Sometimes people ask me “Tracy, what sheet masks do you like?” and I’m like “the ones, you know.”
That’s not very helpful!
In the interest of better masking, I’ve fixed up the sheet masks category here on fan-b and I’ve planned some mask reviews because I’m currently enjoying the outpouring of creative kbeauty masks. While some seem to be ridiculous for nothing more than the sake of gaining attention (think of them as the Azealia Banks of masks) and others manage to combine beauty, comfort, and very fair prices.
The illi Cocoon Anti-Aging Mask that I’m reviewing here was a surprise win for me. I was attracted by the silk cocoon on the deep blue mask envelope (silk, yo), and what I didn’t expect was for the mask to hit my moisture sweet spot and to be so pleasant to wear. This is a fairly newish mask for illi, but not the absolute newest, so they’re fairly easy to buy if not yet available on Amazon Prime.
The Cocoon Anti-Aging Mask actually beat out the Camellia Oil Nourishing Mask (amaaaazing smell, but too much moisture for my skin) and very new Ceramide Intensive Moisture Mask (the thicker, gel-cream essence didn’t seem to moisturize my skin enough in a moment of NEED) to win this review slot. It’s one of my current favorite masks, and I’m a pretty picky masker.
Where to Put Masks in Your Routine
Uncertain about where to put sheet masks in your routine? Stick them in the essence slot. Check out my visual guide to skincare for a printable chart.
illi Cocoon Anti-Aging Mask Review
Let’s be clear: among people who know and love kbeauty like Coco, The Beauty Wolf, and my Snailcast colleagues, illi’s underwhelming distribution in the West is considered something of a travesty. There is some distribution of products such as the body lotions, but few shops stock the complete illi offerings–and considering that they tend to be extremely good, well, we’re kind of pissed.
Let’s Talk Some Sheet
From top to bottom, the sheet size is pretty good on my giant, oval-shaped face, but there is a significant gap in the coverage from my ears to the edge of the mask. Honestly, if the sheet were any bigger it would probably be annoying to the 99% of people with smaller faces.
The sheet is soft, white, and backed by a plastic mesh net that helps the sheet to retain its shape in the envelope and not get tangled up on itself. The mask emerges loaded with essence, but some parts of it are more coated than others. The most pleasant bits have squares of gel-ish essence clinging to the mask fabric, which feel cool and very wet on contact with my skin.
The sheet is certainly on the thicker side, but it has the softness, comfort, and pliability of a much thinner mask. The material holds essence well and stayed clinging to my face for a full hour despite the fact I was moving around and the edges of the mask had dried.
This is a two-piece mask with separate upper and lower face pieces. That allows for a more comfortable, customized fit.
Getting to the Essence
Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-32, Hydrogenated Polydecene, 1,2-Hexandiol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Silkworm Cocoon Extract (60ppm), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Job’s Tears Seed Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 60, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Arginine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Alcohol, Fragrance. (from Hwahae and checked by me) CosDNA analysis.
The ingredient list leads with the standard water, glycerin, and butylene glycol, but the cosmetic chemists at illi have whipped the usual stuff (plus some fancy things like ginseng extract and silk cocoon extract) into a lovely, melty, moisturizing essence. I love that in the hands of good chemists, usual things can become great just as a master chef can turn sugar, heat, and butter into golden caramel.
The essence is medium thick at first, but incredibly spreadable, watery, and absorbent on contact with my skin. It doesn’t feel sticky like some essences, but it’s certainly very moisturizing (yet not as smothering as the illi camellia oil mask).
I asked my husband to lean in one night and sniff this mask. Herbs, he said. I find the scent a bit confusing, but herbs make sense given that illi is a hanbang (traditional East Asian medicine) brand.
illi Cocoon Anti-Aging Mask Overall
Nice. My fine lines are [temporarily] plumped, my skin looks and feels dewy, and my dry patches are hydrated. My skin doesn’t feel sticky, but there is some mask residue on my skin (it feels like I’ve done my full skincare routine). For my normal-sometimes-dry-due-to-actives skin, this is an ideal night mask.
Is It Good?
Where to Find It
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