For every great thing about mud masks—they clean out pores, detoxify, and control shine—there's also a drawback. They can feel tight, they can dry out skin, and honestly, they're just plain messy to use. Sheet masks have been my go-to for a while now since they have none of the aforementioned downsides. They're typically soaked in some form of moisturizing serum, which is great for hydration, brightening, and anti-aging, but it's hard to get that truly clean feeling without a bit of mud. But now Patchology, the company behind many of our favorite sheet masks, has managed to combine the best of both worlds—the convenience of a sheet mask and the pore-clearing power of a mud formula—with its new SmartMud No-Mess Mud Masque, which is, as you can probably guess, a mud sheet mask, the first of its kind I've seen.
Like a lot of the sheet masks I've been using, the SmartMud one comes in two pieces (one for the upper portion of your face and one for the lower) with holes for the eyes and mouth. But once you peel off the backing, you really notice the difference. The active side is packed with a formula made from familiar ingredients, like detoxifying kaolin clay, volcanic ash, charcoal, hydrating glycerin, and plumping hydrolyzed collagen. And the steps for application couldn't be easier: Simply stick it on. No need to lean over the sink as you carefully smear on a thick sludge, undoubtedly getting it all over your bathroom, your clothes, and your hands. After 10 minutes (20 for a really deep clean), just peel it off and rinse off any excess, though there really won't be much.
Not only is the application infinitely more convenient than a traditional mud mask, but it also addresses my other mud-mask problem, dryness. Kaolin helps the formula be less drying because it's much less dehydrating than other clays, and glycerin pulls moisture into the skin. I don't think I'll be getting rid of my other sheet masks anytime soon, but I can see this new version replacing a lot of jars in my medicine cabinet, especially as the summer months, fondly referred to by some as Oil-Slick Skin Season, come around.