We’ve gone crazy over sheet masks in the last few years. Yes, I’m looking at you, 20-pack buyers. (All right, I admit, I’ve bought a lot more.) But the point is, sheet masks have turned into a definite must-have for us beauty junkies; whether it’s cotton, hydo-gel or bio-cellulose, we’ll take them all.

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Jo No Fui Milan Fall 13

Slap it on for a quick wind-down after work, or to relieve tired and stressed skin; no matter what you use your sheet mask for, we’ve got five tips for you to make it work even better.

Here’s what to do:

#1 EXFOLIATE FIRST
No skincare product will be able to penetrate the skin if there’s a layer of dead skin cells sitting on the surface. So exfoliate first; that way, your skin will be able to soak in all the goodness from your mask (especially if they come at $20 a pop.)

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If you’ve got dark spots and want to brighten them, try the new Ren Flash Rinse 1-Minute Facial, which smoothes and treats your skin with vitamin C. This might however, be a little irritating for sensitive skin types, so do it once a week at maximum – it’s an effective exfoliator, but you don’t want to be irritating your skin more than necessary. Follow up with a soothing and nourish mask after.

#2 USE AN AMPOULE OR SERUM BEFORE YOUR MASK
Ampoule masks have become quite a hit in South Korea. First, an ampoule – think of this as an even more potent serum – is applied onto the skin. Then, a sheet mask is used over the ampoule to ensure that it all gets absorbed into the skin, bringing about multiple benefits that include brightening, moisturising and firming.

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Try CNP Laboratory’s 2-Step Power Brightening D-Day Mask, or 2-Step Quick Soothing S.O.S Mask. These two ampoule masks are moisturising enough to be used alone. Those with dry skin can always add their regular moisturiser on top.

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If you don’t have a sheet mask like this, you can always just apply your regular serum before putting on your sheet mask. For a mighty brightening and moisturising combo, apply Laneige’s latest White Plus Renew Original Spot Ampoule or Serum before slapping on the Water Bank Double Gel Soothing Mask.

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#3 FLIP THE MASK PACK OVER
Do you always run into the problem of having more serum concentrated at the part of the mask that touches your chin, leaving the forehead and cheek area feeling relatively dry? A simple way to solve the problem is to flip the mask pack over, leaving it to sit for about 10 minutes. That’ll help you to get a slightly more even distribution of serum on the mask. If you’re rushing for time, lay the mask packet flat on a table and pat it, it’ll help too.

#4 WEAR IT FOR 20 MINUTES, TOPS
When sheet masks are left on for too long, it can reverse the moisturising effect, drying your skin out instead. Which is why you should only leave it on for as long as the instructions say you should.

Some masks however, come so soaked in serum that you can extend its wear time a little longer. The trick to doing this is to apply the excess serum on top of your sheet mask, rather than to just simply pat it into your skin. So your mask won’t end up drying out too fast.

Just remember this: Your mask should still feel “wet” when you remove it.

#5 DON’T WASTE THE EXTRA SERUM
Now, we know it’s a pity to take off a sheet mask that’s still slightly damp with serum. So don’t waste it, you can squeeze the remaining serum out from the mask and apply it to your neck, elbows, knees and your heels. Sometimes, I even use the serum leftover in the packet to create a quick lip mask by applying it to my lips and putting a small piece of cling wrap over it. Be creative!

Ren Flash Rinse 1-Minute Facial, $74, is available at the Escentuals store in Paragon and TANGS Orchard.

CNP Laboratory 2-Step Power Brightening D-Day Mask and 2-Step Quick Soothing S.O.S Mask, $6.80 each is available online and at selected Guardian stores.

Laneige White Plus Original Spot Ampoule and Serum, and Water Bank Double Gel Soothing Mask, $88, $78 and $34 for 5 pieces, are available at all Laneige stores and counters.