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Skin care has been an integral part of hygiene and health. With increasing consciousness about beauty and skin care regimen, there has been a boom in the area of facial cosmetics. The focus has been on aspects such as exfoliation, deep pore cleansing, detanning, moisturizing, rejuvenating, etc. Time paucity and the urge for instant results have led consumers to look for products that are safe, and can provide the desired effect with profound efficacy in short durations. This has led to the invention of products such as face packs and face masks. Face masks have evolved into different forms based on the skin type and desired end use.

With the increasing interest of consumers towards products that comprise natural ingredients and are free of synthetic chemicals, different mechanisms involving bioactives have been sought. Bioactives such as herbal ingredients, vitamins, proteins, minerals, growth factors, probiotics, and therapeutic agents such as CBD, are being incorporated into face masks to endow them with properties such as moisturizing, exfoliating, lightening etc.

sheet face masks


Some of the well known types of facial masks are rinse‐off masks, peel‐off masks, hydrogel masks, and sheet masks.1

Rinse-off masks are face packs that are applied to the skin and rinsed off upon drying. Rinse-off masks are of different types, such as moisturizing, cleansing, toning, exfoliating, waxy, and mud masks. However, rinse-off masks may render uneven texture and results, as it involves manual application of the material on the face by the user.

Peel-off masks are masks that are formed as a film on the skin and can later be easily peeled off. These masks work by gently removing the outermost layer of skin to relieve dullness and dead skin, clear out pores, and remove acne-causing dirt and bacteria.2 However, most of the peel‐off masks are based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) or polyvinyl acetate (PVAc), which cause occlusion and tensor effect.

Hydrogel masks are masks comprising 3D networks of polymers that have the ability to absorb/ lock in water. This ability to lock in moisture enables achieving moisturizing effect upon application on skin. Silk sericin embedded in nanocellulose, when applied as a facial mask, exhibits proper biological features for facial treatment. Hydrogel masks also tend to be infused with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, making them incredibly hydrating and effective.3 Though skincare hydrogel masks provide good moisturization, they lack nutrition. Also, biopolymers such as Kappa-carrageenan, xanthan gum, guar gum, pectin, alginate, cellulose, gelatin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and chitosan, used in cosmetic applications in hydrogel form, may render the disadvantages of irritation, allergic sensitivity, inflammation, poor gelling ability, foul smell and poor compatibility with a hydrophobic polymer matrix.

The surge in the numerous sheet mask products in the market may be attributed to the need for products devoid of the demerits associated with the rinse-off masks, peel-off masks and hydrogel masks.

Sheet masks

Sheet masks3, 4 are fast gaining dominance, due to the ability to achieve desired results in a short time of 10 – 20 mins, ease of application, adaptability and ease of carrying, amongst other aspects. Sheet masks render benefits such as hydrating, balancing, moisturizing, calming and brightening the skin. The trend originated in South Korea. Unlike the paste-based face masks, sheet masks don’t dry out, keeping the skin supple and hydrated.

Materials frequently used for the manufacture of the face mask sheets to carry nutrients or bioactives are non-woven fabric, cotton, microfiber, cupra, tencel, pulp, lyocell, hydrogels and biocellulose.5,6 Sheet masks are extremely thin face-shaped sheets soaked in nourishing serum comprising nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, probiotics, cannabidiol (CBD), etc., depending on the desired end result.

Research suggests that skin care products with prebiotics and probiotics help in restoring skin microbes into balance. Probiotics used topically help in treating skin conditions including eczema, acne, dry skin, and even wrinkles, and skin cancer risk linked to UV damage. L’Oreal sponsored studies show that Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Vitreoscilla are a few live probiotic extracts with various benefits for skin health.7 The topical probiotics form a protective barrier as they sit between the skin’s surface and the toxins.8

Some of the commercially available sheet masks are presented below.

SK-II Pitera Facial Treatment Mask9 is a probiotic mask based on Pitera – fermented yeast harvested from Sake production – which includes a blend of vitamins, amino acids and minerals, to render brightening and anti-aging properties. The brand’s cult sheet masks help erase fine lines and dark spots, thus creating a soft, luminous complexion, and work to tackle large pores, oiliness and uneven skin tone.

Taiki Probiotic sheet masks10 promote healthy microbiomes by delivering probiotic extracts to the skin. Taiki has filed a patent application (JP2005185391A) that discloses a cosmetic sheet impregnated with microbial fermentation metabolites such as bifido bacteria derived from lactic acid. This helps in moisturizing and reducing skin sensitivity. The sheet mask’s delivery system for probiotic application provides higher occlusion and higher efficacy than regular probiotic-containing moisturizers.

Moia Elixirs CBDerma-Repair Nano-Fiber Mask11 is a 100% biodegradable CBD-infused mask with patented nanofibre technology. This features CBD, vitamins C and E, hyaluronic acid and PHA gluconolactone within the nanofibers to provide long-term hydration, smoothen skin, prevent wrinkles and improve elasticity. This cannabidiol-infused nanofiber face mask activates on contact with water and reportedly has 97% absorption.

Go Green Hemp, a CBD-product retail brand, introduced a cellulose Tencel CBD-Infused face mask12 that comprises hemp oil elements and is free of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), to promote healthy hydrated skin. The CBD antioxidants work to undo skin damage from external parameters such as pollution and sun. This mask is made of natural cellulose, a fully biodegradable material, with increased breathability that has 50 percent greater moisture absorption than cotton. It is particularly ideal for sensitive skin.

BIOEFFECT’s Imprinting Hydrogel Mask13, a deeply soothing and hydrating face mask, is specifically designed to deliver intense moisturization and maximize the efficacy of Barley epidermal growth factor (EGF) in BIOEFFECT serums and treatments. The process of delivering EGF to skin cells and activating them is known as imprinting.

Dr. Jart Dermask Vital Hydra Solution Deep Hydration Sheet Mask14, contains a patented ingredient derived from plant glucose and xylitol for hydration and reinforcement of skin via moisture. It replenishes and protects vital moisture in the skin. As it is made of fine cellulose fiber, the mask allows the pores to fully absorb the essential nutrients and moisturizing ingredients for an ultimate hydration therapy.

CRYO RUBBER™ FIRMING COLLAGEN MASK15, from Dr. Jart, is a rubber mask made by a patented manufacturing method (KR101761228 from HAVE & BE CO LTD which was acquired by Estee lauder). The patent discloses an attachable sheet-type cosmetic rubber mask comprising a gelled polymer, a polyhydric alcohol, a functional additive, an auxiliary gelling agent, and water. This firming two-step rubber mask inspired by cryotherapy lowers the skin’s temperature to increase blood flow and absorption of powerful active ingredients for a radiant, healthy-looking complexion. The hydrating rubber mask wraps the skin to prevent active ingredients from evaporating, allowing for more complete penetration. The collagen present in this mask helps smoothen fine lines and wrinkles, and increases firmness while the Carob Fruit extract stimulates skin’s natural collagen production.

This mask is for all skin types experiencing loss of firmness/elasticity, fine lines & wrinkles, and puffiness.

Sephora’s Starskin The Diamond Mask16, an easy-to-use coconut bio-cellulose sheet mask soaked in rich, creamy serum, leaves the skin bright and luminous. The soothing primrose extract, naturally fermented coconut juice, and superfine diamond dust combine to illuminate dull skin while the exquisite emerald and tourmaline extracts re-energize the skin, and the antioxidant-rich white mulberry bark perfects the skin tone.

AKIMIA’s Electronica Microcurrent Sheet Mask17, a dry semi-gel sheet mask with integrated battery, was launched in Singapore in July 2020. The mask utilizes iontophoresis through printed battery technology that enables iontophoretic transdermal delivery of the serum’s active ingredients via electrorepulsion. The printed battery is activated when it comes into contact with the mask’s essence, allowing the serum to be transferred to a deeper layer of the skin. The microcurrent opens up cell barriers to ensure deeper penetration, promote skin recovery and boost hydration levels.


With the introduction of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 3D printing, companies have been offering new experiences to end users.18

Neutrogena MaskiD19, 20

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.’s top skincare brand Neutrogena unveiled the Neutrogena MaskiD, a personalized skincare product, at the Consumer Electronics Showcase (CES) in Las Vegas in 2019. This 3D printed sheet mask (US10842242B2) is powered by user data to deliver highest clinical efficacy. The idea for the personalized product started with the 2018 launch of the Neutrogena Skin360. The smartphone-enabled tool allows consumers to understand their skin at a deeper level by measuring the skin’s health by recording metrics including pore size, fine lines, and moisture levels. Neutrogena MaskiD works by using proprietary algorithms. Personalization with the Neutrogena MaskiD starts with the shape of the mask itself, wherein  the user simply snaps a selfie with a smartphone 3D camera, to create a precise, multi-dimensional map of their face and the exact measurements and shape of their nose, space between the eyes, lips, and other unique physical characteristics. Then, this personalized data from the Neutrogena Skin 360™ system creates the virtual equivalent and a knowledgeable dermatologist analyzes the skin’s needs and suggests what ingredients will be most beneficial and where. Finally, using a proprietary 3D printing process, high-efficacy ingredients are printed onto a custom-fit hydrogel mask on the exact zones of the mask where the greatest benefit for the individual is to be delivered.


Custom 3D Face Mask from Amorepacific21

Amorepacific launched a 3D-printed customized face mask. Amorespecific’s patent KR101923420B1 discloses a customized mask pack-manufacturing system comprising a means for acquiring user information for collecting the photograph of a user’s face; a means of diagnosis that generates 3D diagnostic data representing skin features on a 3D facial shape by reflecting the diagnostic data on the user′s skin extracted from the photograph on a 3D model shaped out of the sample, and creating data to process a mask pack base, and mapping data to apply various functional substances corresponding to the diagnostic data to the mask pack base; and a mask pack production unit producing the mask pack in line with the mapped data.

An app prompts scanning the face, securely recording the facial measurements, serving up a 2D design based on the recorded data, and then printing a 3D mask using a liquid-type hydrogel material. Specific functional ingredients are used for different parts of the skin, i.e., the ingredients that are tailor-made to suit the needs of the skin of each area. For example, a mask could contain a hydrating formula in the forehead region, an anti-aging formula for under eyes, and ingredients to even out the skin tone around the cheeks.

Celderma Undermask22, launched in South Korea in March 2021, is a cooling and soothing patch designed to be worn under a facial mask. The patch is designed to be sufficiently covered by a facial PPE mask, allowing access to skin so that it can be managed throughout the day. It is claimed to be effective in preventing troubles caused by facial mask-wearing, with Allantoin and tea tree to calm skin, and hydrogel for an instant cooling effect.


Societe Rejuvenating Peptide Mask23 is made of hydrolyzed collagen, acetyl hexapeptide 8 and Chamomile flower extract for regenerative, smooth, fine line and wrinkle-free skin. This is a unique formulation of peptides and plant-based stem cells, which helps in hydrating dry and stressed skin.

Just as for women, there are face masks that are designed to cater to the faces of men. Men have up to 25% thicker skin than women, along with more oil glands and larger pores. Hence, different ingredients/ formulations may be employed for achieving good results.

HETIME – Revitalizing & Hydrating Face Mask24 is a sheet face mask designed for men. It is a biodegradable cellulose fiber sheet mask for skin care, and is claimed to be vegan, phthalate-free, silicon-free, paraben-free, and non-carcinogenic. It is specifically shaped and formulated for men to fit men’s faces, and to revitalize and hydrate them. The desired effect is achieved through its formulation comprising Moringa leaf extract, cedar oil, and Baobab tree oil as the main ingredients. It is also packed with vitamins and antioxidants to purify and restore skin.


Interestingly, research on sheet masks has attracted extensive collaborations, of which a few are presented below.

In 2014, L’Oréal acquired Magic Holdings International (MG), and set up the first Mask Research and Development Centre in China. With the support of advanced research & technology from L’Oréal, MG has been a leader in the market with first-to-market innovations, including the Fresh-mix Mask and Milk Whitening Mask.25

Grand Fan Group, a China based supplier of hair, body wash and care brands, acquired the Cicabel brand from French manufacturer, Santinov in 2017. CICABEL unveiled a peptide-based facial mask based on Santinov’s bio-medical technology in August 2017.26 The CICABEL Mask is a three-step revitalizing and hydration face mask set using stem cells as the principal component. This mask activates skin stem cells, and provides nutrition that penetrates deep into the dermis and promotes the regeneration of new cells, thus delivering an in-depth replenishment effect.

Amorepacific acquired Cube Me, a provider of collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamins, in 2019, and launched its brand Laneige. The leading Korean beauty company has also announced the release of its Lab Tailored 3D Mask, as it boosts its luxury portfolio through a partnership with Rationale Group.27 Amorepacific has also announced the purchase of a minority share in Australian luxury skincare company Rationale Group.

Some recent interesting patent publications are presented here.

  • US10631616B2 from The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. is directed to a sheet pack comprising an absorbent layer impregnated with a treatment composition containing ingredient(s) that activate period genes. These ingredients when topically applied to skin, stimulate a gene that is variably expressed over a 24-hour period in native untreated skin cells. Cichoric acid, peptides, and ingredients that are activators of the cellular autophagy process through stimulation or inhibition of various cellular preferably keratinocyte metabolic pathways, have been proposed to act as activators of homolog genes (PER1, 2, and 3), Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput (CLOCK), Chryptochrome Circadian Clock 1 or 1 (CRY1, 2), and Brain and Muscle Arylhydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator (BMAL). Genes such as MAP-LC3, ATG5-12, protein p53, AMPK, or DRAM genes are stimulated by the activators. This patent also discloses that the pack is provided along with clear user instructions to topically apply the sheet pack to the skin at a time when the gene that is stimulated by the ingredient is being maximally expressed in native untreated skin cells. Also, this sheet mask can be cut into a variety of configurations suitable for application to the face. This may be a one-piece mask that covers the entire facial surface, or may comprise various smaller pieces that can be placed at desired strategic areas such as under the eyes, around the mouth, or on dry areas of skin.
  • KR102216077B1 from Choi Mi Young discloses a mask pack having a phototherapy function. The mask pack emits light from a light source, the light being of high emission intensity at a specific wavelength of 380 nm to 780 nm, thereby providing acne care, anti-aging, whitening, skin regeneration, wrinkle improvement, and skin tone improvement.
  • WO2021/071365A1 from Revolution Fibres discloses a nanofibre matrix comprising of a polysaccharide and a plant or herbal extract that includes CBD as an ingredient. This nanofiber sheet is processed into different shapes and applied to different areas of the skin. The nanofibre matrix, with functional ingredients includes aloe vera extract, thyme extract, elderflower extract, sage extract, rosemary extract, and cannabinoid extract.
  • US20210169759A1 from JLABS BEAUTY LLC. discloses topical compositions containing rose oil and cannabidiol incorporated in sheet masks.


Among the different types of masks available, the sheet mask appears to be the most attractive due to its ease of application, high efficacy, and visible instant results. Ingredients coupled with smart technologies are being launched by innovative companies, resulting in innovative products. AI and 3D printing are likely to find increasing use in personalized face masks, as demands from consumers for such products increase. In future, sheet masks designed to create a positive impact on consumers’ mental health may also become the preferred choice of consumers. With more and more products entering the market in the men’s beauty segment, novel sheet mask products for men too are expected to be launched in the near future.


  1. _cosmeceutical_facial_mask


  • This document has been created for educational and instructional purposes only
  • Copyrighted materials used have been specifically acknowledged
  • We claim the right of fair use as ascertained by the author


Dr. P. Lakshmi Santhi
Mr. Tulasiram Tankam
Ms. Vasudha Kasibhatla
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