Here is another installment of the Triangle series. Today, I am looking at three popular face mask formats. Although all three companies are from Korea, they are as different as their product concepts: Whamisa is a certified organic niche brand, Blossom Jeju is a premium cosmetics brand from the island of Jeju and Lindsay is the salon face mask manufacturer who started the rubber mask hype in Korea.
Let’s start with Whamisa – one of my personal favourites ever since I first met the brand at CosmeTokyo 2014 trade show!
Fermented Hydrogel Facial Mask
The product: This is a classic hydro-gel mask; the base material is a clear, thick gel which is saturated with the liquid serum. Hydro gel masks tear more quickly than normal sheet masks so you have to be reeeeally careful when you take the mask out of the pack. On the other hand, the thick jellified texture helps the mask adhere more thoroughly to the face contours than a sheet mask – this is particularly important if you have a Western European/Caucasian face since Caucasian faces tend to be bigger and broader than the average Asian face.
The mask is divided into two pieces (top half and bottom half), place both of them on your face and let the mask do its work! Whamisa’s products are made with fermented herb and flower extracts – the high quality of the ingredients was one of the things that attracted me to this brand; most of the products are based on organic aloe vera juice and include very little alcohol, water, glycerin or other filler ingredients – and they are certified by German association BDIH.
Here are the INCIs of the mask – check out all those beautiful ferment filtrates!!!
Water, *hordeum vulgare seed extract, *glycine soja (soybean) seed extract, ceratonia siliqua gum, xanthan gum, *aloe barbadensis leaf extract, *lactobacillus/rice ferment filtrate, **scutellaria baicalensis root extract, **paeonia suffruticosa root extract, **glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, *lactobacillus/phaseolus radiatus seed ferment filtrate, *lactobacillus/glycine soja (black soybean) ferment filtrate, *lactobacillus/phaseolus angularis seed ferment filtrate, allium cepa (onion) bulb extract, *lactobacillus/hordeum vulgare seed ferment filtrate, *lactobacillus/sesamum indicum (sesame) seed ferment filtrate, coix lacryma-jobi ma-yuen seed extract, adenosine, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, aniba rosaeodora (rosewood) wood oil, citrus nobilis (mandarin orange) peel oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil *certified organically grown **natural preservative
The brand: Whamisa, owned by ENS Korea, was founded in 2010 and currently offers around 40 products, including a 16-sku face care range, sun care and baby care, five hair care products and four body care lotions, a three-sku men’s range and four face masks. I’ve written about Whamisa several times on my blog – you can read my brand profile here.
In Korea, Whamisa is sold in selected organic supermarkets and health stores; the biggest product selection can be found in two chains: Dure Coop and Orga Whole Foods. In the US some of Whamisa’s products are sold online –the best-known retailer is probably Glow Recipe – and in Germany, a recently launched organic beauty store, Savue Beauty, is now stocking some of the Whamisa face masks. They are shipping across most European countries so this might be a good option if you are based in Western Europe.
Next up, Blossom Jeju!
Pink Camellia Soombi Lifting Essence Petal Mask
The product: This is a two-part sheet mask. The pack consists of two sachets: sachet #1 (the golden bit) contains camellia oil, sachet #2 (pink) the actual sheet mask. The first part: massage the oil into the cleansed and toned face. Then apply the sheet mask on top of it. I was surprised the first time I tried out one of Blossom Jeju’s masks – I probably would have applied the sheet mask first and then finished the treatment off with the oil to seal in the moisture, but the other way round worked rather well. Two-part face masks have been a bigtrend in Asia in recent years; usually they contain a serum or other booster ingredient rather than an oil but the principle is the same.
The ingredients in this mask are not organic (too many non-certifiable synthetics) but in this instance I don’t mind since I like Blossom Jeju.
Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, sodium hyaluronate, 1,2-hexanediol, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, panthenol, betaine, trehalose, hydrolyzed collagen, punica granatum fruit extract, ficus carica fruit extract, morus alba fruit extract, ginkgo biloba but extract, opuntia ficus indica extract, glycyrrhiza glabra extract, beta-glucan, malus domestica fruit extract, rosmarinus officinalis extract, houttuynia cordata extract, portulaca oleracea extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, vacchinum angustifolium fruit extract, rosa canina fruit extract, brassica oleracea italica extract, phenoxyethanol, carbomer, allantoin, polysorbate 80, camellia japonica seed oil, triethanolamine, adenosine, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance
The brand: I first met Blossom Jeju at Cosmoprof Asia trade show in 2015. I had seen some of the camellia creams a few weeks earlier, at Korean perfumery chain Belport’s Itaewon store. However, Cosmoprof Asia was the first opportunity to look at the products of Blossom Jeju in more detail. The brand was founded in 2013 and face care portfolio consists of two main product lines: the eight-sku Pink Label (Pink Camellia Soombi) and the seven-sku Gold Label (Camellia Soombi).
Blossom Jeju’s products are formulated with camellia oil and camellia extract which is grown and harvested on the island of Jeju. I met the brand again a couple of weeks ago at Cosmobeauty trade show in Seoul and I was told that the products are already available in the US, in Hong Kong (in the Lane Crawford department stores) and the UK through online retailer Cult Beauty. At the trade show I was told that the company has started the registration process for its products to eventually be sold in the EU.
And finally, Lindsay!
Calendula Modeling Mask
The product: I have become a big fan of rubber masks (or “modeling masks” as they are called in Korea). And Lindsay is the salon brand that started the whole rubber mask trend. I saw a number of different rubber mask brands when I was in Seoul a few weeks ago but Lindsay is arguably the biggest and best-known retail brand. The Lindsay masks are sold by all four big drugstore chains in Korea: Olive Young, Boons, LOHBS and Watson’s and they are very affordable indeed – the retail price was around 3.000 KRW (around 2.50 Euro).
From what I’ve read Lindsay is a Korean beauty professional who developed the rubber mask treatment for use in spas and salons. The mask powder contains earth (clay) and alginate which is the algae-derived ingredient that is responsible for the fabulous goopy texture – and this type of mask treatment became so popular that Lindsay launched a user-friendly DIY version for retail: a plastic cup which is already filled with the correct amount of mask powder. You add the required amount of liquid, stir the whole thing with the spatula (included) and then apply it to the face – and although this is slightly more work than applying a sheet mask it is still much less labour-intensive (and messy!) than stirring up a clay mask. And it is great fun: once the mask hardens on your face you pull the whole thing off in one go!
The ingredients vary according to the mask, but the base is always a mixture of diatomatious earth, glucose, alginate and calcium sulfate:
Diatomatious earth, calcium sulfate, glucose, alginate, tetrapotassium pyrophosphate, cellulose gum, maltodextrin, monoglyceride, lactococcus lactis, calendula extract, allantoin, potassium alginate, adenosine, aloe vera extract, portulaca oleracea extract, scutelleria baicalensis, centella asiatica, hydrated ferric oxide, fragrance
The brand: The Lindsay cup mask portfolio offers eight different standard variants plus the occasional limited edition; at the brand’s exhibition stand at Cosmobeauty 2016 I noticed that Lindsay also offers a wide range of non-mask products – essences, serums, creams and so on, plus various powder masks in plastic buckets for use in salons and spas.
At the trade show, Lindsay also introduced two new powder mask treatments or rather, the same mask treatment sold in a different type of packaging. The classic Lindsay masks are packaged in plastic cups – convenient but a little bulky. The new mask pack (All-in-One) is a flat aluminium fold-out pack. The bottom of this pack can be folded into a basin shape (and the whole thing rests on four tiny “feet”!) : it is already filled with powder and the spatula is included so you just need to add the required amount of water/liquid (there is a dotted line traced across the pack), stir the mask and apply it to your face. At Cosmobeauty I purchased one of the new fold-out packs (Spirulina Modeling Mask) to try it out and I have to say, it works well.
The second new launch was Luxury Magic Mask (see pic above): two plastic cups which are slotted into each other (the whole thing looks rather like a cocktail shaker). The cups contains a spatula and two sachets: the mask powder and the liquid phase. I saw variants of this luxury mask treatment in Olive Young’s Lifestyle Store in Myeung-dong: there were several brands offering a similar face masks – I showed two of these masks on Instagram: Casmara and 23yearsold. As you can see on the Instagram pics, these two products included an additional sachet/booster ingredient to be stirred into the mask mixture – the perfect way to personalise this kind of face mask