What Ingredients to Look for in a Facial Sheet Mask?

Surely you've seen the craze on Instagram—celebrities posting selfie photos wearing a facial sheet mask. Lady Gaga did it, so did Christy Teigen. But what's all this obsession over facial sheet masks anyways? How are they good for the skin? And, for the uninitiated, what ingredients should one look for when buying a sheet mask?

Before celebrities started taking "mummy-like" selfies of their favorite facial sheet mask, this in-demand skin-care product was long before part of the Asian beauty routine. Facial sheet masks originated from South Korea, widely known to first popularize many beauty trends, including the BB creams.

In the U.S., facial sheet masks are quickly gaining popularity. In fact, a study by NPD Group indicates that the sale of masks overwhelm other skin-care categories in terms of growth, seeing an estimated increase of about 60 percent.  


What Exactly is a Facial Sheet Mask?

Designed to have cut-outs to conveniently fit the face, sheet masks are packed with "good for your skin" serum that penetrates to the skin once applied and left on for 15 minutes or more. They may come in different materials, including paper, fiber or gel.

Perhaps the biggest reason why a facial sheet mask is fast becoming a beauty lover's favorite is because it is far more convenient and less messy to use than a traditional facial mask that often come in a powder or paste. 

No mixing powders to form into a paste, no need for a brush to apply and more importantly, no washing and cleaning off the paste after application. Simply apply the sheet, leave it on for the instructed period of time, take off, pat—and viola!—beauty routine accomplished.

Are All Facial Sheet Masks the Same?

Not all facial sheet masks are cut the same. When looking for your first sheet mask, carefully research each ingredient and see if this particular formulation addresses your specific skin concern.

Of the many facial sheet masks I've personally tried and tested, I love the many options provided by WHEN Facial Sheet Masks. Made in Korea, WHEN masks are packed with Bio-Craft Serum, a proprietary blend of plant extract, gentle exfoliating hyaluronic acid and hydrating ginseng extract.

WHEN facial sheet masks are made of 100 percent coconut bio cellulose fibers. Why does this make a difference? This type of fiber holds serum 10 times more than fabric or paper sheet masks, which means it prevents quick evaporation and allows longer timeframe for ingredients to deeply penetrate the skin, giving you the full hydrating benefits of ingredients.


What Should I Look For in a Facial Sheet Mask?

Different brands have different formulations, but when addressing specific skin concerns, there are certain ingredients that are great to know when buying a facial sheet mask.

WHEN, for instance, offer five different facial sheet masks to address various skin needs:

Skin Concern: Anti-Aging

Your Best Bet: WHEN 10:00 PM

If your main concern is to target fine lines and wrinkles, WHEN 10:00 PM makes for a great addition to your nighttime beauty routine. It is enriched with hydrolyzed collagen that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains hyaluronic acid to protect and aid hydration, and ginseng extracts to keep skin looking healthy and glowing.

Skin Concern: Sagging Skin


This Firming Mask is packed with Adenosine and peptide-rich serum to help collagen production, in the process improving skin elasticity. Personally, I love using it as a makeup primer because my skin feels so tight after using this facial sheet mask.

Skin Concern: Stressed-Looking Skin


If you happen to be always on the go, your skin is more likely to get exposed to the elements. This skin repair and rejuvenating mask serum is enriched with Swiss alpine herb extract, which helps to rejuvenate, repair and soothe the skin. It also contains chamomile flower water which refreshes the skin from exposure to UV rays and dry air.


Skin Concern: Dark Spots and Discoloration


There's no denying the sad truth: the older you are, the more age spots show. This skin brightening mask is packed with Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) to reduce hyperpigmentation and help brighten the skin. For an added layer of protection, it contains aloe vera leaf extract which helps replenish skin moisture.

Skin Concern: Dry Skin


A super hydrating facial sheet mask that penetrates deeply into the skin, this mask contains hyaluronic acid and saccharide isomerate which are proven to give skin an extra boost of hydration.

Apart from the fact that this facial sheet mask is free of harmful ingredients like parabens, sulfates and phthalates, they also make spa day less expensive and super convenient at home. And for this savvy-spending mama who doesn't have a ton of time for spa days, I'll take any chance I can get when it comes to a budget-friendly pampering at home!

Have you ever tried a facial sheet mask before? How was that experience like for you? I'm curious to know. Let's chat in the comment box below!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by WHEN Facial Sheet Masks. We only work with brands we love, so even if this post is sponsored, this blog offers an honest review on the featured product. All opinions are my own.

Jump-Start Your Skin: How to Do Microdermabrasion at Home

Does your skin look dull, wrinkled and flawed with dark spots? You may need to add at-home microdermabrasion to your skin-care routine in order to jump-start your skin. If you are a regular spa-goer, you may be familiar with the process of microdermabrasion since it is a treatment commonly offered in spas and salons. When done professionally, a microdermabrasion treatment deeply exfoliates the outer layer of the skin through the use of aluminum oxide crystals or a diamond-tipped facial wand which effectively peels off the outer layer to reveal a new and healthier skin.

While it's an effective and non-invasive treatment, regular trips to a spa or salon is, however, costly. Before I was a mom, I'd hardly feel guilty spending hard-earned money for a monthly diamond peel treatment. But now that I've become a more practical mom, it has become harder and harder to justify spending hundreds of dollars for a monthly microdermabrasion treatment, which may cost around $100 to $300 on average. Thankfully, I've discovered there's an affordable alternative to in-spa microdermabrasion after I came across Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish.


If you are considering an at-home microdermabrasion treatment, here's a tip: Do your research. Here are a few important questions to ask before jump-starting your skin through microdermabrasion:

Is microdermabrasion right for you?

Microdermabrasion is ideal for you if you have sun spots, acne scars, large pores, fine wrinkles and dry skin. Avoid or take caution if you have sensitive skin or have skin conditions like redness, sun sensitivity and rosacea.

What are the benefits of microdermabrasion?

An at-home microdermabrasion face polish exfoliates deeper than most bead scrubs to remove the old layer of skin, rejuvenating it in the process as well as lightening dark spots and acne scars. Its rejuvenating benefits are clinically proven. A study published in the Archives of Dermatology indicate that microdermabrasion is similar to minimally wounding the skin, stimulating wound-healing and skin-rebuilding in the process. 

What's the best way to do microdermabrasion at home?

When doing microdermabrasion at home, be sure to use the right product. You want a product with pure and professional-grade crystals, a key ingredient in Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish. Because Exuviance is created by dermatologists who discovered the anti-aging benefits of glycolic acid and patented the first glycolic peel, the face polish also contains glycolic acid. When glycolic acid is combined with papaya enzyme and exfoliating crystals, the product offers a potent blend of skin rejuvenators.


How safe is at-home microdermabrasion?

Most at-home microdermabrasion products are generally safe to use as they are often milder in formulation than their professional counterparts. However, always consult your esthetician or dermatologist before starting an at-home microdermabrasion regimen to ensure you don't trigger or exacerbate skin problems.

How often do you need microdermabrasion?

The answer to this depends on your skin type and needs. For instance, if you simply want to jump-start a dull-looking skin, a monthly routine should be enough. However, if you have stubborn acne scars, you may need to do a weekly or bi-monthly microdermabrasion.

What happens after a microdermabrasion?

Because at-home microdermabrasion products are often milder, don't expect dramatic results after a single application. Likewise, don't panic if you see mild redness, this should go away. The most important thing to keep in mind when doing an at-home microdermabrasion is to use sunscreen daily to protect the new skin. 

Have you ever tried microdermabrasion, whether at home or in a spa? How was your experience? Let's chat, shall we?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish. All opinions are my own.





Face the Facts: 4 Face-Washing Mistakes That May Be Causing Your Skin Problems

Most of us think washing our face is easy as pie. Lather with soap then rinse with water—and voila, you are done! In truth though, it is more than just a two-step process. Here are a few common face-washing mistakes that may be the culprit to your recurring skin problems, whether that is acne breakout, drying or skin redness.

Mistake #1: Not washing with the right water temperature. 

Similar to taking hot showers, washing the face with hot water can be drying to the skin. According to experts, unlike popular myths that cold or hot water closes or opens the pores, in truth, it doesn't. When you expose your face to extreme temperatures, you risk the chance of exacerbating skin problems like redness or rosacea. Instead, stick with lukewarm temperature to gently wash your face. 

NeoStrata's Foaming Glycolic Wash penetrates from within to unclog pores and clean the face.

NeoStrata's Foaming Glycolic Wash penetrates from within to unclog pores and clean the face.

Mistake #2: Not paying attention to product ingredients.

Next time you are in the beauty aisle or shopping for a new facial cleanser online, pay attention to ingredients. Certain ingredients may trigger an existing skin condition. For instance, you may want to pick a noncomedogenic product if you are prone to skin breakout. 

A good facial cleanser shouldn't be too gentle that it couldn't effectively remove makeup or grime, but not too harsh that it will irritate the skin. A good ingredient to look for is glycolic acid, which has long been a favored ingredient in many skin-care products.

Glycolic acid is a key ingredient in NeoStrata Foaming Wash, a pH-balanced facial cleanser I recently tried. I like how the product foams well during application, which results to a super-clean feeling after washing. But the real stars of the product are its 18 percent glycolic acid and two percent labtobionic acid. Don't be scared away by the word "acid." While it may sound harsh or irritating, glycolic acid is actually gentle enough but highly effective in cleansing and regenerating the skin because—of all the acids for skin care—it has the smallest molecule to effectively penetrate the skin. Of course, whenever you are using products with acids, whether that is alpha hydroxy (e.g. glycolic) or beta hydroxy (e.g. salicylic), you should always wear a good sunscreen protection daily to avoid sunburn.

Mistake #3: Regularly exfoliating using facial scrubs.

Once or twice a month is fine, but using facial scrubs too often may be doing more harm than good to your face. In general, it takes two to three weeks for new skin to resurface after exfoliating, so give your skin time to fully recover. Instead of regular exfoliation, I prefer to use cleansers like NeoStrata which gently unclogs pores so ugly blackheads are lifted without the need for harsh exfoliations.

It is also advisable to choose a cleanser according to your skin type. For instance, a dry skin could benefit from a cleanser with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, while oily or combination skin are better with foaming cleansers like the NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash.

Glycolic acid, a core ingredient in NeoStrata Foaming Wash, has the smallest molecule of all the acids in most skin-care products, so it penetrates the skin more effectively.

Glycolic acid, a core ingredient in NeoStrata Foaming Wash, has the smallest molecule of all the acids in most skin-care products, so it penetrates the skin more effectively.

Mistakes #4: Over-washing the face.

Yes, there is such a thing as too clean. Do not over-wash your face to keep skin from drying. One of the worst mistakes you can do is reusing a wash cloth—a damp used cloth is a breeding ground for bacteria. When drying, don't rub the skin. Instead, be gentle with a light pat using a clean towel. Finally, don't wait until later to add a moisturizer or sunscreen. Adding a moisturizer immediately after washing the face helps to lock moisture in so you get the full hydrating benefits of your moisturizer. After all, this is the whole point of a good cleanser—to properly prep your skin to the next step of your skin-care regimen. 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by NeoStrata Foaming Glycolic Wash. All opinions are my own. To know more about the benefits of glycolic acid or to purchase the product, visit neostrata.com.

Perfect Pout: 5 Rules to Long-Wearing Lipstick

With the weather warming up, I am gearing up to get beach-ready. Of course, the best part about living in the Sunshine State is that almost every day is beach-perfect! This weekend is no different, so our plans included a small dose of sun-worshipping at Redington Beach, a more laid-back alternative from the often tourist-packed beaches of Clearwater and St. Pete.

While I try to pack light, I never forget to bring the essentials—SPF 30 sunscreen, UV polarized sunglasses, a floppy beach hat and, of course, a water-proof lipstick. Being under the elements require a lipstick that stays put, so here are at least 5 rules when it comes to long-wearing lipstick.  

LipSense's long-wearing Precious Topaz is neutral with a hint of brown-orange.

LipSense's long-wearing Precious Topaz is neutral with a hint of brown-orange.

1. Find the right color that complements your skin tone.

In general, most people fall into one of the two categories: warm or cool. Those with a warm undertone tend to have a skin complexion with a shade of yellow, golden or olive. The veins on their wrists look more green. In contrast, those with a cool undertone have a fairer skin complexion and veins appear to look more blue in color.

My Asian skin falls under warm, so lip colors in shades of red, brown and orange tend to complement my skin the best. Of the many long-wearing lipstick brands out there, the color I'm obsessed with lately is LipSense's Precious Topaz, which gives a brownish-orange finish.

If you are a beauty addict, chances are, you've already read about or even tried LipSense. The smudge-proof, kiss-proof and water-proof lipstick has more than 70 shades to choose from, so there's always the right shade for your skin tone. Although I have yet to try mixing and blending different colors to create a unique shade, I can see the appeal of this technique as wearing a unique lip color speaks of style and individuality.

The LipSense Squad is a trio of moisturizing lip gloss, lip color and Ooops! Remover.

The LipSense Squad is a trio of moisturizing lip gloss, lip color and Ooops! Remover.

2. Start with a clean lip.

There's no need to overcomplicate lipstick application, but the golden rule is to start the process with healthy and clean lips. Ideally, keep the lip exfoliated so you are not applying on chapped or cracked lips.

LipSense's application sheet advises you to clean your lips with witch hazel first. I honestly haven't tried witch hazel, so I did a little research. According to webmd.com, witch hazel contains tannins and oils that help to reduce skin inflammation. It also contains antioxidants that help to protect the skin against sunburn—that sounds like the perfect product for any beach-lover!

I have to admit, upon my first application of LipSense, it left a slight stinging sensation on my dry and chapped lips. I have been warned that this could happen as the product tries to exfoliates the lips, so I didn't panic. The temporary stinging sensation is caused by cosmetic-grade ethanol, one of the key ingredients found in this long-wearing lipstick. Ethanol plays an anti-bacterial role to keep the tube applicator clean but it also exfoliates chapped lips. The end result? Lips as smooth as butter.

3. Define your lips with a lipliner.

Some makeup experts recommend skipping the lipliner when putting on long-wearing lipstick, but I find it less messy if I include a lipliner in my process. Starting with a lipliner helps to prevent any potential lipstick smearing. 

Because of its adhesive formulation, LipSense is not one you can simply swipe any stain away with a facial tissue. In fact, I'd run my finger across my lip after application and the color stays put, with no lipstick smear on my finger at all! This is both good and bad. Good because you are assured that the product will stay put even after a cup of Starbucks Unicorn Frap, a filling lunch and a serving of Carribean Way smoothie. Bad because it takes a little bit more effort to remove lipstick stain. 

The great thing about getting a LipSense Trio Squad is that, aside from the lip color and gloss, it includes an Ooops! Remover, which easily takes out the stains on the corners of the lip should you end up with a minor application faux-pas. I use the Ooops! Remover as part of my nightly routine to completely clean my lips of any lip color left.

Beach-bound! Heading to the beach requires packing a water-proof lipstick.

Beach-bound! Heading to the beach requires packing a water-proof lipstick.

4. Don't overdo it.

In my experience, most long-wearing liquid lipstick requires you to add several coats of lip color, but it could sometimes be tempting to add more than needed in the hopes that, the more layers, the longer the color lasts. Instead, two to three coats should be more than enough. This is especially true when applying LipSense since the product's formulation feels sticky, so adding too much layer could feel heavy. Instead, layer slowly and apply the lip color in a single direction. 

5. Finish off with a gloss. 

The real secret to long-wearing lipstick is in the gloss. Applying a lip gloss helps seal the color while moisturizing the lips. Most long-wearing lipstick brands leave the lips dry, which is why finishing off with a hydrating lip gloss is a must. As in the case of LipSense, the moisturizing gloss also accentuates the lip color's pigments, giving your lips a nice shimmer. Among the trio of products included in the squad, the gloss is my favorite! It doesn't have an overwhelming fragrance and glides well upon application. 

Overall, a long-wearing lipstick should last at least up to four hours without the need for re-application. The makers of LipSense claims it could last up to 18 hours! On this particular day in the beach though, the color didn't show any wear even after a good six hours into the day—despite being exposed under the sun, taking several sips of water and enjoying a delightful serving of Espresso ice cream to cool off from the heat. I only had to re-apply the lip gloss twice to keep my lips from getting extremely dry. And that's really the best part about a long-wearing lipstick—you apply it once, you forget about it the rest of the day!   

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LipSense. All opinions are my own. To purchase your own LipSense or inquire about its latest collections, email LipSense distributor Kyan Wolfe at kyanmontana@gmail.com, join her Facebook Group or send a direct message on Instagram.