliate.
It tingles a little bit, but afterwards blackheads are reduced and the skin feels tight and squeaky clean.
ASPECT GOLD PROBIOTIC SLEEP MASK
Available from: Adore Beauty
Sometimes you just can't be bothered unravelling a sticky sheet mask and sitting still for 20 minutes. Enter this guy.
It's a thick, oily moisturiser you put over your serum at night. A little goes a long way and you wake up with plump skin like a baby's bum.
Don't ask me about the probiotic part - pretty sure putting a nice cream on your face won't fix your gut bacteria - but it's great for dry skin and makes you look heaps glowy.
CLINIQUE MOISTURE SURGE OVERNIGHT MASK
Available from: Sephora, Mecca, David Jones, Myer, Adore Beauty
Another good cream mask for when you CBF with the sheet ones.
Give me anything in a cute pink tube and I'll slap it all over my face. This does exactly what it says it will - make your skin moist and hydrated.
GLAMGLOW THIRSTY MUD HYDRATING TREATMENT
Price: $86 for 50g, $115 for 100g "mega" tube
Available from: Mecca
If you could bottle the smell of Fiji and stuff it into a jar of cream, this would be it. It smells like coconut-y heaven and has a beautiful buttery finish.
Mecca sell mini tubs of these for $35 so you can try it a few times before committing to the massive, expensive tub.
LANEIGE LIP SLEEPING MASK
Price: $26 (or $8.50 for a 20g mini)
Available from: StyleStory, Sephora
I have permanently dry, cracked lips, which is very gross and depressing. No amount of lip balm is ever enough.
This best-selling lip mask from Korean brand Laneige is basically a super thick, yummy-smelling balm you put on at night. In the morning the lips are soft and luscious.
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