My (Perhaps Completely Ridiculous) Joy Over Finding Crazy-Low Priced Kose Eye Masks at My Local Grocery Store (From My Most Favorite Sheet Mask Brand, No Less!)

I was at my local grocery store, a newish Kanehide (these are the green grocery stores with the two-bird logo, if you are just arriving to Japan) to pick up a couple things when what did my eyes see but BULK packs of Kose eye masks. Like, 32 serves (64 masks) per packet bulk. For less than 800 yen ($7 USD give or take). OMG. I tried to resist, I really did. But my cheapness had always bested my vanity over eye crinkles in the past on eye masks (why TF are they so damn expensive? They’re tiny!). Today was going to be different.

kose eye mask
OMG, why am I so excited?!

*please note there are affiliate links in this post*

My love for Kose sheet masks runs deep. I first tried them from a local pharmacy when I spotted the Cosme rating on the package (they’ve been ranked #1 in Japan for ten years according to the company), and the rating, price, and promise of hyaluronic acid goodness was too much to resist. They really are terrific, particularly for the price.

kose eye mask
Look at that glossy package … how could I leave it behind?!

So the Kose eye masks. It’s a bulk packet once you open the box, with a resealable sticker on top similar to makeup removing wipe packages. Inside, the set of eye masks come kind of folded together in sets of two. I’ll admit I was a bit of a butterfinger trying to get them peeled apart. They are a “skin” color (as much as bandaids are skin colored) and are very thin and pretty undetectable on the face.

kose eye mask
The resealable packet

The Fit

The fit for my particular eye shape was really excellent. The Kose eye mask fit right up alongside the bottom of my eyes with no gaps, and extended fully into my eye bag region as well as the crows feet part of the face.

The masks dried remarkably fast. I’ve never had a sheet mask dry anywhere close to that quick; I’d guesstimate about ten minutes and I took them off.


The masks have retinol and other skin-friendly ingredients that take time to see long-term benefits. I can’t attest to the long term as I have used these for a whopping one day, but I will say that the short term, temporary effect is terrific. My fine lines right under the eye that have been in residence since I was 14 were almost completely softened.

If nothing else, these would be great before an event or other big thing. I’m hoping that long term, these will reap a longer-lasting result. I’ll report back later on whether my hopes and dreams have come true (or have been brutally crushed).

Active Ingredients

The Kose website states these contain a retinol derivative (stabilizer) — my assumption, particularly with their intended use next to the eye, is that it’s a retinoid (vs retinol), which would reduce the negative side effects that can come with retinol use (peeling, dryness, redness, etc.). I apologize, but my Japanese is nowhere near the level needed to be able to decipher further. If I find more, I will be sure to update.

The Kose eye masks also utilize CoQ10, collagen (five times the amount! Five times what, I have no idea), elastine, hyaluronic acid, NMF and glycerine.

Final Thoughts on Kose Eye Masks

Would I recommend? Hell yeah I would. You can’t beat the price of these Kose eye masks, and the short term effect alone is worth more than the sell price. If they deliver long term effects (with the ingredient deck, they should), they are a must-buy. So … we will see, but for now, I have zero regrets on this purchase.



Cure Gel: Cult Classic or Overrated Crap?

Ah, Cure Gel. I don’t mean the band (though my wedding song was by them, so I’m a bit of a fan). Cure, or more accurately Natural Aqua Gel Cure, purportedly is sold every twelve seconds, in Japan alone. It’s reached major cult classic status. And for good reason.

What Cure gel does: throughly exfoliate your skin, getting rid of any rough, dry or scaly bits. What it doesn’t do: aggravate your skin. There are no physical scrubby bits in this.

How to use it? After cleansing (double cleaning, ahem), thoroughly dry your face and hands. Put 2-3 pumps worth in your hands and apply to your face. Let it sit about 10 seconds, then gently start rubbing your face with a circular motion. You will feel the product start to ball up (this is both the product AND your dry and nasty skin). After about a minute, or when you feel you have exfoliated to your little heart’s content, rinse your face throughly with water. And that’s it. Voila. Your face should feel smooth as a baby’s ass.

Follow the Cure gel with whatever skincare ritual you have. And like all exfoliators, be kind to your skin. Don’t use more than 2-3 times a week at most. With exfoliation, more is not more.

Are you dying to try it? If you’re in Japan, pretty much any major department store (Aeon, San-A, etc) will have it, as will most larger drug stores. Regular price is about 3000 yen for a large bottle that will last you eons (I’ve literally had mine two years and have yet to reach the halfway point).

Outside of Japan, you can try or There are copycats out there as well: Peter Thomas Roth makes a version, as does Korean brand Skin Inc.. My advice? Go for the original. The copycats cost more per ounce, and don’t do any better job than the OG Cure gel.