I received this Pony Effect Luminous Boosting Mask Pack Express Soothing Face Mask from Memebox as a freebie from my very large sheet mask haul and am crazy excited to do a review on a product so shiny and with such a long name. Haha-why are so many Korean products like that?
For starters, Korean makeup artist Pony has teamed up with Memebox and produced a large number of various skin and makeup products for over a year now. This mask is one of the latest addition to her collaboration with them.
This mask is made of bamboo fiber and promises to deal with unevenness in skin tone and skin texture while prepping it to its “best condition prior to makeup” AND simultaneously nourishing skin. The list of claims is as long as the actual mask name!
*The ingredients analysis may be a little long for some as there are A LOT of really neat ingredients packed into this mask. If plant extracts aren’t really your thing, feel free to skip down to the non-ingredient review part of this post!
Water, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract, Betaine, Panthenol, Carbomer, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Allantoin, Potassium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract, Paecilomyces Japonica/Saussurea Involucrata Ferment Extract Filtrate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water, Aloe Barbandensis Leaf Water, Honey Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Sciadopitys Verticillata Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Mentha Spicata Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance
Ok, am I the only one who noticed an entire garden in there? Let’s break it down!
Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water is lotus water which is known for its soothing, regenerative properties. It can help stimulate blood flow to the face while it calms and moisturizes.
Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Extract is a bit controversial in skin care as the fruit can brighten, hydrate, function as an astringent, and give the skin a boost of anti-aging antioxidnants, but can also be very irritating due to its limonene (the chemical responsible for the grapefruit’s smell) content. It can potentially cause contact dermatitis. Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract (lemon) is also potentially irritating, but is known for its anti-microbial, pore tightening abilities. However, there are also several anti-irritants listed in this mask like allantoin (an anti-irritant derived from urea) which should help offset any potential irritation.
Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Extract is an old skincare favorite, known for its acne-busting ability, but also its anti-inflammatory properties.
Paecilomyces Japonica/Saussurea Involucrata Ferment Extract Filtrate: I had never heard of this ingredient until now. The Internet has surprisingly little information on it, and while I emailed Memebox, who supposedly emailed the manufacturer, it’s been long enough that I’m doubting I’ll get a reply… From the best that I can tell (at this point), the paecilomyces japonica is a type of mushroom that grows on silkworm larvae and saussurea involucrata is known as snow lotus. It seems that there is a yeast enzyme that can be derived from the snow lotus which would be the thing breaking down/fermenting the mushroom. So this ingredient is a type of mushroom broken down by snow lotus yeast enzymes and then extracted and filtered. Both appear to have anti-inflammatory and nutritive properties based on a limited selection of scientific studies and both have a background in traditional Chinese medicine (but it seems this is typically drunk and not applied on skin?). There aren’t any studies I found on this particular ingredient combination and its uses in skin care, although it seems it is in several other more hangbang brands/products. For the sake of ever finishing this post, I will have to put this puzzling ingredient on a future research list. Ferments are gaining popularity in skin care (just look at first essences) so let’s just leave it at that for now. If I ever hear back, you readers will be the first to know!
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Water is derived from the chamomile plant which you may know from chamomile tea. It is known for its skin calming effects along with being anti-microbial/anti-acne and anti-inflammatory. Aloe Barbandensis Leaf Water is derived from the aloe plant which is known, like chamomile, for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey is a great anti-microbial ingredient which you might have/still make DIY face masks from, but is also an anti-oxidant with anti-irritant properties. Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is also known as green tea (yet another anti-acne, anti-inflammatory, soothing ingredient).
Sciadopitys Verticillata Root Extract is basically a skin conditioning agent. Nothing to see here people. Move on.
Houttuynia Cordata Extract is known for its purifying effects in traditional medicine but needs more scientific study to back up these claims.
The “herb garden” ingredients (lavender, rosemary, oregano, eucalyptus, peppermint, and spearmint extracts) are all potentially irritating ingredients that may also have antimicrobial properties. Most of the time these sorts of ingredients are added for fragrance purposes. The chemicals in the plants responsible for the fragrance are generally the main source of potential irritation. However, extracts generally contain less oils than direct plant matter. These are also the very last listed ingredients, and while there is controversy over how to analyze korean-english ingredient list translations, chances are these extracts are in negligible amounts no matter the nuances.
In short, this mask has some pretty neat plant extracts at first glance and that is surprising for just a Memebox sample sheet mask. However, given the number of them crammed into this mask, I can’t help but wonder at their concentrations. Tea Tree oil generally needs a 5-10% concentration to be effective, yet most skin care products boast less than 1%. Oh well, let’s see if any of this plant mumbo-jumbo actually paid off.
Now that the ingredients list is out of the way, let’s get on to the actual mask and everyone’s favorite, the results!
Pre-mask, my skin wasn’t exactly a happy camper (but when is it ever?). There was some dryness, some remaining granola-purge face, and some granola-purge face+dryness-related redness going on. Probably the only perk of said facial state was that it featured everything the mask said it was supposedly going to tackle.
Uneven tone?: check
Uneven texture?: check…er, plus…
Needing nourishment: definitely, check
And using it in the morning meant makeup would be coming after. So prepping skin to ideal makeup applying state?: yes please
The mask itself was gloriously soft and silky (it felt amazing even for a slightly-pricey 3$ mask…is this what 8$ masks feel like?) and was drenched in essence (it was dripping everywhere as I took it out and put it on). It had a nice fit, covering my face all the way up to the hairline and covered a comfortable amount of under-eye area (you know how sometimes the material can “cut” in this area? Not here, just silky goodness). I wore it for a good 45 minutes and the mask stayed soft as it dried, even though many masks will start to feel uncomfortably “crusty” as the essence absorbs/evaporates.
It has the typical “sheet mask smell” (clean, fresh, skincare product-y) but with a subtle yeasty note (which I actually love that raw bread/yeast smell so heck yeah!). Minus my taste in smell (heh, that sounds strange…), it is by no means overpowering so even if you are sensitive to smell, you will most likely be fine.
Post-mask, non-plauged skin was no longer red and back to its typical corpse-y white state. My lovely party of best friends hanging out around my jawline were a lighter, easier-to-conceal shade of pink vs bright, tomato red (oh, the joys of being pale). Not a single flake or trace of dryness left.
My face was brighter and quite dewy; my skin felt refreshed and smoother (not silky smooth by any means, but the bumps were not as pronounced and felt so, so much softer). The residue left over just felt like really moist skin-not filmy, oily, or sticky-but…damp?(almost like a frog or something…but in a good way).
There was a definite, noticeable improvement from this mask after just one use. To put it bluntly, red, swollen spots that makeup would only highlight went to light-pink bumps that were softer and easy to conceal with makeup. Skin went from dry to totally, deliciously moist in 45 minutes. The ingredients list seems pretty justified after trying this mask out.
Rating: 2.5 (I might just suck it up and fork over more than a 1.50$ for a sheet mask to have a small stash of these for bad skin days)
1-Holy grail worthy
2-Current-Routine-Worthy (would repurchase again until something better came along)
3-Meh. It was ok. YMMV.
4-Bleh, not good. Do not buy this.
1-that one mask
Have you tried this mask? What was your experience? And what do you think of all those extracts? Especially that one hang bang ingredient?