How incredibly hyped up has Korean skincare been in the past few years? I’m sure Korean women are laughing their heads off at the rest of the world; they’ve been using incredible products for years, and now suddenly everyone else is going wild for their long-time favorites. And while the market of options for American consumers continues to grow, I decided to dip my toe into the giant pool that is Korean skincare and grab a few sheet masks to try out. I am a moderate supporter of sheet masks; they have their positive sides, however I (being an old-school kind of girl) enjoy the satisfaction of spreading a nice creamy or mud-based mask on my face by hand, and waiting for it to work its magic. But for all you gals – and guys – out there who maybe don’t have the time to put into it, or just don’t want to deal with the mess, sheet masks could be your BFFs.

While I was doing a Target run the other day (we all do those, right?) I was walking down the skincare aisle and noticed the newly expanded sheet mask section. Among the field of choices were the masks from Mizon, a high-quality brand that is widely available, not only in Target stores, but also on Amazon and of course the Korean Beauty hub Peach & Lily. While there was a generous selection, I picked up three that interested me the most; the Lift Up mask with collagen, the Firming Mask with Pomegranate, and the Calming Mask with Lavender. At around $3.50 a piece, it was an easy sell; if they worked, it would be a total steal. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t feel like I had particularly been ripped off.

I began with the Lift Up mask with collagen. I thought this would be a good place to start, as I am in my 40s now and it’s around that age that the natural collagen in our skin begins to break down, making things a little less than lackluster. The first thing I noticed about these masks is that they are saturated. I have used plenty of sheet masks in  my time, all containing varying amounts of the formula in question, and while I appreciate having a generous amount in the package, this one was loaded. Fortunately the consistency of the liquid was such that it wasn’t dripping all over the place, but it was a bit of a challenge just hanging onto the mask to unfold and apply it. The second item of notice was the fragrance; the mask does have a fragrance, but it is so mild that not only would it not be an issue for my sensitive skin folks out there, but I’m not even certain I can describe what the fragrance is. So that was nice to know, as I am also the proud owner of some sensitive skin myself. I was interested to see that the instructions on the back of the package were in Korean. Somehow in my twisted little mind that lends the product some authenticity to me. However, I feel like most people won’t need to be concerned with the language barrier, as A) it’s a sheet mask, and we all pretty much know how to use one, and B) they took the courtesy of providing a label of extra instructions in English as well. Thanks Mizon!

So after leaving the mask on for the prescribed 10 minutes or so, I removed it and massaged in the remaining formula. I’m happy to report that unlike some others I’ve used, this mask didn’t constantly try to slide down my face. Some masks are too heavy to be really effective, and you’re constantly struggling to keep it in place without having to remain completely motionless the entire time. And the actual formula was absorbed by my skin nicely, it wasn’t sticky or unpleasant at all. Did my skin feel tighter or more lifted? Well…not necessarily tighter. But id did feel really good; my skin felt really smooth and looked calmer and brighter. I feel like the whole “lifting” effect is something that would require repeated use of this particular formula, which I wouldn’t be opposed to.

I also applied the Firming mask with pomegranate, with similar results. The fragrance was more present in this one, but still not to any level that would be a problem for those with sensitive skin. I was expecting it to be somewhat fruity (i.e., pomegranate), but instead it was faintly rose-scented; not unpleasant, just surprising. The texture of the formula and the results afterward were similar to the collagen mask. And while I feel like some of it may have been psychological, it did seem like my skin felt noticeably firmer. I determined to reserve the Calming mask for a day when my skin was feeling particularly red or irritated, which does sometimes happen for me.

Final thoughts? Mizon sheet masks are more than worth the price. After having tried masks from Sephora, Yes To and other brands, I feel like these are masks I will repurchase, not only for their affordability, but for their compatibility with my sensitive skin. If you haven’t yet explored this (or any other) Korean beauty products, I recommend that you do. I will definitely be buying up other items in the future – although I will continue to apply my more traditional masks, too!