Abracadabra Eye Mask

Abracadabra Eye Mask

Abracadabra Eye Mask

This is from the Glam Rock range by Korean firm Too Cool For School. As with most Korean skincare and cosmetic products, how it looks is just as important as how it performs, so this eye mask is not only shaped like something you’d see on Zorro, it also has a pretty lace pattern.

This type of mask tends to be made of hydrogel and slippery wet with product. Unless you have a silicone over-mask to hold it in place, you absolutely need to lie down somewhere until your 10 to 20 minutes are up, otherwise this will be in your lap and soaking your clothes in no time.

But they do work really well, especially if they have been in the fridge for a while first. I use them a lot, and – having tried this one – I am sorry that Too Cool For School has closed in Singapore. It may be some time before I am back in Seoul.

Breast Mud

bali-mud-1 bali-mud-3 bali-mud-5

‘Discover the secrets of Balinese beauty’, claims the box, with delightful artwork including some very suggestively shaped hills. ‘The mud mask is made from mud which has a strong tightening, straining and shaping effect…’

Look more closely and you will discover that the mud is actually from the Dead Sea, and there is no suggestion that the coconut extract and various other herbal ingredients in there come from Bali itself or even anywhere else in Indonesia.

But I was on the loose in Jakarta looking for shopping entertainment, and this seemed like a good idea at the time.

Fast forward to the point when I decided to try this out. For a start, having experienced a DIY all-over mud mask at the Dead Sea for real, I can tell you that this bears no resemblance. It smells a lot better, but otherwise there is simply no comparison.

This could better be described as Dead Sea sand, because it is pinkish and gritty, not to mention impossible to mix into any useful consistency. I tried for ages, adding water as instructed, adding more product in the hope of producing ‘mud’ which could easily be applied. But all I got was either wet sand, or sand at the bottom of a bowl of water.

It really did not stick as expected, with grit ending up everywhere – I tried this in the bath and ended up showering several times afterwards then still finding bits the next day. On the other hand, it did function fairly well in the way of an exfoliating salt scrub, and my skin did end up feeling silky smooth.

There is enough in the pack for several applications, but there was so much mess in my bathroom I do not expect I will be using this product again.


Lip Steam Mask

steam lip 3 steam lip 1 steam lip 2

Fresh from Tokyo, this lip steam mask is a treat before you even use it. Carefully wrapped in silky paper inside a beautifully printed paper envelope, the sweet smelling, soft fabric mask has loops which slip neatly over your ears to keep it in place.

It is apparently ‘packed with moisture-retaining components such as collagen which are woven into its fabric’, and is supposed to help soften the skin on and around your lips.

According to the instructions, you wet the mask and heat it up for 10 seconds in the microwave. You then wear it over your ‘relaxed’ lips for about 3 minutes. The mask is reusable, so you can fold it back into its lovely envelope for next time.

I tried this in the bath, and again another day whilst working at my desk. I found the heat was lost very quickly, but the slight steam effect it produced did make my lips feel softer.

This mask cost ¥648 and is made by Makanai, who offer “beauty secrets unlocked from the best of Japan’s nature, combined with time tested recipes of wisdom’. The company name actually means ‘knowledge and supplies from the work place or kitchen’, and comes from the shared experience of women working in the gold leaf industry, who counteracted the effects of their harsh working conditions with home beauty remedies to help their skin. Having tried this I will be on the lookout for more of their range of beauty products.

Mango Sleeping Mask

mango 1 mango 2 mango 3 mango 5

Always unable to resist small things, I was enchanted by this sleeping mask. The container is a realistic but miniature half mango barely the size of my thumbprint, with a tiny spoon attached, and it begged to be snapped up from the shelf of Boots in Bangkok. (Although it is, like all the most interesting facial products, actually made in Korea.)

Now I wish I had bought more. Ridiculously small as the mango is, the contents are still presented as a cream ‘stone’ within a jelly ‘fruit’, and really did smell good enough to eat. The spoon is also exactly what you need to scoop up a little bit of each before blending it in with your fingers. It was altogether a great buy – so rich and creamy that a small amount went such a long way there was enough to last 3 days. My skin felt beautifully hydrated next day, and of course the mango smell was a bonus.

I very much hope I will find this treat again!

Steam Eye Mask

Category : Beauty

eye mask 1 eye mask 2 eye mask on

This fascinating product is made by Kao in Japan, and is described as ‘an innovative self-warming steam mask’ which heats up gradually to 40 degrees C and produces steam which ‘relieves and relaxes your hard working eyes’. A hard sachet inside each half of the mask sits over your eyes, and these hold iron powder which starts to oxidise when it comes into contact with the air. The chemical reaction produces heat and so the mask begins to warm up as soon as you remove it from the foil pouch, and this also triggers the release of the aromatherapy scent. There are several varieties including rose and lavender, but I chose the chamomile and ginger aroma for calm, and relief of stress.

The mask itself is made of a soft, stretchy material more like fabric than paper, with a slit to accommodate your nose and loops to slip over your ears to hold it in place. I was afraid that 40 degrees C would be a little too hot for me, but in fact there was no problem and I found the chamomile and ginger scent to be very pleasant and not at all overpowering. I used this mask in the morning whilst still in bed, and it could easily have sent me back to sleep again. I kept it on for about 20 minutes but it stayed warm for at least an hour. The steam isn’t visible but my eyes did become moist, so I am not sure I would like to try this in an office lunch break as suggested, for fear of my mascara running down my face. It might be very nice on an overnight flight, though. At S$6.50 for a box of 5 masks, this is really good value.