The humble sheet mask isn't so humble anymore. A microcurrent version from Franz Skincare, a Seoul-based company, uses a mild electric current to push its ingredients deeper into the skin than a normal sheet mask. "Imagine panning for gold," says cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson. "You put the dirt, clay, and rocks in the pan, and they just sit there — that’s a traditional sheet mask. Now shake the pan around, and you are going to move more dirt through that pan." That's the microcurrent mask, but instead of moving dirt through a pan it's moving hyaluronic acid and a ceramide through the uppermost layers of the skin. Franz’s Microcurrent Facial Dual Mask comes in three parts (and costs $50 for two sets): a classic sheet mask soaked in a serum, and a dry mask and booster vial that together produce the current. You might not feel anything when you use it, says Myounghoon Jang, CEO of Franz Skincare, but one 25-minute treatment left our faces dewy, hydrated, and ever-so-subtly buzzing.
Next up: imperceptible acne patches, made with "electrospinning" technology at Franz HQ. Applying an electric field to a polymer solution creates nano-size fibers, which are then used to form a thin, flexible film. It is infused with skin-care ingredients and invisible under concealer — it's 20 times thinner than the average acne patch.
Another method that is revolutionizing sheet masks is 3D printing. The Amorepacific IOPE Tailored 3D Mask uses an in-store app to scan the dimensions of your face and then prints a hydrogel mask to fit you. It will even customize active ingredients in different sections of the mask based on, say, what your T-zone needs vs. your cheeks. Currently, this tech is only available in Korea, but you can expect to see 3D-printed masks in the U.S. soon: Neutrogena MaskID could be available early next year and uses the same facial-recognition technology that lets you open an iPhone by looking at your screen to create a 3D model of your face in their app. —J.C.