ETUDE HOUSE – a wealth of Masks!

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Two things that you should know about me:

1. I love Korean skincare – it works for me much better than Western equivalents (not saying that there aren’t exceptions – there are of course and I love finding them). K Beauty suits my skin type (oily, sometimes dehydrated and starting to age), it uses ingredients that are miles ahead of anything seen over here and is often much better value for money (even if you take into account shipping from Korea).

2. My favorite type of product by far are masks – of any type, shape and form.  I’m totally obsessed with masks! This has always been the case. When I was very little I used to make my own real mud masks or masks out of kitchen bits and bobs. I graduated onto very expensive Western branded concoctions which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. I have my all time favorites and some ingredients will always work for me (bee venom, snail, hyaluronic acid) so if I see a Western mask with decent ingredients I WILL buy it. However, for sheet masks, Korean beauty is the place to shop! Unfortunately they haven’t yet invented a mask that does this but I wait in everlasting hope:

From sailorsherri meme addicts

(with thanks to S in the Memebox Addicts FB group!)

Etude House – the brand

Etude House (Hangul: 에뛰드하우스) was established in 1966 but became the company we know in 1985 (not quite as old as me!!) and is part of the overall global conglomerate that is Amore Pacific (which also owns brands such as Sulwhasoo, Laneige, Mamonde and Innisfree). The brand name ‘Etude’ comes from Frederic Chopin’s studies of the piano.  Etude means study in French. Their brand image is very pink and pretty, very girly and youthful. Everyone is a princess.

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Now if you know me, you know that I am not exactly a ‘pink’ person.  I like pink lips and cheeks but not clothes or decor.  I do however like anything cute and therefore…… yes, I AM a princess!!

My face if anyone dares say I’m not…..

yes I'm a princess

(Thanks Moo for your undeniable princess-ness! Source)


The Masks

Etude House makes a variety of sheet masks, from standard sheet masks to bio jelly coconut masks, from place specific (eye, nose, chin etc) masks to Hydrogel masks and I love them all! In this post I will be concentrating on some of the ‘I Need You’ Sheet Masks and the ‘Skin Note’ Deep Moisturising Hydrogel Masks.

Etude House ‘I Need You’ Sheet Masks

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Etude House makes 20 different variations of these masks. These are (with the ones I have tried so far in bold):

  • Aloe
  • Collagen
  • Hyaluronic
  • Royal Jelly
  • Pearl
  • Green Tea
  • Lemon
  • Pomegranate
  • Tea Tree
  • Vita Complex
  • Olive
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Mugwort
  • Korean Ginseng
  • Mango
  • Snail
  • Acai Berry
  • Bamboo
  • Rice
  • Honey

Directions for use: (I’ll put this once for each type as they are obviously all the same)

1. Apply toner to skin after cleansing.

2. Remove mask from pouch and apply to face, placing mask to fit eye and lip area.

3. Remove mask after 10~15 minutes and lightly massage remaining solution into skin with hands.

Mask Fit:

The same for all this type. (+ Bonus funny / scary picture!)

These sheet masks fit fairly well. The width and length are fine for me, there is a slight overlap under the chin which makes for a more snug fit, the eye and mouth holes are not too big or too small (this is sounding like Goldilocks now…..) The only issue, as always, is the nose area. My nose seems to be much too narrow, long and large for Korean sheet masks and this results in the excess material at the top making that area not fit well and the mask always finishes very short of the end of my schnozz. Funnily enough the hydrogels are very different!

And now for the demonstration …. you have seen one sheet mask selfie you have seen them all!?!  This was the Mugwort mask. This terrible picture demonstrates the fit around the nose area.

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Disclaimer: I took this picture after falling asleep in my contact lenses (hence the blood shot-edness) and without said contact lenses in ….aka I could not see a thing! Not the camera or myself in the mirror. It was basically a case of aim the camera somewhere at my head and click. My view at the time was something more like this (which is much more pleasant I’m sure you’ll agree):

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1. ‘I Need You’ Collagen Sheet Mask

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SKIN FIRMING. This mask sheet contains Collagen (Hydrolyzed Collagen) that strengthens the skin for firm, youthful skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract,  Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Panthenol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Allantoin, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Hydrolysed Collagen (2mg), Trideceth-6, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Review: This mask had a fairly thick milky white serum and did not really smell of anything in particular. With this one, I did not fall asleep (hallelujah!). The mask had been in the fridge for a few hours so felt very soothing and calming. After about 20 minutes I removed the mask and patted the remaining essence (there was plenty!) onto my face. My skin felt a little firmer and tighter. It felt moisturised but a bit sticky. All in all, a decent nightly mask which will provide mainly hydration and maybe a little bit of firming / tightening.

Score: 7.5/10


2. ‘I Need You’ Pearl Sheet Mask

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BRIGHT COMPLEXION. This mask sheet contains pearl extract (Hydrolyzed Pearl) full of amino acids and minerals, brightening up dull skin for a bright and clear complexion.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Panthenol, Carbomer, PEG60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Hydrolysed Pearl (20mg), Potassium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Review: As usual, I left the sheet mask in the fridge before application so that it gave a cooling / soothing effect. This mask does not really smell of much apart from a standard creamy skincare smell. This one has a clear, slightly thinner consistency serum I didn’t really see much of a whitening/brightening effect on my skin when I removed the mask and patted in the extra essence but I did look healthy, hydrated and glowing with an even tone, albeit slightly sticky.  This was one of my favorites.

Score: 8 / 10


3. ‘I Need You’ Green Tea Mask

This mask sheet contains green tea extract (Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract), providing moist and comforting relief to sooth out rough and irritated skin. Confession: I tried this mask last year when I received one in the From Jeju Memebox. This was a long time before I started this blog and subsequently I do not have any photographs or the ingredients list. I do remember not being that impressed at the time and I think compared to the ones I have tried here this was my least favorite. It did smell rather pleasantly of green tea I remember but it didn’t have any discernible effects, maybe because my skin is generally not rough and wasn’t irritated at the time. It also left my skin a bit sticky.

Score: 5/10 (There are plenty of the others I would buy first although I will try it again and change the score if I was obviously deranged the first time I used it).


4. ‘I  Need You’ Mugwort Sheet Mask

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SOOTHING & BRIGHT. This mask sheet contains mugwort extract (Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract) that improves circulation for a clearer complexion.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Alcohol, Panthenol, Carbomer, PEG60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Xanthan Gum, Artemisia Princeps Leaf Extract (20mg), Potassium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Review: This one had a lovely smell, somewhat reminiscent of cucumber (which is strange as there is none in it .. I presume it is the Mugwort itself, which I have never tried before). It smelt very fresh and clean.

‘Mugwort is a common name for several species of aromatic plants in the genus Artemisia…..Artemisia Princeps or Japanese mugwort, is a perennial, very vigorous plant that grows to 1.2 meters and is known as yomogi (ヨモギ) in Japanese….In Korea, it is called ssuk (쑥) or tarae ssuk (타래쑥), which is deeply related to Dangun Sinhwa (단군신화), legend of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom… Known as a blood cleanser, it is believed to have different medicinal properties depending on the region it is collected. In some regions, mugwort thins the blood, while in another region, it is claimed to have hallucinogenic properties, causing some to pass out from direct skin contact (dermal absorption) with the active chemicals. For this reason, some Koreans also wear a silk sleeve when picking mugwort plants…..Mugwort pollen is one of the main sources of hay fever and allergic asthma in North Europe, North America and parts of Asia‘   (source: Wikipedia)

This mask had plenty of a clear watery gel type essence. The sheet itself was a decent thickness and adhered to the face well, only falling away a bit when madly trying to aim a camera at one’s face! This one had not been in the fridge but it was still pretty cold as the weather was a tad icy. It felt very cooling and soothing. There was plenty of essence in the pack, which I applied liberally after I took the mask off. The essence had a slightly sticky feel as it dried but that was fine for use as a night time mask. This one did not feel particularly moisturising but my pores looked smaller and more refined and the tone of my skin was even, clear and more healthy looking than normal!

Score: 8/10


5. ‘I Need You’ Snail Sheet Mask

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Look at those little snaily faces!!

SMOOTH FIRMING. This mask sheet contains snail mucus ingredient (Snail Secretion Filtrate) that protects the skin’s natural barrier for smooth and elastic skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract,  Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Panthenol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Snail Secretion Filtrate (20mg), Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Allantoin, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-6, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Review: I love anything snail … I may have mentioned that before! Snail mucin has magical properties that can fade acne scars, smooth and revitalise skin and clear the complexion. My HG essence is the Benton Snail Bee and I tend to enjoy most snail items that I have tried (apart from Secret Key’s EGF snail masks for some reason – see Secret Key box post and January Mask Genie post).

This mask was slightly different. The sheet itself was a tiny bit thicker and white rather than translucent. The essence itself was also thick, white and very creamy. There was no distinctive smell. I wore this one in the day as I had unfortunately fallen asleep in my makeup the night before and my skin needed some serious TLC. I found that it stayed on my face very well as I was on the computer so not that active! The mask was still damp after about 20 minutes so I took it off and applied the rest of the essence from the pouch. My skin was left very happy – shiny (in a good way!), even and glowing. I would get this one again.

Score: 8/10


6. ‘I Need You’ Rice Mask Sheet

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PURIFYING. This mask sheet contains rice extract (Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract) that brightens up dull and rough skin for smooth and healthy skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract,  Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Panthenol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract (20mg), Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Allantoin, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-6, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Prunus Persica (Peach) Leaf Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Gingko Biloba Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance.

Review: This one smelt almost like baby lotion (lotion that you put on babies, not lotion MADE out of babies). It was a light creamy smell and very pleasant. The smell, as ever, dissipates once the mask is on. The essence was relatively creamy and white, the same as the Snail and Collagen versions (the ingredients for these are different to the other two masks that I have used recently, which may be why!). When I tried this one (it had been in the fridge) I fell asleep for about 2 hours with it on. The mask itself was dry but my skin underneath felt plump and moist and even more so when I applied the copious amounts of essence left over in the pouch. My skin looked plumped up, brighter, shiny and very smooth. My forehead looked especially tight and glowy.

Score: 8.5/10 (I think this was my favorite but it was very close).

Conclusion

I would definitely try all of these again as the price is very good for the quality and results that they give you. They are a great every day mask to maintain and improve your skin – dependent on the ones you choose and your skins needs at the time. I would like to try all of other types of this mask that Etude House makes in this range as well and I’m putting an order in – especially the Aloe (soothing and cooling), Vita Complex (purify and brighten), Korean Ginseng (nourishing and revitalising) and Acai Berry (antioxidants). I will list places that you can purchase these at the end of the post.


Etude House ‘Skin Note’ Deep Moisturising Hydrogel Masks.

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Etude House makes 5 different types of this mask. I bought one of each. I have only tried 3 so far (in bold), as I use hydrogels less often due to the slightly higher price and generally superior effect – great for a special occasion or once a week rather than every day. I will update this post with further details when I try the final 2!

1. DEEP MOISTURIZING

2. LIFTING UP

3. BRIGHTENING

4. PORE TIGHTENING

5. CALMING FACE

Directions:

1. Prior to application, cleanse face, pat dry and wipe with toner facial pad.

2. Remove mask from pouch, unfold and remove upper and bottom films on both sides of mask.

3. Adhere transparent film-removed side of mask to face, fitting appropriately to eyes and lips.

4. Leave on for 20~30 minutes. Remove mask and massage remaining solution into skin with hands.

*More effective when side with transparent film is adhered to skin.

Mask fit:

As before, they are all the same. I especially like the fact that the side that is supposed to go against your skin is specified, as often (in fact with most hydrogels I have tried) either this is not mentioned and both sides seem exactly the same or in one notable case it specified a colour film which did not exist in reality! I do really appreciate this.

The masks come in two pieces, as have all other hydrogels I have tried. They are very slippery and easily damaged so best to take your time and don’t do this without your eyes in … contact lens / glasses joke 🙂

They do take a bit of adjusting and messing around to get the best fit but when you do so they are snug and will stay put. As they warm up they seem to adhere more closely to your skin. I generally put the bottom half on first (as that seems more likely to slip) and then the top half, slightly overlapping the bottom, to secure it. It is best to stretch it slightly when adjusting and then smooth it out, whilst pressing slightly, to make sure it is adhered firmly.

These hydrogels have an excellent fit: snug around the eyes and mouth (although the bit above the mouth can slip, especially if you are not lying down), much more covered at the sides of the nose than a standard sheet mask and the nose on these is very very long. It overlaps at the end, which is amusing! I have not yet attempted to take a photograph of me in one of these yet but I think one ‘selfie’ per couple of months is quite enough for your poor eyes.


1. ‘Skin Note’ Deep Moisturising Hydrogel Mask

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This is a Hydrogel Mask with hyaluronic acid (Sodium Hyaluronate) and seaweed extract (Jania Rubens Extract), quenching dry and thirsty skin with its burst of deep, long-lasting hydration.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Gardenia Florida Extract, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate, Jania Rubens Extract.


2. Skin Note’ Lifting Up Hydrogel Mask

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This is a Hydrogel Mask with Collagen (Hydrolyzed Collagen) and Royal Jelly (Royal Jelly Extract), snugly hugging the face to provide elastic and bouncy skin with its special ingredients.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Gardenia Florida Extract, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Royal Jelly Extract, Hydrolysed Collagen.

Review:

I used this one quite a while ago now.  I have recently got into the habit of writing down my thoughts at the time of using a product – I have a special notebook and everything! It isn’t this one but I think I should get this:

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Anyway, this was unfortunately pre-notebook. I do know that this was my least favorite out of the three that I have tried. It was perfectly ok but I remember that I noticed no particular skin improvements apart from hydration. There was definitely no lifting of any kind going on, which is a shame as I could do with a bit of that!  Perhaps this needs to be a regular usage sort of situation to see anything significant? I am willing to try!

Score: 7/10


3. ‘Skin Note’ Brightening Hydrogel Mask

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This is a Hydrogel Mask with pearl extract (Pearl Powder) and Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate), snugly hugging the face to provide a movie star’s glowing complexion with bright and radiant skin.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenyl Trimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Pearl Powder, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate.

Review:

As is usually the case with hydrogels, there is no particular smell with this one – just a general clean skincare scent. This mask had been in the fridge for a few hours when I used it and yes, I fell asleep with it on. When I woke up, all of the gel had absorbed leaving the mesh / base. My skin looked and felt very moist and plumped up but I wouldn’t say that it looked brightened exactly. The results were not as bright and whitened as other masks I have used but I definitely looked more radiant and hydrated, with my nasolabial (nose to mouth) lines looking less deep and my forehead looking smooth. I would definitely try this one again.

Score: 8/10


4. ‘Skin Note’  Pore Tightening Hydrogel Mask

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This is a Hydrogel Mask containing Morocco Clay (Moroccan lava clay) and unripe apple (Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract), snugly hugging the face to tighten and clear up pores for smooth skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Bentonite, Ethylhexylglycerin, Peat Water, Acacia Senegal Gum, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract.

Review: The ingredients are a bit different on this one – can’t wait to try it.


5. ‘Skin Note’   Calming & Relaxing Hydrogel Mask

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This is a Hydrogel Mask containing aloe (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract) and glacial water (Water), snugly hugging the face to soothe and freshen up exhausted and irritated skin.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Allantoin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Gardenia Florida Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Potassium Hydroxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract.

Review:

This hydrogel mask had a notably green tinge to the gel and after wallowing in the fridge for a few hours it felt wonderfully cooling, calming and relaxing. I used this after a wash off mask that I will soon be reviewing that had stung a little so the calming, soothing aspect was welcomed. I fell asleep (surprise, surprise) and the gel was mostly absorbed when I woke up.

The results from this one were interesting … the pores at either side of my nose actually looked bigger (a first from any mask!) and a couple of reddish marks from healing hormonal spots did not look any lighter in colour. Perhaps this was not the purpose of the mask though (the cooling sensation would be lovely after sun exposure I think) and the size of the pores did improve as I patted the rest of the essence in and completed my night time routine. There was again plenty of essence left over in the pouch and although it was a little bit sticky, my skin felt like it enjoyed it and was more hydrated afterwards. This was an OK mask, comparable with the Lifting one and not as good as the Brightening.

Score: 7/10

Conclusion

Interestingly, I think I preferred the standard sheet masks overall. I would definitely buy most of them again (especially as the prices are very good) but I would not save the Hydrogels for before special occasions like I do my absolute favorite ones. I would instead use them as a once a week treat to maintain my skin. I will order some more Hydrogels and a decent varied stock of the ‘I Need You’ sheet masks for every day use (and use them dependent on what my skin needs that day).

Etude House makes very good sheet masks at a very decent price. They are fairly easy to get hold of and are often on offer at the various outlets, especially their own website, which has regular well received promotions such as free shipping when you spend over a certain amount. Here are some of my favorite places to shop.

Shop these masks*:

Etude House

‘I Need You’ Masks ($0.95 / 65p, plus shipping)

‘Skin Note’ Hydrogels ($2.50 / £1.70, plus shipping)

Tester Korea

‘I Need You’ Masks (1,000 Won / $0.91 / 61p, plus shipping) (quite a few types OOS at the moment)

‘Skin Note’ Hydrogels (2,500 Won / $2.28 / £1.54, plus shipping)

Beauty Net Korea

Set of all 5 ‘Skin Note’ Hydrogels ($14.40 / £9.71, including the shipping charge)

They are also available widely on Ebay and Amazon.

*(all prices and links correct at time of posting. No affiliate links)


Happy Easter (or Chocolate Egg Day) everyone! …..and with that I must dash x

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Disclaimer: All views are my own, unbiased and honest. All items were purchased by myself from various outlets. Opinions are subjective to skin type.

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Memebox – Secret Key Premium Red Edition

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The blurb:

‘SECRETKEY is back & this time, it’s decked out in Valentine’s Day colors – red & pink!’

This is the second version of a Secret Key Value Set that they did (I think) and this one was apparently themed around the colours of Valentines Day (or perhaps more romantically and less commercially, also the colours of the marriage equality symbol!).

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As this was likely to be the only ‘Valentine’ I would get this year I decided to treat myself, having already tried one of the products before and really enjoyed it. This box cost $35 including shipping (£22.70 approx) and contained 6 products (3 sheet masks count as one) at a Memevalue of $156 (£101.10 approx) ….not at all bad, but obviously the products can be found cheaper elsewhere as usual.

The Box

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The Brand

After a bit of judicious googling I found the Secret Key website, which is very lovely and in keeping with their ethos of ‘cosmetics which have nature in‘.

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(Source)

They promise to – always pursue healthy beauty, to always supply customers with high quality products at a reasonable price, use natural and environmentally friendly ingredients which can be used safely for every skin type and they will continuously support the environment campaign to leave a clean and beautiful environment for our descendants.

That sounds pretty damn good to me!

The company logo (at the top of the page) represents the following:

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(Source: Secret Key Brand brief)

Secret Key makes a wide range of products arranged into different product lines. I have used some of the different lines before. I especially like the Lemon D Toc Peeling gel.

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(Source: Secret Key Product Brief)

The Contents

1. Super Plumping Jelly Cream
Full Size Product: 50ml ($38.40 / £24.90)
This super plumping jelly cream will erase the years off your face.  Facial contours appear plumper and newly defined, lines and wrinkles look nicely smoothed, and skin is moisturised to perfection.  Over time, skin’s strength, resiliency and volume appear renewed and you’ll see a remarkably younger, revitalized look.
– Contains the 10 best super foods in the world ~ Salmon Egg, Blueberry, Orange, Sweet Almond fruit, Broccoli     and Pumpkin.
– It is a jelly-type Cream and helps to keep your skin supple.
– It contains beta-glucan which is good for moisturizing and repairing the skin.
– Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 is especially helpful keeping moisture in your skin.
– Whitening and Wrinkle Improvement  – It is a dual functional Cream.
– Adenosine helps to improve reduction of wrinkles.
– Niacinamide inhibits producing melanin in the skin so helps to keep the skin clean and clear.
– 5 Free – does not contain  paraben, mineral oil, benzophenone, phenoxyethanol animal oil or alcohol.

This product, along with their Let me Know CC Cream, passed the US FDA stability testing in 2013.

How to use: After washing or basic skin care, dispense an appropriate amount and apply evenly along the skin texture. If you feel dry on the skin, apply it more than usual and then go to bed. You can apply it not only on the face but also on the neck.

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Ingredients: in Korean but the key ones are Niacinamide, Adenosine, Beta Glucan, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Extract of Salmon egg, Blueberry, Orange, Sweet Almond Fruit, Broccoli and Pumpkin.

My Thoughts

I managed to get a pot of this in a sale in the UK Meme Facebook Group last year and finished it a few weeks ago. This Jelly was the main reason that I bought this box. It comes in a heavy bottomed glass jar with a little spatula (although I did not get the spatula last time, that was not a problem as I used it fairly quickly and always with clean hands). It was a bit difficult to extract with your fingers though, due to the jelly like wobbly texture, so I would advise using the spatula!

When you warm it in your hands prior to applying, the gel turns into more of a water based essence texture and applies to your skin easily and quickly.

I really enjoyed using this. It isn’t wonderful for underneath makeup on skin as oily as mine, as although it is not greasy at all it does make your skin shine (the desired look for a Korean girl I understand) so I used it as my daily moisturiser on days when I wouldn’t be wearing makeup (most of the week at the moment) and it functioned perfectly well in that capacity.

What I absolutely loved about this product was the texture and cooling feeling that it gave to my skin. It is just an absolute delight to use. It absorbed fast and well and as I said, did not feel at all greasy (I hate that!). I am not opening this one yet as I am going to save it for the summer due to the aforementioned cooling refreshing ability but this is the promotional picture of the texture and look of the gel cream.

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The gel cream smells a little bit floral but only mildly to me. I really missed this one when I finished it and I think that it contributed very well to the more polished, tightened appearance of my skin over the past few months. I don’t really have many wrinkles for it to try out those claims on but I definitely did not see any new ones appearing and my skin felt moisturised and hydrated at all times. It may not be moisturising enough for those with drier, more dehydrated skins and you may need additional moisture if using this.

This product is widely available in the usual places at very good prices. Beauty Net Korea / f2plus1 (their ebay account) at the best price about $14.99 (£9.70) with free postage; Korea Depart and Tester Korea,

2. Super Plumping Gel Oil
Full Size Product: 30ml ($42 / £27.25)
Super Plumping Gel Oil has a three layer system – 1st layer: refreshing gel, 2nd layer: hydrating moisture lock, 3rd layer: nourishing oil – to combat dryness and signs of aging.
The refreshing gel transforms into a hydrating liquid upon contact and turns into a non-sticky oil texture to better absorb into the skin.  The unique formula is made with salmon egg extract, blueberry, orange and to provide 24 hour hydration, anti-aging benefits, skin brightening and skin resiliency. It is a skin friendly product for sensitive skin.

How to use: After facial wash, apply appropriate amount on skin and spread gently.
Using right after facial wash: Lightweight instant moisturising
After essence or mixed with cream: prolonged deep moisturising and nourishing
Mixed with basic makeup cosmetics: if mixed with BB cream or foundation, it enhances adherence and moisturising. To bed, you can apply it not only on the face, but also on the neck.

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Ingredients: in Korean but the key ones are Niacinamide, Adenosine, Beta Glucan, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Extract of Salmon egg, Blueberry, Orange, Sweet Almond Fruit, Broccoli and Pumpkin.

My Thoughts

I am intrigued to see how this differs to the Jelly. As far as I can tell, the main difference will be the delivery mechanism / the texture – rather than from gel to watery essence, this one goes from gel to oil. That sounds to me like it will be richer and more moisturising, perhaps one for the night time in the summer rather than the day … for me at least. I would not be thinking about mixing it with a BB or foundation as they suggest, that would be a recipe for a very shiny face indeed! Flashbacks to high school?

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I think I will try the second suggestion, after essence and probably before my cream but not every night – we shall see and I may be back with an update!

I do very much enjoy facial oils. Despite having oily skin, I know that they can often really suit my skin and give me a glow that I don’t get from bog standard moisturising creams. I am enjoying the one by IOPE at the moment and have already bought a back up of that one.

This is what it looks like in action (not my hand .. mines a hell of a lot paler than that!):

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Yeah, I’m not going to be throwing confetti at my face to see if it sticks either 😉

This is available to buy from Beauty Net Korea at $13.41 (£8.70) with free shipping; f2plus1 and Korea Depart.

3. Starting Treatment Eye Cream
Full size product: 30g ($26.40/ £17.10)
This is a special and concentrated treatment for the weak eye area. It helps the sensitive skin around the eye to be elastic and revitalised, providing plentiful moisture to the area and creating a moisture barrier that helps the skin be moist all of the time. It also has a double functioning component: anti wrinkle and whitening. It will also calm down irritated and exhausted skin around the eyes. It is very suitable for sensitive and weak skin as it contains no stimulating ingredients.

How to use: Release appropriate amount onto the skin and and pat until absorbed.

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Ingredients (They were on the inside of the box!!):
Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Niacinamide, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose, Distearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Beeswax, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates / C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Stearic Acid, Butyrosperum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Adenosine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Boswellia Serrata Resin Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Acanthopanax Senticosus (Eleuthero) Root Extract, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Lecithin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Ceramide 3, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance.

My Thoughts

I am very happy to get an eye treatment with galactomyces as a main ingredient. I have another in my stash by Purebess to use as well and it will be interesting to compare the two. I am using the IOPE eye cream at the moment, which I am very much enjoying – much more visible results than the Pro You one I was using before it.

I therefore won’t be opening this for a while as I am aware of the speeded up expiry once a product is opened. The texture of the cream looks like this – very gel cream like, nice and light:

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This is available to buy at Beauty Net Korea for $7.20 (£4,70) with shipping included and the other usual suspects (but for more money!).

4. Berry Milk Hand Cream
Full Size Product: 60ml ($8.40 / £5.40 approx)
This is a hand cream made with donkey milk and 3 different kinds of berries, which moisturise and smooth the skin and nails. It also contains hyaluronic acid which creates a moisture protection layer, keeping skin healthy and moisturised and collagen which improves the moisture levels and skin elasticity as well as being smoothing at the same time. It is meant to penetrate deep into the skin without leaving it feeling heavy or sticky.

How to use: After washing hands or whenever feeling dry, release appropriate amount on the back of hands, nails and fingers. It is recommended to apply whenever the hands are feeling dry.

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Ingredients:
in Korean, but the important components are Donkey Milk, Hyaluronic Acid, Water Soluble Collagen, Raspberry, Blueberry and Blackberry.

My Thoughts

The blurb on the front is in English – Donkey Milk is rich in essential fatty acids, minerals and other nutrients (and) has the most similar structure to human breast milk, and it’s active ingredients quickly and gently permeate through the skin, leaving it silky soft, smooth and moisturised without irritating the sensitive or dry skin. It also protects the skin by maintaining the balance between moisture and oil in the skin, keeping it soft, smooth and supple all day long.

A demonstration on how to milk a donkey, in case you hadn’t guessed:

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I have traditionally really badly neglected my hands. From years rooting around in the soil, dust and mud (Archaeology) to a desk job and just never really having the time or inclination, I have pretty much left them to get on with it themselves. I gave up wearing nail varnish years back, mainly because it never stayed on anyway so there wasn’t any point.

When I discovered Memebox, I also rediscovered the joy of pampering a much neglected part of my body. One of my boxes last year, From Jeju, had the most wondrous hand cream in it. It smelt lovely and sank in like a dream. Unfortunately all dreams must come to an end, right? (Right? Memebox??). I finished the tube…….

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Luckily, I can obtain this miraculous cream online but in the meanwhile I am trying out other products to discover whether that one was a fluke or whether my hands were just crying out for moisture from any source. So far my experiments have been a failure … that one cream is still the holy grail …..but now I have this one to try, could it be??

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hmmm …. one small problem there, we all know what happens when seeking the holy grail…

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Again as I haven’t yet opened this (fear?), here is the promo picture to show the texture:

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You can buy not one but two of these potential HG’s at Beauty Net Korea for $7.20 (£4.70), including shipping. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

5. Sweet Glam Tint Glow (Fuschia / Pussia Purple)
Full Size: 3.5g ($33.60 / £21.80)
This is a lipstick that moisturises like a lipbalm, due to it containing Lanolin oil which has a strong moisturising effect. It provides a natural and soft colour, that lasts a long time without stickiness. It forms a protective film on the lips and provides a glossy natural effect. It can be layered for a stronger look or applied once for a slight glow.

How to Use: Apply to lips as needed. Can be used under, or in place of lipstick or lip gloss.

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My Thoughts

It looks very vibrant in the photograph but is actually a sheer pretty glossy purple-y pink in real life.  I have worn this and it was very easy to wear, felt comfortable and stayed moist. The colour was a little too pale for my lips though, however many coats I applied. This is the theory:

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and this is the colour selection available – I think I would have preferred the Burgundy shade for my colouring, but at least it wasn’t the orange one!.

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I may apply it over a tint next time (like the Skin Factory one I will review next perhaps?) just to give it a bit of a boost.

This is a swatch on my skin (very pale!), with the leftover tint from the Skin Factory tattoo tint above (please ignore .. they are pretty similar though!):

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The full range is available at BNK (Beauty Net Korea) for $9 each inc shipping (£5.80 approx).

6. Snail + EGF Repairing Mask Pack x 3
Full Size Product: 20g each ($7.20 for 3 / £4.70)
Tightening / Brightening / Moisturising / Restoring / Soothing.
These masks have a dual function essence that has Whitening & Wrinkle diminishing properties including over 90% of yeast ferment filtrate.  They also contain filtered extract of snail and ingredients of EGF, which will make your damaged skin look much healthier and smoother. This concentrate type of essence will revive the healthy skin rhythm keeping the skin moist and with a clear tone.  This Essence with rich nutrition will help improve the condition of your skin and provide continuous moisturising effects after application so that your skin can remain healthy and hydrated.

They have 7 intensive results of Hydration, Resilience, Brightening, Wrinkle diminishing, Soothing, Rearranging skin texture, and Anti-oxidation.

How to use: After washing face and applying toner, open the pouch and unfold the mask gently. (For sensitive skin test it on the back of your hand first before applying on the face), Place the mask onto the face and adjust to fit the shape of your face. Leave it for 15-20 minutes. After removal, tap the rest of the essence into the skin gently to make sure it is all absorbed properly.

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Ingredients:
in Korean but the key ones are Snail Mucin (Chondrotin Sulfate), Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Albutin, Adenosine, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract , Grapefruit extract and Rosemary Leaf Extract. It also contains rhEGF, which helps skin firming.

My Thoughts

I have actually tried one of these masks as I also received one just before this in a new mask subscription pouch by the very wonderful MaskGenie. This mask was one of 10 included in the January subscription pouch (I also have the Feb), both of which I will be writing up very soon (and promise to be a lot quicker with the March one!).

Sheet masks are all pretty similar. It is rare to find either a really terrible or a really amazing one. This was one of the good but not amazing ones. The fit was a bit off (after all everyone’s face shape is different). There were huge gaps at either side of the nose and the mask was incredibly wide on me with excess folds at the cheeks (I don’t have a narrow face!).

The mask did not smell of much and had a decent amount of essence soaked into it. I invariably always fall asleep when I have a sheet mask on and I did when I tried this out, when I woke up some hours later it was bone dry and even the essence that is usually left in the pouch (there always seems to be plenty with a lot of brands) was non existent.
The mask left my skin feeling comfortable and clear but it was not luxurious or special in any way. I did compare it unfavourably with the Benton Snail Bee Mask, which has a similar function.

Having said that, I am happy to have another three as I use masks at least a few times a week and it is great to have some standard useful ones of different types for when your skin has different needs.

These can be bought at BNK for $5.40 for 3 with free shipping (£3.50).

7. Teeny tiny Starting Treatment Essence 7ml
Full Size Product: 155ml (not sure on full retail or Meme price)
This is another Galactomyces based essence, similar to the ones I have mentioned before in my previous post on the Elizavecca Value Set. I think that this one is a bit different in that it is not solely a Galactomyces essence but contains other goodies as well. It contains the yeast proteins at 50% and also Vitamins B1, B2, Niacin and Folic Acid. It is supposed to have these advantages: anti wrinkle, whitening, elasticity, soothing, moisturising, sebum control and keeping the skins texture trim (firm?). Contains no parabens, mineral oil, benzophenone, alcohol, animal oil, artificial colour or artificial fragrance.

How to use: As the first step in skin care after cleansing. Apply onto a cotton pad or hands and then to your face, patting softly and evenly.

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Ingredients:
in Korean, key ones are Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Albutin, Adenosine, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract , Grapefruit extract, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Green Tea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Witch Hazel Extract,  Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Ground Cherry Fruit Extract, Chopi Tree (Japanese Pepper Tree) Fruit Extract.

My Thoughts

I do like getting surprises, however diddy. This little bottle will contain at least a few applications though and will be very useful when I write a short comparison post for various types of Galactomyces based essences. It is also amazingly cute 🙂

The full size is available at BNK for $16.11 inc shipping (£10.40 approx).

Conclusion

I really like this box and will use everything in it. The lipstick may need to be used on top of something else but I am interested in checking out the darker colour. It was a well put together selection of products but I feel a bit like the red/pink theme was just a bit arbitrary and it could have just have been a ‘Season 2’ box like the Elizavecca  and perhaps had a bit of variation in the cream / oil being from different ranges. Having said that, I am pleased that they didn’t as these are the ones that I know suit my skin so far.

Any questions or comments about this box or any other please don’t hesitate to ask, Skin Factory next!

……and remember to watch out for those vicious bunnies on the route to finding your holy grail products…..

Charlotte x