Late last night, in the midst of a Reddit binge, I came across a thread in theAsianBeauty sub-Reddit forum that favored the concept of heating up your sheet masks before applying them to your skin. Now, I’ve heard of tossing your eye cream into the fridge for a quicker, cooler de-puffing session, but the idea of warming up my mask â€” especially in the dead of this hot, humid season â€” feels wrong in every which way.
The claim, according to one Reddit user, is that when heated with lukewarm water before application, the warm sheet mask “opens up the pores and allows more of the serum to get in.” Intrigued, I reached out to Soko Glam founderCharlotte Cho for a little 411 on the concept. Apparently, “warming” skin-care products aren’t all that new in Korea (of course not â€” K-beauty is always one step ahead of the trends!), Cho tells Allure. “There are some ‘warming’ sheet masks and treatments that are applied because they believe warm products will absorb better in the skin,” she says.
But do they? According to Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, yes, actually. “Warm water and steam soften the outer skin layer and dilate blood vessels to enhance delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin,” he tells Allure. “Applying a cosmetic product or mask to a warm face generally may help enhance penetration of the active ingredient into the skin.” A-ha!
In the same thread, users were also chiming in on a magical device that was literally manufactured to heat up sheet masks. Supposedly, the tool heats up the treatment in three minutes to a temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Sure, it sounds cool, but Zeichner warns against physically warming up your products because it could affect the potency of the ingredients its made with.
“I do not recommend exposing your skin-care products or masks to extremes in temperature â€” either hot or cold â€” unless it is instructed directly from the manufacturer,” he says. “It could affect the formulation of the product and potentially make the active ingredients unstable.”
Luckily, if you’re looking for an painless way to try the K-beauty trend, Cho has an ingenious trick that’s both safe and cost-effective. “A traditional way of [warming up your products] is by rubbing your hands together to create heat and friction, and then applying the products with your warmed-up hands,” she says. Easy peasy.