The ugly side effect of your face mask addiction we bet you've never thought of

Hint: Karmic points, anyone?


Hello, my name is Eugene, and I am a mask addict. 

I'm far from alone in my predilection for plastering my mien with serum-soaked sheets; the folks at market research firm The NPD Group notes that the fad for facial masks make for the single most sizzling segment buoying up the beauty biz in the United States, with a startling 39 percent increase in sales for said products in the prestige category for 2017.

Which is all fine and dandy for our dermis — face masks, after all, are turbo-charged treatments that tighten, brighten and feel so very shiok all at once — but not so swell for mother earth. 

Pause and ponder over the Matryoshka doll's worth of nested packaging your purchase entails. There's the "cling wrap" enshrouding the box; the individual sheets encased in their own little bags; the plastic protective "plates" buffering each sheet; and finally, the sheet itself. Each individual component (in case you need reminding) is essentially converted into thrash in the 20 or so minutes it takes for you to complete your masking ritual. Gulp.

Add to that the fact that our household recycling rate has remained relatively stagnant despite decades of cajoling and coaxing from grassroots green groups and the government alike, and we've got a complexion-induced crisis of sorts that needs addressing, stat. 

How now?

First things first: By no means are we suggesting you ditch masking altogether. (Y'know, throwing the baby out with the bathwater and all that.) 

Instead, be a smart shopper by selecting masks that come in "jumbo" packs that do away with individually sealed plastic backing. Consider investing in Kose's Clear Turn Essence Hyaluronic Acid Facial Masks, which come in bountiful boxes of 30 sheets each, with the cartons resembling that of resealable facial cleansing wipes. 

Or go the composting route. Companies like TerraCycle will take care of your flotsam and jetsam; simply chuck your plastic waste in a provided cardboard box and mail it back to them via a prepaid UPS label.

Another option: Instead of rinse-off remedies, try slapping on leave-on sleeping masks that do away with all the extraneous packaging that sheet masks entail. Bonus: These dexterous do-it-alls are also the perfect "lazy woman" fix for nights where you can't be arsed to follow through with your usual seven-step regime.

Finally, there are a number of beauty brands that are beautiful within-and-without. Innisfree, for instance, offers a recycling programme that rewards you with redeemable points when you turn over empty jars and such. 

Right, then. I trust this has been an enlightening read. Share this story with your green-minded girlfriends for a jolt of feel-good vibes to go along with your good looks.

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