22 May 2016

The Tale of Sleeping Beauties: A Comparison Review on 16 Sleeping Masks I used

I decided to write about sleeping masks after getting a lot of questions on what are they for, and are they anything special than a facial cream etc. I may not have the best answer for you guys, but I think I can share some of my thoughts on these sleeping beauties.

For those of you who have questions about facial mask or sheet mask, you can read my previous tips and Q&A on these facials on a sheet.

Sleeping mask is highly similar to any other masks out there, the only difference is the way it is applied. It's meant to form a moisture trap on your face with its light gel texture, instead of having a layer of fiber sheet like most sheet mask does, to force feed your skin with nutrition. So your skin will look brighter, plumper or even younger the next morning you wake up when you have sleeping mask on because it also prevents moisture loss from your face and contributes to the "plumping" effect.

As for whether or not sleeping mask is necessary, I think it really depends. If you are on tight budget and don't want to waste your money on extra skincare stuffs, then I think you don't really need to get one. But if you are looking for something light-weighted, nice, effective or fun to play with at night, then you should definitely invest in one!

If you ask me, sleeping mask is fun and multifunctional. It's useful for nights when I don't feel like sticking to my N steps routine, where I will just layer sleeping mask on my face after an essence toner. Sometimes, when I am eyeing products from a brand, and is not sure what should I get (like Sulwhasoo), then I would firstly go for their sleeping masks. In Korea, I notice that sleeping mask is generally cheaper than toner, emulsion, essence, serum and cream, without compromising on their qualities. So it really boils down to individual needs and preferences in making your own choice.

So, let's go through some of the sleeping masks I'd used in the past few years. Some were pretty good, some were just "meh" and there are a few "ewww". Read on to find out more on each!

Beauty Nature Rose Flower Facial Night Jelly EX
(reformulated as Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Night Gelly EX)

I am not sure do a lot of people know about this, but Naruko starts off as Beauty Nature in Taiwan. The scientist behind it is called Nu:er, a very popular Taiwanese beauty guru which makes numerous appearance on TV shows and magazines.

I found this Night Gelly, or sleeping mask when I was studying in Vancouver. It was a really dry place, which took a toll on my skin well pampered by the humid and warm Malaysian weather. This rose flower night jelly saved my skin from the harsh winter months in Vancouver, especially through all the cold and lonely study nights.

I've tried the lavender one but like this rose one better, and I don't keep a snapshot of the lavender one with me. There is another one called Kevin Vinvin Hydrating Gel with awesome smell and lovely texture that I love as well, but has long been discontinued.

Anyway, this Beauty DIY night jelly is the first sleeping masks I used. I'm not sure will my love for it fades if I were to use it now after 7 years, but it will always live in my memory as one of the best.

Grade: ★★★★

Hada Labo Koi Gokujyun 3-in-1 Intense Hydration Perfect Gel

My second or third sleeping mask would be this Intense Hydration Perfect Gel from Hada Labo. I love Hada Labo, and had been using Hada Labo products exclusively from 2011 to 2013. When I came back to Malaysia, I still suffered from the "cold/winter damage" I developed in Canada, where my skin was easily irritated, dry and dehydrated. And I could no longer find the Beauty DIY or Vinvin products here. Hence, I couldn't be more excited when Hada Laboreleases this unique perfect gel.

However, this is probably my most regrettable purchase. The worst product I've tried from Hada Labo! It stings me out really badly, and will form an unpleasant and suffocating tacky layer on my skin. My skin feels super uncomfortable whenever I am applying it. Although I really don't want to waste it, but I just can't finish it, so I ended up tossing it out after it expired.

Grade: ☆

Naruko Raw Job's Tears Night Jelly

I went back to Naruko when Hada Labo failed me. I think I forgot to mention that I used Naruko's sleeping masks before Hada Labo Perfect Gel when I was in Canada. Among some of those I used was job's tear, lavender, rose and red job's tear. They were actually quite nice, but not this.
This is a reformulated night gelly (as in gel + jelly) with a texture like melted jelly. I thought the product had deteriorated when I opened it, but learned through Naruko Malaysia that this was their "upgraded version" of the night gelly. What? You upgrade your night gelly without remembering to rename it to melted jelly?

So, this was again a bad sleeping mask experience. The texture is so idiotic that I just couldn't pick the product out of the jar with the tiny little spatula they gave me. In the end, I just had to pour the jelly out to quickly finish this sweet-smelling but ineffective stuff that ruined my good memory with Naruko. Tragic.

Grade: ★

Neogence Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating & Revitalizing Gel Mask

After failing twice with sleeping masks and wasting all my money, I stopped the entire sleeping mask thing for 6 months. I only used Aqualabel Hydrating Lotion and Emulsion, and that's all I used. I called it a quit until I rekindled my passion towards skincare again through Neogence, Dr. Wu and Dr. G.

These are all SASA brands and my year 2014 ended in madly throwing money at SASA. Everything was interesting and new to me there, and I had spent a lot of time and money lingering at SASA outlets, trying to bring everything home. Of course, except a few Neogence products, I feel that all my money'd gone into waste. It's really not a good place for serious skincare thing. The salesgirls there are only trained to push you into buying more, instead of what you really need. Different people tell me different stories about my skin. More ridiculously, they tell me different information on the products themselves. For example, one salesgirl I met at Pavilion told me that Dr. Wu Whitening Lotion is an essence and that I don't need any more serum whereas the other girl at Midvalley told me another story.

Anyway, back to Neogence. This Neogence HA Gel Mask works wonderful on my long deserted skin, even more so than Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. The texture is really bouncy and light-weighted, with a soft touch on your skin bringing a lot of hydration. I emptied 1/2 of it within 2 weeks and had to stop myself from using it so vigorously because I don't want to spend another RM 99 to repurchase one in just 1 month.

You can see my detailed review and ingredients analysis of this weightless yet super hydrating gel mask here.

Grade: ★★★★☆

Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack

This is the "cheaper" alternative I sought to replace my obsession over Neogence Hyaluronic Acid Gel Mask, and luckily it did not disappoint.

I bought this from a Facebook retailer before Innisfree Malaysia launches their first store in Sunway Pyramid. This mask claims that it is made of red wine with superior anti-oxidizing and nourishing properties. The texture is close to pudding, but will always revert to its original state with its memory gel texture. The smell of this mask is awesome, you might be lured into taking a bite if you don't know this is actually a mask. It smells and looks like wine pudding.

Normally, this is enough to protect me from all the dryness and pollutants at night. Not at all sticky or overwhelming, this will form a nice protective barrier on my face, although I get bored of it over time.

Great for school boys/girls with budget concern wanting high quality products. For detailed review and ingredients analysis please click here.

Grade: ★★★☆

Coni Beauty Floral Spring Mask

I have talked about this before so I'm not going into details about this one. You can check out my full review here.

Basically, this is a weird-smelling (smells like cheap plastic rose), not-hydrating (although it looks hydrating) and nothing-special mask that I feel like a complete waste of my money.

It does look cute, and romantic with the purple packaging and content but it is not something you would pay to bath your skin with overnight. Unlike Hada Labo Perfect Gel that doesn't suit me, the problem of this Coni Beauty lavender mask is in the quality of the product itself.

Grade: ☆

Elizavecca Aqua Brightening Mask

Honestly, as a beauty junkee and a skincare blogger, I learn one painful lesson through the most wallet-bleeding way - do not trust or follow crazy skincare trend that is constantly brewing and changing. Only true love stands through time; so does good skincare.

This elizavecca is such product that is suddenly becoming so popular 1-2 years ago, when I was still new and has little resistance to cheap skincare that claims to do wonder on skin. There isn't a lot of reliable review back then on Elizavecca products, but a lot of marketing vows.

So far I'd bought two Elizavecca products, this and the horse oil cream; both sucks.

This aqua brightening mask claims to be a highly popular mask among Korean flight attendants whose skin is dry-dehydrated after long-hours flight. Oh well, let's not talk about how they get their statistics from. How many Korean flight attendants need to use this to be considered a popular product among them. And how much does an average Korean flight attendants earn to make them financially incapable of affording something better, like the very popular Laneige Water Sleeping Mask. So, yes, only idiot like me falls into that kind of marketing vow. Ah, how stupid!

So, back to the product. This aqua brightening mask is probably the most perfumy thing I ever used in skincare. It smells like those hair serum I got for RM 15 (USD 3-4) from the nightmarket. Another thing is the texture: it will burst into little water particles upon contacting your skin, and the oil will form an occlusive layer on top of that, preventing the water particles from penetrating. In the end, the water part evaporates, the oil seals. Your skin is dry from the inside but oily at the outside. How brilliant is that?

In term of performance, I've tried to use this in numerous way: on my body, as a wash-off mask, as a soothing pack, or sleeping mask, but none works well. It's a complete "meh". Not just that, it also leaves me in constant fear of organ toxification or allergic reaction due to the possibility of having some unknown stuffs in it.

In short, I swear to myself that I'll never go for these weird skincare trend or brands again. I might as well just save that few bucks (this costs RM 30-40 / USD 10) on something that worths my investment.

Grade: ☆

Holika Holika White Wine Sleeping Mask

ingredients (analysis

I couldn't resist anything cute or pretty, which is why I bought this. It is also pretty cheap at only RM 35.90 on Ebay and RM 59.90 in store. Not only does this sleeping mask look cute, it also smells really delicious, like freshly baked donuts. The texture is a creamy milky paste, which blends into skin like yogurt, leaving skin soft and velvety.

There isn't any bad ingredients here, although a lot are just emulsifiers, emollients and viscosity controllers. Second ingredient is wine extract, and there are niacinamide and allantoin, as well as several other plant extracts like sugar maple, sugar cane, rosemary, bilberry and lavender. Sugar maple and sugar cane are both natural AHAs to do gentle exfoliating and brightening. It also doesn't contain anything harmful for sensitive people.

Despite all the cuteness, I must say that this is not a mask that I'll like. The smell is too disturbing, which I dislike having on my face. Baked donuts? That's something you put in your mouth. The texture also makes this a less-hydrating, more-occlusive mask that isn't great for my skin type which desires more hydration in product.

This product has done nothing wrong, it even contains decent ingredients for brightening and anti-oxidizing. It just so happens that I don't like it. That's all.

Grade: ★

Skinfood Watery Berry Wrap Mask

This is another unpopular, pretty-looking and sweet-smelling mask that I really enjoy but will not repurchase. I am not saying that this mask is bad or anything, however, I feel that I am too old for a girlish pack like this.

The wrap mask is, as its name suggests, a jelly mask that will form a watery, non-sticky wrap around your face to offer ample protection throughout the night. I am sure young girl who are in their teen or early 20s will fare well with this, because it smells awesome, is really moisturizing and will offer excellent antioxidizing protection for those who face laptops or smartphones a lot. However, for someone who is getting older like me, this mask is just not doing enough.

In conclusion, this is a good sleeping pack, or wash-off treatment for younger smartphone users who want some antioxidizing benefits, but not the "older" girls who are suffering from sun-related damage or aging.

See my full review here for ingredients analysis and detailed review.

Grade: ★★★

Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

This is a super popular korean sleeping mask from Laneige. It promises really nice sleep scent, ample hydration and moisturization as well as decent brightening and anti-oxidizing benefits.
This water sleeping mask has light-weighted yet firm texture, as if it is grabbing all the moisture in the air to supply to your skin thorough the night. It is definitely not sticky, but might be a little tacky due to the moisture barrier it forms on your skin surface. This enables your skin to be constantly "forced fed" nutrition when you sleep, but is not too suffocating like wearing a real sheet mask or putting on a thick layer of facial cream.

I love this! It leaves my skin feeling soft, supple, plump, hydrated, cool and moisturized for hours. It also improves the overall radiance of my skin. This is what Song Hye Kyo said to be one of her secrets for her near translucent skin.

You can see my detailed review and ingredients analysis here.

Actually this is a must-try, but it is not a must-repurchase for me, even during sales. For one, I have tonnes of sleeping mask already from Sulwhasoo, Cosrx and Mamonde on my dressing table. Also, this doesn't do anything too impressive on my skin except for the hydrating power and nice sleep scent. Even if I were to repurchase, I think I'll go for the Belif one that I'm gonna review later. I still love it, but not loving it enough to repurchase anytime soon.

Grade: ★★★★

Biotherm Aquasource Night SPA

This is a really expensive sleeping mask. I think it is the most expensive one I've bought. But, in term of performance and texture, I think it fails to impress me more than Laneige which is half of its price, which is really disappointing.

This night SPA has really strong smell, which in some way reminds me of blue ocean and marine life. For a person like me who enjoys scent in my cosmetics, this is considered overpowering. Also, if you look at the CosDNA analysis, you'll find that this has a lot of fragrance with extremely unsafe rating. The strong fragrance this night SPA has makes it close to a parfum already. Putting parfum on my face? You bet!

I feel that this night SPA forms a sticky protective barrier on my face, which is not very hydrating but certainly moisturizing. Honestly, I don't have much to say about this mask because I rarely use it, and I don't feel anything too impressive or bad about it. It is just a so-so expensive night SPA that I'll not repurchase.

Grade: ★

Beiwei 23.5 Rice Revitalizing Gel Mask

I bought this sample size from Beauty Stall Malaysia some times ago. And so lucky that I only bought the sample version of it because it is so "meh" that I din finish that 15ml.

I threw the bottle away already so I couldn't show you the picture, so I'll just talk you through it. Basically, this is a transparent, plasticky jelly that looks like those deodorant jelly on your car. It doesn't have any smell though. It's not very hydrating or moisturizing, and will not do anything at all. I just feel like I am putting some solid gels on my face without any other functions or effects. A waste of my money, and my time. The worst thing is, it contains the really harmful ingredient methylisothiazolinone which I've mentioned numerous time in my sheet mask review that this will cause nerve damage.

Stay away guys!

Grade: ☆

Naruko Taiwan Magnolia Brightening and Firming Night Gelly EX

I have a love and hate relationship with Naruko night gelly. Love it because it is the first sleeping mask I use and it works wonder; but hate it because of my failed relationship with its Job's Tear one.

It was not until very recently that I bought another night gelly from it, after it upgraded the formula and size! The one I got was the Taiwan Magnolia brightening and firming night gelly, targeting more mature and dull skin. Actually I share this with my mom, she loves it a lot and says that it has brightened up her skin tone and faded some of her age spots. As for me, I enjoy it although not as much as my mom does because it still stings my skin a little bit and is not very hydrating.

As you can see, the texture is very bouncy and soft, with a lot of resilience in it. So when you put it on, it will fill all the cracks and fine lines on your skin, channeling all its brightening and anti-oxidizing actives deep into your skin cells.

I've done a detailed analysis on its ingredients and share my final thoughts on this lovely product. Do check it out here to find out more on it!

Grade: ★★★☆

Belif First Aid Overnight Skin Regeneration Mask

This is thus far my favourite sleeping mask from all those I mentioned above. It's from the herbal formula brand called Belif, which I've raved about numerous times before, and have made several recommendations to my friends and family.

Basically, this is a overnight cellular repairing and nourishing mask with natto-like texture. The nice part about this mask is that, despite the texture, it is actually very bouncy and watery when you blend it out on your skin. Not sticky at all although it is a little bit tacky with that much of moisturizing factors in it. Acne-prone or oily skin are advised to stay away from it as it may cause breakouts in those skin types.

In term of performance, this skin regeneration mask leaves my skin velvety soft, plump, and younger. My apple cheek area, with its first sign of sagging that occurs 2 years ago has been successfully reversed with this and other hydrating products I use, but the lifting effect is most dramatic ever since I adopt this into my skincare regime. The trick is to gently massage the product in an upward pulling motion with the help of the dampness and rich emollients in this mask which makes it perfect for massaging.

I went into details about all the good herbs and close-up reviews of this mask in my last post. Do check it out to find out more on it!

Grade: ★★★★★

Mamonde Rose Honey Sleeping Mask

Actually, my passion for sleeping mask has stepped into a "hibernate" status ever since I start gathering a group of nice creams. So, when I am very much into cream, my love for sleeping mask fades because I no longer need a sleeping mask to give myself that glowing, chok-chok moisturising look or to provide myself ample hydration at night. Essence, treatment essence, serum, and cream I use these days are very moisturising and hydrating at their own, with tonnes of skincare benefits, so this Mamonde mask comes at the time when my passion towards sleeping mask fades. But since I bought it (during a coupon giveaway at 11street), I don't want to waste it so I still use it, and I think this is a really nice product!

The texture of this Mamonde Rose Honey Sleeping Mask is like a blend of Laneige Water Sleeping Mask and Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack. While being hydrating and fast-absorbing, this honey in it also gives skin a lot of nourishment and protection thorough the night, especially when I am sleeping in air-conditioned room.

I am still testing it out since I just used it like a month ago, so I'll be back with a detailed review on it soon.
Also, I have first impression and detailed reviews on Sulwhasoo Ginseng, Cosrx Rice, and Goodal Lotus sleeping masks coming up! Stay tuned for more updates!

Grade: ★★★★

[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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