Four days. It took four days to find sunscreen in Barbados. Although my décolletage was peeling like a reptile, I was in complete bliss. I vacationed in Barbados for eight days, lounging on the beach, trekking through random fields, and drinking rum punch like it’s water. As my first trip since launching Melanglow, I figured this would be a great opportunity to use sheet masks.
Originated in Korea, sheet masks are cloth, paper, fiber, and fermented coconut juice bio-cellulose (bacterial cellulose) saturated in a solution similar to a serum or essence chock-full with moisturizing ingredients. They are convenient for travel if you are concerned with losing, spilling, or having to discard your full-size products at TSA. After reading about how dry cabin air (humidity below 40%) on an airplane can wreak havoc on your skin, I spent days reading product reviews before heading to Sephora, Sprouts, and Target to stock up on sheet masks.
When shopping for skin care products, antioxidants are at the core of my products. Humectants are great, but glycerin and aloe should not be the highlight of any products. I can purchase those on aisle 12 at my local HEB. I understand cosmetic chemistry is more complex than that but, hey, those are my standards; we all have them. I’m all about fighting free radicals, and since I mistakenly assumed that sunscreen would be readily available in Barbados, these sheet masks were perfect for keeping my skin in check.
Before applying a sheet mask, you must wash your face, because ingredients absorb the best on clean skin. How do you wash your face on a plane? I used Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Facial Wipes. Surprisingly, this thoroughly removed oil and debris without stripping my face, which was not the same experience I had as a teenager with other brands. There was a slight tingling sensation but no burn. These wipes certainly came in handy when we were outdoors for eight hours (riding the bus, exploring plantations, and being pummeled by waves), but that will be a separate review coming soon. Now let’s get into these sheet masks!
Transit: 2.5 hr. ✈️ from Austin to Ft. Lauderdale
Spotlight ingredients: None, but let me explain before you start judging me.
I fell prey to marketing claims on the packaging. You know I complain about my skin feeling like bacon fat on reserve, so I was curious when I read “mattifying and anti-blemish.” I had an itch and I don’t regret scratching it. This fiber mask was quite enjoyable. I left it on for the duration of the Lemonade visual album and was left with mattified yet moisturized skin. I’ve had bad experiences with mattifying products leaving my skin chalky and dull, but this provided a nice balance. The Sephora Green Tea Face Mask Mattifying and Anti-blemish sheet mask was soothing and minimized shine like it claims, but would I repurchase? Only if I need to apply makeup on the go and my primer is nowhere to be found.
Transit: 3 hr. ✈️ from Ft. Lauderdale to Bridgetown, Barbados
Spotlight ingredients: Salicylic Acid 0.5% (anti-inflammatory exfoliant), Propanediol (increases product penetration), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water (astringent), Glycerin Sorbitol (humectant), Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract (antioxidant), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract (soothing antioxidant), Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract (antioxidant), Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) (antioxidant + vitamin E), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract (soothing exfoliant), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (soothing antioxidant)
Our flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Bridgetown, Barbados departed at 7:35am and I was exhausted, especially after staying up to watch Queen Sugar. I’m never too drowsy to wash my face, so that happened, but I was committed to giving my face some extra love, especially since we were travelling abroad. I left this on until the mask dried, which surpassed the instructed 10 min. mark. It tingled on contact and after removing, my skin felt soft and rejuvenated. The solution leaves yours skin slightly sticky, so I did not follow up with a moisturizer in fear of an adverse reaction. Plus, I had not washed my hands thoroughly with soap and water. Repurchase? Yes.
A photo posted by Yes To, Inc. (@yestocarrots) on
Daytime activity: Harrison’s Cave Tour + Bathsheba Beach
Spotlight ingredients: Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice (humectant), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water (astringent), Glycerin (humectant), Propanediol Sorbitol (increases product penetration), Charcoal Powder (absorbent), Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Fruit Extract (conditioning agent), Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract (soothing agent), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant)
It was day four and we finally found sunscreen at the Harrison’s Cave Tour Visitor Center. A few days prior, we were standing at a bus stop for an hour with no shelter, and as you could imagine, our chests and shoulders were blazing the next morning. To see sunscreen in the gift shop was a blessing, miracle even. I did pack my facial moisturizer with SPF 15, but that was clearly a poor choice.
To help my face recover from our first few days, I used the Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask when we returned to our guesthouse. This black sheet mask is similar in texture to the Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Facial Wipes. I wanted to ensure I could remove toxins and impart moisture and this did the trick. There was no sign of irritation and my skin felt moisturized enough for me to roll over and go to sleep. Repurchase? Yes.
When Snow Magic Sheet Mask, $7
Daytime activity: St. Nicholas Abbey Tour + Farley Hill National Park
Spotlight ingredients: Aqua (Water), Butylene glycol (increases product penetration), Glycerin, Niacinamide (brightening antioxidant), Chamomilla recutita flower water (antioxidant), Aloe barbadensis leaf extract (humectant), Citrus grandis seed extract (vitamin C, antioxidant), Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), Gentiana lutea root extract (soothing antioxidant), Panax ginseng extract (conditioning agent)
I used this product last year and snagged at my local Sephora. Same as my first experience, this gel mask fit well on my face. Niacinamide as the fourth ingredient is what immediately drew me to try this mask. In addition to that blemish fighting antioxidant, this product also contained vitamin C to help fight free radicals and hyaluronic acid to intensify hydration. This mask certainly leaves my skin more supple than the rest and will always be up for repurchase for my next international trip.
Daytime activity: Browns beach and turtle tour
Spotlight ingredients: Water, Glycerin (humectant), Niacinamide (brightening antioxidant), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (emollient), Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate (protein protectant), Chondrus Crispus (antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (increases product penetration), Phenyl Trimethicone (emollient), PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (emollient), Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (soothing antioxidant), Allantoin (soothing agent)
Hands down this is the most hydrating mask of the bunch. I attribute this to the coconut bio-cellulose sheet. This mask is divided into two sections: one for the upper ⅔ of your face and the other for the jaw region for better adhesion. I was drawn to this product, because of the licorice root extract and niacinamide, two ingredients that are also in the Astrida Naturals Mulberry and Licorice Brightening Facial Serum. I saved my most anticipated masks for the later part of my trip to combat all of the the free radicals damage from the cumulative sun exposure and this left my skin feeling rejuvenated. Definite repurchase.
Daytime activity: Transit: 3 hr. ✈️ from Barbados to Ft. Lauderdale
Spotlight ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice (humectant), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) (astringent), Sodium Hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), Vegetable Glycerin (humectant), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil (emollient), Salix Alba (Willow Bark) Extract (soothing agent), Bisabolol (soothing agent), Allantoin (soothing agent), Tocopherol (Vitamin E) (antioxidant), Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts (antioxidant), Ethylhexylglycerin (conditioning agent)
Although I do not have large pores or blackheads on my face, I knew that I could use some detoxing after days of relentless sweating from our daily excursions. Most of the ingredients were familiar and I love Andalou Naturals, so I bought it out of curiosity. If your skin is sensitive to salicylic acid and vitamin C, this mask is a great option. It’s all about the moisture. The combination of the witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin help to balance my oily skin without dehydrating it. Repurchase? Yes.
Daytime activity: Lunch in Florida
Spotlight ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Sodium Hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), Vegetable Glycerin (humectant), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil (antioxidant), Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) (antioxidant), Tamarindus Indica (Tamarind) Extract (anti-inflammatory), Bisabolol (soothing agent), Allantoin (soothing agent), Tocopherol (Vitamin E) (antioxidant), Hibiscus Sabdariffa and Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extracts (antioxidant), Ethylhexylglycerin (conditioning agent)
Similar to the When mask, I tried this mask a few months before my vacation and was ready to give it another go. A few days prior to use, I extracted a pimple that was growing out of control between my eye and the bridge of my noise (I know, I know). In order to counteract the anti-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, I reached for this mask, because I always get great results from the Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlightening Serum. Same ingredients? No. Similar ingredients? Yes. The tamarind extract and vitamin C gave me confidence that the post inflammatory hyperpigmentation would be little or any.
I am convinced that these masks are the reason my face did not peel or severely breakout during and after my vacation. The moisture from the glycerin and hyaluronic acid kept my skin balanced while the antioxidants effectively reduced the potential for sunburn. I will continue to travel with sheet masks, especially for long flights and outdoor activities.
Have you used sheet masks? What were your expectations and your experience? What are your favorite travel skin care products?