So. Slight change of plans. Mr. Crazy Snail Lady spotted the Green Tea sheet mask in my Innisfree sheet mask collection when I was organizing them and really wanted to try it. These are his impressions and my observations of his experience with the mask. Unfortunately, I was unable to get him to agree to pictures.
For context, Mr. CSL is not a sheet mask virgin. In the past, he’s used (and enjoyed) the Benton Snail Bee sheet masks several times, with great results. In fact, I figured that the Innisfree Green Tea sheet mask would work well for him, since the green tea ingredient should give him the same kind of anti-inflammatory results that the Benton did. Theoretically.
Purpose: The Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze mask in Green Tea is a sheet mask designed to hydrate skin.
Do not use if: You are sensitive to alcohol, citrus extracts, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.
When and how to use: In the evening, after cleansing and before your final moisturizing step, tear open the mask packet, remove the sheet mask, unfold and fit over face. The mask has several slits to assist in customizing fit. Leave on for 10-20 minutes (or longer if the mask sheet has not yet dried up), then remove. Pat or massage in excess product and finish with your emollient and/or occlusive moisturizing cream.
Ingredients list: Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, alcohol, citrus paradisi (grapefruit) fruit extract, betaine, camellia sinensis leaf extract, xanthan gum, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, 1, 3 propanediol, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium hyaluronate, citrus unshiu peel extract, orchid extract, camellia japonica leaf extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus tangerina (tangerine) extract, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, citric acid, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance
At first glance, I’m already a little disappointed by the formulation of this sheet mask. I’ve said before that the water-glycerin-butylene glycol combo is a pretty standard sheet mask base, and that I usually don’t have a problem with that, but for this mask, I felt that it would be much more compelling if camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract was actually the first ingredient. Green tea extract delivers powerful antioxidants to the skin and soothes redness, irritation, and inflammation exceptionally well. It replaces water in the Benton Snail Bee High Content sheet masks, which are some of the most effective I’ve tried. I can already tell the Innisfree Green Tea sheet mask won’t live up to the Benton standard.
Notable ingredients: The CosDNA analysis I ran on this product implies that it is unlikely to cause any skin problems. CosDNA only called out one ingredient, butylene glycol, and only scored it a 1 as an acne trigger. CosDNA isn’t the ultimate authority on skincare safety, though. It doesn’t have data on every single ingredient. Alcohol doesn’t trip any warnings, but it’s known that alcohol can be very irritating for some people, and “alcohol denat.” scores a 5 for irritation when entered into CosDNA.
I don’t personally have a problem with alcohol in my skincare products, as long as it’s not excessive. For example, I appreciate it in my Japanese sunscreens, since it enables them to dry down much quicker than they would without it. I don’t subscribe to the “alcohol in skincare is always bad, all the time” school of thought. But I don’t think it can be denied that a fairly significant amount of people are sensitive to alcohol and shouldn’t use it, as it may irritate or dry out their skin. Consider your past history with alcohol-containing products to figure out if you should.
Moving on down the list, you can see that this sheet mask’s essence formulation differs a little from the Black Berry mask I last reviewed. Sodium hyaluronate is a bit higher up on the list, a promising sign if you’re looking for lots of hydration, while a variety of citrus extracts fills out the bottom half of the list, including ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C. I’m guessing that these extracts are present for brightening and to provide a slight exfoliating effect. The mask also includes a tiny dab of lactic acid, an AHA, which will work as a humectant moisturizer even if the pH is too high (it probably is) or the concentration is too low (it definitely is) for it to be used as a chemical exfoliator.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about Mr. CSL’s experience with the mask, because he could only take having it on his face for about five minutes before he took it off. The fit around his mouth was too awkward, since the mouth hole is rather small, and the mask wouldn’t adhere to the lower half of his face due to his stubble (this, of course, isn’t the mask’s fault). Additionally, while the mask serum did smell faintly of green tea, it smelled much more strongly of alcohol.
Here’s the good: In those five minutes, the mask had completely erased the redness and minor irritation he’d had from overexfoliating in the shower. As you’ll see below, though, I have a feeling that it wasn’t actually the mask that alleviated his redness, but rather the fact that the mask was chilled. Because…
Just a few minutes later, his skin began to feel uncomfortably dry and tight and had started to burn. Uh-oh. I believe the culprit is either the alcohol or all those citrus extracts–or both. And at this point, I knew the mask was a bust.
There is a silver lining to the whole fiasco, though! I put a little bit of Benton’s Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream on his face to soothe the discomfort. It worked immediately, and he really liked the way the cream felt. It’s clear that Benton is the brand for him, and now he’s got a new everyday moisturizer, since I have an extra tube of Benton steam cream on hand!
Conclusion: The Innisfree It’s Real Squeeze Mask in Green Tea failed the test. Mr. CSL’s skin is hardier than mine, able to take a lot more abuse without shriveling up or exploding, yet he experienced almost immediate irritation from this mask. Green tea extract is known for its anti-irritation properties, so the fact that this mask dried his skin out and caused a burning sensation goes against everything that it’s supposed to be. I won’t be buying this mask again, and if it comes to me in an assortment, it’ll go straight into the trash.