Like many people, I receive a monthly Birchbox, supposedly tailored to my beauty interests. Here’s my January box:
At this point, I’m not even sure if I like receiving a Birchbox or not because I rarely bother to crack into the samples on account of having too many products already. I share my box on facebook (with myself) and “review” the samples (no, I don’t leave crappy, uninformed qualitative reviews tyvm). The whole thing is aimed at getting points and discounts for the Birchbox store, which carries a number of things I actually want like Blossom Jeju. Between my cheapass calculus involving Ebates, discounts, and points, I always end up getting nice things I want for less than I’d usually spend (even when the price of the box is factored in).
My lazy Birchboxing strategy changed this month when I received a sheet mask in my box.
I’ve reviewed piles of cleansers at a time and have gone deep into differences between U.S. and Korean ingredient lists–why not change things up and review…a sheet mask? ahhaha
Water, Glycerin, PEG/PPG-17/6 Copolymer, Panthenol, Natto Gum, Camellia Sinesis Leaf Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-14M, Xanthan Gum, Allantoin, Erythritol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Propanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance. (from Birchbox)
This product has no common acne or skin sensitivity triggers, according to CosDNA.
This mask has zero spare essence.
I was able to pull the mask out and hold it without having any essence drip on the bottom of my lightbox. This isn’t a huge deal to me since bounteous essence is sort of lost on my oily-normal skin, but if you love bathing your face in essence, Taiwanese mask-style…this is going to be disappointing.
The cost is wildly high for a mask of this quality. I showed the ingredient list to Fiddy at Fifty Shades of Snail and she responded “That’s a $1.50 sheet mask.” I totally agree. You’re basically paying three times the price the mask is worth…because it’s at Birchbox and you can use your points to buy it, I guess. Seriously, save your points for really lust-worthy stuff.
When I shared the ingredient list with Chel, formulator-in-chief at Holy Snails, she deemed it to be “not a bad sheet mask.” Yup, my skin thinks it’s not bad, too. The mask wasn’t irritating at all, the essence felt fine–a bit more hydrating than LoveMore silk masks, but nowhere near as heavy and sticky as some other mask essences.
The mask has a strong, but not unpleasant (to me) fruity scent; I rarely encounter masks with this much fragrance, but it was actually one of the highlights.
The mask fabric was medium-thick, but it wasn’t the ill-fitting sweater that was the Hera Cell Essence mask that refused to sit on my face. There’s a bit of stretch to the fabric (like the Sephora sheet masks) and it molded to my giant face surprisingly well.
The mask is distributed by Bio Natural Inc., which is located in Atlanta, GA, but it was made in Korea. One benefit (I guess) of a mask made very much for a U.S. audience is that everything is in English (with Spanish instructions also given).
This dried at about the normal rate for me despite the lack of extra essence. I expected it to dry more quickly, but it actually stayed wet-ish aside from around my mouth for quite some time. My oily-to-normal skin feels happy after using this, but I can see people with drier skin who use sheet masks not so much as an occasional pick-me-up, but as a skin emergency rescue system really hating this and being disappointed–especially in light of the price.
Wildly overpriced, but effective for skin that doesn’t depend on masking to survive.
Where to Buy It
[also: I use Ebates (the toolbar, specifically) to help get cashback when shopping at Birchbox, eBay, and sometimes Amazon. I’ve been using it for almost a year now and it does add up to a nice bonus for online shopping.^^]
Other Sheet Masks to Buy Instead
I really don’t think you should buy this mask and I offer these good mask/good price suggestions instead:
- My Scheming Snail Hydra 2-Step (eBay)—these actually come with a cream that you apply post-masking and they calm even my angriest, post-acid skin amazingly
- LoveMore Silk, any variety (eBay | Amazon)—for my skin, these are the top of the heap in terms of comfort and the light essence my skin craves
- Mediental Snail Aquaring SOS (eBay)—another super gentle snail two-step mask; this mask is worth the higher price
- just about anything from Beautibi—these masks are so beautifully packaged and nice waaaah
- Mediheal Dress Code (Amazon | eBay)—they’re really pretty and they’re actually fantastic masks
Other Ways to Blow Your Birchbox Points
If you’re not blowing your points on overpriced sheet masks, what can you buy? Oh, honey, have I got some ideas for you…
- Blossom Jeju 100% Camellia Dry Oil—this is amazing alone or mixed into other skincare products, even on my oily/normal skin
- Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Soombi Essence Serum—jasmine honeysuckle face syrup, one of the most lustable things in kbeauty imo
- Club Clio Waterproof Pen Liner—an easy-to-use waterproof liner that makes the chunky Eyeko liner look like a kid’s toy
- LJH Tea Tree 90 Essence—my favorite product of all time and an essential for my acne-prone skin
- Marvis Cinnamon Mint Toothpaste—smooth and creamy, this has little bite and amazing flavor; it makes brushing really enjoyable
- Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser—I love using this low-pH cleanser when my skin feels oily; it can be a bit stripping if your skin is more balanced or dry
- Too Cool For School Dinoplatz Escalator Mascara—even without the amazing packaging and adjustable bristle dial this is a super cool product: it’s an actual kbeauty tubing mascara, à la Blinc
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