Review: Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack (Updated!)

6/23/16: Soo Ae, the manufacturer of these masks, recently updated their packaging for the US market. I’ve compared the ingredients lists and verified that it has not changed, meaning that the mask’s ingredients have always been compliant with US regulations regarding ingredient order. Woo! I’ve also updated purchasing links and stuck a gallery of new packaging images at the bottom.

Opinions about products change all the time. If they didn’t, there’d be no flux in the cosmetics industry and we’d all stick to the same regimen for years on end. But there is and we don’t. We fall in love with things and later change our minds; we pick favorites, then forget them.

That totally hasn’t happened to me with the Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk line of gel sheet masks, which have been on my mind a lot lately because they keep coming up in AB discussions. A long-ass time ago, I raved about the Donkey Milk Aqua masks. Today I want to talk about the Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack, the anti-trouble entry in the line. Is it as great as the Donkey Milk Aqua? Does it help to heal skin troubles like acne and irritation? Come with me on a journey of discovery, and please don’t mind the late hour. I can’t sleep because of bodily troubles that no mask can heal.


Affiliate links in this post are marked with an asterisk(*).


Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack

Yeah, it’s a trap. FOR YOUR WALLET!


Purpose: Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack is a hybrid hydrogel/sheet mask that claims to soothe, repair, and heal irritated, damaged, sensitive, or acneic skin.

Do not use if: You are sensitive to botanical extracts, fragrance, or anything else in the ingredients list.

When and how to use: Either immediately after cleanser and toner, or after your essence, serum, and ampoule steps but before your moisturizer step(s), remove mask from packet, unfold, and peel from plastic backing. Apply whichever side is wettest to your face and gently press or tap to adhere to skin. Relax with mask on for 15-20 minutes as directed or (like me) until most of the serum has absorbed and the inner weave of the mask begins to emerge.

Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Korean and English ingredients

It’s very shiny.

Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack ingredients:  Water, glycerin, dipropylene glycol, betaine, camellia japonica flower water, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, phaseolus radiatus seed extract, paeonia lactiflora root extract, nephrite powder, donkey milk, lavendula angustifolia (lavender) flower water, monarda didyma leaf extract, mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf extract, freesia alba flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, citrus aurantifolia (lime) fruit extract, mentha rotundifolia leaf extract, pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, citrus limon (lemon) fruit extract, portulaca oleracea extract, castanea sativa (chestnut) shell extract, PEG-32, panthenol, allantoin, carbomer, arginine, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, fragrance, methylparaben, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA

Notable ingredients: Donkey milk, as you can see here, is lower down on the list than it is in the Donkey Milk Aqua mask, an understandable adjustment given that this mask is focused on healing rather than pure moisturization. The long list of botanical extracts reveals a heavy emphasis on ingredients said to provide soothing, healing, astringent, and anti-inflammatory benefits to skin. This is a great sign. I’m always so disappointed to see a mask that claims some specific benefit but contains nothing except a basic hydrating essence and just one or two targeted ingredients.

CosDNA analysis of the ingredients comes up totally clean, another great sign. Do remember, however, that CosDNA is not infallible and CosDNA does not have information on every ingredient ever (or every ingredient in this product), so if your skin is particularly reactive, make sure to patch test with a little bit of essence before using this mask.

Korean and English ingredients for Freeset Donkey Milk Healing mask

For those of you who can read Hangul and want to squint at tiny letters on an unreasonably shiny background, here’s a close-up of the ingredients.

Performance

Like the Donkey Milk Aqua mask (and like the Donkey Milk Whitening variety, which I haven’t gotten around to reviewing but which I do like a lot, just so you know), the Donkey Milk Healing is an interesting hybrid of a traditional sheet mask and the more advanced hydrogel mask. Its loosely woven inner mesh is completely saturated and also completely coated in a very thick, non-drippy serum that solidifies into a gel if refrigerated. I love this concept and wish more masks used it, as in my experience it allows the mask to stay moist longer and prevents excessive evaporation. Basically: all that goodness gets to sink right down into my skin.

I like to use these masks when I’m suffering from skin troubles, obviously, whether those troubles have to do with blemishes, irritation, or overexfoliation. I use them for a minimum of 45 minutes at a time and can go as long as an hour when I don’t have a fan on. The masks fit my face nearly perfectly, with no annoying tenting or pleating, and the thick serum helps them adhere very closely to my skin.

Even when unrefrigerated, these masks give a very distinct cooling and tightening sensation to my skin, most likely due to the peppermint and witch hazel extracts in the serum. The sensation isn’t drying or irritating at all. Instead, it feels like any inflammation I’m experiencing is subsiding, and as if my skin is firming back up to its healthy condition.

And the effects? As you might have expected, they’re pretty much wonderful. No matter what problems I’m having with my face, using one of these masks will calm down any blotchiness, soothe any swelling or inflammation, and even out and brighten up my skin tone so that my skin looks not only non-irritated, but also well rested and optimally healthy. I’m going through some final stages of irritation and purging thanks to my encounter with that Su:m37 Bubble-De Mask, but after peeling this mask off just now, my skin looks smooth, glowing, and happy. At 1:42am on a Tuesday morning as I writhe around in discomfort, that’s a hell of an achievement. And if the mask I used tonight is the same as the other Donkey Milk Healing masks I’ve used in the past, those effects will last well into the morning and afternoon, meaning that the skin troubles I was suffering won’t require me to put on even a single dab of extra cover-up.

I only have one caveat about this mask. The thickness of the serum can sometimes cause it to pool up and get stuck in one area of the packet, leaving other parts of the mask a little drier. This unevenness is easily remedied by storing the mask packets flat and occasionally turning them over or just mushing them around a bit with your fingers. It’s certainly not a flaw big enough to take away points.

Conclusion: I can’t think of a single other mask that is as effective or as pleasurable to use when I’m having skin problems as the Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack. These are well worth stocking up on just to have on hand for those near-inevitable bad skin times. Speaking of which, I’m down to my last and need to get more.

Rating: 5/5. Like the Dalai Lama or the late Pope John Paul II, these masks are pure love.

Rating scale:

1 – This should be taken off the market.
2 – Caused me some problems; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.

5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.


Where can I buy Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Packs?

Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Packs are no longer hard to find in the US! Get them at:

  • Memebox US, which sells them individually for $2 apiece*; if you’ve never shopped from Memebox before, sign up with my referral link to get 20% off your first order
  • JKNLEE, which sells them in boxes of 10 for $20
  • Amazon Prime, which sells boxes of 10 for $24.98* with free 2-day Prime shipping

And as a final bonus, here are photos and close-ups of the new US packaging for these masks! I was going to just replace my original pictures with the new ones, but, well, I kind of like what I had going on there, so those old photos are staying.

Have you tried any donkey milk masks? What do you think of them?

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39 responses to “Review: Soo Ae Freeset Donkey Milk Healing Skin Gel Mask Pack (Updated!)

  1. I used this mask for the first time last week. Holy Tony Moly! When I woke up the next day and looked in the mirror, I was stunned: my skin was bright, clear, and glowing. I thought one of my products in my routine suddenly stepped up its game, and then I remembered the donkey milk. It was a-maze-ing. I have a stash of masks from Memebox* on its way, including more of these and the Aqua & Whitening versions. I wish I had them now. If Freeset made other donkey milk products, I’d voluntarily be luxuriating in ass milk. I’ve never received such dramatic results from a mask (though to be fair, my Whamisa kelp mask is still enshrined in my stash, so I don’t know, maybe that would wow me even more, but the bar has been set high).

    *This mask, and the allure of the other donkey milk masks, was so amazing that it was enough to persuaded me to break my no-Memebox ban. My no MM ban was in place after they sent me a defective product last month and then gave me the run around about replacing it (sorry, we are out of stock, how about we give you a completely different product instead?), and then a month later *finally* sent a replacement (after I nagged them), only for the envelope that I assume had the replacement inside show up unsealed, with no product in it. At least they refunded my money, but man, Memebox, all the shame. If you didn’t have donkey milk, we might have gone the ways of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck.

    **And if only I would’ve known about these extra promo codes. Sigh. For my next donkey milk purchases.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, these masks are stunning! I was washing my face this morning and wondering why it felt so amazingly soft. Then I remembered. Ass milk!

      I’m surprised Bennifer lasted this long.

      Like

  2. Hi,
    I am a new subscriber and I wanted to say thank you for having such a helpful blog, I toyed for a long time over starting a good routine (I live in the UK and it is dificult to order from abroad due to charges on anything over £15) but your blog sealed the deal for me! I have just done my first two skincare hauls! So thank you for having such a useful site, it made everything so much easier particularly your post on sample routines.
    Hope to read much more from you!

    P.S. Your first post on the donkey masks almost sealed the deal but this post certainly did! Just ordered a box of each, my partner is horrified though he has yet to find out there are snails on the way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • It really has been! All your posts are so well done, I hope you are very proud of your blog 🙂

        I ordered the following –

        Innisfree:
        Green tea balancing lotion, sleeping pack and green tea seed serum (I think these will be the first I test)
        I also got a bottled sample pack of the juicy apple cleansing oil to try as I have never used oil on my face eek!

        Mizon:
        Goodnight white sleeping mask, water volume aqua gel cream, all In one snail repair cream and snail recovery gel cream (just testing the snail waters with these :))

        Etude House:
        Wonder Pore Freshner (This is the only thing in my haul I have already tried!)

        Hada Labo:
        Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam

        Suncreams:
        Biore watery gel, essence and Sun Bears strong super plus

        Also ordered what feels like 500 sheet masks, pack masks and nose patches. Not to mention a ridiculous amount of make-up, it is far too easy to get carried away 😀

        I struggled most of all with finding an exfoliator which is possibly something I need the most?
        My skin is normal / seasonal, it leans more dry throughout the year except I have an inexplicable oily forehead?!
        I don’t have a problem with trouble skin but my skin is deathly dull and I am an NC15 like yourself but as my skin is so dull I feel more like an NC5 sometimes…

        I wanted to try the physical skinfood exfoliators but they use lanolin in their products which I am mildly allergic to, strangely outside of lip products they are the first Asian brand I have found that uses lanolin on a wide scale as most do not use it unlike in the West where I seem to find it in everything.

        I looked at the CORSX options which I think might be the best but chemical exfoliants scare me a little being a skincare noob!

        So I haven’t chosen an exfoliator yet even though it is probably something I really need to get my skin glowing!

        If you have any thoughts or recommendations I would love to hear them and sorry to completely ramble on!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my God, what a great haul!

        If you want a physical exfoliator, I’m about to review the Mizon Honey Black Sugar Scrub, which sounds to me a lot like the Skinfood but may be better in the ingredients department. I’ll make sure to see if it has lanolin or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, I wanted to get back to you quickly to let you know that the Mizon Honey Black Sugar Scrub does not have lanolin and is just as effective and nice an exfoliator as the Skinfood Black Sugar Strawberry!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh wow thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! Delighted to hear that, going to order it and give it a try!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! I have a quick question! Every time I use the Freeset Donkey Milk masks, be it the healing one or the whitening one, I get a stinging sensation whenever I have it on (it’s bearable, but I’d rather not have my mask stinging me haha). However I don’t experience any redness or irritation after I take it off. Any ideas if one of the ingredients is causing this stinging?

    Liked by 1 person

    • All of those have a lot of botanical extracts in them, and I’m going to assume that you may have a very slight allergy or sensitivity to one of the extracts 😦 It’s interesting that your skin looks fine after you take it off, though. Have you used any other products that give you that sensation?

      Like

      • Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I can’t think of any other products that give me the same reaction besides the Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser I just received a couple days ago. I’m wondering if the cleanser was fake because I’ve used Hada Labo a lot in the past and I didn’t break out from it at all but the one I recently bought stung my face so bad and gave me a sunburned+breakout kind of reaction:( I’m wondering if I’m reacting to the Freeset masks due to my prolonged (1-2 years) use of the Aquamoist Foaming Cleanser which has sodium lauryl sulfate in it. Do you think the SLS might have stripped my skin’s protective barrier and increased skin sensitivity? It’s frustrating because recently no matter what mask I try, I always get some sort of reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww man I should’ve known:( I actually just placed an order through Glow Recipe and got a sulfate free cleanser! Will my skin’s protective barrier and sensitivity go back to normal after stopping SLS use? How long do you think it will take? So sorry to be asking you so many questions this late!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I LOVE this mask, and I’m so glad you loved it too! It’s one of my HGs for when I’m tackling a bad breakout or trying to diminish my blemishes. Now if only Memebox would restock them, since they’re now sold out 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure if you remember me, but I asked for advice in this post regarding repairing my skin’s moisture barrier. After using the Aquamoist Foaming Cleanser for 2 years, I finally stopped using it and switched back to the Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser. It’s been about a month of using the Hada Labo and I think my random breakouts while using Aquamoist have definitely been decreasing. I think my skin is also starting to become less sensitive when I try new products. However, I remember Kerry saying on Skin and Tonics that the acid mantle can become permanently disrupted and can permanently raise your skin’s pH to 6.0 or higher with continued use of baking soda as a facial scrub. Does this only apply to baking soda or does it apply to other alkaline cleansers like Aquamoist as well. If so, can the acid mantle be repaired at all? I am worried that only my moisture barrier can be repaired and not my acid mantle since I used Aquamoist for about 2 years–It has a really high pH due to the SLS in it 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello, Queen Fiddy! I’m not new to Asian Beauty per-say, but awhile ago I found your and Snow White’s blogs. and decided I needed to re-evaluate the products I’ve used–not because they’re bad but because I don’t think they’re really the best for my skin.

    I have porcelain pale, easy burnt skin. I have never had acne but my skin is VERY sensitive and dry, and I easily get splotchy red cheeks–leaving the house without sunscreen is out of the question for most, but for me it’s a death sentence for my face. Anyway, I was wondering about different types of toners. I’ve noticed that there are Ph toners, and Hydrating toners. I currently use Hada Labo’s Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. I’ve also been looking at the Enprani Dear toner, the MIZON AHA & BHA Daily Clean toner, and the Son & Park Beauty Water. It seems like they’re all great but all different. Which one would be best as just a gentle, hydrating Ph prep? Or should I use Mizon as a Ph leveler, then follow with something?

    Also, for weekly exfoliating I’ve been eyeing Goodal Peeling Gel, because it seems more gentle than some of those scrubs with the itty bitty crystals which leave my skin a little red and over-exfoliated often. I’ve also been looking for a wash off mask, perhaps the Innisfree Jeju Clay one, just to use on my nose (the only part of my face that can sometimes be a little oily). Are you a fan of these?

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

    Like

    • Okay so here’s my question–if your skin is sensitive and dry, I’m wondering if a pH prep toner is even a good idea at this point. Most that I’ve seen have fairly significant amounts of alcohol in them and I wouldn’t really be comfortable recommending them for someone with already existing sensitivity issues. I personally don’t really feel like pH toners are necessary at all; I wonder if a straight up nice simple hydrating toner might work better for you? Something like Hada Labo?

      I actually just started testing out a peeling gel, Manyo Factory’s, and it’s the first one I’ve liked (having tried Tony Moly’s Floria peeling gel and Tosowoong’s version). It’s got some particles in it to exfoliate as well as the gommage action. My Goodal bubble peeling stuff just came in today as well. I’ll update with a comparison of the two and some other gentle exfoliators soon!

      Like

      • Ah, ok! I guess, I use a low-ph 2nd cleanser anyway, so I shouldn’t need too much adjusting anyway. I love Hada Labo’s Lotion, so I have no complaints sticking to just that!

        Oo those sound great! I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts. Thank you so much for your help!! I (and my skin) really appreciate it!

        Like

  8. First off, thank you for all your work, this blog has been a huge resource for me. I have a question about the Freeset masks…has the reformulation changed the smell and mask shape? I just bought my third box of the Aqua, and the masks were just shoved in the package with no plastic backing (it was just the mask) and there was a very strong cheap floral fragrance to the essence (which incidentally left a white residue on my skin). All soothing, cooling properties were notably absent. I was frankly hoping I just got a box of fakes off of Amazon and was going to try to buy again off memebox, but I noted that they were touting the “reformulation” so I’m getting worried. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    Like

    • Hmmm that is all really weird! My repackaged Healing ones still have the backing (a while back, they changed the backing to be only half sheet folded into the mask, to save material I imagine, but it’s there) and the smell and effects were the same. My understanding is that they took the parabens out of the Aqua, but I forget what other changes were made. I’ll ask!

      Like

  9. Pingback: Freeset Donkey Milk Skin Gel Mask Packa (Aqua, Healing, Whitening) | The Korean Skincare Guide·

  10. I just found out about this mask, so sorry about being super late to the party. I got a pack of the healing masks off ebay (where I buy a lot of asian skincare) and am not sure whether or not I got a fake product. The packaging looks exactly the same, but the essence was very thin and drippy, not thick like you described. Now maybe in the 2 years since you reviewed it, it was re-formulated but not sure. After taking off the mask, I also have particles on the skin. Do you know anything about any of this?

    Like

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