When I found out I was going to South Korea for two weeks to teach high school students, the first thing I thought was (after, you know, how cool is that I get to go to South Korea for this incredible opportunity), OMG BEAUTY PRODUCTS. Korean skincare is definitely having a moment, and I absolutely needed to join it — what better time than when I’m actually in South Korea?
My new friend Leela (who was born and raised in Seoul), took me shopping on my first weekend there, and we went to Innis Free, a wildly popular Korean skincare store. I was completely overwhelmed by all the choices. There was green tea moisturizer, aloe revival sleeping cream, sea salt cleanser, banana lip balm that came in a tube that was shaped like a banana! I nearly cried — and briefly considered spending next month’s rent money on ALL the things. Leela was my rock, though. She kept me calm and steady. She helped me decide on a few essential products, which obviously included the banana-shaped banana lip balm.
Then she pointed me to the rack of value-pack face masks that were apparently some of the hottest things on the Korean skincare market at the moment. She said they were pure magic, and that although it’s recommended to use these sheet masks a few times a week, some Korean girls use them every single night, especially considering how affordable they are. One pack of 10 cost about 10,000 Korean WON. That costs around $8.70 USD.
So what’s so special about these masks? Well, they’re made with 3 layers of freshly squeezed juice from plants, vitamins, and other natural ingredients. They’re free of animal ingredients, mineral oil, perfume, and colorants. They’re supposed to nourish your skin, brighten your face, and give you a Beyoncé-like dewy glow.
There are several different fruits you can choose from, and each of them focus on something different. You put the mask on your face at night for about 20 minutes, and when you take it off you just leave the leftover moisture on your face while you sleep. I decided to commit to 4 nights in a row, and I chose the Kiwi line, which especially focuses on the brightness and clearness of your skin. Here’s how it went!
Here’s my face, makeup free, before I used my first mask. As you can see, there was some overall dullness, especially under my eyes and on my forehead. My skin is a weird combination. I’m super oily but I go through dry phases, and that dryness seems to be taking over at the moment. “Dewy” has never really been my thing, so I was hoping to see some moisture kick in.
And, just for fun, here’s what the face mask actually looks like when I put it on.
This is me completely makeup free the next morning. It already seemed like my skin was more even after a DAY. Not necessarily glowing yet, but it certainly looked fresher than the day before. The skin under my eyes wasn’t as dark as it was the day before. What amazed me most was how the skin on my forehead was way clearer and more even. I was feeling really hopeful that by the end of this wild experiment at least one part of my face would be dewy.
So, in this pic, I’ve got some mascara on here and a touch of bronzer, but no foundation, no primer, no highlighter — nada. Dare I say there was a glow starting to happen on my forehead? On the bridge of my nose, too? I definitely felt dewy when I woke up that morning. Or maybe it was just the fact that the leftover juices on my face felt a little bit sticky. Whatever word you want to use, good things were happening.
The little bumps on my forehead seemed to have disappeared, and there was a subtle glow forming. In this picture I had just washed my face and put on a little bit of moisturizer. I was hiding behind nothing, and I had honestly never felt so confident barefaced. The bags under my eyes were significantly less puffy than they were on the morning of Day 1. I was feeling pretty rad.
Basically, I was sold. Look at how clear my skin is here! You can see the brightness of my nose, forehead, and cheeks that definitely wasn’t there before. I mean, it’s almost like the upper half of my face is glassy. Brighter? Check. Clearer? Check. Who knew Kiwi could be such a game-changer?
I was so excited about the results that I started searching online for more bulk packs of these miraculous sheet masks (they’re on Amazon, and you can buy a pack for less than $14!). Because I was about to fly through the rest of this pack and I wasn’t about to give up my new fresh look.
And here I am later on that day, with the smallest amount of makeup on. I’ve got on Clinique BB cream, NARS Casino bronzer, Lancome eyebrow gel, and a few swipes of Clinique mascara. It took only 5 minutes to put these products on, and they clearly enhance all the amazing things the masks already did for my face. I have to say, I’ve never been happier with my skin. Dewy might be my new middle name.