By Farah Merani
For Christmas a few years ago, my sister-in-law got me a gift pack of various skincare products from Korea. There was the usual: some lip balms, a body lotion and such, but what really caught my attention were the beauty balm (BB) cream, the two packets of sheet masks, and the splash mask. The BB cream I had heard about, but the masks were new to me. Little did I know that Korean beauty products, aka K-Beauty, was becoming one of the most popular and buzz-worthy trends. So, I took to the Internet to look for some information.
A staple of every Korean woman’s skin-care regimen, the BB cream, was developed to remove the need for multiple products. Promoted as a replacement for the serum, moisturizer, primer, sunblock and foundation combo, the BB cream can contain all of the above in one single shot. The cream can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer or in conjunction with other products. Any way you say it, these products have revolutionized the way that we think of skincare products and their ability to multitask. Plus, using one product vs many is lighter on both your wallet and the environment.
Sheet masks are what made the world stand up and pay attention to the K-Beauty craze. And with good reason. They’re simple to apply, help the skin look refreshed, and are fun to use. My two masks were honey-and-oatmeal based, nourishing ingredients that not only smell good but are touted as being ultra moisturizing.
Once you’ve peeled the mask out of the package, it looks kind of like a Lucha Libre mask that you place over your face, with holes for your eyes, nostrils and mouth. A word of advice from esthetician Cynthia Whaley of Cynthia’s Skin Therapy: Opt for the thinnest gauze available so the sheet doesn’t absorb too much of the product itself.
A bit of a misnomer here. Splash masks aren’t technically masks, but more like a toner or ampule containing concentrated skin-benefitting ingredients. You add the product to a sink full of water and splash your face like you would if you were washing, except there’s no rinsing. Then you pat dry with your hands only (no towel needed here except for the clean up) and feel the softness envelope you. This is one pseudo-mask that you don’t need to sit around and wait for. Just splash around a bit and you’re done!