Sheet masks might be the most popular item in the AB community. A lot of people I follow on Instagram are sheet mask fiends. I have nothing against sheet masks, they’re great! They’re great for when you need a boost in hydration, brightening, or whatever else skin concern you might have. They also feel luxurious after a long day. Popping on a mask that has been in the fridge is the best.
I have been mulling over this decision for a few weeks now but I have come to it: I might not be buying sheet masks anymore. This all boils down to one big beef I have against sheet masks: the waste.
The Philippines (I live here), despite being a relatively small country, is the third worst plastic polluters of oceans and that breaks my heart. I’m not an aggressive recycler, mostly because our country doesn’t have the proper mechanisms in place for recycling, but I try to do my part in reducing my non-biodegradable waste. I switched to menstrual cups from sanitary napkins and tampons. I avoid using straws when I eat out and I’m planning to buy my own washable straw, bringing our own bags when going grocery shopping.
But still, I can’t completely avoid waste, especially in this community. I often daydream about refilling my skincare bottles from big jugs in stores, but that would be a logistical nightmare as well as a big contamination risk at both ends.
Human Nature (a local brand) thankfully has a Balik Bote, Bigay Buhay program, I can bring empty HN bottles (and I have a lot) to their branches, which are then sold to junkshops and proceeds are used to support Gawad Kalinga communities. According to an HN customer rep, “[junkshops] or a partner third party have equipment that will properly recycle the bottles to perhaps raw material that can be remolded into different bottles or other material”.
The Plastic Solution has the ecobrick project where you cut up clean plastic packaging into tiny pieces and stuff them tightly inside plastic bottles. The thing is, I rarely buy drinks which come in plastic bottles.
Innisfree offers incentives for bottles brought back but they have no physical stores in the Philippines yet.
I still might make use of compressed sheet mask tablets though, if I’m really pressed for a treat yo’ self kind of day. Daiso sells a 15-pack one which comes in just one little thing of plastic, tablets are not individually wrapped.
That’s basically it. Unless I am getting sheet masks for free or as gifts, I will not be purchasing them anymore. It might seem silly for some but it makes me sleep a bit better at night. My face will still be okay without them.