Snail Jelly? Essence? Facial Sheets? Korean Face Masks Explained
If you are a bit confused by what makes Korean face masks all the rage, you've come to the right place. Although Korean cosmetic products have taken the U.S. and Europe by storm for their unique formulations, great results and reasonable prices, choosing the right product for your face can seem hit or miss. To make things easy, our resident "K-Beauty" expert narrowed things down. Our top beauty mask picks. . .
- OUR TAKEPROSCONS
- OUR TAKE
- This exceptional product is super moisturizing and helps repair damaged and dry skin. Don't be intimidated by the "snail jelly"—it's widely used in Korean cosmetics and no snails are harmed during the manufacturing process.
- Made with 5,000ppm snail secretion filtrate captured in a premium quality hydrogel-coated sheet.
- Deeply hydrating.
- Widely reported to work well with sensitive skin types (as always, if you have sensitive skin, you should spot test before placing the mask over your entire face).
- Contains a slight fragrance (we think it's nice, but understand some consumers don't like any type of fragrance).
- Slightly more expensive than the other masks in this comparison.
- OUR TAKE
- A budget friendly 12-pack of four different types of masks. Especially unique are the deep cleansing bubble masks, which may look scary but provide your skin with an amazing cleansing experience. In short, a solid runner up on price and performance.
- Includes 3 deep cleansing bubble masks that exfoliate and moisturize with lotus extract and Jojoba seed oil.
- Help to shrink the appearance of large pores and reduce acne scarring.
- You receive 3 of each type of mask, so you can use any mask you like more than once without having to buy a whole new set.
- May cause irritation or feel harsh if you have sensitive skin. Contains a slight fragrance (like the Skederm masks, we think it is nice, but understand some consumers don't like any type of fragrance).
- OUR TAKE
- Premium face masks with no added fragrance that are ideal for those looking for deep skin hydration. They are a bit pricey, but its nice that you can buy multiple sets of the same mask if you find them if you find them as enjoyable as we do.
- Sheets are made from premium quality Bemliese, which is a smooth textured material that takes in the nutrient-filled ingredients.
- Do not contain any harmful ingredients (i.e. no parabens, PEG, phenoxyethanol or mineral oil) and 100% Vegan certified.
- Fragrance free.
- The priciest masks in our comparison at the time of our writing (on a per mask basis).
- Only available in a pack of five.
- OUR TAKE
- These wildly popular masks are reasonably priced and come in a combo pack that gives you exposure to a wide range of mask types (there are 16 different masks in the combo pack). They are a great entry point into the world of Korean beauty masks BUT contain parabens, which is a deal killer for some.
- Combo pack includes a variety of masks that help to address a myriad of different skin concerns.
- All masks contain collagen and vitamin E, which help to maintain skin health and vibrancy.
- Reasonably priced.
- Contain parabens.
- Every mask in the pack is different, meaning you can't single out one to use again and again if you particularly like it.
Important Facets To Keep In Mind
What To Focus On
In the next section, we will explain in detail the reasons behind our rankings for each mask. But first, let us delve into the most important things to be mindful of when shopping for a beauty face mask. These key facets should always be your guide, when choosing Korean cosmetics or otherwise.
Quality Ingredients - Take into close consideration each and every ingredient that is listed on product labels so that you are aware of what they are and what they do. As you might already know, many of our personal care products have been riddled with toxic ingredients that are harmful to us, both short term and long term. Quality masks will not consist of such products; instead they’ll contain more natural and organic ingredients. Some toxic ingredients to be mindful of include, parabens, artificial fragrances and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which can harsh and drying to the skin. Some experts argue that moderate use of these ingredients will not cause harm, but it will ultimately be your decision as a consumer to take this into consideration or not. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, we recommend limited or no-use of any masks that contain unnatural ingredients.
Moisture Retention - If you live in a particularly dry-climate area or are simply prone to dry skin, face masks that help with moisture retention will be especially beneficial to you. However, even if these factors do not apply to you, sufficient moisture is something that our skin and body needs in general. Think of the fact that we are made up of approximately 65% water. With that said, look for ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, which can help draw moisture to the skin and retain it there, and other similar ingredients when shopping for a face mask. Your skin should never feel stripped of its natural oils or dry after applying a mask. Even good quality purifying masks aid in moisture retention.
Effectiveness - To put it quite simply, does the face mask do what it claims to do? Surely, you will not be able to answer this question conclusively until after you have used it, but there are a couple of ways to get a good idea of its effectiveness. Reading the product ingredients as well as customer reviews will provide you with some helpful insight on the product. For example, if you are looking for a mask that has brightening effects, but none of the ingredients listed on the label have brightening agents, such as Vitamin C, then chances are that the mask will not effectively brighten your skin.
How We Chose
Ingredients, Variety and The "Korea Factor"
Now that we have explored the key components of a good beauty face mask, let us explain the reasons why we listed each of the Korean face masks in our review in the order that we did. Ultimately, the type of masks that you choose to use will be dependent upon your skin’s needs and the skin concerns that you wish to address, but here is our rundown.
We chose the Skederm Snail Jelly Face Masks as our top choice of Korean face masks because of the many benefits associated with using snail products, a cool "Korea factor" making these worth a try. In addition to providing deep moisturization, snail face products help to treat inflamed pimples. Snail mucin also contains glycolic acid, allantoin, hyaluronic acid, and antibacterial properties. Each of these are well known for their abilities to help heal and regenerate the skin as well for maintaining skin health.
We chose the Celderma Korean Premium Sheet Masks they are cost effective and boasts some great benefits, including deep cleansing and exfoliation with their unique bubble masks (three such masks are included with the set of 12). Do keep in mind that these may cause irritation if you have sensitive skin though. Outside of that, we highly recommend these masks if you are working towards soothing hyperpigmentation, excessively dry skin, acne scarring and large pores. We also cannot forget to emphasize how budget-friendly the Celderma Sheet Masks are.
You get a little less bang for your buck with the 17VDerma masks, which is why we placed them in our number there spot, but these are nonetheless top quality masks. What is most impressive about these masks is the amount of rigorous product testing that they undergo in order to ensure top quality. For those who are only interested in purchasing Vegan products, this mask just might be the best choice for you. We also consider these masks some of the most universal because they omit common harmful ingredients. If you have sensitive skin, these are may worth a try (spot test first though).
Our fourth place finisher, the Dermal Collagen Essence Masks, made it to this spot because they contain parabens and each mask in the 16 pack is different, meaning you'll need to buy another set if you really like any particular mask. Although the combo pack style has its downsides, it does have advantages if you want to see what will address different skin concerns or simply want to try a number of options. If you are not sure which type of mask would be best for your skin type, this budget-friendly combo pack might be ideal for you.
Other Valuable Things To Know
More Helpful Tips . . .
In addition to what we have already discussed in "Important Facets to Keep In Mind" section, there are some other important things you should know and take into consideration when shopping for a face mask. Here are some useful tips and notables that we would also like you to take away from this article:
Spot Testing - It is always recommended that you test a dime-sized amount of any facial product you plan to use before you begin to use it regularly. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin. You can apply a small amount on your hand or your chin in order to see if your skin has a bad reaction to the product. If it does, discontinue use immediately as you do not want to risk causing further damage to your skin.
Expensive Is Not Necessarily Better - You do not have to spend a ton of money in order to find a face mask that is ideal for your skin and provides the benefits that you are seeking. We know that higher-priced and luxury brands in addition to marketing might have you feel otherwise, but it is simply untrue. There are plenty of budget-friendly brands that exceed expectations when it comes to quality and effectiveness. The four beauty masks in this review are just a few of the many that demonstrate this point.
Do Your Own Research (Thanks for Starting Here BTW!) - Purchasing any type of face mask (or facial care product for that matter) will require you to do some research that is independent of what the product companies are advertising. This will give you a better understanding of what the masks are made of and how the ingredients will affect your skin specifically. You should also research what works for your particular skin type. For example, some people have oily skin, others have dry skin and some have a combination of both. Adding to that, our skin type often changes with the seasons and at different periods of our lives. Understanding these factors will allow you to choose the best mask for your skin at the time that you need and want it.
Go Green! - In the interest of protecting our environment, we recommend buying face masks that are cruelty-free, vegan, and safe for the environment. This not only includes how the masks themselves are produced, but also how their packaging is manufactured. Many cosmetics and skin care companies are making strides in ensuring that their products are eco-friendly, therefore it is much easier to find beauty face masks that are environmentally safe in the consumer market.
Some Final Thoughts - All in all, trial and error is often the best way to find the best face mask for your skin because skin care is one of those things in which one size does NOT fit all. We suggest making the process enjoyable, whether you have problematic skin, or you simply enjoy using face masks as a way to pamper yourself. Remember that your skin care routine can and should be fun!
The ReviewDECIDE Method
What We Do . . .
We started ReviewDecide on the premise that a great deal of the information required to properly evaluate a given product is already right in front of your (and our) eyes. In fact there is too much information! A crucial skill necessary to picking the best products is instead the ability to cull through the available information, focusing on what should really drive a purchase decision.
To make those crucial determinations as to what matters and what doesn’t, we begin by thinking through what really matters to us when we use a particular product. We then use the that type of product to further refine the features we care about and that we think you will care about too. Next we search the web, looking to manufacturer’s websites, product specifications, consumer reports, expert blogs, research reports and the like to obtain crucial insights and the facts.
Finally, we distill the results of our research and combine it with our own experiences as consumers, professionals, techies, mothers, fathers, hobbyists, designers, software engineers, attorneys (sorry) and more. Ultimately, this process results in the reviews we present to you. We hope you enjoy!