No?? Oh, OK then.
Quite a while ago now I bought some plain sheet masks from Muji. I really love Muji – every time I go in there I come out with a big brown bag full of lovely and practical items. it smells AMAZING (due to the many Aroma diffusers puffing out their gorgeous citrus-y smoke) and is really good value for money.
Muji is where I stock up on acrylic storage for my makeup, on wipes for my glasses and on blotting paper for my lovely oily face! Last visit I also bought a couple of empty spray bottles for an upcoming post / experiment on Patting Water and Mists.
MUJI was founded in Japan in 1980 as an antithesis to the habits of consumer society at that time…..The concept was born of the intersection of two distinct stances: no brand (Mujirushi) and the value of good items (ryohin).
MUJI’s concept of emphasizing the intrinsic appeal of an object through rationalization and meticulous elimination of excess is closely connected to the traditionally Japanese aesthetic of “su” –– meaning plain or unadorned –– the idea that simplicity is not merely modest or frugal, but could possibly be more appealing than luxury.
The Sheet Mask
They are made of non woven 100% cotton pulp in Japan. Using a compressed facial mask sheet can allow flexibility with ingredients and is also a great idea to use up some products that have been lying around unused in the vast Meme hoard or are soon to expire, as well as true DIY recipes using everyday ingredients.
They also do an under eye version (£1.50 for 20) that I haven’t tried yet.
The instructions are obviously not in English, luckily they provide an English instruction pdf on their website.
How to use:
1. Pour face lotion into the cap or something else and soak one sheet with it.
2. After the sheet swells enough with lotion, spread it from the eyes to other parts of your whole face.
3. Stay still to pack the area for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove the sheet.
Obviously the ‘face lotion’ is up to you (that is the whole point of the endeavour after all) and I would say that the timing is a general guideline and probably (definitely!) is erring on the side of caution there.
NB. Common sense should be liberally applied.
I decided to soak mine in the Seatree Syn-ake Essence that I received from Memebox at the end of last year, which had a very short expiry date (Feb 2015). Got to use it up somehow!
Seatree Syn-ake Essence contains youth preserving ingredients, such as Syn-ake peptides, similar in composition to snake venom, and hyaluronic acid to help deliver targeted repair – as needed, where needed. Recommended for all skin types, ages and ethnicities, it visibly addresses uneven skin tone, lines and wrinkles for visibly firmer, more radiant and more supple skin.
What is Syn-ake?
‘Syn-ake is a topical anti-aging treatment….(that) is marketed as an alternative to Botox injections and other types of synthetic treatments that are formulated to get rid of wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other signs of aging. This ingredient, which is used in several different products that are designed to fight aging, is a synthetic form of snake venom. Syn-ake replicates the effects of a peptide that is known as Waglerin 1, which is a component of the venom found in the Temple Viper, a poisonous snake native to southeast Asia.
Syn-ake is designed to work much like Botox, which reduces muscular contractions in the face and reduces cell movement; thereby keeping the skin smooth. The concept behind Syn-ake is that since snake venom causes muscular paralysis, a synthetic derivative of the venom would work to temporarily deaden the muscles in the face to prevent the formation or deepening of wrinkles.’ (source)
‘experts wonder whether the topical formulations penetrate deeply enough to effectively inhibit muscle contraction. After all, Botox is injected for a reason — to deliver the compound directly into muscle tissue.
“Is the active ingredient really absorbed into the skin like Botox?” asks dermatologist Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell. “The action may just be as a good moisturizer, which does soften wrinkles.”
“Skin is programmed to keep proteins out,” adds Dr. Leslie Baumann, author of “The Skin Type Solution.” And the chemical must travel through several layers of skin and subcutaneous fat to reach and penetrate the muscle.’ (source)
I have been using this as my night essence since I received it and it was just ok. No obvious results (I didn’t really notice any improved firmness, suppleness or radiance) but I had no nasty reactions. It did have a bit of a strong perfume smell though, which put me off somewhat, luckily it did not last long.
I spent some time trying to track down the product for price / ingredients but it looks like it has been discontinued. The Seatree website seems to be concentrating on more natural plant based ingredients and some rather funky new packaging artwork. They do still have the Syn-ake hydrogel mask but that looks like it for the range.
‘(a) Natural brand, which was born in the Mangrove forest, gives you beautiful and intact skin from Mother Nature. Seatree embodies Sea and Forest, made of natural and pure ingredients, makes women’s skin healthy and full of vitality, providing skin support’
Making the Mask!
I had actually done this once before and so decided to try it again and attempt to take pictures of the process. The mask pellets are incredibly hard, densely packed little white discs. They are a little like a tiny Draught piece (Checkers for the Americans).
One thing I must point out is that it takes a LOT of essence to get this to swell and work properly. No wonder masks can be so expensive .. although I very much doubt that they are made by trying to unfurl tightly compressed little pellets from hell 🙂
Either I am too impatient or I didn’t use enough essence either time but this little nugget was extremely difficult to unravel. I placed it in a dish and liberally spewed it with essence.
Warning: this picture could look a little dodgy but I promise, that IS the Syn-ake Essence … ahem.
I hate waiting, so I started trying to unpick it pretty much straight away.
This is the beginning of the unfurling (i.e. after I had been picking at it for a few minutes and sighing a lot)
It looks like a little flower! I’m thinking this type of course:
This went on for a while – me cursing and trying to unravel it without ripping (unsuccessfully – both times) and this is the end result, which is not as bad as it could have been imo. This is obviously after it had been on my face 🙂
I think you can sense the look of frustration that imprinted onto it. This is what it is meant to look like:
Once on the face the mask feels like any other, albeit a little less snug and well fitting. It’s a good way to get more intensive benefits from your product because the mask sheet allows it to stay moist and have direct contact with the skin for a longer period of time, like any sheet mask. Again, I didn’t note any particular effects from this essence apart from a bit of hydration but it was a useful one to experiment with and to utilise for this post!
Obviously, the whole DIY thing could be just too much hassle especially since you can get decent sheet masks at pretty good prices but if you like to experiment with DIY skin care, this might appeal to you.
1. It may have been easier with a more liquid substance rather than one that is thicker in texture like this.
2. Or with some of the thicker substances it may be advisable to put it on your face first, then cover with a slightly damp mask (soaked in toner or galactomyces essence perhaps).
3. It would be a good idea to chill the essence or whatever you are using in the fridge before hand for that extra refreshing sensation.
I will have to experiment further (with the 18 I have left!) and report back. I have an old book with DIY Skin care recipes somewhere that I will have to root out but some of the ideas I think look good are:
FOR DRY SKIN:
Mix coconut water with five drops of coconut oil and half a teaspoon of honey (manuka preferably). Coconut is hydrating and honey helps lock in the moisture.
FOR SENSITIVE SKIN:
Mix a tablespoon of aloe vera gel with a couple drops of olive oil and a chilled cup of organic green tea. The aloe vera and olive oil are good for dryness, while the green tea soothes the skin and calms redness.
FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN:
Mix ¼ cup of witch hazel, ¾ cups of water, and a teaspoon of aloe vera gel. Witch hazel removes excess oil from the skin and minimizes pores and the aloe vera soothes irritation and redness.
It might also be nice to add a couple drops of skin friendly essential oils such as Tea Tree (great for oily and acne prone skin), Lavender (soothing), Neem (anti bacterial and good for acne prone skin) and Lemon (brightening and pigmentation).
Some other kitchen friendly ingredients that would be fun to try out:
– green tea powder (made up)
– pureed banana and milk
– milk and honey
– camomile tea
– peppermint tea (etc)
– lemon juice
– apple cider vinegar
Maybe not ham though….
This whole post has gone a bit creepy again …..first suspicious looking white substances and the death rose (rosa calvaria) and now ham face!
To end on a much more pleasant note, I present some bunny babies from a very wonderful rescue that is close to my heart – Save a Bunny (based in the San Francisco Bay Area, California). These dinky little munchkins will be available to adopt in the upcoming months for those in the area. For everyone else, there are many wonderful rescues all over the world who would love to hear from you. (The bun at the back is demonstrating what I should be doing right at this moment!)
Let me know what you think (of the post not the bunnies, although that is brilliant too!), any ideas you have for some recipes / products that might work? I am hoping to do a giveaway of some fun stuff soon and may get a packet of these to include, let me know if you would like that?
Cheers, C xx