I Tried a Korean Face Mask with Over 20,000 Near-Perfect Reviews—Here’s Why I’ll Buy it Again
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Thousands of near-perfect reviews and over 200 million sold? My stressed-out skin and I had to try this mask!
My skin woes
Two confessions: I live in the Southern Californian desert, and I like really hot showers. Both of these things mean that my skin spends most of its time begging me for moisture, any moisture. It also means that, in my ongoing quest not to spend my golden years looking like an old leather purse, I am zealous with the sunscreen. Unfortunately, this makes me break out, as applying heavy pore-clogging minerals on the regular tends to do. So my face is dry, my skin is less-than-clear—I’m constantly looking for solutions, preferably ones that won’t require me to give up chocolate, take all my free time, or break the bank. Enter the humble sheet mask. But out of the thousands of options available, where should I even begin to look?
Korean beauty is known for great skincare
We all know that Korean beauty has been having ~a moment~ in the West for the past few years. Korean beauty products are known for their emphasis on hydration and their use of ingredients from nature, such as snail mucin, which often somewhat appear unusual to Westerners (it’s super hydrating!). Despite my perennial dryness, I was yet to venture out of my two-step routine comfort zone to try a ten-step Korean beauty one. When I came across the DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence masks on Amazon, however, I couldn’t ignore the numbers: over 200 million sold, nearly 20,000 4.5-star ratings, pictures of glowing skin… or the price. With Amazon Prime, at 16-pack of these masks is only $9.99. For more bank account-friendly beauty, check out these drugstore beauty products dermatologists swear by.
What ingredients are in the mask?
I’m the kind of gal who wants as much bang for her buck as possible, so I wanted masks that would moisturize, brighten, hydrate, and maybe even turn back the clock on some of my 2020 stress lines. This is where the DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence mask really shines. According to dermatologists, collagen makes up about 75 percent of the dry weight of our skin, keeping the structural integrity (read: plump, line-free, and glowing) that we associate with youth, and aiding in healing from wounds and reducing scarring. Unfortunately, we start to lose about 1 percent of our collagen per year in our mid-20s, and it only accelerates from there! I figured any collagen I could get back into my apparently rapidly deteriorating skin would be a good thing, and these masks contain collagen as well as vitamin E, a powerfully moisturizing antioxidant. I checked to make sure the masks were cruelty free, and clicked Buy Now.
How does the mask work?
Each of the 16 masks has a different main ingredient (royal jelly, cucumber, etc.) and a focus, like “soothing, moisturizing, firming.” So far, I’ve used about half of them, picking the mask that best suits what I think my skin needs at the time, and to be honest I haven’t noticed any particular difference between them; they all look and smell the same. However, what I have noticed are the benefits to my skin. After using the DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence mask, my face is the very opposite of an old leather purse. The vitamin E hydrates, so that my skin is dolphin-smooth, and the collagen has a subtle plumping effect which really minimizes my fine lines and lasts a couple of days. My breakouts have reduced, and my skin texture is tightened and refined. Basically, after applying this mask I look like I mainline green juice and sleep ten hours a night.
How do you use the mask?
Before using the DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence mask, I like to prep my skin to absorb its goodness as much as possible, so I take a little more time with my skincare routine. I cleanse (sometimes twice, as double cleansing is one of the hallmarks of Korean beauty, and it makes my skin feel squeaky clean), exfoliate, tone (usually with just a splash of witch hazel), and then choose a mask, say the platinum one (firming, mild, brightening). Because they’re folded up in the package, it is a little difficult to tell which side of the mask is meant to be applied to your face. I usually just pick a side at random, because the whole mask is generously covered in serum, although not so much that it’s messy. I unfold it fully, place it over my face, fold the eyelid cutouts up to cover my eyes, and rub the excess serum into my neck, hands, elbows and décolletage while I lie down for 15-30 perfectly relaxing minutes. Aaaahhhh. The mask doesn’t dry out in this time frame, so when I gently peel it off there is some serum remaining, which I massage into my face and neck.
Where to buy the DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence Face Mask
The face masks are sold on Amazon in two different pack sizes. The 16-mask variety pack is $9.99 while the 26-mask pack is $14.99, both with Amazon Prime, which includes free shipping. That works out to $0.62 and $0.58 per mask respectively!
DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence pros:
- The price! $9.99 for a quality product? Sign me up.
- The number of masks in a pack; you can try them all and use them often without breaking the bank.
- Smells great, like a fancy spa.
- Cruelty-free (most Korean beauty products are not tested on animals) and made with plant-based collagen.
- Gives a temporary plumping effect to the face that makes you look younger.
- Takes just 20 minutes!
DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence cons:
- A couple of reviewers had reactions to the mask; I didn’t, and I tend to have pretty sensitive skin, but everyone’s skin is different. If your skin is super sensitive, proceed with caution and do a spot test.
- As some reviewers have pointed out, the masks do contain methylparaben, an extremely common preservative found in beauty products (chances are you’re already using it). There is some evidence that long-chain parabens may disrupt hormone function (as they mimic the hormone estrogen) and cause cancer. Methylparaben is a short-chain paraben, which means it’s less potent. The FDA has determined that there is not enough evidence to show that parabens used in cosmetics have an effect on human health, but many people prefer to steer clear of parabens nevertheless by using natural beauty products.
Best DERMAL Korea Collagen Essence Amazon user reviews:
I am not the only person who is a complete convert to a thrice-a-week collagen essence mask routine. Here are some five-star benefits other users found.
Shaun: “Having ‘ice pick’ scars left over from acne I was told that I’d have to pay for expensive laser therapy because the body can’t produce enough collagen to heal deep scars. Well using these masks for two months and I’ve seen a SIGNIFICANT reduction in my scars. They are almost completely gone!”
Hanatsuki: “I have dry, sensitive, eczema skin. My face is so flaky that I literally ‘snow’ everywhere. That’s where these lil babies come in. I use one every day after I shower at night and my face started to clear up in a couple of days.”
Cassandra: “Three+ years and these are the only brand I buy! I’ve been using these for years on sensitive skin and they’ve never irritated me or caused a breakout—quite the opposite, they’ve helped bring down my breakouts, which are mostly due to dry skin. Every other brand of paper mask has stung and caused irritation, so I order these in bulk when I can. The Aloe and the Vitamin C are my favorites, but the Green Tea brings down redness and acne like a miracle!” (Speaking of Vitamin C, we’re obsessed with this InstaNatural Vitamin C cleanser, too.)
Next, read about another mask we love: the Aztec clay mask.
- WebMD.com: “Collagen: ‘Fountain of Youth’ or Edible Hoax?”
- Byrdie: “Methylparaben Is a Commonly-Used Ingredient You Should Know About”
- FDA.gov: “Parabens in Cosmetics”