Sheet masks are all the rage these days, but they are also usually at least $1–2 a piece, and you only get to use them once, and that’s a bit ridiculous. I have a few (mostly from last October’s trip to NYC) and I find myself hoarding them (like I used to do with bath bombs before I got wise to that situation!). So, I figured—what’s stopping me from DIYing this, too? And here we are!
Sheet masks are the best way to terrify your pets and housemates for twenty minutes while simultaneously delivering a serious moisturizing punch. When you buy one you’ll get a pretty foil pouch with a bit of liquid and something soft squishing around in it. Open that pouch and you’ll be greeted with a slimy “face-shaped” bit of fabric-y paper drenched in a viscous, fragrant liquid that is packed with humectants, extracts, and other things that love to drip down your chin (am I selling this yet?!). I learned on r/AsianBeauty that you can really improve the experience by pre-heating the mask a wee bit in a barely warm oven so it is at least warm, wet, and slippery instead of cold, wet, and slippery.
Anywho—you pop the pre-perforated sopping sheet on your face, attempt to line up the holes for the eyes, mouth, and nostrils (this is typically futile—choose two out three and accept your fate), and then admire how terrifying you look in the mirror as you feel bits of the mask liquid run down your neck (side note: now that North American brands are starting to catch onto this trend I’m starting to see ads featuring models wearing sheet masks that somehow don’t look like they’re about to run outside and terrorize children, which is an astonishing feat neither of us will ever achieve). Once you’ve marinated in your mask goo for twenty minutes or, remove the sheet and discard it, perhaps patting your skin down gently with a damp cloth, and voila—you have glowing, plump, hydrated skin. Woo!
Given glowing, hydrated, plump skin is what we’re aiming for, I packed this sheet mask liquid with awesome humectants. The shining star is some 1% hyaluronic acid stock, which is a magical wonder when it comes to hydration. I’ve also backed it up with other stars like vegetable glycerin, sodium lactate, and propanediol 1,3.
Rose hydrosol adds a delicious rose scent, and aloe vera brings some lovely soothing properties to the table.
A bit Olivem300 adds some richness to the blend, and some hydrolyzed silk further amps up the moisturizing goodness of this mask.
The whole thing comes together really quickly; since it’s all cold-processed you’re just measuring everything into a beaker or small cup and blending it together. The finished liquid is relatively viscous (thicker than maple syrup, thinner than honey… like warm honey, I suppose?), so it isn’t too drooly (yay!). It smells wonderfully of roses, and leaves your skin feeling amazing.
To make use of this liquid you’ll need some sort of sheet mask to soak in the liquid and apply. I purchased a package of sheet mask “blanks” from Muji, and they work really well. You could also cut a piece of cotton into the required shape and use that—as a bonus, that would be re-useable (though you’d probably want to hem it so it doesn’t disintegrate in the wash). Once you have the liquid, simply soak your sheet in some of it (I recommend partitioning off the amount of liquid you wish to use rather than adding the blank to the master batch to reduce contamination), and mask away for way less that $2 a pop. Bam.
Rose Silk Hydrating Sheet Mask
8.25g | 16.5% distilled water
1g | 2% sodium lactate
2.5g | 5% vegetable glycerine
10g | 20% low molecular weight 1% hyaluronic acid solution
1.5g | 3% Propanediol 1,3 (USA / Canada)
5g | 10% Olivem300 (USA / Canada)
10g | 20% rose hydrosol
10g | 20% aloe vera juice
1.5g | 3% hydrolyzed silk
0.25g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
Weigh all the ingredients into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Stir, whisk, or blend to combine thoroughly. I used the MICROMini™ Mixer from Lotion Crafter, which is quite a lovely gadget. It’s a Badger Air-Brush Co. Paint Mixer, which you can also get on Canadian Amazon. It’s smaller than the Minipro Mixer, and well suited to less viscous projects like this one.
Transfer to a bottle or squeeze tube that is around 50mL/2 fl oz in capacity. I used a 50mL frosted squeeze tube from YellowBee.
Soak a blank sheet mask in some of the liquid. I found it took a while for the mask to fully hydrate—longer than it does with less viscous solutions. Each of my sheet mask blanks weighs 1.3g when dry, and I ended up adding 10g of the sheet mask liquid to hydrate it. Be patient; it’ll take about 15 minutes. Turn the blank over and spoon the liquid over it to help it soak in, and once you can unfurl it, do that to ensure the whole mask is saturated before putting it on. Smooth it over your face, leave it for about 20 minutes, and then discard. I like to pat my face down with a damp microfibre cloth afterwards.
This recipe makes enough liquid for approximately five sheet masks.
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this sheet mask liquid contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 50g.
- You can replace the sodium lactate with additional glycerine
- If you don’t have hyaluronic acid you can replace it with more water, but that is going to seriously impact the performance of this mask
- Propylene glycol should work well in place of Propanediol 1,3. You could also replace it with more water.
- You can try water soluble shea butter in place of the Olivem300
- You can use a different hydrosol
- You can replace the aloe vera juice with more water
- Hydrolyzed oat protein will work well in place of the hydrolyzed silk. Sea kelp bioferment (Canada / USA) would also be a good alternative. You could also replace it with more water.