Happy Monday! Welcoming in the new week, we’re going to discuss a product from one of the more pampering and nourishing categories of skincare: sheet masks. Specifically, the Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask in the Manuka Honey variant.
First and foremost, Innisfree are not a fully cruelty-free brand, as they do retail in mainland China, so this is product being in my routine is because I picked these up a couple of years ago before I went actively cruelty-free. My intention is to use these up, as I want to avoid waste, and I always forget to use my sheet masks, in spite of having quite a large collection of them.
The It’s Real line of sheet masks has a lot of different options for different skin types, with manuka honey being tailored for dry skin types, that need nourishment and hydration. Other types in the line include green tea for soothing and moisturising, tea tree for helping with pores yet moisturising, among many others. There are 16 variants in total, so I am giving my first impressions on just one of them.
As far as the packaging goes, it comes with the same problems all sheet masks I’ve tried so far have: they’re not recycled by the UK’s recycling services. As far as convenience goes, this is a major downside for me, and the key reason I’ve stopped buying sheet masks for the foreseeable future.
However, if you’re prepared to make a little effort, you can hand in plastics like the sachets pictured above to your local TerraCycle drop-off points, who will recycle plastics and other mixed materials for you. I recently learned about these drop-off points recently, and you can search for your local drop-off points from their website here.
While it’s not as convenient as putting the sachet in your recycling bin at home, I’m personally happy to make the effort, as I’m already making the effort to take empty packaging back to stores like The Body Shop, who are also partnered with TerraCycle for their recycling program. I have a plastic bag I reuse over and over, which I’m storing hard plastics and other things like these sachets in, so I can take them to my local drop-off point when the bag is full enough. They have other initiatives for non-beauty related schemes, so I highly encourage you to look through their site if it interests you.
The sheet itself is a cotton-based mask, which is large enough to fit most face sizes. For my face, the overall size was a bit on the large side, but I folded the excess cotton sheet over on itself. The individual cutouts for the eyes and slits for the face did fit really nicely though, so overall I’m quite happy with the fit.
It’s saturated in a lot of serum, and took over half an hour before sections started to dry out. If I’m going to wear a sheet mask, it’s during a portion of my day I’ve set out to stop and relax, so this isn’t a problem for me. However, if you like to wear sheet masks before you wear makeup as part of your morning skincare routine, I think you’ll find you have to take the mask off before it’s fully-absorbed. It’s easy to wipe the remaining serum along the neck and body if you want to do so, so that is a compromise.
The big issue for me with this product is the presence of alcohol high on the ingredient list. It’s 4th on the ingredient list, which from my understanding, means it has a fairly big proportion to the ingredients lower on the list. You can also smell the alcohol when you pull the sheet mask out of the sachet – like the underbelly scent of a cocktail, if that makes sense?
I didn’t find the alcohol was an irritant for my skin, but I admit it made me nervous. It’s possible the other ingredients on the list mitigate the presence of the alcohol, but I’d take this into consideration if your skin is reactive to alcohol or specific types. I considered putting this in my products to pass on basket to give to mum, but I don’t think she uses sheet masks I give her very often. As it hasn’t irritated my skin yet, I’ll use up the second sheet mask and recycle the packaging using my local TerraCycle drop-off point.
In the situation where Innisfree eventually becomes 100% cruelty-free, I don’t see myself buying from this line of their sheet masks again. The compromise to recycling the packaging is wonderful, but it’s possible my skin will become irritated by the alcohol in the formula when my skin is having one of its more sensitive periods – this is usually when my allergies flare up, or during the change of seasons when my immune system is more sensitive in general.
If your skin isn’t prone to any major sensitivities or irritations, this might be a good line of sheet masks for you. However, as the type of alcohol so high up on the list isn’t specified, I can’t say with confidence it’s a type of alcohol that’s more likely to be agreeable for a lot of people’s skin types.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post, it means a lot to me to receive your support. I hope you are happy and healthy, and I’ll speak to you again soon.