skincare, sweets, and Oxford commas

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sheet masking 101 + Tony Moly "I'm Real" roundup

Tony Moly It's Real Sheet Masks reviewed by The Jen Project
I love sheet masking! The application couldn't be easier: just open the pouch and slap the mask onto your face (no painting required). 20 minutes later, you're left with smoother, more hydrated skin.

Proper hydration is key to curbing issues like acne and wrinkles, so I've turned sheet masking into a weekly ritual. The cool (temperature-wise) sensation of having a sheet mask on my face feels like therapy to me – I think of it as my weekly "me" time (no spa appointment required!). I also love that you can sheet mask from almost anywhere: the thin, portable packaging makes it easy to slip a few sheet masks into your suitcase for trips.

How I sheet mask
  1. Double cleanse with Banila Clean It Zero and Senka Perfect Whip Cleanser.
  2. Tone with L'Occitane Immortelle Essential Water.
  3. Press the sheet mask onto face. Be careful as the essence-soaked sheet mask can drip when you take it out of the pouch – I recommend doing this over the sink. Rub extra essence into your neck and hands.
  4. Relax for 20 minutes (I like to do a light Blogilates workout or watch an episode of 30 Rock on Netflix).
  5. Gently lift the sheet mask away from my face, and pat remaining essence into face.
  6. Apply Mizon All-in-One Snail Repair Cream.
  7. If I have the time, wait another 20 minutes before applying Retin-A (if no time, skip Retin-A altogether).
  8. Apply Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream.
As Korean skincare grows in popularity, sheet masks abound, each soaked with nutritious ingredients to address almost any skin concern. I've tried sheet masks from many brands: Bonvivant, Innisfree, Sephora, The Face Shop, among others. Here's my first roundup of sheet mask reviews, this time from Tony Moly's "I'm Real" line.

Tony Moly "I'm Real" sheet masks: My review

The colorful Tony Moly "I'm Real" sheet masks first caught my eye when I was walking around San Francisco's Japantown last year, and I've been on a Pokemon-like quest to catch 'em all ever since. Amazon sells a variety pack of 11 Tony Moly "I'm Real" masks for less than $1 (USD) each. Recently, Tony Moly has been releasing newer sheet mask "flavors" like pumpkin, pearl, and cactus outside of the original 11. You can purchase the new ones (in addition to the original collection) on their website.

What's great about these masks is that each one showcases a familiar plant-based ingredient (like tomato, broccoli, pomegranate) and a desirable skin outcome (like radiance, vitality, elasticity). Out of the 15+ on the market, I've tried 5 of them. Here's how my experience has been so far :)

Tony Moly It's Real Lemon Brightening Sheet Mask reviewed by The Jen Project
1) Lemon "Brightening"
Claim: "Lemon mask makes dull and dark skin look radiant"
Plant-based ingredients to note: C. limon (lemon) extract, Malpighia emarginata (acerola) fruit extract, Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, Illicuim verum (anise) fruit extract.
Observations:
- Obvious lemony smell.
- Very cool going on - no tingly sensation.
- Skin was softer after using, but no dramatic improvements in tone.

Tony Moly It's Real Broccoli Vitality Sheet Mask reviewed by The Jen Project
2) Broccoli "Vitality"
Claim: "Broccoli mask provides vitalizing energy to tired skin"
Plant-based ingredients to note: Brassica oleracea italica (broccoli) extract, Brassica pleracea capitata (cabbage) leaf extract, Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract, Illicium verum (anise) fruit extract.
Observations:
- Generic floral smell with a slight tangy scent - like yogurt.
- No tingly sensation.
- Skin was slightly sticky after rinsing – I've heard this means skin is more receptive to products? Felt like my toner and snail cream absorbed better right afterwards.

Tony Moly It's Real Tomato Radiance Sheet Mask reviewed by The Jen Project
3) Tomato "Radiance"
Claim: "Tomato mask makes rough skin look smooth and radiant"
Plant-based ingredients to note: Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) fruit extract, honey extract, Pruns persica (peach) fruit extract, Illicium verum (anise) fruit extract.
Observations:
- Essence was transparent and scent was almost undetectable.
- More noticeable cooling effect than the others.
- Left skin smooth and slippery.
- Got rid of some flakiness I had on my chin and nose.

Tony Moly It's Real Avocado Nutrition Sheet Mask reviewed by The Jen Project
4) Avocado "Nutrition"
Claim: "Avocado mask makes dull skin look radiant and glowing"
Plant-based ingredients to note: Macadamia temifolia seed oil, Persea gratissima (avocado) fruit extract, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, Illicuim verum (anise) fruit extract.
Observations:
- Pleasant floral scent.
- Noticeably smooth application; not as "drippy" as the others.
- Woke up with super smooth, moisturized, flake-free skin that lasted the whole day.

Tony Moly It's Real Pomegranate Elasticity Sheet Mask reviewed by The Jen Project
5) Pomegranate "Elasticity"
Claim: "Pomegranate mask firms up skin"
Plant-based ingredients to note: Punica granatum (pomegranate) fruit extract, Illicuim verum (anise) fruit extract.
Observations:
- A pleasant, generically fruity smell.
- Very cool and slightly tingly going on.
- No noticeable firming, but a pleasant reduction in skin flakiness and dryness.

All in all...

I'm a huge fan of the colorful packaging, and they're great at giving your skin a moisture boost. When it comes to sheet masks, however, I'd say none of the "I'm Real" sheet masks were game-changers for me, especially given the lofty claims. But the pleasant smells (the lemon mask in particular!) and the soothing, cooling sensation on my face make it worthwhile to keep these sheet masks in my weekly skincare rotation.

Note: I noticed the common ingredient among the sheet masks I tried was anise extract, which is purported to be a mild antibacterial agent. There are claims that anise's antibacterial properties can help prevent acne and aging in skin, but I'm not entirely convinced. I'll still take plenty of star anise in my pho any day, though.

Stay tuned for more sheet mask reviews! Up next: Bonvivant, one of my sheet mask favorites!
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