Have all been from the same brand.
You may have noticed that the vast majority of the reviews on this blog are at least somewhat positive. The reason’s pretty simple: The more I learn about skincare ingredients, the easier it is for me to choose products that I know I’ll find effective and probably enjoyable. But I’ve definitely tried out some duds, and when it comes to masks, all the worst of those duds have come from Missha. Some Missha products have worked well for me, such as their M Signature Real Complete BB Cream, both the Long and Longer Name versions of their Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule, and the original formulation of their Time Revolution First Treatment Essence, so I find it odd that I’ve disliked every Missha mask I’ve ever put on my face. Let me tell you of my troubles.
Group review: Missha Pure Source sheet masks
MisshaUS runs a lot of sales, which I really appreciate, and often offers great gifts with purchase when one’s purchase exceeds a specified amount. In many cases, I find myself unable to get close to the target total without throwing in a few sheet masks. That’s how I’ve ended up trying the Pure Source sheet masks in honey, raspberry, pearl, and pomegranate.
There’s really no nice way to say what I want to say, so I’m just going to say it: In my experience, these masks are about as effective as blank sheet masks soaked in tap water.
Seriously. Just useless. More useless than nipples on a breastplate.
Why are the Pure Source sheet masks so useless?
The ingredients lists themselves don’t give any clue. They start out the same as just about any other sheet mask, with water, glycerin, and butylene glycol, a moisturizing and penetration enhancing ingredient. The featured extracts are high up. All of the masks contain sodium hyaluronate for extra humectant hydration. Why are they so terrible? My best guess is that it isn’t the ingredients themselves that are the problem, but rather the proportions. Basically, I suspect that there’s just too much water in these and too little of everything else. (Shoutout to waterless skincare. These masks wouldn’t be a problem if they were waterless, I bet.)
My blanket rating for the Missha Pure Source sheet masks in honey, raspberry, pearl, pomegranate, and probably everything else in that line is 2.
Mini-review: Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Mask
Next on the list is the Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Mask.
The original formulation of Missha’s First Treatment Essence (as opposed to the new First Treatment Essence Intensive) is widely known as an SK-II dupe and has been justifiably considered superior. I went through three big bottles of the stuff and loved every fermenty, hydrating, brightening, glow-giving drop. (I only decided to switch to COSRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence because Missha took out the licorice root extract, and as there are plenty of other ferment first essences with niacinamide that cost less than the Missha, I figured it was time to cut my expenses a bit. No regrets.)
So why didn’t I like the mask? As a hydrogel infused with the magical Missha FTE, it should have been glorious. Instead, it was…mediocre.
First of all, I wish I still had a picture of me wearing the mask. The Missha FTE mask is a two-piece hydrogel, and the bottom piece includes a neck section that wraps up under one’s chin to give the upper neck and underside of the chin some FTE love. The neck piece felt strangly to me, and the mouth was freakishly small. We’re talking creepy gimp mask small. So there’s that.
But I’ll happy submit (har har) to a poorly fitting face mask if the mask delivers good results. The FTE mask, for whatever reason, just didn’t. Remember how I said the Pure Source masks were about as useful as mask sheets soaked in tap water? The First Treatment Essence Mask is the same, except that it also smells like stale beer and costs a whopping $7 per mask. The brightening effect is mediocre at best (I bought three of these when I first discovered the joys of original recipe FTE) and the hydrating effect is subpar. I would give this mask a 3, because it did at least have some effect, but the combination of such mediocrity and such a price point mean that this mask also gets a 2.
Mini-review: Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Gel Mask (Plus a Rave for Benton’s Snail Mask)
And now we come to the star attraction of this parade of rage-inducing mediocrity: the Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Gel Mask.
Where do I even begin?
Let’s begin with the ingredients, because this time at least one glaring flaw is obvious. This mask contains a wimpy 5% snail slime extract.
FIVE MOTHERFLIPPIN PERCENT.
That is simply pathetic. Even more pathetic is the fact that Missha proclaims that measly 5% on their official website like it’s something to brag about. Snail mucin is a great, great skincare ingredient. It’s full of humectants and antioxidants. It’s lovely. But, judging from the very high percentages of the ingredient in other snail products, it seems to be something that needs to be present in large quantities in order for it to be effective. 5% is nowhere near enough.
Even more distressing is the fact that snail mucin appears third in the ingredients list for this mask, after only water and glycerin. That means that every other one of the many, many other promising-sounding ingredients in the list is present in only the minutest quantities. That also lends a bit of credence to my theory that the problem with the other Missha masks I reviewed above is that they’re too much water and too little anything good.
But having such small amounts of good ingredients isn’t enough to make a mask actively terrible, just mediocre. What made the Missha snail gel mask so terrible for me was the effect it had on my skin.
It dehydrated the everloving crap out of my skin.
I have never, ever had a reaction like that to any other product, Asian, Western, Plutonian, or otherwise. My skin is neither sensitive nor reactive–another reason my reviews tend to skew positive. But this mask?
When I first removed it, my skin just felt kind of dry on the surface. I was disappointed but not alarmed. Over the next three days, however, my skin just kept getting drier and drier. It became parched and flaky, literally scaly, which is why I chose our poor, hateful little chameleon to be the official Fifty Shades bad review mascot. It took over a week of extreme babying–no acids, no alcohol, just lots and lots of Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream day and night–to get my complexion back to normal. Days upon days of utterly miserable skin.
I am not alone in this, either. Pico Prince had a bad reaction to this mask as well.
You know who does snail masks right? Benton. Their Snail Bee High Content Sheet Mask (affiliate link because these masks are just astonishingly good) is free of fillers and irritants and packed full of soothing, anti-inflammatory, brightening, softening, calming ingredients. You know who doesn’t do snail masks right? Missha.
The Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Gel Mask gets a 1.
By the way, I’d like to take this moment to introduce you to my new Do Not Like tag. It is exactly what it sounds like it is.
What are the worst masks you’ve ever tried?