Korean Skincare Reviews – Snails, Milky Piglets and Saunas
Korean skincare has taken OFF in the past couple of years, but it’s still a relatively recent obsession on this side of the Pacific. There’s talk of the benefits of snail goo, bubble clay and charcoal masks, and I’m not sure any normal person really knows what “sebum” is. But I decided to take one for the team, and test out a bunch of the top trending Korean skincare products so I could share my experiences and honest review of each product.
Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask – 3/5
I found this product on a trending beauty list for Korean skincare, which claimed that the mask was more effective because it’s carbonated (which means it oxidizes on the skin, creating a foamy, bubbly effect). It’s packed full of charcoal powder, which is an active ingredient that helps fight acne, unclog pores, and keep youthful skin.
I tried this with my husband since he has exceptionally dry skin, and I have combination/oily. First off, I was not pleased with the Polly Pocket size spatula that you receive to put it on, but we made it work. Since the box was not in English, I had to look up instructions online. Based on my experience, I would remove your makeup first (I personally don’t like doing a 2-in-1 for cleansers or masks… it’s like using a 2-in-1 shampoo + conditioner. Not the same). Then apply a thin-normal coat on the entire face, avoiding your eyes and mouth. The mask definitely triples in size when it begins to foam, so don’t get too close.
My husband hated the sensation from the foaming process. It was kind of itchy, but cool to watch. I will say that if I had to do it again, I would have done this mask right before getting in the shower. Because while the foam is fun to scrape off, the residual mask on the face is really difficult to wash off.
Both of us could feel a difference in our skin. Besides the difficulty in removing it, the only drawback is that you will need to heavily moisturize afterwards, regardless if you have dry/combo/oily skin. Bonus points if you have a hydrating cotton mask you can put on right afterwards.
I would give it a 3/5. Partially because I’m picky, but mostly because I don’t see myself using this product often. It’s a solid deep cleaner, but my skin would absolutely act out if I used it more than every other week. If you don’t have a good product to unclog your pores, this would be a good option. Just be sure to pick up an intense hydration mask. Also, you may not be a huge fan of this if you have dry skin, but you may love it if you’re oily.
Leaders AC Clear Treatment Mask – 5/5
You didn’t read that photo incorrectly, the packet says “snail secretion filtrate.” Apparently, snail goo is amazing for relieving irritated, stressed, and breakout-prone skin. The mask is hypo-allergenic, and it’s a one-time use cotton sheet mask. I saw this at ULTA and when I read about how it relieves redness and calms sensitive, acne-prone skin, I was like, “YASSSSS sign me up!”
After an unfortunate food poisoning incident a month ago, my skin has never fully felt restored of the nutrients it lost. I like to do my masks in the evening right after I’ve removed my makeup and cleansed my face. So instead of using my regular moisturizer after cleansing, I’ll instead opt for a mask.
These masks are drenched in the product. It may seem weird on your first experience, but I personally love when a mask is soaked. Since you leave most cotton masks on for 10-20 minutes (I typically leave it on the max amount of recommended time), you want your skin to absorb as much product as possible. It’s pretty chilly on the skin at first, but this mask felt so good on. Once it’s time to discard, you will want rub in the remaining serum on your face in circular motions. I typically like to do my masks about an hour or two before going to sleep so it’s hopefully fully absorbed into my skin.
I give this a 5/5. It’s going to be rare for me to give something a 5 unless it’s a ride-or-die product. I woke up and my skin was so much more even. It was moisturized but not in a heavy or greasy way, and even days later my skin was still a happy camper.
Snail goo for the win!
Leaders Teatree Renewal Mask – 4/5
Not all masks are created equal. Even masks within the same product line can be a hit or miss because the formula will be different for each mask type. The same is true for Korean skincare. Just because you have a bad or good experience with one type of Korean skincare product does not necessarily mean it will be your experience for all.
I picked this mask up from ULTA on the same day as the AC Clear Treatment Mask. For those who don’t know, treatment masks are different from renewal masks. A treatment mask’s goal is to improve… whether that’s evenness, clarity, hydration, etc. A renewal mask uses ingredients to bring balance. So for example, this mask uses organic leaf extracts including: birch, hazelnut, and olive. One of the things I really like about these masks by Leaders is that both of the ones I purchased are free from paraben, silicon, artificial pigments, and mineral oil.
This mask was just as drenched as the AC Clear mask, and felt about the same on the skin. The only reason I gave this mask a 4/5 was because if I were to purchase one mask over the other, I personally would choose the AC Clear Treatment Mask. But that is solely because of my skin and what the benefits from the mask I need. The Teatree Renewal Mask is definitely a great mask to use consistently. The ingredients will protect your skin from harmful environmental exposure, and also add nutrients back into the skin.
Tony Moly Blackhead Steam Balm – 3/5
I should go ahead and say that I haven’t had blackheads since high school. But since steam opens up the pores, I thought this would be interesting to try. This was probably the most confusing product to figure out how to use. Especially since there are apparently three products that you can use one after the other, or you can be cheap and purchase one like I did.
First of all, Korean skincare packaging = goals. This is a freaking egg. Per Amazon‘s instructions on the product, I removed my makeup and cleansed my face. I tested the product on my “problem areas” (read: everywhere) by rubbing it in circular motions onto my face. It begins to heat up from the friction, which is what opens up the pores so the product can extract the dirt/oil/blackheads.
It’s pretty cool that the balm goes on almost white, but then when it turns the same color as your skin (from the reaction to the oils on your face), you know it’s done. Kind of like a timer on an oven. This was one of those products I saw a difference as soon as it came off. My pores were smaller, and my face definitely felt smoother.
For me personally, I would rate this another 3. Mostly because I’m not the target audience, but I was happy with the results. My skin felt soft and clean when I was done, but that was it. I would recommend this for anyone who has habitually clogged pores on their nose. I’d be interested to see if this really does remove blackheads as well as it claims. Based on my experience thus far, I would guess this would act more as a gradual healing and then preventative of blackheads, rather than something to scrape them all out at once.
Let me know in the comments below what you thought of these products, or if you have any more Korean skincare recommendations. And don’t forget to join the pack by adding your email to the box at the top of the page to receive updates on when another post is up!