Why you should care

Because we’ve all got something macabre lurking one layer down.

Let me tell you about the scariest thing I’ve ever woken up to. Not long ago, I was staying in a house with friends, all of whom were better at staying up late than I am. After I went to sleep, they texted me, and in the morning, those photos were the first thing I saw: the three of them in paper masks with gaping eyeholes, like Jason from Halloween — but inside the house

My friends had been playing around with sheet masks, a makeup trend so consuming that people take masks on vacation just in case they want to slather themselves with snail slime — some of the masks are coated with the stuff — at a moment’s notice. They unfold a wad of paper into a premade mask treated with skin-revitalizing goo, then smoosh it onto their face for 15 minutes. But we’re not here to talk about sheet masks, we’re here to talk about something far more sinister.

These masks animate some deep-down desire to howl at the sky and scream, “I’M A MONSTER!” At least that’s what I did.

 

Peel-off masks are the sheet mask’s creepy younger sibling, the brother who straps a rocket to Barbie just to watch her explode. Here’s how it works: You splotch some goo onto your hand, rub it all over your face, and wait. As the goo dries, your skin will tighten, pulling your eyes a little bit wider. The thin layer of dried goo feels just like … well, like the rest of you. You pat your face, feeling your new layer of skin. And then you peel the whole thing off, piece by piece. Ever picked at a hangnail, scratched at a sunburn? It’s like that, but better.

As an experiment — and as a way of asking the universe if I am too weird to be allowed near other humans — I made a friend test one first. After 10 minutes, he couldn’t feel the mask. He stared in the mirror, transfixed, then, with a dramatic howl, started peeling the newly made fake skin off his face in one long strip. Thinking I’d given him a contaminated batch, I picked up my phone to call 911, but it turns out growing a new layer of skin and then peeling it off just animates some deep-down desire to howl at the sky and scream, “I’M A MONSTER!” At least that’s what I did, both times I tried one in the past 24 hours. What? It’s good for you. 

Do they actually make you look more youthful, reduce acne, lift and firm your face? That probably depends on your skin, the brand and your level of magical thinking. But damn, they’re fun.  

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