In our endless journey for super soft skin, we jumped on the sheet mask trend without a second thought.
Sheet masks were so easy. So accessible. Plus they made us look like scary ghosts, which is always a plus.
But it turns out our sheet mask obsession may not be as pure and wonderful as we previously thought.
Racked has carried out an in-depth investigation and report on the sheet mask industry, and what they found is kind of worrying. Their discoveries raise serious concerns over the way sheet masks are made, and whether the sheet masks we buy are really safe and clean enough to place on our faces.
Racked explains that many popular Korean sheet mask brands have their sheet masks folded by people, not by sanitised machines.
The folding process often happens in homes, rather than in factories, with women in South Korea paid to work from their homes in an effort to save money.
The issue with this way of making products? The manufacturing process isn’t necessarily clean, safe, or properly regulated.
Racked notes a set of photos from this year, showing a piece of cardboard being used repeatedly as a folding guide. They point to cases of customers finding dirt and hairs in their masks, or experiencing skin reactions because of bacteria build up or contamination of mainstream South Korean masks.
There’s even been a case in which someone opened their sheet mask and discovered an insect inside.
The manufacturing process also raises ethical concerns, primarily over the poor working conditions of the women involved in sheet masks’ production.
This isn’t just happening when it comes to tiny brands, to be clear. An unnamed source told Weekly DongA that the top 15 sheet mask brands are folded by hand.
So, now that we know this slightly concerning information, what should we do?
The best idea at the moment is to stick to sheet masks made in the UK by major brands, rather than buying South Korean masks online.
Hopefully mass outrage and worry will make major Asian sheet mask brands change their practices. But in the meantime, be careful, buy from reputable companies only, and don’t put a sheet mask on your face if it looks or smells strange. Stay safe, kids.