Did you know that your beloved sheet masks are killing the planet?
We all love sheet masks, it's one of those products that you just love but you are not quite sure of why you love it. I mean yes, it does give you that boost of moisture and radiance but let's face it, there are a plenty of other products out there that can give you the same results and are not one time use products.
In fact beauty products that are made to use once and throw out, like makeup wipes or sheet masks, really create a lot of unnecessary waste. Sometimes they come wrapped in plastic sheets which cannot be recycled, which means more waste ends up in the landfills. In fact usually none of the components are recyclable and all of it ends up in the landfill, and all of this just for a sheet-masking thrill that ends in 20 minutes.
So, I did some more research and took a look at what experts are saying to really understand how harmful these sheet masks are to the environment.
Let's start with the ingredients that go into these masks...
The pouches that the sheet masks come in, is made from aluminium and plastic, which cannot be recycled in typical recycling systems. They most likely end up in landfills, and take hundreds of years to decompose or get added to the billions pounds of waste that enter our oceans every year.
Yes, then there is the case of the actual mask, which you might think is more eco-friendly but it can contain sneaky plastic ingredients that make it difficult for the mask to decompose. In fact in some cases the mask is made of cotton, jute or bamboo which is biodegradable but the ingredients in which it is soaked in makes it impossible for it to decompose. There are also cases of the mask being made of synthetic material like nylon or fabric made from petrochemicals, which cannot be decomposed and must go in the garbage.
Does anyone know what happens to these masks once they go into the landfills?
Let me tell you that once these masks end up there, they along with the tons of other garbage emmit methane and methane contributes to global warming.
There are also 'hydrogel' versions that are made of synthetic polymers - which is essentially plastic, or eco-friendly biocellulose but these biodegradable sheet masks are not always better. In fact these biological or plant-based components will eventually break down to produce methane. So, we should try to avoid getting organic products in landfills.
Some of these masks come soaked in thick serums filled with silicone, an ingredient which is known to leave a thin plastic like film on the surface of your skin to creates a illusion of glow. This film is bio-accumulative which prevents the bio-degradable sheet mask from decomposing. Instead these synthetic counterparts add harmful toxins to the soil for years to come. This is the case for any tissue soaked product be it wipes, exfoliating pads, under-eye masks and even sheet masks.
When you really think about it, the effort that goes into producing these products which includes thousands of gallons of water to make one organic mask and lets not forget the shipping materials for delivery, it really adds to the already existing mountain of waste just for a momentary thrill of 20 minutes.
So, what can you do?
The easiest answer would be to avoid these single use sheet masks. But that's not always easy for everyone.
If you are mad about sheet masks and just can't think of giving it up, then know that there are options out there which will yield better results and are still safe for the environment. You can try products which are recyclable like from the Korean Beauty Brand Innisfree (click here to buy). Please note that their outer packaging is not recyclable, so choose wisely.
You can also opt for masks which are sold in packs, as supposed to the individually wrapped packs. They don't generate as much waste as the single use ones. You can even make your own mask by soaking a clean face cloth or thick tissue in your own serums or mixtures.
Another way, which I highly recommend, is swapping your single use products with other products such as creams and lotion which don't harm the environment as much. Remember the point is to try and reduce the waste you create.
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II DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, not everything works for everybody. I recommend you test the product before completely using any new product. II