PRODUCT: Real Tea Gel Mask - Rose
COMPANY: Skinfood (Korean)
DESCRIPTION: Wow! Where to start? I love this mask for a number of reasons.
This is the first hydrogel mask I've tried (as opposed to cotton or fiber, which the average sheet mask is made of). This leads to a slightly slicker, slimier application, but I found moisture locked in much better and the mask also conformed comfortably to my face.
It was also the first sheet mask I've done which came in two pieces, one for the upper half of the face and one of the lower half. I found this dual application also helped the mask conform tightly to my skin.
The third "wow" factor of this mask was the pieces of real rose petals suspended in the gel. Those, together with rose essence, made for a lovely scented sheet mask.
Now, all of these perks--the material, the two-piece application and the embedded rose petals--comes at a higher price than the average $1 sheet mask. These run about $4, so they're definitely not for every day use.
INGREDIENT ANALYSIS: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Scutellaria Baicalersis Root Extract, Camellia Sinersis Leaf Extract, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Rosa Gallica FLower Powder, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Camelia Japonica Flower Extract, Rose Extract, Phenyl Trimethicone, Allatoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Water, Potassium Hydroxide
You can see from the ingredient list that there are a lot of floral elements in addition to the rose. Cosmetic claims of rose ingredients range from "brightening" the skin to benefits for sensitive and particularly aged skin. Like most cosmetics, there seems to be little clinical evidence around the benefits of rose and floral elements on the skin, but the psychological effects of floral scents can be calming overall (I particularly find the rose scent relaxing and pleasant) and the cooling and moisturizing effect of the hydrogel pack calmed my reddened, sun-stressed skin.
Application of the sheet mask is pretty standard: apply to clean, toned skin and leave on for 20-40 minutes. Gently pat in (or wipe off) the excess liquid. As with all sheet masks and products in general, discontinue use if you have signs of redness, swelling, itchiness and do not use on troubled areas.
SMELL: wonderfully rose fragrant but not overpowering
TEXTURE: cool and smooth, gel-like
YAY OR NAY: Yay, for special occasions, given the cost.
Rating Score Sheet:
1/3: Wish I could turn back time and get my money back.
2/3: Decent enough to buy again, especially if it's on sale.
3/3: Shut up and take my money!
LINK: It's hard to find this one as a solo purchase, but Skinfood often offers variety packs here (this mask should run no more than $4 wherever you buy it).
PRODUCT: Tomato Cool Jelly Tint
COST: ~6,000 WON ($6)
DESCRIPTION: South Korean beauty shops offer a LOT of lip products, many claiming to be supremely long-lasting. This supposedly tomato-based product is one such item.
EXPERIENCE: This is shaping up to be one of my favorite lip products from South Korea. Not quite a moisturizer, not quite a gloss and not quite a lipstick either, strangely enough. It is more of a water-based stain that sinks into the lip tissue to give a nice natural bit of long-lasting color. Intriguing indeed.
INGREDIENT ANALYSIS: I could not find an ingredient list unfortunately.
YAY OR NAY: Yay, for being a nice, casual lip color that is easy to apply, looks natural and doesn't feel heavy or caked.
LINK: Amazon (pricier than in Korea)
PRODUCT: Rice Brightening Facial Cleansing Tissue
COMPANY: SKINFOOD (U.S. branches available!)
COST: ~7,000 WON ($7)
DESCRIPTION: I've been trying these as a quick way to wipe off the day's grim and sunscreen until a pre-bed face wash a few hours later. From the label: "A cleansing tissue containing nutritious rice bran water from the pristine Cheorwon region that easily and quickly removes makeup residue while making dull skin bright and refreshed. Story of rice bran water: Rice bran is the thin shell that is produced when milling brown rice to white rice and contains rich proteins, vitamins and minerals. Unlike rice extracts, rice bran water contains the same rice bran ingredients that not only brighten but make skin radiant." Well!
-SMELL: Strange and hard to place. Is that the smell of rice bran?
-VERDICT: VERY cleansing, though leaves my skin a little red, tingling/tight and sticky. After a few tries, I've decided to stick with a gentler cleanser like Banila Clean It Zero. However, for someone who wears foundation or a lot of make-up, this wipe could be a good way to go.
With a background in molecular biology, I worked for decades as a scientist and science journalist. I use my background to look into the science of affordable and high-quality Korean skincare products. Then, I share my findings with you!