October 24, 2017

GRACE’S GROVE | Korean Beauty Products Review — Face Mask Edition

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Welcome back to my list of cool, creative, and borderline exotic beauty products! I’m going to be giving reviews on some popular face masks in this article. For those of you who have not heard of face masks, they are a popular addition to skincare routines and provide intensive treatment for your skin! The masks fall into categories like sheet masks, clay masks, gel masks, and many more.  

Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($9.50)


Source: snowwhiteandtheasianpear

Have you ever seen the picture on Facebook of a girl with a foaming “cloud” face? That’s this mask! It’s called the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask, and it’s one of my favorites to do with friends. How it works is that it comes in the form of a gray clay, and you apply it to your face with a little spatula that comes with the mask. After applying a thick layer and waiting for approximately 3-5 minutes, the clay starts to foam and form bubbles, making your face look like a fluffy cloud. After using the mask a couple of times, what I’ve noticed is that: 1)The unused clay will start foaming in the container if you get any oils in it, 2) The little spatula doesn’t work very well, and 3) It is a VERY messy process. This mask is more useful as entertainment than for its actual effects on the skin. As such, I only whip out my bubble clay masks when my friends come over for a “spa day” (note the picture of my friend Alan below). Clay masks are supposed to absorb oils and soften the skin, but this one in particular kind of irritates my skin and dries it out too much—perhaps because we left it on too long for the snapchats?


Alan Lin ’21

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask ($10.25)


Source: littlereviews

I mentioned this briefly in my previous article, but my skin type is a sensitive combo bordering oily. Technically, clay masks are supposed to help my skin, but somehow this one did the opposite of that. After getting this mask on one of my airport stops in Incheon Airport in Korea, I went straight to China and tried it the night after getting off the plane (20-hour total trip). Maybe it was the sudden increase in humidity that did it, but the day after using this mask, my skin produced way more oils than it usually does. I think it did clean out my pores and even out my skin, but it definitely did not remove sebum (the waxy stuff on your face). My skin didn’t really feel great throughout the day and I constantly felt weighed down. After returning to America, I tried the mask again and got the same results (quick FYIother clay masks do work on me). As with the carbonated bubble mask mentioned above, this one also looks funky when you apply it. You get this gray zombie-like sheen, so I would really not recommend walking around with it on at 3amyou’ll probably scare your dorm-mates.

Quick disclaimer: Masks that I personally like and think work well might not work well for other people, and vice versa. For example, the Innisfree volcanic clay mask didn’t work for me, but it might work for people who have drier skin. And in case you didn’t notice, I’m also not at all close to being a cosmetics expert, so take my words with a grain of salt.

Additional tip from MV organic Skincare: Never let a clay mask dry completely on your facewash it off when it looks like it is starting to dry (lighter color), but still feels sticky to the touch.

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Soothing Gel ($7) / Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask Aloe ($6)

Source: sunnanz

Source: sunnanz

I’ve combined two aloe masks into one section, because the effects of both are pretty similar. I personally love to use aloe-based skincare products because aloe contains natural components that reduce skin inflammation and itchiness, in addition to promoting healing. Because I have very sensitive and easily irritated skin that is also pale and readily sunburned, I feel like I am constantly using aloe masks. The aloe soothing gel never fails to relieve sunburns, and can be used almost daily, whereas the sheet mask can only be used every once in awhile if I feel the need for intense hydration (I wouldn’t recommend using sheet masks too often, because too much nutrition is bad too!). Between the two face masks that I’ve listed, both have similar soothing effects, but I would say that the sheet mask leaves your skin feeling more dewy, while the gel mask leaves your skin feeling more refreshed. The only downside to gel/sheet masks is that while they are in the process of drying, they feel pretty uncomfortable and sticky, but I love them nevertheless.

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

Nature Republic also has a mask that is very similar to the aloe vera gel, but with fresh lotus as the active ingredient instead. I haven’t tried it, but it seems like it would also be soothing and potentially smell really nice. Likewise, the Innisfree Real Squeeze mask line also includes a bunch of other “flavored” masks. I’ve heard great things about the green tea (anti-inflammatory), rice (smoothing), and rose (brightening) ones in particular.

White Jewel Peeling Exfoliant ($10)

Source: myphamalcarte

Source: myphamalcarte

I actually haven’t tried this one on my face before, but I think the concept of it is super cool, and my friend who works at the Korean cosmetic store The Face Shop has highly recommended it. When I went in stores to test it out, I put a little bit of the product on my hand. Upon rubbing it, I found that the serum clumped up into little balls. The concept is that, as an exfoliator, the white jewel peeling serum removes all the dead skin on the surface of your face (that’s what the clumps are composed of), which allows your skin to better absorb whatever serum/mask/moisturizer that you choose to use after the exfoliator. Unlike other exfoliators that you find in America, this exfoliator doesn’t have exfoliating balls, so it is a lot gentler and doesn’t leave your skin feeling raw. It starts off as a homogenous liquid that collects dead skin as you use it, remaining soft through the process. Apparently this is one of the most popular items in The Face Shop, and tends to sell out super quickly. 

If you haven’t noticed yet, people do face masks more for the fun and relaxing experience than anything else. Of course, the masks also do have great effects on your skin, but the reason for the popularity of Korean masks lies more so in the endless variety of different masks you can try. With all the different scents, ingredients, and textures to choose from, there is definitely a suitable mask for every skin type. I’ve listed 5 popular masks in this article, but you might find that other brands or mask types work better for your own skin. My recommendation? Give it a go if you’re feeling adventurous before bed, or—even better—grab some masks and a few friends to make for a relaxing Friday night.