Many years ago, I came across the concept of lotion masking while researching Japanese beauty secrets on Youtube. This was well before the current sheet mask craze. The technique was pioneered by beauty expert Chizu Saeki, author of The Japanese Skin Care Revolution.
Th technique is simple, you create do-it-yourself sheet masks using products of your choice and special cotton squares. At the time, I didn’t pay much attention, but I finally purchased the infamous Japanese cotton squares and had a chance to experience them for myself. Now I regret not getting them sooner and I’ll tell you exactly why.
I would describe these cotton squares as the Japanese version of our cotton rounds. Except they are 100X better. In fact, I’m never buying cotton squares again because I’ve now deemed them as inferior.
Cotton rounds/cotton balls are well-meaning but they have one fatal flaw. They rob you of your precious product. We soak them in liquid only to get a small return on our investment. Japanese cotton squares are the exact opposite. They use little product and provide a HUGE payoff! They’re nothing short of spectacular.
The squares are about the same thickness as a typical cotton round, but the beauty of the squares is that they can be peeled layer by layer. This way, you can determine the level of thickness you prefer. If I tried to peel a cotton round in the same way, it would be a mess. But these squares are designed to be peeled apart.
The thinnest layer is where the magic happens. Because then, you can transform your basic cotton sheet into an impromptu sheet mask. All you need is a few drops of serum and you are ready to rock.
What I love most about these cotton sheets is how well they hold moisture. They don’t soak it up only for it to disappear into thin air. They hold the moisture in for you.
Next, you apply to the soaked squares on skin and suddenly, you’ve developed your own hydrating sheet mask. Here’s a quick video demonstration of what I’m referring to.
As you notice in the video, the cotton squares stretch almost like they’re made of cloth. Cotton rounds don’t even match up. The girl soaked her squares in what appears to be water, prior to adding hydrating toner, to fully saturate for easier application. I find that I didn’t need to do that, but if I wanted to go for maximum hydration, I just may try that next time.
After application, I noticed that my skin appears ultra-moisturized. I still had a little hyaluronic lotion on the surface of the skin that I rubbed in once I removed the sheets. I had that post sheet mask glow but my skin wasn’t as saturated.
Here’s my detailed plan:
- I talked about how I preserve all of the excess sheet mask serum in a glass jar. The leftover mask serum will be put to good use thanks to these wonderful cotton squares.
- Now I can fully experiment making my own brightening sheet masks using acid based products like this mandelic acid peel. I know there are a bunch of brightening sheet masks on the market but I always question how much of the active ingredient is in each mask. Now I can be sure.
- These cotton squares are perfect for creating “alternative sheet mask” recipes like making my own collagen infused sheets or perhaps I’ll experiment super greens like liquid chlorophyll.
- I talked about the benefits of masking before bed. This could be a quick alternative for those days when I don’t want to do a full sheet mask but still want to hydrate the skin before bed.
- Since these squares are pretty small, I can just wear a couple on my trouble areas like under the eye, forehead or nasal labial lines instead of having to do a full face mask.
- If I get a breakout, I’ll soak a sheet in witch hazel and leave on the blemish for targeted treatment.
So many options. And I didn’t even mention how I used a thin sheet to quickly and easily remove nail polish using less product than with a cotton ball. I also used them to tone my skin with apple cider vinegar and I loved how they stayed moist much longer than typical cotton rounds.
Your drug store cotton products are now obsolete. These squares are sheet masks and cotton rounds in one! It’s time to graduate to a superior product. Japanese cotton pads are everything.
Check out this demonstration video featuring the OG herself.