Aaaaaaah, sheet masks. My favourite blogger of all time, gorgeous Malaysian beauty blogger Paris B, once called them the fast food item of the skincare world due to how much waste they create, how they only deliver limited skincare benefits but also how delicious they feel in the short term. I do recommend that you give her post some love – it’s a delicious read!
These past few weeks, I actually refrained from using sheet masks due to me wanting to be a more conscious consumer. I still used masks, but they were masks packaged in tubs that you are meant to use as part of your cleansing routine, before toning (eg clay masks, honey based masks or mugwort masks) or they were sleeping masks that went on as the last step of my skincare routine.
But you know what? My skin really missed its fast food sheet masks, especially now that it is winter here in Seoul and the combined onslaught of floor heating, indoor heating, chilling winds, and hot showers are taking their toll on my newly 31 years old, aging skin. So back on the sheet mask train I went and I feel so much better for it.
Do note that I will usually cleanse and apply toners, ampoules and serums before slapping on a sheet mask, and I will also always top off with a rich moisturiser or oil. The results that you see in the photos cannot be attributed to the masks alone.
In this review, I will be talking about more obscure brands such as Banobagi, AllNatural DaJayeon, and Once in a Moon. You can read more sheet masks reviews on a bundle of Mediheal masks here, plus Dr Jart sheet mask reviews on their brightening sheet mask as well as their Ceramidin sheet mask over here.
Today, I will go into –
- Banobagi – Baby Face Injection Mask
- allNatural DaJayeon Organic Mask Sheet Houttuynia Cordata
- Once in a Moon Pretty Cool Ice Cooling Mask & Ice Cooling Eye Mask
Banobagi – Baby Face Injection Mask
These Banobagi masks go on sale at Lalavla all the time. You really can’t go wrong with sheet masks when a pack of two retails for ₩1,750! I dig the design, even though I wish Korean sheet mask companies would stop putting medical equipment such as syringes and drips onto packaging. It just feels wrong and to me, cheapens the branding a little. I mean, come on. Clearly you’re not injecting your face with medical grade substances, nor is what you’re putting on your face prescription only. Anyways.
EDIT: A quick Google search revealed that Banobagi apparently is a plastic surgery clinic that prides itself on sourcing its surgeons from Seoul National University (one of the top 3 SKY unis here in Korea, the other two being Korea National University and Yonsei University). Not sure if the clinic and the sheet masks are affiliated through cross marketing or not.
What The Company Says
Edit 2: So yes, apparently the clinic and the mask are related.
The line of “Injection” masks was created personally by the group of dermatologists at the most famous cosmetic surgery clinic in Korea, Banobagi Clinic. Each mask has the same real effect of an aesthetic injection, depending on the different types of sheets.
The mask “Baby face injection Mask” is made with 100% cotton fabric, its formulation contains niacinamide, soy extract and Bija oil that are perfect ingredients to brighten and treat the elasticity of the skin. Let yourself be surprised by this Korean mask that will leave your skin like a baby skin!
Ummmm ok, I still really don’t think a sheet mask can have the same effects of injectables. That’s pushing it a little. I might allow myself to be talked into believing that a good facial could be as effective as an injection, but not a mere sheet mask on its own. Psh!
That being said, let’s get into some photographic evidence. This is me before. As you can see, there are some semi active breakouts, redness and uneven skin tone.
Here’s my mug with the mask on. It did bunch up a fair bit around the forehead and chin area, which happens all the time because my face is kind of small. However, I’d rather a mask were a tad too big than too small, as I can always fold excess material if I am genuinely inconvenienced. If there were too little material, that might just mean than I might not reap maximum benefits.
I will have to note here that I found the feel of the essence that the mask came in super uncomfortable. It felt thick, goopy, gooey and slimy, but I guess that’s better than a thin, watery, runny mask that gets everywhere.
Once I took the mask off… I have to say, I was rather impressed, however.
Skin looked rather well rested, bright and clear. Active breakouts appeared much reduced in both size and discolouration. I can definitely see myself getting this one again. As a matter of fact, I have two other masks from Banobagi sitting in my fridge right now and I am hoping to review these in a separate post soon for your viewing pleasure.
Here are the afters, and honestly, my skin does not look half bad if I do say so myself:
Aaaand in case you’re interested, the morning afters:
allNatural DaJayeon Organic Mask Sheet Houttuynia Cordata
These are pushed to the max by my local Lalavla, claiming that these won some prize awarded by aggregate review site, Hwahae. I really doubt that though. Let’s get into more detail further down below. These usually retail for around ₩1,500 with 25 ml of product in the pouch; standard price, standard size (hey, that rhymes, kind of).
I was unable to find this company’s website nor a cosDNA listing, this is what I scraped off a random beauty site. Do take the info with a grain of salt. What is Houttuynia cordata, you ask? Wikipedia says:
Houttuynia cordata, also known as fish mint, fish leaf, rainbow plant, chameleon plant, heart leaf, fish wort, Chinese lizard tail, or bishop’s weed, is one of two species in the genus Houttuynia (the other being H. emeiensis). It is a flowering plant native to Southeast Asia. It grows in moist, shady locations.
The rest of the ingredients appear beneficial on paper. Water, aloe, glycerin, a hyaluronic acid derivative, tiger grass extract, ginkgo extract, panthenol and some other plant extracts.
Ingredients: Houttuynia Cordata Extract 50 %, Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Betaine, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Chaenomeles Sinensis Fruit Extract, Angelica Gigas Root Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Xanthan Gum, Zanthoxylum Piperitum Fruit Extract, Pulsatilla Koreana Extract, Usnea Barbata (Lichen) Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Geranium Maculatum Oil.
What The Company Says
Again, this is ripped straight from some beauty site. There is no official website as far as I can see. The instructions are pretty straightforward. The Korean writing on the sheet mask packaging itself merely states that the mask adheres strongly, that the ingredients are derived from nature, eco-friendly and obtained through organic farming.
Directions: After cleansing and toning, carefully remove the mask from its packaging to avoid the essence from dripping. Place properly onto the face and leave for 20 to 30 minutes. Afterwards, remove the mask and pat the remaining essence for better absorption.
Agh, I forgot to take before photos! As you can see from the photos below, my skin actually was not all that bad on the day that I put the mask on. The fit was a bit large for me but that’s pretty standard. Most masks run a bit large on my face. At least I can be sure that my face is covered and then some.
Right out of the gate, I will have to say that the texture of the mask sheet was rather horrid. Never in my life have I ever experienced an itchy, scratchy texture, but there you go. It looks soft and decent in the photos, however in person I found the texture quite unpleasant. Perhaps that is part of the marketing – a coarser texture to make you feel as though the sheet is organic, too?
When I took off the mask, I did not see any of the brightening effects that I usually get when I chuck on a sheet mask. Indeed, my pigmentation seems a bit off and the hyperpigmentation around my eyes seems exacerbated if anything.
The morning after, too, I was unable to see any improvements. You be the judge:
Once in a Moon – Pretty Cool Ice Cooling Mask // Ice Cooling Eye Mask
Once in a Moon is a Lalavla skincare line that apparently is meant to cater to women with hormonal acne and acne that is related to your menstrual cycle, or at least that is how I understand it. Do correct me if I am wrong.
NB I do not suffer from hormonal acne – mine is stress induced as well as food related – so I am unable to comment on whether this mask does anything for hormonal acne at all. More thoughts down below.
The instructions state specifically that the mask is to be used straight from the freezer. When I first read this, I could not quite believe it and used it right out of the fridge. With the next application, I decided to follow the instructions for once and used it after keeping it in the freezer overnight. It made a massive difference! The mask does not actually freeze up; indeed, it stays malleable and flexible even when subjected to subzero temperatures to the tune of -10 and -20 degrees Celsius. So, yes, do try and follow the instructions on this mask even if you’re not someone to follow instructions usually, because the cold sensation is truly lovely – a great treat especially on hot summer days.
I was unable to find this mask listed anywhere online, so I am typing up the ingredients as per the packaging. Do correct me if I got anything wrong.
Also – do you see what I see? Ethanol as the second listed ingredient? So basically… rubbing alcohol on your face? This would explain why the mask won’t freeze up even when left in the freezer over extended periods of time.
Water, ethanol, di-propylene glycol, glycerine, butylene glycol, niacinamide, cetyl ethylhexanoate, 1,2 hexanediol, C14 22 alcohol, carbomer, arginine, sodium polyacrylate starch, hexylene glycol, hydroxyacetophenone, C12 20 alkyl glucoside, adenosine, disodium EDTA, fragrance, glucose, panthenol, pomegranate extract, lactobacillus ferment, aloe vera extract, flower extract, sky tree extract
What The Company Says
This brand has zero online presence, but I saw that a site called Metabranding had used the brand as a case study. Link to site here: Once in a Moon case study. Here’s what it says, in slightly broken Konglish:
Korea Ginseng Corporation (KGC) is the best known and highly trustworthy company in Korea with health functional food as well as cosmetics brands. The health functional food brands are famous for Jeong-Gwanjang, Goodbase, DONGINBI etc. The trustworthy brand image probably came from the public influence of the title ‘Ginseng Corporation’
However, this kind of company also came up against the challenge. Most of the current brands are targeting the middle age consumers, while it shorts of the brand portfolio to response the 20 generation, which is the potential consumers in the future.
Therefore, KGC determined to create a new brand target on the 20 generation of lalavla users (used to be Watsons, the health & beauty distribution channel under KGC)
This holistic branding works started from brand concept, naming, design to the IMC strategy and management after brand launching.
The new brand is an ‘only for woman brand’, takes care of women’s PMS once a month and focuses on women’s circle and rhythm.
To develop the concept of the new brand, a study of 20 generation came first. Various interviews, as well as the field trips, were planned to acquire different perspectives on products & concept in both domestic and global market (Singapore, Japan)
After 2 months of searching and concept development, the new brand’s concept was ultimately decided as Rhythmical Beauty. It was determined under the following criteria; The corporate relevance, Industry & target adequacy, target differentiation, product extensibility etc.
Externally, the new brand is extremely unique within the market since there are no other brands with similar concept currently. Internally, it is relevant to Hwaaerak, Jeong-Gwanjang’s climacteric caring brand. Which means, as the new brand launches, KGC will be able to care for women’s whole life.
The brand name (Once in a Moon) and package took use of the ‘moon’ motif. ‘Moon’ was used to express women’s D day in a smooth and emotional way. Also, it conveyed ‘caring for healthy beauty’ through brand story.
Ummm, ok, Once in a Moon, I don’t like my period being referred to as D-Day! That really cheapens the image of what happened on the actual D-Day in 1945… but that aside, using D-Day as an important deadline or cut-off date is super common in Korea, so I guess it might be a cultural thing.
Here is my mug before using the sheet mask:
Again, my skin does not look too terrible. Some discolouration, acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, but pretty against my regular base line.
I appreciated that the mask came in two parts, allowing for a much better fit:
This is how the mask looked going on, plus the eye mask. Both of them felt cooling and soothing going on, and the fit was nice. At this stage, I should remark on how this mask does not drip and feels unlike regular sheet masks. It is more of a dry affair due to the fact that the mask comes straight out of the freezer. It is kind of how I imagine Charlotte Tilbury’s famous dry sheet masks going on, plus the cooling effect.
That said, if you hate drippy sheet masks, then perhaps these could be of interest to you. Literally zero dripping, and they feel somewhat dry to the touch going on, too.
I’m a super hero!! 열~~~~~ 헐!
Here’s my face after:
And here is my eye area after:
Um, I don’t know you guys. The mask felt nice going on and my skin actually looks better and brighter in the after photos… I just have not been tempted to repurchase?? Not sure what it is. In spite of the alcohol content, my skin liked these masks and the cooling sensation that can only be obtained through keeping these in the freezer is second to none. I am thinking that I might consider repurchasing in the midst of summer, unless something else will be grabbing my attention at that point (which might very well happen).
Looking back on today’s three sheet masks — Banobagi, DaJayeon, Once in a Moon — the only one that I would repurchase straight away is the Banobagi baby face one. Sheet masks are one of my favourite little treats, so if you have a recommendation you’d like to share, give us a shout in the comments! 💃