When I chose the masks I used in my 7 Masks 1 Goal whitening experiment, my criteria were simple. I wanted the masks to contain niacinamide, and I also looked for licorice root extract, two lightening agents that have been proven to produce results on excess melanin and hyperpigmentation. It seems the combo isn’t terribly common in sheet masks or even hydrogels, however, as out of my 100+ mask stash (well, now 200+, but that’s another story), I could only find five that provided both. And just because a mask contains two ingredients I want doesn’t always mean it won’t contain any ingredients or cause any issues I don’t want. Case in point: the Naexy Genius Luminant Mask Pack that I used on Day 3 of my week of whitening masks.
Naexy Genius Luminant Mask Pack Mini-Review
A lot of my more random masks come from Memebox. What can I say? Memebox runs a lot of sales, and I have a lot of whims, so it usually works out well for both of us.
The Naexy Genius Luminant Mask Pack is a two-step treatment with an ampoule and the mask. Like the May Island Donkey Milk Mela-Tox mask pack I mini-reviewed last time around, this one doesn’t provide ingredients for the ampoule. For that reason alone, I already knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending this mask, even if it worked well, but as it turns out, I found other reasons for not recommending it, too.
I didn’t see any red flags when I first opened this mask up and applied the ampoule step. The ampoule is a slightly stiff, clear gel with a pleasant if slightly perfumey smell; it comes in a generous amount, so I did two applications of the ampoule before moving on to the mask. It was when I cut open the mask section of the package that I knew I was in for some trouble.
If you look at the CosDNA ingredients list I linked above, you’ll see something unusual about this mask’s formulation: the placement of fragrance in the ingredients. It’s not at the end of the list, where you’ll typically see it. Instead, it’s somewhere near the middle.
I’m not sensitive to fragrance, nor am I an anti-fragance-in-skincare person at all. In fact, I enjoy it when my face products smell nice. They’re going to be right on my face and next to my nose, so if they provide a nice olfactory experience, it’s all good with me. But there’s a difference between “making your product smell nice so that it’s more enjoyable to use” and “putting so much fragrance in your product that it becomes like a long elevator ride with a lady who bathed in cheap perfume, x1000.” The Naexy Genius Luminant Mask Pack fits in the second category.
The fragrance itself is seriously awful, a mix of baby powder and drugstore $2 designer perfume knockoff, and it is completely overpowering. In fact, it’s hard for me to even want to talk about any of the other characteristics of this mask, because I cannot get past the fragrance. I wore this mask for about 30 minutes. By the 20-minute mark, I had developed an intense, throbbing headache that got worse and worse until I finally tore the mask off, despite the fact that it still contained plenty of essence left for my skin to absorb.
Fragrance aside, this would have been a decent mask. It’s very saturated and drippy, fit my face nicely and adhered well, and the brightening and skin tone evening effects I saw after removing it and popping a few Advil were actually excellent, but the fragrance issue completely ruins it. In fact, I’m not going to make buying this mask any easier for those of you who still want to try it. You’ll find no links here. Just avoid this: there are masks that deliver equivalent results, without the horrific fragrance problems. Putting so much fragrance in the essence was a terrible idea, and this mask is an utter loser.
Botanic Farm Syn-Ake Hydrogel Mask Mini-Review
Syn-ake! I’ve heard plenty about this ingredient but never quite came to a decision about whether I found it compelling or not. Syn-ake, or dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate, is synthetic snake venom that’s said to work like topical Botox, temporarily reducing muscle movement in the face and therefore helping to prevent future wrinkles and smoothing out existing expression lines.
Most of you people don’t know me in person, so you aren’t aware that I have a very mobile face that’s always making one ghoulish expression or another. For this reason, Syn-ake seems like it might be a good fit for me. Theoretically, it should help minimize certain lines I have from expressions I make too frequently, and it might also calm down my facial expressions in general so that I’m not as frightening to small dogs and children. This mask contains 100ppm of syn-ake. I don’t really know what that means, but the ingredient is quite high up in the ingredients list, so that’s good. Ingredients list and CosDNA analysis are here.
By the way. This is a black mask. A black hydrogel mask.
Can you do something for me? Can you go turn off all the lights and light just one candle for a little eerily flickering illumination? Are you ready?
Mwahaahaaa. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. But at least I only linked the image instead of embedding it in the post, right? Now you can close that tab and continue reading without my horrifying black hydrogel mask face glaring vacantly at you from the middle of the page.
From my notes as I wore this mask:
Good God it’s a black mask. I look like a nightmare.
Compared to many other hydrogel masks I’ve tried, this one wasn’t the best-feeling or best-fitting. The gel material is a bit thicker and stiffer than I’m accustomed to, and the stiffness made it very resistant to molding around my nose and chin. In fact, even after the mask warmed up a bit, it never seemed to get really moist or to fully adhere to the contours of my face like most other hydrogels. The fit is actually quite a disappointment.
The results are not, though, and that’s what really matters, right? The brightening effect of this mask was strong and noticeable, but what I appreciated even more after I removed the mask at 45 minutes was how smooth, plump, and firm my skin looked and felt. Since I’ve pretty much already achieved my main skin brightening goals, I’ve become more interested in anti-aging effects like plumping, firming, and lifting. The Botanic Farm Syn-Ake hydrogel mask definitely delivers on those counts. It isn’t the best hydrogel mask experience around, and even its good results are not out of the ordinary for a really good hydrogel mask, but it’s something I am seriously considering restocking for future use.
I purchased this mask from Memebox, but the product appears to have disappeared from their website. That’s not a good sign, as products that are temporarily out of stock typically aren’t totally scrubbed from their site. I couldn’t find it on any of my trusted K-beauty webshops, either. If you run across this mask out in the wild or know where they can be purchased, please comment here and let me know!
So…what’s the worst mask you’ve ever tried, and what’s the scariest-looking one?