Cheekbone Beauty – Sustainable by Nature, New Brand Alert!

Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded, digitally-native, Canadian cosmetics company established in 2016. Based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, Cheekbone Beauty is known for creating high quality, cruelty-free beauty products including their signature SUSTAIN line of lipsticks and eye pencils, their Warrior Women liquid lipsticks, and a variety of other cosmetics all designed for low environmental impact and maximum wearability.

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #68 series on my blog.

Keeping in line with her Anishinaabe roots, Jenn launched a less-waste line of lipsticks in 2020, SUSTAIN Lipstick. Cheekbone’s aim is to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous youth through donations addressing the educational funding gap, and to create a space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and seen.

“Giving back to our community is the centrepiece of Cheekbone’s mission. Our streams of giving include product donations, monetary donations, or project-focused donations.”

To date, Cheekbone Beauty has donated more than $150,000 to a wide variety of causes. These include Shannen’s Dream and the FNCFCS, the Navajo Water Project, One Tree Planted, and a variety of non-profit organizations across North America. As Cheekbone Beauty grows, so do their charitable goals. True to their roots, Cheekbone’s definition of success is not based on what you attain for yourself, but instead in what you give back to your community.

The true impact of the brand is felt through the communications they receive from customers; the emails, DM’s and conversation with Indigenous youth that signify the fulfillment of their mission of representation.

THE FOUNDER

Jenn Harper has been making a name for Cheekbone Beauty in the beauty industry for a number of years but has been gaining popularity quickly after being on the hit CBC show, Dragons Den. Cheekbone Beauty is helping Indigenous youth see themselves in a beauty brand. Throughout her life, Jenn struggled to accept her Indigenous roots. She was estranged from her Indigenous family for much of her child and adult life. After learning about her grandmother’s experience in residential schools, she understood how her family was affected by generational trauma. This drove her to understand and overcome her own struggle with alcoholism. Today, Jenn works on product development and innovation with the Cheekbone Beauty chemist and sustainability experts to reimagine beauty products, starting with raw ingredients all the way to how all products are packaged.

Learn more by following their brand journey on Instagram @cheekbonebeauty 💚

SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSPARENCY

Integrity and Honesty is one of Cheekbone Beauty’s core values. They pride themselves for being radically transparent about their business, partners and especially ingredients. In addition to the efforts below, they are always researching new ways to continue the sustainability journey & to respect people and planet.

CLEAN BEAUTY STANDARDS

Feel safe knowing their products are created without harmful or controversial ingredients.

INGRIDIENTS

  • Sourced locally where possible
  • If not local, sourced from manufacturers that can prove they respect the environment and provide good working conditions for their employees
  • Biobased
  • Plant-based
  • Principles of Green Chemistry
  • Fair Trade
  • Not tested on animals
  • Vegan
  • Meet the clean standards set forth by CREDO and EWG and Sephora
  • Developing in-house ‘Cheekbone’s Biinad Standards’

PACKAGING

  • Compostable
  • Biodegradable
  • Plantable (seed paper)
  • Post-Consumer Resins (PCR) material
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified paper
  • Refillable
  • Reusable
  • Vegetable based inks
  • Polylactic Acid (PLA) material

TRANSPORTATION & SHIPPING

  • Items coming from manufacturers oversees are sent by boat rather than air
  • Standard mail used to ship all orders within Canada and US unless otherwise specified by the customer
  • Customer paper-box mailers are recyclable and FSC certified
  • Poly mailers come from 100% recycled materials

SHOP LIPS

SHOP EYES

SHOP FACE

SHOP TOOLS

SHOP AT SEPHORA
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Jessica Alba Was Ahead Of Her Time In Clean Beauty

The beauty industry has a bad habit of labeling actual change—eliminating harmful ingredients or including actual representation in imagery—as trends. Clean beauty has become a casualty of this phenomenon, which is only emphasized when brands use vague terms and greenwash their products, despite a lack of commitment to true sustainability. Hopefully, this “fad” is here to stay, with consumers continuing to demand higher quality and more eco-friendly beauty products. However, as “green beauty” is being hailed as the new cool thing, Jessica Alba and the Honest Company were one the first brands to pave the way for innovation in the space.

“No one had even heard of the word ‘non-toxic’,” Jessica Alba told ELLE.com, as she discussed the founding of her brand. Started in 2011, The Honest Company–and its later brand, Honest Beauty, which launched in 2015–were emphasizing healthy ingredients and sustainable packaging before these were common PR-manufactured buzzwords.

“Back in the day, when I wanted everything to be in packaging that’s super sustainable, it just didn’t exist,” says Alba. Prior to new innovations in the field, options for a beauty line that also cared for the environment and health of its consumers were incredibly limited. Looking back at where the state of clean beauty was just a few years ago, Alba remarks, “How is this both expensive and terrible?”

Welcome to Artist Spotlight #62 series on my blog.

Luckily, the market has come a long way, and Alba’s company has been at the forefront. Now, cartons that house Honest Beauty products are 100% recyclable or compostable, and completely tree-free. “There are no trees that are harmed,” quipped Alba. Aluminum tubes, tin compacts, and refillable jars are being implemented for customer favorite products, and all orders from Honest.com are now carbon-neutral. And that’s just a snapshot of the changes the brand is implementing, now that more options are available.

Despite having a head start on the conversation surrounding sustainability in the beauty industry, it can still feel like an uphill battle. Along with pricey product stability testing, figuring out the best way to streamline production, and making sure the consumer had the best experience with the products, another major obstacle was raising the bar of manufacturing partners, who create the components for the brand. “They even had to implement new machinery that they didn’t have before, in order to fill our products in the more sustainable packaging,” says Alba. The goal, besides making products for Honest Beauty, was to create an infrastructure “so that they can offer it at more accessible prices to more companies, including us.” 

Along with new packaging and sustainability goals, Honest Beauty is continuing to create new products that combine efficacy with its planet-centered goals. Their new Daily Defense Collection, which launched on July 19th, features a waterless cleanser, purifying toner, and setting spray, and was created to be integrated into anyone’s daily routine. And like the rest of their line, all these products were created with a focus on sustainability. 

While the goal may be to become one hundred percent green, there is still so much work ahead. Continuing to invest time and money into creating and innovating clean alternatives–and make them available to as many brands as possible–isn’t a goal that can be checked off easily. And yet, it’s essential to keep working towards it, even when small changes may feel feeble. As Alba puts it, “This is just common sense. You should just care about your planet, the ocean, people’s health.” 

And as more beauty brands feel the pressure to address their consumers’ demands for cleaner, more sustainable beauty, the more it’s apparent that Alba and Honest Beauty were ahead of their time.

“We’ve always cared about this stuff,” says Alba. “It’s just, the marketplace has finally caught up to us.”

SHOP HONEST BEAUTY

ELLE article

The Best Face SPFs For Every Skin Type

You will have heard it a million times before: wearing a face SPF every day is key to healthy – and healthy-looking — skin. A good sunscreen blocks the harmful effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, which wreak havoc on the health of our skin and its cells, leading to decreased collagen and elasticity, fine lines, pigmentation, and an increased risk of skin cancer if an SPF is not used. 

Historically, SPFs have been sticky and greasy, quick to clog pores, and prone to imparting a grey hue over darker skin tones. The good news is that now, thanks to much-improved formulas and innovative technology, there are plenty of facial sunscreens that protect your skin while also being a pleasure to use. Look for formulas that have both UVA and UVB protection (find out more about sun protection here), a minimum of SPF 30, and a formula that suits your skin’s specific needs. 

Another factor to consider in your sunscreen selection is its effect on the environment. While the science around exactly how damaging sunscreen is to our oceans is inconclusive, what ingredients should we be looking out for to make the best choice possible? Here, the marine biologist Professor Cinzia Corinaldesi from the Università Politecnica delle Marche and Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist at Skin55, provides a five-step guide.

Avoid oxybenzone and octinoxate

The main chemicals to watch out for are oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are commonly used in sunscreen to absorb UV light. “We [have] demonstrated that oxybenzone, octinoxate and enzacamene caused complete coral bleaching even at very low concentrations,” says Professor Corinaldesi. Octocrylene is another chemical that’s potentially harmful to marine life, with the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory compiling a handy list of the ingredients we should try to avoid. 

“Certain organic filters have been identified in water sources worldwide and there seems to be a suggestion that they are not easily removed by common wastewater techniques,” adds Dr Mahto. “Many of the filters have also been found in various species of fish worldwide — the impact of this is uncertain on the food chain.” 

Opt for a mineral sunscreen instead

Mineral sunscreens, which typically contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are thought to be less harmful to coral reefs in comparison to their chemical counterparts. “Mineral sunscreens rely on inorganic filters, which form a physical barrier on the skin surface,” explains Dr Mahto. 

It’s worth remembering, though, that some research suggests zinc oxide can also pose a danger to marine life. “Our studies indicate that zinc oxide nanoparticles are very harmful to marine organisms,” says Professor Corinaldesi, but adds that titanium dioxide with surface coatings — as found in Green People’s scent-free SPF 30 — “has a much lower impact on coral reefs”. 

Look for non-nanoparticles 

Particle size matters, too. While nanoparticles can be absorbed by coral reefs, research suggests that larger non-nanoparticles (a label you’ll see on lotions) are better for the environment. Ren’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 uses non-nano zinc oxide, while Stream2Sea’s sunscreens contain non-nano titanium oxide. “Consumers should look out for sunscreens that use non-nanoparticles because nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are expected to be more harmful to marine organisms than non-nanoparticles,” explains Professor Corinaldesi. 

Read beyond the ‘reef-safe’ or ‘ocean-safe’ labels 

The increase in demand for eco-friendly sunscreens means that a lot of brands are now marketing their products as ‘reef-safe’ or ‘ocean-safe’. This usually means they don’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate — the two chemicals banned in sunscreen by countries such as Hawaii — but they could still contain other chemicals on the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory list that are potentially harmful to the environment. “Consumers should check the ingredients on the label of the products,” Professor Corinaldesi comments. 

Don’t forget the packaging 

Beyond the ingredients in sunscreen, it’s important to consider the packaging as well, with discarded sunscreen bottles contributing, in part, to the 8m tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans every year. Brands such as Green People are using recyclable plant-based packaging made from sugar cane; a much more eco-friendly option compared to traditional plastic containers.

From barely-there textures to subtly-tinted creams for when you don’t feel like wearing makeup, shop British Vogue’s edit of the 20 best SPFs for your face below.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel SPF50+

If you suffer from blemishes, you may find that sun protection leaves your skin feeling greasy and prone to breakouts. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel is specifically designed for people with those concerns, offering a non-comedogenic, feather-light formula with a velvet finish alongside SPF 50 protection.

£17.50, available at LookFantastic.com.

Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense SPF 50

Doubling up as both a moisturiser and an SPF 50 sunscreen, Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily Defense is an industry favourite, perfect for those with sensitive skin thanks to its oil-free, fragrance-free formula. It doesn’t leave a chalky residue either, making it a good choice for darker skin tones.

£30, available at Kiehls.co.uk.

Skinceuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50

With tranexamic acid and niacinamide, this is a supercharged SPF that’s as good at protecting skin from the sun as it is preventing and reducing discolouration. Put simply, it’s an excellent choice if you want an SPF that works really, really hard. 

£45, available at LookFantastic.com.

Shiseido Clear Suncare Stick SPF50+

Utilising Shiseido’s WetForce technology, which makes the formula work harder when it comes into contact with water or sweat, this Clear Suncare Stick is particularly brilliant for holidays, humid environments, or when playing outdoor sports. The handy stick packaging means it slots easily into your bag and can be rolled onto areas of the face and body as and when needed. 

£28, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Supergoop! Glowscreen SPF 30

Making great SPFs its speciality, Supergoop’s latest launch is the Glowscreen SPF 30, a formula that offers the dewiest, most luminous glow, as well as an SPF of 30. With hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, niacinamide, and protective cocoa peptides, it doubles up as a skincare staple too – and you’ll actively look forward to applying it each day.

£15, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Avene Intense Protect SPF 50

Especially good for those with sensitive or reactive skin types, Avène’s Intense Protect is as light as silk and ultra-gentle. Not only does it contain the brand’s soothing thermal spring water and pre-tocopheryl, a powerful antioxidant, but it also houses TriAsorB, the first organic sun filter that absorbs and reflects UVA, UVB, and blue light. A must-try.

£20, available at Lookfantastic.com.

Heliocare 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50

Drying perfectly matte, making it a great base for make-up, Heliocare’s 360 Gel Oil-Free SPF 50 is a cult classic loved by those in the know. Ideal for acne-prone and sensitive skins, it protects against UVB, UVA, infrared­‐A and visible light.

£29.45, available at Dermacaredirect.co.uk.

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defence SPF 30

Non-toxic to marine life, this formula protects skin from UVA and UVB while offsetting free radical damage from the environment, thanks to potent antioxidants grape juice, sunflower shoot extract, and astaxanthin. 

£29, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Kate Somerville UncompliKated SPF 50

Facialist to the stars, Kate Somerville also has this easy-to-use spray-on SPF in her product repertoire. Not only will it protect skin from the sun, but thanks to a light-diffusing silicone powder and hyaluronic acid in the formula, it helps to set make-up, mattify and hydrate skin. What’s not to love?

£32, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50

Offering a customisable approach to sun protection, Dr Barbara Sturm’s Sun Drops can be worn undiluted as a serum or a few drops can be added to your regular skincare for lightweight SPF 50 protection. It’s a high price point, but it goes a long way, and works well on all skin tones. 

£110, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Ren Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen

A silicone-free formula that protects against all forms of light, Ren’s SPF offering is kind to the environment and forms a non-comedogenic barrier that fends off external aggressors. 

£30, available at LookFantastic.com.

Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution SPF 50

From blue and UV light to pollen and indoor pollution, this intelligent formula is packed full of antioxidants to protect the skin from all manner of external aggressors. Using organic mango leaf extract, it is delightfully lightweight in texture and promises eight hours of hydration while doing its protective thing.

£44, available at Selfridges.com.

Sisley Paris Tinted Sun Care Stick SPF 50

A formula just as luxurious as its packaging, this Sisley number comes in a stick applicator to make applying your sun care a breeze (and will prevent SPF spillages while travelling). With a slight tint to it, expect a little complexion perk up, while ingredients like shea, camellia oil and mango butter hydrate and smooth skin. 

£78, available at Spacenk.com.

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF 50+

A multitasking formula, Ultra Violette’s Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen offers factor 50 protection, and contains an array of skincare ingredients – from peptides to vitamin C-rich kakadu plum – to combat free radicals. It is clear (so won’t leave a white cast) and helps to protect from blue light, while also leaving skin primed and ready for make-up. Put simply: it’s excellent.

£34, available at Spacenk.com.

Tan-Luxe Super Gloss Serum

For those who still want to look like they’ve spent an optimal time in the sun (even if that’s not the case), this serum delivers an immediate sun-kissed bronze glow while deeply hydrating skin (thanks to hyaluronic acid and squalane) and protects skin from the sun.

£35, available at Cultbeauty.co.uk.

Lancer Sheer Fluid Sun Shield SPF 30

A formula that is packed with skin-saving ingredients, Dr Lancer’s SPF will improve skin texture, boost glow, and prime skin ready for make-up – all while doing its main job of fending off UVA and UVB. A brilliant option and great for all skin tones. 

£45, available at Net-a-porter.com.

Medik8 Advanced Day Total Protect

Great for all skin types, especially those prone to breakouts, this SPF feels like a moisturiser but acts as an all-bases-covered skin-protecting formula. From blue light to pollution, it’s got your skin covered for every eventuality, plus it contains multi-weight hyaluronic acid and skin-softening emollients to leave skin in excellent nick in its wake. 

£55, available at Feelunique.com.

Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily Defender SPF 30

When you live in a city, the effects of pollution on your skin are as much a threat as sun damage. Luckily Chanel has the solution in the form of the brand’s UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily Defender, which gives broad-spectrum SPF 30 or 50 protection as well as creating a barrier against pollution and free radicals.

£46, available at Allbeauty.com.

VOGUE article

What “Green” Means In The Natural Beauty Industry

“Clean.” “Green.” “Natural.” For planet-conscious beauty consumers, these words can have a strong gravitational pull. But dear global citizens: The secret to saving our reefs and oceans, our forests and trees, is to do so with actions, not words. It all starts with your routine. Some actions can be small (don’t buy a new moisturizer until you’ve depleted the one you have). Some are big (seek out biodegradable or recyclable packages, or skip plastic packaging entirely). And some actions, of course, don’t rest with you, but with beauty companies. (Screaming into the void: Will anyone ever develop a truly earth-friendly mascara? Read on for intel.)

Ultimately, words like “clean,” “green,” and “natural” often have little to do with the buzzword we should really be focused on: “sustainable.” It’s the umbrella term for products that protect the planet’s resources, and the idea can seem, rather ironically, unsustainable. That’s precisely why we went straight to the women who are making a concerted effort, every day, in their own ways, to reduce their impact on the earth. They’re environmentalists, business owners, makeup artists — and they’re all unapologetic beauty enthusiasts.

The Environmentalist: Amber Jackson

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 22: Marine Scientists and Conservationists Amber Jackson and Emily Callahan pose with their award at Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards – 2016 Tribeca Film Festival at BMCC John Zuccotti Theater on April 22, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

After earning her master’s degree at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jackson (and her classmate Emily Hazelwood) founded Blue Latitudes, an environmental consulting firm that helps energy companies determine whether decommissioned offshore-drilling structures can be turned into artificial reefs. She practically lives in the elements, which dictates her beauty regimen.

Protect everything. “Being on boats and offshore diving, we need to make sure that we keep up with our sunscreen but always use formulas that aren’t going to run off our skin and into the water column, and contaminate reefs and fish species. I like Badger Balm — it’s zinc-based. I’m a very fair redhead with freckles, so it’s super important for me to have protection, and this formula stays on in the water.”

Think micro impact. “Some of the biggest problems in our oceans are microplastics, like the microbeads in face scrubs.” The U.S. banned plastic microbeads in 2017, but there’s no way to know if every company has adhered to the ban. So avoid products with these P’s: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and polymethyl methacrylate. “Those get washed down the drain, are consumed by fish, and then bioaccumulate, so you eat that plastic yourself. I love to exfoliate, and I use an Origins scrub that uses nutshells.”

Travel lightly. “We carry our own reusable bottles that we fill at home and forgo the disposable hotel options.”

The Advocate: Kathryn Kellogg

The author of 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg began chronicling her experience with reducing her trash and recycling output — down to nothing — on her blog GoingZeroWaste. “Living a zero-waste lifestyle encompasses so much more than just ‘Don’t throw it away,’ ” she says. “It means not wasting water and not wasting food.”

Eliminate the middleman. “I put toner in an upcycled spray bottle so that I don’t waste the product by having it absorb into a disposable pad. I just spray it directly on my skin.”

Consume wisely. “I like the ‘one in, one out’ rule. If I want a new face mask or eyeliner, I cannot buy it until I am out of what I have. Also, ask questions of the people you’re buying from. I buy some of my beauty products at farmers markets, and it’s been empowering to be like, ‘I love your product and want to try it, but I don’t use plastic. Can I get it without that?’ So many times they’re willing to accommodate.”

Be realistic. “There are very few options for completely plastic-free mascara, aside from a couple of brands that make cake mascara, like Bésame. It’s also hard to find a zero-waste alternative for sunscreen. I wear Marie Veronique tinted facial sunscreen as my foundation. It comes in a glass bottle, and I upcycle the bottles. I put homemade hand sanitizer in them — half vodka, half water — and keep that in my bag.”

Be proactive. “We should be doing more work with businesses and emailing our government representatives to get larger systemic changes passed, like the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Products Act.”

The Business Owner: Cindy DiPrima Morisse

As co-founder of the all-things-natural-beauty destination store CAP Beauty, DiPrima Morisse spends much of her days analyzing (and reassessing) which products are worth space in her business — and in her life.

Cut yourself some slack. “Any company that’s shipping is creating some waste and pollution. The best thing we can do is to work with vendors who are prioritizing the same things we are and making sure that their practices are not creating too much stress on the environment.”

Shop smarter. “We encourage our customers to choose thoughtfully. We always say, ‘If you’ve got products in your cabinet that have been sitting there for a year, you’re not using them, and you need to simplify. Find products you love and use. Be an editor.’ We aim to deliver a streamlined collection so you’re not overbuying. We encourage customers to try things. [But] it’s more about a trusted arsenal than constant consumerism.”

Be charitable. “I have a sizable beauty cabinet because of testing for the store. Sometimes there can be a moment when it’s like, ‘I’m not going to get to that.’ There are a few charities that collect beauty products. A favorite of mine is Woman to Woman, which supports women with gynecological cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.”

The Makeup Artist: Katey Denno

She regularly paints the famous faces of Amber Heard and Felicity Jones and has been committed to green, no-waste beauty for the past decade. “I started in this industry as the only person who was really serious about green beauty. And everyone was like, ‘That is never going to fly.’ And little by little, everything changed. A lot of actresses are still like, ‘As long as you make me look good, that’s all I care about,’ but there are some that are now die-hard fans of clean beauty.”

Give new life. “I have friends who make candles, and I give them face-mask pots. I store Q-tips in reused cream pots, or use them as flower vases. I save empty RMS pots and give them to clients for their red-carpet bags. If I’ve mixed a lipstick for them, I’ll take a scraping and put it in there.”

Glitz it up. Aether Beauty has an eye shadow palette. The pigment is intense, and the shimmer is fine. It’s not big chunks of glitter, which a lot of green products have had.”

Know your limits. “I do make compromises, like with Beautyblenders, because I have yet to find anything sustainable that re-creates that texture that I can get on skin.”

Food for Thought

What good is a recyclable plastic bottle if it still ends up in a landfill? Tina Hedges, a former Estée Lauder and L’Oréal executive, asked herself that when she created LOLI Beauty. Hedges sells raw balms, powders, and elixirs derived from organic food waste (like pressed plum seed that would have been disposed of after the fruit was harvested) and packages them in recyclable glass containers that she encourages consumers to upcycle for food storage.

The products are waterless (water is a filler ingredient that just creates extra weight to ship), and can be used alone or mixed to expand their versatility — her face powder, for example, can become a scrub or a mask. “I would like the entire experience to be circular zero-waste,” says Hedges, who is now working on refillable packaging and going entirely compostable.

ALLURE article

Let’s Ditch Sheet Face Masks!

WHERE DID SHEET MASKS ORIGINATE FROM?

Sheet masks originated from Japan and South Korea, known for their dedication to cosmetics and skin care. Today, sheet masks are widely popular in Asia as a whole. Sheet masks have recently began to change the beauty industry and gained popularity in the U.S by various celebrities utilizing sheet masks and posting about it on social media. From the recent study conducted by NPD Group in the USA, the sale of masks increased by about 60%, overwhelming other categories in the skincare business (ORGAID).

HOW DOES A SHEET MASK WORK?

There is a sheet fully soaked with concentrated serum, which consists of many beneficial ingredients to the skin, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins. These ingredients are in the water phase as dissolved. The sheet prevents quick evaporation of the water phase and extends the time frame the ingredients require to penetrate deep into the skin. This results in the sheet masks outperforming the effects of the traditional serum-type skincare even when applied once.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

They bring fast effects in regards to enhancing the skin. The serum is filled with various vitamins and minerals, and doesn’t dry out the skin compared to the paste-type face mask. The sheet on the face helps the serum to soak into the skin a little longer. Some of the sheets also claim to brighten and make the skin firm. Basically, sheet masks are an inexpensive alternative compared to going to a spa: convenient, easy to apply, and brings a glowing effect to the skin.

WHAT ARE THE DRAWBACKS?

Their purpose is to nourish, not exfoliate or cleanse the skin. Sheet masks are probably not as effective at exfoliating or cleaning the skin compared to the paste-type mask. In addition, serum from low-quality sheet masks evaporates quickly, even before it gets soaked into the deeper layer of the skin. Currently, ORGAID researchers are using sheet masks made with high technology to avoid those problems (ORGAID).

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE USED IN THE SERUM?

Depending on what function the sheet mask is made to perform, the serum contains various different ingredients and concentrations that are commonly used, such as aloe vera and vitamin C, to more unusual ones such as pearl, snail extract, and seaweed. Also, for prevention against bacteria/fungi contamination, most sheet masks contain chemical preservatives such as parabens, and recently phenoxyethanol, which are not good for the skin.

WHAT MATERIALS ARE THE SHEETS MADE OUT OF?

Diverse types of fabric are used for the sheet masks. Four most used materials from worst to best: 

* Non-woven fiber – Inexpensive, difficult mobility, low capacity to deliver serum into the skin
* Cotton – Inexpensive, difficult mobility, low capacity to deliver serum into the skin (but better than the non-woven fiber)
* Hydrogel – Little pricey, great absorption system, gel-type consistency, two separate parts (top and bottom) to apply on face, difficult mobility, fits the shape of the face well
* Bio-cellulose – Expensive, all-natural material, adheres to the skin well, better absorption properties, comfortable mobility.

MATERIALS END UP IN LANDFILLS!

First, you have the plastic or foil packaging. Then more plastic wrapped around the mask itself. In ten years, there’s probably going to be a whole trash island made entirely of sheet masks. 

Sure, there are brands out there with compostable options – though most people probably end up throwing them out anyway – and ones made from plant fiber. Be honest, though. If you’re looking at a $3 plastic-laden mask or a $10 plant one, which would you choose? Besides, many of the sheet masks on the market are soaked in things that may make them non-biodegradable (INSIDER).

WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU WANT TO BE MORE ECO-CONSCIOUS?

The easiest answer, hands down, would be to avoid using non-recyclable, non-compostable, single-use sheet masks altogether. But that’s not so easy for everyone. 

If you absolutely love your sheet masks and can’t give them up, just know there are other options out there that will yield similar results. As mentioned above, you can try to find products that use organic, biodegradable and recyclable materials. Korean beauty brand Innisfree has a line of biodegradable sheet masks, for example. Andalou Naturals, another beauty brand, also carries masks that are said to be biodegradable. The outer packaging, however, isn’t necessarily recyclable. 

You can also look for masks sold in packs, as opposed to individually wrapped ones. They do exist, and they don’t generate as much plastic waste as the single-use masks. Some people even make their own sheet masks by soaking clean face cloths with their own serums or mixtures of desired ingredients (HUFFPOST). 

At the very least, do your research. If you really want to be more responsible, look up your local municipality’s recycling and composting guidelines. 

ORGAID Article
INSIDER Article
HUFFPOST Article