Battle of the sheet masks! (Japanese + Korean + MBD)
Good evening everyone!

I made it safely back to Germany! For some reason, before going to Germany I was not overly excited to go back home. I mean, I wanted to see my boyfriend and friends and family of course but I was not "OMG I'm going home!!!" all the time. I never am. However, when I landed yesterday and spend the day with my boyfriend I was like "damn, how did I survive on the other side of the pond the whole time?!" It really is great being back home! So many friends were waiting for me, I feel very blessed :) My return flight however was horrible. I flew back with Qatar Airlines (because Finair, my usual number one choice was booked out, it's the shortest route from Asia to Berlin as far as I know, only 12 hours!) which meant Seoul - Doha 10,5 hours, waiting 4 hours in Doha and then 6,5 hours back to Berlin. Damn, I tell you, that was such a long Tuesday! My Tuesday had like 30 hours. Plus, we had crazy turbulences on the second flight I was so so scared for my life. I am not very scared of flying (ehrm... can you tell by all the 10+ flights I've done recently?) but also not a huge fan. So when our airplane jumped through the clouds like a crazy cat trying to catch the red dot....that was just too much. After being on the road for over 20 hours already. I was so so happy when we landed ( 1 1/2 hours too late, sorry boyfriend...) and my boyfriend picked me up! We are currently in lovey-dovey mode again as you can imagine and it's awesome. I'm so blessed with this patient loving boyfriend. 

Today's post I wrote quite a long time ago but then my trip to Japan plus giveaway came in between so I saved it in order to avoid "spoilers" for my giveaway. But today, in the midst of harsh winter winds (if you live in a...harsh winter winds country like me,that is. I know some of my readers are blessed with eternal summer!) I present you:

I am proud to present you yet another big skincare battle post: Battle of the sheet masks! I use sheet masks a lot but honestly, they are not worth a whole post for themselves. I can't take pretty pictures of them, I look weird with them on, there is nothing to swatch and reflective packaging is the worst to photograph. However, since sheet mask does not equal sheet mask in general, I  made this huge compilation of all masks that I have tried so far. I review some more than displayed here because I added some others later when I already finished writing this post. Enjoy!

Etude House was the very first brand that I tried sheet masks from when I was in Japan. I tried a bunch, but the snail version was the only one that really made had an impact on me! The mask is too big for my face but almost every mask is. With a retail price of 950Won (~80 cent) these are very affordable. They have a good amount of serum in them; not too much so that it's dripping all over me but enough to moisturize my face for 20-25 minutes. I personally find the snail version very soothing and my face is the most soft it has ever been after using these, even on the next day! Big recommendation on this one!

This I bought short before I left for Korea. Learning about the Korean skincare routine sparked my interest in sheet masks anew and I found myself standing in the Japanese drugstore being drawn to these. Due to my PIH on my cheeks I always chose "shirohada" in Japanese products which literally means "white (shiroi) skin (hada)". Sekkisei is a very popular brand especially in terms of whitening in Japan so I gave this a go. First: This mask was really expensive, 540Yen (~4,80€) to be exact. I had no idea how cheap face masks were in Korea so I thought this was normal back then. Second: this mask is TINY. I had a big problem fitting this on my face because the mouth area is so so so tiny. I felt like a fish and def. looked hilarious wearing this. However, this mask wears extremely well. This is made out of a high quality cloth (maybe it's a hydrogel mask, I'm not sure.) and it sticks in place like no tomorrow. No slipping around on the face, this stays exactly in place which I found very pleasant. I didn't notice any immediate whitening effects but my skin felt nicely moisturized afterwards. Would repurchase if on sale.

I don't drink much alcohol these days but here's a little secret: I deeply enjoy drinking Makgeolli, a Korean rice alcoholic beverage. It has around the same percentage as beer which means you can drink it without getting drunk or having a hang over. This is often served with Pajeon (savory pancakes) in Korea and there are more than 300 variations of it. So when I saw this Makgeolli mask I just had to try it because it was so unique! The packaging is quite cool too. The size of the mask was actually quite good, it fitted me really well. It smells pleasantly.... not exactly like Makgeolli but...  Makgeolli minus the alcohol, maybe? It was soothing and nicely moisturizing, my skin felt really good when using it. Will def. purchase again! Retails for 1000Won (~85 cent)

And here we have.... the famous ones from Taiwan (but sold *everywhere* in Korea). I probably would have never picked those up as they are kinda pricey and not so appealing packaging-wise to me, but r/AsianBeauty on Reddit really loves those, so. Had to give them a try! I am not sure how much they retail for, they are always on sale here, I think I payed 3500Won (~3€) for 2 sheets. First: These are really big on me and slip around quite a lot which I dislike. Second: They have a LOT of essence. While this is the reason why most people love these, I really don't like this. Serum is dripping down my neck which feels gross to me. Also, I feel my neck gets a lot of serum but not my face because of that. My face doesn't feel as moisturized as with most other masks I tried. I guess these are just not for me. I tried Aloe but it stung and I am quite sure my skin is not a big fan of Aloe. White Rose was better but just.. meh. Nothing special. Black Pearl I found to be the best from the ones I tried but again, didn't notice any remarkable results. Will not repurchase again.

Lululun is fairly new on the Japanese skincare market, but getting very popular these days which is probably due to their great price. These are not sold as single sheets but in boxes of 7, 30 or 42 pieces. One box of 7 sheets cost 400Yen (~3€) so these are a steal! And the reason I bought them. They are not indivually wrapped but I personally don't mind that. In fact I welcome it as we have enough waste on this planet already. They have a ziplock to keep the sheets from drying out. This is advertised as a daily sheet mask but I am too lazy/poor for that, so I used them every other day. The masks did not dry out (my main concern, I don't trust ziplocks) but it was a bit fumbly to get them out. This mask is not overwhelmingly effective but I think it's a good mask considering the price. There are better masks out there for sure, but this could be the best deal for your buck! I send some packs of these back home with my stuff from Germany so I already repurchased :)

This was gifted to me by my awesome friend Susan who is crazy about sheet masks. She always forces me to do sheet masks night together with her because we both enjoy it a lot. This mask is a bit more pricey, it usually retails for 2000Won (1,60€) but my friend got it on a 1+1 sale. This mask unfortunately was HUGE for me. I had no idea how to fit it on my face, it was all over the place! I really did enjoy the mask itself and felt more radiant and very moisturized afterwards but it was just way too big and therefore serum absorption was uneven :/ Because of that, I won't repurchase (if I ever purchased this, ha.) My friend only got them because of the sale and told me that Missha masks are not very popular in Korea in general.

Ah, good guy Innisfree! Their It's Real Squeeze Masks retail for 950Won (~80 cent). I have tried Manuka Honey, Blackberry, Cucumber, Green Tea, Strawberry and Shea Butter - Manuka Honey is my personal favorite! It's the only brand to work with Manuka Honey as far as I know. Blackberry and Strawberry smelled DIVINE. Like, really really good. Green Tea and Cucumber were fine but a little bit boring. Shea butter was very very moisturizing and good for dry skin; a bit too rich for me. I noticed that Innisfree masks are made out of a different sheet than most masks I tried, they are a lot thicker and don't rip as easily. They have a great size although a bit too big but not dramatically. They have a good amount of serum in them and my face looks really radiant and glowy after using them. I have already repurchased these multiple times and wish they were on sale some time!

I accidentally bought 10 of those masks. How, you ask? Well.... I failed my Korean basically. It said it was 2500 Won but that was the price for one sheet inside the package, not the whole package. Thinking I made a super crazy bargain I only realized later at the cash that these were the most expensive masks I bought (except for that one Sekkisei one) in Korea! Well. My Korean wasn't good enough to exchange them so I thought why not treat myself. Mediheal is extremely popular in Korea and they are often on sale for 3000~2500 Won, the retail price is 3800Won if I remember correctly - that is a lot for a mask! Being a charcoal mask this mask is black which... I am quite neutral about. It feels a bit more "rough" than your usual sheet mask which may have to do something with the charcoal amount. This mask also has a good amount of niacinamide and other whitening ingredients to actually live up to their whitening claim. This has very sufficient amount of serum, which makes the mask a bit slippery. The mask fits me well and there is enough serum to last me 30-40 minutes. Afterwards, my skin feels very calm and overall evened out. I personally find them a little bit too pricey even with discount but really like this brand and would love to try out their other masks as well!

Last but not least, this was recommended to me by some redditors after I announced my trip to Japan. I had somehow never seen those masks before in Japan but when I took a look was able to find them very quick in the drugstore. A pack of 5 retails for ~600Yen which is not bad at all. Now the mask itself..... I highly underestimated that stuff! Let me tell you: This is a strong mask. Like, literally. I didn't really think about it and used my usual vitamin C and BHA treatments throughout the day and when I tried this mask.... IT STUNG SO BAD. There is a LOT of vitamin C in this so if you want to use it I highly advise you to skip the usual acidic treatments that you may use because it might be just too much. I wouldn't recommend this for sensitive skin and also not if you have never used vitamin C on your skin. If you use it carefully though, it is a very nice addition to your whitening skin care routine. The masks are quite small as always in Japan but not too small for my face - might be a problem if you have a very round face. Overall, I like this mask but have to be careful when using it in order to not overdrown my skin in acids.

Final Verdict: Every sheet mask is different in terms of quality, wear, amount of serum etc and I am pretty sure not everyone values the same - which is apparent in the popularity of MBD masks. Just because I don't like them means that they are bad, so take my judgement with a grain of salt. My personal favorites are the Etude House I need you snail and Tony Moly I'm Real Makgeolli and Innisfree Manuka Honey masks because they left my face the most soft it has ever been and felt really soothing. Runner up would be Mediheal - although they don't actively whiten the skin they seem very promising and are worth at least a second look. I liked the My Beauty Diary sheet masks the least. I will probably always come back to Innisfree for a "safe" alternative if I experimented too much.

Edit: Got quite some questions about what the most popular brands are in Korea. It varies of course by person, but the most popular for sheet masks are Etude House, Innisfree and Mediheal. The first two because they are cheap, used for moisturizing and almost always on sale somewhere for 10+10 etc. , the latter because they are more efficient in what they do - also almost always on sale in drugstores. Most people I know always stick to their favorites and didn't seem to experiment much around with other brands but that might have been just my friends. :)

If you made it this far, congratulations! That was a lot to read. Do you have any personal favorites? Please tell me if you do! I hope you enjoyed this battle and please look forward to the next one :)



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