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.

Results

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.

 

 

DIY Turmeric Mask: I Risk Turning My Face Simpsons Yellow In Search Of Reduced Inflammation and Because Vain

Last night I risked having to public today with a complexion akin Marge Simpson using a DIY turmeric mask I read about on Instagram. Sounds smart, right?

Before you label me a vain fool (not that I claim otherwise), the recipe for the mask came from an Instagrammer I follow who has impeccable taste and beautiful skin (and happens to create some of the most beautiful flat lays in all of Instagramdom). She had glowing reviews (literally, her skin was glowing), as did her sister whom she got the recipe from.

So now that’s squared away, you may be wondering what the recipe is. You can check her IG for the OG recipe, but here’s what I did. I did essentially the same recipe, except I reduced the quantity in case, well, I stained everything yellow and didn’t want a lot of evidence left over.

DIY Turmeric Mask

3 teaspoons milk (I used whole)

2 teaspoons flour

1/2 teaspoon (ish) turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon (ish) raw honey

Whisk together, and apply in a thin layer using a brush (remember that turmeric stains like a bitch! Wear dark clothing, and be careful not to slop it around). If you apply too thick a layer, it could potentially stain your face (!!).

Voila! The finished concoction.

Here’s my little bowl o’ mask. Now came the time to apply. I applied a thin layer, per the instructions. It smells like, wait for it, turmeric. Which triggers some bittersweet memories for me, but I digress.

The original recipe says to let the mask sit for 20 minutes. Which was my full intent. Until I rinsed my little glam glow mask brush out and saw this:

OMG! Is it an omen?

My brush was stained Simpsons yellow! My brain wheels started turning and I started to sweat a bit, regretting my DIY decision almost immediately. “I regret everything!”

I decided to stop short of the twenty minute mark, instead washing off the mask once it had dried completely. Thanks I’m guessing to the flour, it dried very hard and required a washcloth to remove (built-in exfoliation, so much value!).

I am so fucking adorable.

When I got it washed off, I inspected my skin. I had some rogue evil cystic acne spots that had sprouted right in the middle of my cheek on one side, and they were quite red (likely from the washcloth). The rest of my skin did seem very bright and, thankfully, NOT yellow.

I did my first toner swipe with a cotton, like always after a wash off mask (usually I use just my fingers to pat them in but after a wash off mask I like to make sure all of the bits are indeed washed away).

I was a little alarmed … my face was not yellow BUT …

!! WTF !!

It took four rounds with different toners and cotton before I was satisfied I was not going to morph into an Oompa Loompa overnight because of residual turmeric on my face. In hindsight, I think I should have either swiped with micellar water or a done a real cleanse afterwards to make sure I had gotten everything cleaned up.

Results

I did the rest of my skincare routine after the mask. My face looked a bit glowier perhaps, and my active acne spots were, as previously mentioned, quite angry looking.

Today, my skin looked, apart from the acne spots … dare I say, good. It really was brighter. And the acne spots had calmed their asses down and were easily coverable by concealer (not the case the morning prior, when they were in full-on rage mode). AND most important: I was NOT yellow!

Will I do it again? Yes. Probably tonight. Even cutting the original recipe down I still have a good bit left in the bowl (which I covered and refrigerated because milk). I’m excited to see if my skin condition improves more with another treatment.

Why Turmeric?

So … what’s the point of this DIY turmeric mask? Well, to briefly cover each of the ingredients:

Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial properties, and an anti-oxidant. AKA excellent for acne prone people like me.

Honey: OMG what can’t honey do? Anti-bacterial, moisturizing, anti-oxidant, soothing and clarifying.

Milk: exfoliating (hello, lactic acid), soothing, and moisturizing.

So, what do you think? Would you try a DIY turmeric mask? If you’ve tried this or another DIY mask, let me know in the comments!

 

 

The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask: Moldable Biore Strip-like Fun!

Remember Biore strips? Of course you do! You’ve probably been seeing and hearing about clay nose masks, perhaps like the Hell Pore mask, which goes on like a pack or mask but cleans out the pores like a Biore strip. It’s also oft-mentioned as “the most painful mask on the planet” (dying to hand over your cash yet?!).

I recently picked up a similar product, Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask, from a The Face Shop outlet in Cambodia. The Face Shop is a Korean beauty company that sadly doesn’t yet have any outlets where I live, so I feel like a kid in a candy shop whenever the opportunity becomes available to shop at one.

The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel Off Clay Nose Mask

I found it in the “men’s care” section of the store. It has no discernible fragrance and the clay nose mask consistency is very thick and white. It has a very shiny finish.

After double cleansing, I applied the mask rather thick over my nose and alongside, where my pores tend to get most congested (aka where the old biore strips would sit).

Double Masking with the clay pore mask and a hydrating mask under the eyes from Paula’s Choice.

I like to double mask, especially when using a more drying mask like clay masks typically are. I usually apply a very hydrating one under and around my eyes to sit while my nose is cooking. This one is from Paula’s Choice.

It takes 10-15 minutes or so for the clay nose mask to set all the way. Your experience will vary depending on the humidity level of your house. When it’s completely dry, start at one side and start gently peeling it off.

When you have it off, flip it over and see what kind of goodies you’ve fished out of your pores (be honest, this is the best part, am I right?).

The Lowdown on The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Peel-Off Clay Nose Mask

Scent: none

Pain level: low, for me slightly less uncomfortable than Biore strips

Pros: with a clay mask, you can customize the fit to your own nose and needs. The skin under the mask felt very soft after I peeled this off. Also, I found this to be more effective than the black peel off masks I’ve found in Japanese drug stores.

Cons: for me, not available locally so must be purchased online or while on vacation.

Cost: around $7 USD plus shipping/tax as applicable.

Recommend: yes!

Top Asian and K Beauty Trends: Peel Off Clay Nose Masks

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 Amazon.com or Amazon.jp. 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.